Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good to Terminally Awful

You're no Jack Reacher, son. That's for sure.
Going to the cinema in France is not burdensome. Good films - or those they think will make a lot of money -  are in English, VO for ‘version originale’ means that you get to see the same stuff in Les Halles as you do on Sunset Boulevard.  I had promised myself that the latest offering in the Bourne franchise would be worth the price of a ticket.  How very misguided of me. The ‘franchise’ element was the first mistake. It was tarnished with yellow edges and the paint almost peeled off the characters, Rachel Weisz  (Cambridge, where else?) notwithstanding. There’s really a time to say ‘enough’ and much as the Indiana Jones films ran their course, so these have as well. The firework that is Jason Bourne burns brightly but for a very limited period and over a billion earned is more than dreams of avarice for a film producer. In conclusion, this film is the strangest sequel to come out of the Hollywood studio system in a very long time. It's a product of shallow studio greed and staggering creative ineptitude. Let’s hope they’ll have learned their lesson and not be tempted by prequels, more sequels or remakes. For a very long time.
Very mumsie, Kate...
By contrast, I spun the DVD player around something much more interesting the other day. ’Little Children’ directed by Todd Field (‘In The Bedroom’) was made in 2006 and stars Kate Winslet whose thirtysomethingness is beginning to peep nicely through her characters. In summary, it’s the adults who are the ‘little children’, we are presented with a story about suburbia with all its antiseptic whispers, gestures and textures, involving disappointed partners, infidelity and guilt, lost love, passion and a sad, weak child molester. Its characters - even the narcissistic ones - were drawn with compassion, their follies almost become our own and their desires seem as vast as the sky. You warm to almost all of them, despite painful flaws. I found it smart, disturbing and the best satire I’d seen since ‘American Beauty’. It was a literary exercise as well and I found myself wondering whether I was at the movies or watching a play. Voice-over narration, a kind of third-person-omnipotent, holds together a rather slow midsection well. The film recovers nicely in the final part, however with an ending both predictable yet freshly conclusive. Richly textured and nuanced, I liked it.

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