Monday, August 20, 2007

Frankenkeith dislikes movie shocker

Last night the film club offered a choice of film. We intended to show "The Accused" but Amazon sent us a copy with a dirty great crack in it which wouldn't play. So we told everyone that we'd show "Cinema Paradiso" instead which we've got a borrowed copy of but shortly before everyone arrived I noticed that its running time was only a minute under 3 hours and that's a very long film for a sociable evening so we offered the choice of carrying on with "Cinema Paradiso" or having a bash at "Big Fish", a copy of which we bought a few weeks ago at a car boot do.

Now, we liked this film when we first saw it a couple of years back and I'm quite a fan of Tim Burton's semi-surreal works. This one boasts a marvellous cast with Albert Finney as Edward Bloom, a man who tells many tall and fantastic tales about his younger self (played in flashback by Ewan MacGregor). It's a film of reconciliation in broken relationships and wild fantasies of a lost and more innocent time than today. The ending brought a few blubs from Mrs The Millbrooker.

Peopled with outlandish characters and told with tongue very well in cheek, the film consists of a series of vignettes of Edward Bloom's life supposedly as told by the older and dying man. Many of the vignettes are wryly amusing and Burton's sense of the ridiculous is very much to the fore. Steve Buscemi and Loudon Wainwright IIIrd provide charmingly quirky support to the leading roles and Danny DeVito does his usual mugging and shouting as a monstrously megalomaniacal (and lycanthropic) circus ringmaster.

I would happily recommend this one as a diverting entertainment; despite its ultimately being about death and dysfunctionality it carries an air of optimism and features some outlandishly funny moments amongst the more poignant ones.

Part of the point of film club evenings, apart from having a few glasses of wine and enjoying some conversation, is to try a film that you probably wouldn't otherwise have seen. This means that occasionally one or two of our number will be less than impressed. Frankenkeith found it to be, and I think I quote accurately, "homespun American sentimentalism". A perfectly fair comment, the Yanks do quite often overdo the schmaltz and lay on ersatz emotion with a trowel and I can see where Frankenkeith got his problem with the film which does seem to uphold some of the more core "American values", although I think it's done with a quite subversive undertone.

I reckon, if anyone actually takes my film recommendations seriously, that this one's a case of suck it and see.

Whilst we're on the subject of sucking it and seeing...I've mentioned chocolate dinosaurs on more than one occasion. The lovely little snacky things that Dong and Shazzerooneypoos often bring to share around at film club. This week I remembered to take a photo of them before we scoffed the lot.

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