I should probably retitle these “Short Non-Printed Material Reviews”.
Phantom of the Opera – Live at the Lyric Theatre. C’mon, it’s Phantom – what can I say? I hadn’t seen it live before, and what struck me was the unashamed Gothic (as in, Northanger Abbey gothic) fun of the musical version (underwire nightdresses, the works) and how much I need to reread the book because I can’t remember now if there was an eight-sided mirrored room with an iron gallows (not in the musical). I went with (but did not sit with for a variety of reasons including the Dreadful Situation of wheelchair seating at the Lyric) my family, and we enjoyed it. It was well done but, ultimately, isn’t the only reason you are there the organ music in the first scene, the way The Poseidon Adventure can be as dreadful as it likes as long as they turn a ship upside down? Also, I worked out why you’re meant to “keep your hand at the level of your eyes”. That had been bugging me for years.
The Bucket List – I would have liked it as an amateur theatre production. Mawkishly sentimental, silly, obvious, degrading and with backdrops that look like they were painted for a film in 1950.
Run, Fatboy, Run – Better than The Bucket List. And, indeed, not awful. Ordinary, tainted and not the best work of any of the actors, and would have been better without the American influence (actually, I like the idea of an American trying to live in London and the cultural difference getting to the point that he just breaks and can’t take it anymore, but they didn’t do it well and this wasn’t the movie for it in any event). Dylan Moran played a dreadful human being, as he should.
Jumper – Better than The Bucket List. It was all about the special effects, because the story felt… ellided. It made me want to read the book but I don’t think there is one. Still, though I didn’t walk out feeling ten foot tall, I had fun.
CMC Rocks the Snowies – Better than The Bucket List, even if the mountains were shorter. It would be hard to give this a negative review. The taxi to the airport, the flight to Canberra, the bus to Thredbo, our lunch on the way, the lodges, the tickets to the festival, the gift bags with hats and peach schnapps and the side-venue with drinks and food on the Saturday were all paid for. The air was clear as crystal and the white stars did fairly blaze at midnight in the cold and frosty sky, etc., although there was a heatwave on Friday and we’d only packed jeans and boots. We took a skilift up the mountain and drank beer on a balcony and were very cozy in our cabins at night. There was a kiosk at the gate to the concert area which made fresh hot cinnamon doughnuts. I got to see The John Butler Trio live (and dreadlockless) and several country bands covered The Travelling Wilberries, which always makes me happy. A man took an odd fancy to my scarf, but the skiruns were scented of hay and even if you don’t know country music it is very easy to pick up the words and sing along to. People wore fancy boots and akubras and cowboy hats and generally it was just a fun weekend. The only dull spot was my inability to catch the colour of the mountain in coloured pencil.
Vantage Point – Better than The Bucket List. I think. Who puts Sigourney Weaver in a movie and then doesn’t use her? Hello? People? I enjoyed the structure of the story: eight (?) overlapping viewpoints putting it altogether, but oh! the corniness! the Americanness! the Quaid! “Don’t worry Mr President! I’ve got you!”.
Hey Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger – Better than The Bucket List. An Australian Judy Blume novel, really, in which a young, awkward girl grows up, gains confidence, explores sexuality, accepts her & her families admitted oddities. Not a kid’s movie, unless you have prepared the kids, and it will probably be studied in school. I cried three times, twice over the duck (actually, I cried once over the duck and bawled the second time) and think the beanbag scene in the family psychologists office was one of the funniest things I’ve seen for a while. Also, I want a toy xylophone as a doorbell.
Be Kind, Rewind – Better than The Bucket List, by a very long way. I’ve seen bad reviews of Be Kind, Rewind, and they seem to fall into either “It’s a bad Michel Gondry Film” or “It’s a bad Comedy”. No, it doesn’t mess with reality like Eternal Sunshine. But I wouldn’t classify it as a Comedy – not because it isn’t funny (it is, and I would probably even watch a regular comedy that used this premise) but because it’s an American movie and it isn’t an American Comedy. Like Hidalgo, it suffers from preconceived expectations and reviewers’ inability to classify it. I loved it. It was, like Hidalgo, expansive, but the movie it reminded me most of (and which is referenced/refilmed twice in Be Kind) was Driving Miss Daisy. Not for any obvious reasons, but because it had a gentle, funny seriousness underlying it, and because halfway through the movie I consciously thought “please, please don’t finish yet” and by the time it did finish I thought, “That was an elegant sufficiency”.