What was I doing in May this year? I did not realise the nature of the drought until I consulted the diary. Talk about your mixed bag month, too! Some of it was left field, but not all of it was good.
Monday, May 7, 3:00, Greater Union George Street, Cinema 7 (Ticket missing, presumed ashamed)
Spider-Man 3 is like a slap in the face, followed by a salve of soothing Bruce Campbell and chased by the application of a mace to your kneecaps. Nothing about this movie is good or makes any sense. Mary Jane has issues in her life, so Peter relates to the problems by citing Spider-Man analogies. This actually makes sense, but it just pisses MJ off and how can Peter Parker propose to the love of his life while she’s so angry?
Harry gets a very convenient dose of amnesia, which allows James Franco to act like a smiling idiot, despite the analogies making sense Peter is really full of himself, Topher Grace plays a total dick who deserves being shown up by Peter but this somehow makes Peter a bad person, Gwen Stacy is a pointless addition and Sandman is somehow forgiven for all of his crimes because a) he accidentally killed Uncle Ben and b) his daughter is sick.
Certainly manslaughter is “better” than outright homicide, but I would argue that, you know … all of your other crimes still stick, and manslaughter is still a crime. You can’t just have Spider-Man absolve you of your sins because you give him puppy dog eyes. And seriously! Peter Parker is an idiot! How often does he take his mask off? How many villains know his true identity? All of them! Plus something that never made any sense about this series to me is that the Green Goblin was desperate to find out Spider-Man’s true identity, despite having earlier in the first movie drugged him and tied him up unconscious. He could have removed the mask then, but … argh, I can’t think about this anymore. I borrowed the first two movies from Ajay in preparation for this (I had never seen the second one) and I said I should give them back to him. After we saw Spider-Man 3 together, he said “I don’t know if I want them back anymore.”
Dressing up as a “spider” and being the most expensive movie ever made does not make a movie worth your while. And where did the money go? This doesn’t even look impressive! We live in a world drowned by nonsense.
Tuesday, May 8, 6:30, Greater Union George Street, Cinema 17
This is not a good movie to see with people who speak very little English, considering that it is about an English school in the 1980s, and is based on a play. It is essentially king of the talkies with no real action to back it up. That’s not to say that it’s a bad movie besides, though; I felt that History Boys is one of those movies that is quite good despite not being as the trailer presented. Which is to say that it’s totally morally reprehensible, or something, because homosexuals are inherently misogynistic beings who cannot feel love. Or at least that’s what the columnists would let you know.
If you know anything about me, which I hope you do through my disappointingly infrequent meanderings across the internet, you will know that I probably don’t hold this last sentiment true. I really need to see this movie again with my mind more focused, but I can tell you offhand that it captured a great deal of the subtleties and myriad of feelings that these boys could have been feeling – and Hector is a tragic figure rather than an old lech on a motorcycle. While I feel that it probably missed some character from the stage – and am kicking myself for not having seen it in 2005, despite the fact it likely would have meant very little to me then at that juncture in time – I think that History Boys is a quite important movie indeed. I’m just glad I didn’t end up taking my father to it, I suppose.
Tales From Earthsea
Friday, May 18, 4:40, Dendy Newtown, Cinema 1
Tales From Earthsea hearkens back to the glory days of anime: when things didn’t have to make a dang lick of sense. Tales From Earthsea is, in reality, a mess of a movie. I just happen to have seen enough messes of movies to be able to give this one a bit of a free ride, but that doesn’t make it a good movie. One cannot trade on the name of one’s father when the only experience that one has in the field is curating his father’s museum. While this movie seems to have been doing well in Japan, I don’t think that Miyazaki Goro will strictly be allowed in front of the animator’s … whatever an animator animates on. I think that the cinema knew what they were in for, too: all across Australia, this only got ten day seasons.
Tuesday, May 22, 5:55, Greater Union George Street, Cinema 9
Alert! It’s a critically well received movie that I didn’t like! (oh, and there will be one later in the year, even more controversial!) Jake Gyllenhaal, with the drug addled assistance of Robert Downey Jr. (legal disclaimer: Robert Downey Jr.’s character is drug addled), investigates the Zodiac killings. Unfortunately this case was never solved (it’s a shame that I knew this, because some scenes would have been genuinely creepy if the mystery remained), so Gyllenhaal essentially pins it on a dead pedophile and everyone is happy. Overlong but not overinteresting, Zodiac is something that I really could have done without. I recall that certain critics wrote at the time that they don’t make movies like this anymore. I kind of hope that they never made movies like this, because if this is the golden age then … what’s the point? I understand that this isn’t David Fincher’s intended cut – it was going to be about an hour longer. I personally think I dodged a bullet.
Pirates of The Caribbean: At World’s End
Friday, May 25, 6:00, Greater Union Campbelltown, Cinema 1
Some nights I lay awake and I think to myself: I lowered my standards for At World’s End. Will I ever be able to forgive myself? Seven months on and I’m still not sure. At World’s End was satisfactory up to a point, but it squandered many of its opportunities (Calypso – ultimately pointless!) and it was really just a case of wasted potential. This had the capacity to be the greatest movie ever made, but it kind of fizzled out. I don’t think poorly of it, and I still hold that I should watch Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End in closer proximity. I’m hoping that this will balance the two out because the former is all action and the latter is all of the exposition that had been missed out up until that point. You probably shouldn’t dissect your movies and redistribute them here and there, Gore Verbinski. It’s not always the wisest of choices.
The Science of Sleep
Tuesday, May 29, 7:10, Greater Union George Street, Cinema 18
Hey guys! Want to see Gael Garcia Bernal naked? It is a noble pursuit, I’ll grant you, but I’m not entirely convinced that it is reason enough to see The Science of Sleep. Today you are going to bear witness to one of my deepest, darkest secrets: I hate dream logic. This is a movie entirely about Gael Garcia Bernal’s dreams, and his inability to tell them apart from reality. This condition becomes something that affects the audience deeply, as well, and the two blend so expertly that it becomes almost impossible to tell what’s actually going on unless, say, Bernal is leading a band made up of his coworkers dressed in fursuits. Yes, it’s not without its fun or its whimsy, but it’s a difficult movie indeed. Difficult movies can’t always fly, and Michel Gondry’s work just didn’t quite hit for me this time around.
Pick of the Month: History Boys
Look at the competition! Some of my favourite movies this year were about Thatcherite Britain, and the most bearable parts of my first half of this year were about Thatcherite Britain (hello, Irvine Welsh! Alan Hollinghurst, how nice to see you!). Uncle Vernon wins quite easily. He also proves himself as something a bit more than a pompous ass.