September 1st, 2009
I did not want to go see this movie. I ended up going anyway. I thought I wouldn’t stand it and would either fall asleep or grind my teeth till they crumbled but it was a “watchable” movie. Of course it’s total crap but I must admit it was, for all its stupidity, at least a bit entertaining. But then again, I’m a person who takes pleasure in pointing out a movie’s bad points. I’ll make a bulleted list.
- The story is dumb: some guy wants to take over the world but some other guys will defeat him. Now that’s unusual!
- The special effects are boring: some “nanomites” attack the Eiffel Tower and it crumbles to the ground. Did you say “nanomites”? Mites attack fabric, and making them “nano” won’t mean they can eat steel. Soldiers have special suits that enable them to shoot and run faster (that’s when you see the poorness of the scenario: the guys had no idea how to make those soldiers better than regular soldiers, so they gave them accessories). The scenes set in Paris are the most unlikely: Paris is not like that, and no, there’s no tramway line that runs anywhere near the Eiffel Tower. You can check here if you don’t believe me.
- The twist at the end is totally cliché: like this character, he was so, like, mysterious, and in the end he’s like that guy who everyone thought was dead but he’s like still alive and he was like the baddie all along. Phew.
- The actors are bad. Channing Tatum, who plays Duke, deserves an award for “most toy-like character”: his face doesn’t move or show any emotion, even though he finds love and is relieved of one of the big burdens of his life. Though maybe that’s actually considered good acting for a movie whose first image is the “Hasbro” logo. Marlon Wayans plays Ripcord, the funny black guy: basically, he’s black and he’s funny (or not). The ladies are unremarkable. Saïd Taghmaoui plays a French-Moroccan guy (Breaker) who doesn’t do much in the movie. His best moment is when his team and him are jailed in France because they were around when the Eiffel Tower crumbled and they can’t explain that they were actually there to prevent the catastrophe because they can’t speak French… except that Saïd can! He carries his French accent during the whole movie but the one time it’s useful he just… doesn’t use it.
All in all, a really bad movie. It made me feel bad for the actors. Also, the cinema I went to seems to turn up the sound for every bad action movie. It was so loud I spent half the time with my hands blocking my ears and I still could listen to all the dialogues. Sheesh.
August 17th, 2009
Last night I wanted to see a movie but couldn’t chose one from the ones showing at the moment. Then I remembered I hadn’t seen the last Almodovar movie, Broken Embraces. Luckily it was still showing in a small theater in Saint Michel: le Saint André des Arts, famous for being highbrow and often mentionned in the Cahiers du Cinéma (it used to drive me crazy when I read about it but didn’t live in Paris yet: it seemed like everything interesting was happening there and of course I couldn’t go). The theater itself doesn’t look very good but is rather old and decaying. When I bought my ticket, water dropped on my head: I looked up and down and saw a bucket half filled with water that was leaking from the ceiling. Nice introduction.
Anyway I was in for a good movie. By the way what follows is kind of a spoiler.
Broken Embraces is “classical” Almodovar. A simple intrigue, but filled with passion and drama. Watching it made me distinguish some recurring themes and ideas in his movies:
- illnesses and accidents: Harry is blind from a car accident. Lena’s father dies of cancer at the beginning. Doctors and hospitals often appear. Just like in Talk To Her, where the hospital is part of the setting. And the car accident reminded me of All About My Mother. These twists of life lend his movies their melodramatic aspect. That’s where you see that Almodovar is clever, because they never look mawkish or “too much”. At worst you can think they are due to the Spanish exuberance inherited from the Movida.
- the opposition of blue and red: in Broken Embraces, it’s everywhere. Any details of the setting, clothes, accessories is an occasion to oppose these two colours. I don’t remember everything about the other Almodovar movies I saw apart from there being a lot of red (especially his actresses’ dresses). I had a look at some of his movie posters and you can find the blue/red opposition there too: just look at All About My Mother and Talk To Her.
Apart from that, the movie unfolds itself in a rather ordinary way. It is pleasant while you watch it but when you think about it afterwards you get the feeling that not much has happened between the beginning and the end of the movie. I was a bit disappointed by Penelope Cruz’s part. I’m used to Almodovar’s strong and combative women, but Lena is more or less just a pretty face (oh but what a pretty face! Just look at that fringe…). And you never really know what makes those two men go crazy about her, apart from her looks.
All in all, I had a good time. Like I said, it’s classical Almodovar, albeit not extraordinary.