Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lady's and Kings Men


On Thursday my evening class meet at a resturant down town, I belive it was called 'The Peir'. We held class in a basement dinning room, the whole thing was painted white, including most of the furnishings, though there was a small amount of black and blue to prevent eye strain. It was a weird place, a cross between a spread in an interior decorating magazine, and David Lynch (or possibly Stanley Kubrick). Anyway after class I went to see a movie at the cheap theater. I saw Shyamalans latest, and ultimetly weakest picture, Lady in the Water.

Inspired by and east-asain bedtime story about a sea nymph like creature called a Narf, this movie finds one (Bryce Dallas Howard) living in the pool of a Philly area apartment complex, with an important mission to accomplish. The Ho-hum first half, and indeed the whole movie is really saved by Paul Giamatti's performance as the complexes sad-eyed super. It wasn't until the 'shower translation scene' that I felt fully commited to the movie. Most similar to Signs out of any of Shyamalans work, it explores mostly familour territory. The movies message is about everyone finding there purpose in life, and here it is told through the efforts of a large group of likable, ethnicaly diverse characters, trying to do a good deed, and help the Narf get home. Simplistic maybe, but it did make me feel good. Six Feet Under's Freddy Rodriquez has a small role as a man exercising only one half of his body.

I'm a fan of the 1949 best picture winner All the Kings Men, a film that also netted acting Oscars for Broderick Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge. So I was excitted when I heard it was to be remade, espically with Steve Zailian writing and directing. The film features an all star cast including Sean Penn in the central role of Willie Stark. While it seems to do everything fine on a technical level I was underwhelmed, I just didn't feel it. Of course the story is intended to be a downer, so maybe my mild depression upon leaving the theater proves that the movie works, but to me it lacked the mythic qualiy that really pulled the original out of the mud. It didn't seem like Stark really feel that far, which is what is suppose to make the story moving. I think if they'd set up more of a contrast between pre-and-post corruption Stark the movie would have been stronger. Also updating the film from the 30's to the 50's wasn't really necesary, I guess the power's the be just thought the later time period would be more accesable for viewers.


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