More quick film thoughts….
The Fountain–astounding visuals that mesmerized me. The repeating motif of the starts in every shot (whether it be actual stars, office lights, candles, torches, etc) was nicely accentuated by the dark, saturated colors. Almost every single shot was pure eye candy (and according to wikipedia, due to a strong utilization of macrophotography. Cool). Unfortunately, the plot was a little weaker, chiefly due to its reliance on a mish-mash of buddhist/christian/hindu “spiritual” preaching that came across as a little too canned, rather than compelling. Plus, at a mere hour and a half, the story seems not quite completely baked (perhaps due to the production complications in getting it to the screen?) This was most frustrating to me in Jackman’s drive to finding a cure for his wife’s sickness, an over-the-top obsession which was irritating and dismissable, rather than emotional and compelling. Lingering questions also remain at the film’s end about the three threads of time interwoven in the film. Clearly the conquistador thread is his wife’s allegory…is Tom, the future astronaut also fictional, or did he literally live for that long? I definitely was left with the latter impression, but felt the ambiguity was not satisfyingly handled. Which is a bit of a shame, because the visuals and the idea was so very strong…interestingly, I think if the space-traveler was more clearly depicted as a projection of the future, or some sort of allegorical role, I would have enjoyed the film much, much more. My friend Isaiah read it as “separate physical people that keep being reincarnated and experiencing the same story…” Which I would have liked a lot more, if it was more artistically/clearly/ shown that such an attempt was being made.
Wings of Desire–After reading so many critical accolades to this film, I can’t say I fell in love with it during a first viewing. There were elements that were quietly stunning, such as the first scenes of the angels and their ability to hear the thoughts of those around them…it was the first depiction I’ve seen of heavenly creatures that made me wonder and marvel, instead of raise my eyebrow in disgust. The film’s greatest strength seemed to me to be in the way it was filmed, without a pre-written script. It was also it’s greatest weakness, with many of the disjointed metaphysical speeches given leading to unbelievablity, grating rather disjointedly on the film’s more sublime moments. Oh and Nick Cave’s performance was simply distracting. All that said, I’ll probably try it again–the potential depth and beauty of the meanings permeating the narrative and dialogue necessitates at least one more go.
Alien–Nowhere near as good as Ridley’s Scott later work of Blade Runner. But I don’t like thrillers in general. And there were some genuinely scary moments. I watched this with my friend Isaiah (a big fan) and enjoyed his commentary, pointing out the quality of the special effects, importance of a female lead, character development, etc. (Actually, there wasn’t really much character development, in my opinion, but…) And it was good–but I think I valued it more for its historic value. After all, a lot of the excitement and thrill of the piece simply was lost on my more jaded eyes. Isaiah said the moment when the alien bursts out of the prone, convulsing chest of its host traumatized a generation of movie-goers….I was merely expecting it. Speaking of expecting things, I’m still convinced the cat was communicating with the alien.
Planet of the Apes–Wow. Charleton Heston as a liberal, angry, PC-preachin’ man warped centuries into the future with actors in ape-suits running around poured-concrete sets. I have nothing further to say.