August 25, 2008

2 French films and a third blow at the O' Connells

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I meant to review this after we returned from America, and that's because I watched this from a plane along with the cut version of the funny musical biopic spoof Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. And to be honest, this film is a rather effective little illustration of a French Elle editor's bout with "locked-in syndrome"- a rare kind of disability in the aftermath of a stroke. This means that Jean Dominique-Bauby, the Elle editor, can't move any part of his body and has no ability to talk... except his left eye, that is. Thus, he develops a way of communication with just his left eye. A person can ask him yes or no questions, and if he blinks once it means yes, twice means no. Heck, this even led to a real book!

Now, I may have forgotten the name of the biopic's subject (I had to go to RT to check what it was), but I have not forgotten his story! To make it short, it's affecting, it's funny, it's uniquely presented yet... human.

You just can't ignore the fact that he can only see with one eye (they actually sewed his other eye permanently shut) and that such a sickness actually exists! This film provoked my thoughts about life-- and I swore I held back some tears by the time the credits rolled.

To be honest, my seat's entertainment system's audio (along with my parents') was defective so fortunately, there were subtitles. And so I wonder: How much more of a magnificent movie would this be if there was sound?

I can't say any more about this movie... It is hands-down something people should watch. It's compelling, it's deep, and frankly, I need to view it again because it's surprisingly, artfully poetic that I almost didn't understand the deeper meaning behind all the proceedings.

Watch this, now.
Rating: 10/10


Marjane Satrapi may not be French, but to experience this movie is to watch it in that language with English subtitles- basically at its purest, original form. But whatever language you're watching this, it will be sure to make you laugh and be awed at the kind of culture Iran had back in the day.

So this autobiographical movie starts out with Marjane's childhood. Everyone is rallying against the shah, including her rebellious parents, and most of her relatives are being detained and executed. This movie lets you find out how her life was during those hard times, and it eventually leads you to the various stages of her life until womanhood.

I won't spill any more than that, but what I have to say about this gloriously black-and-white animated film is that it certainly is not for the kiddies. Now, the fatalities of war are portrayed here subtly and artistically, but there is foul language used here and there in the otherwise well-written and naturally flowing dialogue. And despite it being black-and-white, there are scenes where a color palette is actually used, and the transition between them is astonishingly seamless.

Anyway, the movie is full of emotional depth, and the portrayal of growing up in this coming-of-age film is uniquely presented- it's unlike any other movie I've seen. It also details the impact of various trends to the conservative Iranian society and the flow just seems really natural and obviously personal. Marjane is practically opening all doors of her heart and not leaving one detail behind.

The pace is rather brisk, and it proves its point without over-dramatizing. Basically, it cuts to the chase.

But the film is not all seriousness for it has its funny moments. Heck, it has a spoof of Rocky! And the scene of her becoming a teen is utterly laugh-out-loud hilarious in its depiction!

And actually, this movie is relevant to our times. Okay, the Bee Gees may be obsolete, but we can replace that with our current trends, and the Revolution? You could put People Power. As for the Iraq-Iran war? You can put the MILF rebellion that's happening in Mindanao over that. People will be able to feel this movie- especially the ones who are embroiled in this war. They will be able to feel with Marjane's story, and that's because even if it's "merely animation", it contains a deeper meaning than many other movies currently being shown in the theaters. But of course, Persepolis isn't being shown in the theater anymore, so it's probably not right to compare this one to the movies currently showing.

But the way it ended surprised me. It just felt abrupt. You feel curious about Marjane's adventures as a grown woman, but of course, this is a coming-of-age story, so I guess it shouldn't be surprising at all.

Regardless of that, you should try and find a copy of this gem of an autobiography. It's unique, it's charming and it's deep but rather unsatisfying. Maybe it should've won the Oscar instead of Ratatouille!

Rating: 9.8/10

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Oh God, "here we go again" indeed.

Once again, we go to the lives of the O' Connell family, but this time, Alex has grown up (AS IN) but it's like Rick and Evie didn't age. Of course, Evie has become a bit less beautiful because it's not Rachel Weisz reprising the role anymore, but Mario Bello. But except Evie, the gang's all here.

But of course, there are new characters. I mean, how could they even revive Imhotep right? Well, Alex skips school and goes to China to try to find the Dragon Emperor who was cursed by a witch (Michelle Yeoh). His army was cursed with him, and now, of course, he has resurrected from the dead because of a Chinese general who thinks the ideals of freedom are not ideal for the world.

Jet Li's character's mission is now to go to the immortality water thingy that Michelle Yeoh's character is protecting, and release himself from his crummy CGI exoskeleton and revive his army.

Of course, the O' Connells are the reason of his living, and now they're trying to stop him. As usual.

Basically, the movie is just going through the paces. The proceedings have become predictable, the humor even more stale. The special effects? Ha! Don't start with me about the special effects! Now, judging for the poster, you'd think at least that the effects of this installment is for 2008, but in the movie? Not really. There are some tolerable, still believable effects, but the others aren't. The army in the war scene? Total unbelievability. Jet Li's eventual defeat? Laughable. These effects would've been more believable 5 years ago, but nope, they're iffy in today's standards, to say the least.

Anyway, the two parents are hypocrites. In Returns, they said they love Alex, but here, it's like they ignored him anyway. Alex is a downright ass, and I hate him. And his love story? Bah. There's no emotion in it whatsoever, and the relationship, even though I'm not saying that cross-racial relationships are bad, is really awkward. And come on! The logic! Movie language usually states that if you are stripped of your immortality, your age will catch up with you. Here, it's different. But hey, I could always make this point a point that's going for the movie: it doesn't follow movie convention in only this aspect! </sarcasm>

It's actually a good thing that Rachel Weisz backed out of this project, otherwise she'd succumb to my wrath. Still, if she were in this installment and she reprised her role as Evie O' Connell, maybe the movie would actually get its human emotion. Weisz is a good actress, so if she wants to make us believe that her character is truly, madly, still in love with Rick after all those years, she could. The movie could've been better with her, but she was better off without it in her resume.

The twists are rudimentary and yawn-inducing, and Jet Li is sorely underutilized. What do you see of Jet Li in this movie? A CGI statue of him, that's what. If you wanted me to count his screen time in the flesh, it would probably be as brief as Chow Yun Fat's appearance as a Singaporean pirate in Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End. They could've used his wushu prowess! But noooo, nothing to exploit his skill.

"I hate mummies!," Rick says. Yeah, me too. But the mummies I hate are the movies. They all suck, but not Batman and Robin sucky. But still, this movie is at the top of the barrel of suck.

Rating: 3.3/10

No comments:

Post a Comment

Elegant de BlogMundi