Saturday, May 14, 2011

Movie review: Farrell redeemed and other stories

I realize that the last thing anyone wants to hear about from the guy in Nigeria is movie reviews, but I haven't done much here yet ... just flown around on very little sleep and watch movies or work to pass the time. At least it shows I'm doing well and nothing interesting and terrible enough has happened to supersede my interest in the films. I'm really getting most of my movie watching or book reading done on planes this year.

1 - During my last trip home from Denmark, I started watching "The Seven Samurai," a black and white Chinese film about a poor village who hire seven samurai to defend them from bandits. On the plane to Germany "yesterday" they happened to have "The Magnificent Seven," Hollywood's western remake starring Yul Brynner that I'm pretty sure made it to a great film works list. Having watched the first part of the Samurai made the Magnificent much more interesting. Not only are most of the scenes taken directly from the Chinese version, a lot of the lines are direct translations. The villagers decide to "talk to the old man" who lives outside the village for advice. They decide who the good Samurai and Gunslingers are using the same conversations. Very interesting. I doubt a modern studio would get away with it. So I'm betting I now know which of the Samurai are going to survive.

2 - Once upon a time, I decided that no good movie could come from Jim Carrey (whom the Lovely and Gracious refers to as "Evil evil evil") or Will Farrell. I know my intelligence and probably a few other sensibilities will be horribly insulted and I'll probably be creeped out at some point too. There's just no point even watching them. Then one day I watched "The Majestic" and decided that Carrey could actually do a decent job if he wasn't mugging and abusing the camera every ten seconds. Yesterday I also found an exception for Farrell, whose movies aspire to sophomorism but he can't even manage that. I confess, "Megamind" is awesome. I loved it. Oh, was that Farrell? Well, good for him for picking one decent part. Farrell's impersonation of Brando needs a lot of work, and I can't help wondering how Robin Williams would have done it, but that was a great story, less predictable than most, and a lot of fun. [Mind you, I still avoid Carrey and will still avoid Farrell as a general rule, but it's nice to have something nice to say about them.] I look forward to watching Megamind again.

3 - "Green Hornet" wasn't bad either. Seth Rogen, who not only stars as the Hornet but helped write the thing, I think is really trying to ask himself, "How would Zack from Saved By the Bell play this role?" and then overdoes it deliberately. They admit to being campy and decide to have fun with it instead of trying to be a serious superhero film, of which there is just about only one kind (oh, what shall I do with this awesome responsibility that is thrust upon me? I'll ditch it to save those I love. No, I must take it up again for those I love.) The comedy occasionally strained my credulity, but not badly. Kato steals the show, as apparently happened in other iterations of the franchise (Kato = Bruce Lee). Not that the Lovely and Gracious would be interested in the movie, but if she were ever forced to watch it, I would advise her to skip the first fifteen minutes.

I'm pretty sure there was another film in there somewhere, but it apparently failed to capture my interest. Ah, the happy ways we while away the midnight hours without sleep. I did get some work done, but once I realized I was misspelling every third word and leaving sentences half-completed all over the place, I decided I had best call it done for now. I did also make several attempts to sleep, but none were successful. I got a very full night's sleep in my hotel and now it's time for breakfast.

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