...more recent posts
I decided to brave the holiday crowds and check out Lord of the Rings today. There is a lot of information, verbal and visual, blowing past you fairly quickly, but fortunately I had a teenager and his older sister sitting directly behind me, keeping a loud running commentary. In a scene where Sam comforts Frodo after a battle with the forces of darkness, the woman said, "Look at the little elf, huggin' his friend." After a furious limb-amputating fight between Aragorn and an Uruk-hai (half-man/half-Orc), the kid said "That shit was dope!" And at the end of the film, which leaves us with Sam and Frodo descending to the marshes on their fateful trip to Mordor, the woman announced to everyone within earshot. "This is so ghetto! I paid ten dollars to watch two hobbits walk down a hill!"
I enjoyed the movie, even though half of the dialogue sounds like it's coming from the gods of Asgard in Lee & Kirby's Mighty Thor comics. The monsters are great--real Ray Harryhausen stuff. The film actually does a better job of explaining the story's main hook: why Frodo must go to Mordor, and destroy the Ring, even with all these powerful men and supermen around. In the book, it seemed too obviously flattering to the adolescent reader to have the little guy be the center of the quest. In the movie, you're much more palpably aware of how corrupting the Ring is to men and even Wizards. Frodo's seeming genetic ability to resist makes the choice not just logical but inevitable.
Also, apropos of nothing, Orlando Bloom, who plays Legolas the Elf, could be the next Leonardo di Caprio, on the basis of matinee-idol looks alone. He was my personal favorite Quester (I know, I'm an arrested adolescent). In one scene he pulls several arrows in rapid succession from his quiver, firing them off so rapidly you can't figure out how he gets them in the bow. It isn't a special effects shot (could be a stunt double though); in any case, this human Gatling-gun routine has to be seen to be believed. (Maybe you already have seen it; I don't know if it's in the TV trailer or not).
In feeble defense of A Night on Earth, I thought Roberto Begnini's segment was very funny and I loved the guys from Finland. Jarmusch was still (partway) in his "people staring into space for long stretches of time" mode when he made that. I like Dead Man and Ghost Dog much better.
I don't really have much to say in defense of Winona Ryder, as an actress or star. I think I share a lot of guys' taste that she's cute, but also ironic and a little bit "off" and therefore more appealing than the usual bimbo sex symbol. But that's totally subjective and has little to do with acting ability.
Heavy metal parking lot to appear in MOMA documentary fortnight (or rent it from your local video store).
Heavy Metal Parking Lot: 15th Anniversary Tour. 2001. USA. Directed by Jeff Krulik and John Heyn. A sixteen-minute video documentary shot in a parking lot in suburban Maryland, right before a 1986 concert by the English hard-rock band Judas Priest, Heavy Metal Parking Lot vividly captures a moment in pop culture–the 1980s version of a rock 'n' roll ritual, with kids hanging out, getting loaded, and screaming "Priest!" at the top of their lungs. For the fifteenth anniversary of their popular underground success, the filmmakers have assembled a compendium of related shorts. Filmmaker Krulik present. 90 min.
The film rights to C.S. Lewis' "seven-part fantasy book series 'The Chronicles of Narnia'" have been bought -- "with plans to develop it into a franchise, beginning with the children's classic 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'" (Hollywood Reporter).