Sunday, August 05, 2007

My movies

With my summer schedule I’ve had the luxury of seeing a variety of movies recently. Although a couple have snuck past me (I have yet to catch Die Hard 4, so don’t ruin the surprise that McClane wins for me) I’ve seen most of the hits of the summer, often in the first several days.

The Bourne Ultimatum was pretty good. As with the Pirate movies and Oceans movies, you know what you’re going to get at this point. If you liked the previous iterations you’ll like the most recent one. Bourne is back and his spying and fighting prowess are once again very impressive. I feel that Mormons are overly fond of these movies because the majority of films in this genre are rated R. I however have seen many of these films, so realize that the plot in these movies isn’t terribly original. I had hypothesized the end of the movie before it started, which I really feel I shouldn’t be able to do. I like the style, I like the stunts, but I’m just not wowed.

The Simpsons Movie was likewise pretty good. It wasn’t stupendous, which is what I was hoping for but not expecting. But it was about as good as the Simpsons was 10 years ago, which was more the enough to warrant my price of admission. Some parts didn’t work, but most did. I for one would have been happy to wait another six months and have it go through test audiences a couple more times to fix some of the silent spots when you knew the writers thought they were being hilarious and the audience just didn’t respond. But regardless, I was laughing nearly constantly for the first 10 minutes, and consistently throughout.

Now it’s interesting to me that while I enjoyed these movies, I’ve had a much better experience with a different set of films. With my roommate gone and my Blockbuster subscription all to myself, I get to experiment much more with what I see.

Primer is a great movie. I’d heard about it from various circles and finally got around to seeing it. I’m not going to divulge much of the plot, because I think it’s more fun to go into it cold. Suffice it to say that it’s a science fiction movie, but it focuses much more on the science than anything you’ve seen in the theater in the last decade. It was a rather complex movie, but I enjoyed it all the more because of it. If you were scratching your head in The Matrix, prepare to watch it several times. It’s an independent movie, but went on to win a variety of awards at film festivals. It was made for a scant seven thousand dollars, which is utterly ridiculous for a science fiction movie. And you can definitely tell throughout that it’s an amateur production. The lighting changes drastically from scene to scene, some parts are a bit out of focus, the sound is even a bit off at times. But I like it even more because of these flaws.

I also just watched The Host. Now Rotten Tomatoes just ranked this as one of the 10 best science fiction movies of all time, which is completely off base. It’s about a mutated tadpole that eats Koreans who can’t run fast enough. It’s not spectacular. But it’s a good movie. It’s a good movie made in a country known for making . . . nothing. Have you ever heard of a South Korean movie, actor, director, anything? The fact that it’s so out-of-the-blue makes it great. The fact that it has political and environmental statements that are only slightly beaten over your head is great. The fact that the tadpole looks pretty darn cool is great.

It’s just so much more fun when you find movies yourself. It’s true that you sometimes have to go though a lot of mediocre ones before you find the gems, but it’s so much more rewarding. Even if Bourne had been absolutely amazing I don’t think I would’ve had the same satisfaction that I had watching these other films. And while I readily admit to being elitist, I don’t think that’s even a factor here. I also just watched Pathfinder and enjoyed it greatly. There are dozens of things to rip apart about the movie, but there were also several elements (digital cinematography, costuming etc) that I greatly enjoyed. All in all it was a bad movie, but it was original, a rarity, and I enjoyed myself simply because I had found it. Critics panned it, I’m sure it didn’t make much money, but I happened across it one day and found a lot to like. You should go out there and find yourself some unknown movies.

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