Tuesday, December 22, 2015

May the farce be with you!

I have to laugh at all the incredible excitement and hype about the latest Star Wars movie – what’s it called again? I am so entirely not into this. True, I was excited when the first Star Wars movie (George Lucas) came out in 1977, the same year as Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. It was a phenom at the time and I got caught up in it. I also saw the second and perhaps third editions. But after that my interest waned to the point where its now below nadir. I simply don’t get Star Wars, or at least the popularity. Nor did I get the geeky TV show Star Trek. So screw the tough-to-get-into lines, you couldn’t pay me to go. Ok, offer me $100 and I’ll sleep through it. A great spoof on the original Star Wars, also made in 1977, was a short Hardware Wars (Ernie Fosselius) (photo above), with the memorable line, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss three bucks goodbye.” (Movies were cheaper then.) As we used to say, “May the farce be with you!”

I saw Brooklyn (John Crowley) on the weekend (at the Maple). The film is well directed, has very good acting by lead Saoirse (SEAR-sha) Ronan, is sentimental, and is very Irish. You’d think Brooklyn in the early 1950s was nothing but Irish.

Last Tuesday at cheap night at Devonshire Cineplex I caught Legend (Brian Helgeland) about Britain’s infamous 1960s Kray twins. Tom Hardy of course was brilliant in portraying both Ronnie and Reggie Kray, sometimes in the same scene. But there are problems with the film. It concentrates too much on rock’em sock’em violence. It could have provided a wider context about 1960s Britain in which the Krays flourished. And as a period piece it succumbs to the usual tropes of a soundtrack playing music of the era, even though often well performed in nightclub scenes.

On Netflix the other night I caught The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles (Cécile Telerman, 2014) starring Julie Depardieu as Joséphine Cortes and Emmanuelle Béart as Iris Dupin. The story follows the travails of Joséphine, a poorly paid but brilliant translator who is finagled by her sister, Iris, a failing novelist, to write her next book. The story is a best-selling sensation and Iris, a megalomaniac, takes all the credit. Based on the Katherine Pancol novel, it’s a bit far-fetched but Depardieu and Béart’s performances are good.

And on TCM recently I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 Suspicion. If you ever want to see Cary Grant (Johnnie Aysgarth) out of character as a debonair charmer this is the movie. Here he’s diabolical or at least comes across that way. Hence the title.

I hadn’t watched a film at Cineplex in awhile and was pleased that there are now pre-movie warnings to the audience not to do obnoxious like kicking the backs of seats. It’s been a long time coming and Canadian theatres have trailed American ones in this regard. The Maple Theater has a great pre-movie short featuring George Lucas, talking about his frustrations with other moviegoers, which turn out to be, sure enough, the same as ours. But what is with all the Cineplex commercials? There were perhaps as many as 20 coming at you staccato-like prior to the feature attraction.

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