07 November 2012

Four Movies and a Flight

On a recent trip, I buckled down with the goal of watching four movies by the time I got home, flying not being one of my favourite things to do. I don't like anything about flying do you? These were the four movies I watched: 
To Rome With Love
He's taken us to London, Barcelona, Paris and now Woody Allen has landed us at yet another luxury-tourist European capital, Rome. It's pretty and escapist and great in that honeyed sunset lighting and picturesque and familiar setting kind of way. In this ensemble/omnibus movie (it's got Judy Davis, who's always so droll!), not all the jokes come off, but on the whole it is engaging, undemanding fun with gags that are one-liners but milked for slightly more than its worth. It's a warm, slight movie, far from the greatness of his earlier ones, but fun nonetheless. I want to highlight that Allen's movies are always nicely styled, and all the actors look prosperous and attractive. I was especially thrilled to see the patrician Flavio Parenti (below), whom I first discovered in I Am Love in this movie playing the activist/lawyer Michelangelo. And Jesse Eisenberg who plays the architecture student is creamy-cute!

Bel Ami
Pat Pat and Kristin Scott Thomas
Can you resist a costumer with Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas? Robert PatPat plays a pale, vampiric Belle Epoque social-climber with greasy hair under his hat and suggestively poufy breeches and seduces both Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas. Of course I had to watch this! Adapted from a novel by Guy de Maupassant, the unsympathetic protagonist, a would-be journalist, Georges Duroy clambers clumsily from a roach-infested garret to the poshest salons of literary Paris. I've never read the book, and the movie doesn't make me want to, as the script seems sketchy and cliched and none of the characters seem particularly sympathetic or indeed interesting. I think the story's point is that Pat Pat  is both foxy and self-deluding, but Pat Pat just comes off as petulant and sulky and in need of a good shampoo. Pat Pat always looks clammy and unwashed and I'm sure Ms Scott Thomas (who seems to be in a separate, better movie) must have fought the urge to bury her nose in a hanky doused with Jicky. There's lots of Pat Pat's white, thickly-fleshy body in this movie if that's what you are into.
No judgements!

Farewell, My Queen

This much lauded period piece about the French Revolution is told from the perspective of a servant to Marie Antoinette in Benoit Jacquot’s rather claustrophobic film. Most of the film is situated in smallish chambers or hallways and seems unfamiliar, a sort of 'fresh take', I suppose, but one does like a bit of grandeur and pomp in period movies, doesn't one? Sidonie Laborde (Lea Seydoux) is the queen’s devoted “reader,” and Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger), who spends most of her time considering patterns for new dresses and dithering over her infatuation with the beautiful Duchess Gabrielle de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen in too brief an appearance) seems mostly bored out of her wigs. It's not escapist fare and I clutch at the introduction of  a handsome gondolier (Vladimir Consigny), who isn't even necessary to the plot. How sad. This movie could be of special interest to history buffs, who will appreciate the “behind-the-scenes” speculation, but I'm not sure this is all that good an idea for in-flight entertainment. Much has been made of Ms Kruger's portrayal of Marie Antoinette, but I almost want to say I prefer KiKi Dunst's in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette
Magic Mike 
Could I have missed this?
This is the perfect movie to watch just before you land because it's silly fun, and you can rush through it with your finger on the forward button and still enjoy it entirely. Inspired by Channing Tatum's stint as a male stripper, director Steven Soderbergh's comedy uncovered Alex Pettyfer for me, and that's enough. He's dreamy and a Brit and if you can hug his image all the way to the hotel like a double cashmere coat . Matthew McConaughey is the big daddy stripper, and despite the chocolate bar abs doesn't register as sexy. There's just a hint of erotic energy (unapologetically targetting the reliable gay dollar)- there's ample, if unthreatening, man candy, of course, fit for the mainstream. The script isn't polished or strong on character with no narrative originality or emotion, you don't really care about the girlfirends, and the poverty and drugs never seems real. But you can almost read this movie as a bromance because it seems more about male camaraderie and the buddy element is the emotional core of the movie. If anything, the friendship between Tatum and Pettyfer is the main narrative - it's Brokeback Lite. The Chinese uncle sitting next to me was so riveted by the stripping scenes that he actually leaned over and asked me what I was watching - I told him, pointing to the title in the the menu, and then he turned it on, put on his headphones and studiously ignored me me for the rest of the movie. Well, at least one person enjoyed the flight.

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