Archive for Paris Je T’Aime

Tourist Class

Posted in FILM with tags , , on April 9, 2012 by dcairns

Alexander Payne’s episode of PARIS JE T’AIME, I think by some considerable distance the best thing in that anthology. Obviously, what’s great is the journey from easy laughs to emotional connection to the cathartic sublime.

I’m in Paris again, this time with Fiona. Remind me to tell you why.

Meanwhile, Limericks here and here. And generally all over that site! Must be why it’s called Limerwrecks.

Sexy Invisible Dance Number

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , on July 10, 2009 by dcairns

From my favourite Bollywood movie (I’ve seen so few) MR INDIA. Proletarian superhero Mr India (Anil Kapoor) who, like Frodo, is equipped with a mystical ring of invisibility, dances with his love, played by the voluptuous Sridevi.

Director Shekhar Kapoor is one of very few Bollywood directors (maybe he’s the only one) to movie onto the international stage, with BANDIT QUEEN (very good), then ELIZABETH — not so good — he started swinging the camera about for no reason around this time, and the movie does feature one of my favourite unfortunate lines: a heretic is being burned at the stake, and cries, “Throw on more wood, I’m burning too slowly!”

Then came THE FOUR FEATHERS, a remake of an Imperialist British warhorse, with the stunt casting of Kapoor as director designed mainly, I fear, to assuage doubts about the politics of the piece. The movie totally tanked, and went straight to video in Britain, I think. Haven’t seen it.

Since then Kapoor has done ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, and it seems quite possible he’ll be returning to the adventures of Queen Liz in future, but meanwhile he’s got an episode of I LOVE NEW YORK under his belt, which might be fun. I liked bits of PARIS JE T’AIME.

You’ll notice a particularly fine example of the wet sari scene in the above clip. This scene was de rigeur in Bollywood musicals (I remember with fondness a Bollywood movie that stole the plot and all the best bits from LETHAL WEAPON, but added musical numbers, thus improving on the original by about 200%), and I once saw a very serious Indian actress interviewed, saying that she wasn’t sure she could explain the significance of the wet sari to a western audience…

The Wind that Shakes the Barbie

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by dcairns

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Wes Craven’s RED EYE is only an hour and fifteen minutes long. I mention that up front as a big justification for my having watched it. Also, Fiona brought it home from the shop she works in and demanded to see it. So I was just being sociable. She takes the view that Wes is due a return to form, while I take the view that he never had that much form to begin with.

That’s not quite fair, though. He’s an adept manipulator of the audience as far as shocks and suspense are concerned. Give him a scene of violent conflict and tension and he can be relied on to make a good, effective job of it. I never find anything very imaginative in his filmmaking, which always follows the fashion, with a little visual taste and conservatism to stop him going all Michael Bay on us.

If Craven has a particular, giant, glaring flaw, it’s probably in his casting. Rachel McAdams in RED EYE gives a “decent” performance, but she’s just not interesting. Probably she’ll get more interesting and authoritative with experience, if she can get the parts, but she just doesn’t have the fascinating essence, the life experience, or the skill to really hold a film together. She’s in a direct line of descent from Heather Langenkamp and Neve Campbell, and all these actresses played characters with traumatic backstories, but were completely unable to suggest any kind of tortured inner life going on behind their eerily smooth surfaces. It seems that all Craven requires of a starlet is a perfect complexion. (His interest in the skilled and magnetic Emily Mortimer, whom he cast in SCREAM III and his episode of PARIS JE T’AIME, is a saving grace.)

It’s a double shame, this casting of pert vacuums, since Craven has an ace up his sleeve with Cillian Murphy as his villain. Murphy has a handsomely sculpted potato for a face, and piercing blue special-effect eyes — he could join the Fremen in DUNE without touching a grain of spice. I want to say he’s intense  enough for two, but nobody is, given the collaborative nature of performance — nobody can strike sparks off a damp tea-towel.

The writing is fair-to-middling, with a constant supply of suspenseful situations, as Murphy blackmails hotel manager McAdams during a flight to Miami, so she will make a phone call and move a bullish Homeland Security politician into a different hotel room where he can be picked off by assassins. I was kind of uncomfortable with the idea that we should be rooting for a Republican reptile to survive the movie. But it was interesting to see that Craven was quite willing to buy into that and make a basically right-wing film, I was slightly surprised at him. The terrorists have no specific agenda or cause, like those in Hitchcock’s SABOTAGE, but this struck me as more sinister in Craven’s case. It suits us in the West to imagine that our enemies have no point of view, are just guys in black hats. You can’t negotiate with them — or you might find out that they have their reasons. (I don’t say good reasons…)

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