Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

12 June 2007

Four (+) Movies from CA

I've been seeing a lot of people lately and spending time with them, so my movie-watching (and certainly my scholarship-reading) has been relegated to the backburner. I am almost finished with one of the coolest books in gender studies I've ever read (I've read so few that each one seems cooler than the next); it's called Space, Time, and Perversion and it's by an Australian philosopher named Elizabeth Grosz. It's thick with psychoanalytic theory (blech) and lots and lots of feminist philosophy (yay!)

So, movies: Hondo with John Wayne is actually really good. It had been a while since I watched a Wayne western. This one is fun. It's short and tightly scripted, which is always a plus, and there are some very fun action sequences. Wayne still looks great (the film is from '53, well after he had become a star in the late 1930s) and Hondo also stars a new-to-the-screen Geraldine Page, who nabbed an Oscar nomination for her work in the film. Hondo is no Shane, but it's worth a rental if you're in a western mood.

I thought Shrek the Third was pretty funny. It's totally mindless, but it's certainly not boring and there's enough Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas to keep you giggling. The pop culture references seem older, too: references to Dionne Warwick, "Live and Let Die" and A Chorus Line are not aimed at children, surely. My friend and I were cracking up and knew that no kids in the theatre even were aware that there had been a joke. As usual, the humor that is aimed at the kids is the kind you probably don't want your kids picking up. This is the bizzare part of the Shrek franchise to me. Do you really want to teach your children to emulate fart jokes and that what is really funny are jokes about earwax and poo? Weird.

Seventies horror flick Eyes of Laura Mars is a bit of a classic. It made lots of money in 1978, when it came out, and it starred the fabulous (and brilliant) Faye Dunaway, who had just won an Oscar for my favorite movie of all time Network. Laura Mars may be a classic, but it's also pretty terribly clichéd, if you ask me. It's central heroine, who seems a strong, confident, cosmopolitan artist who is at the top of her game and is great at her work is reduced, as the film goes on, to the oh-so-typical damsel-in-distress type. In a day and age where I expect my heroines to kick ass and fuck a murderer up, Laura Mars seems rather banal, even if she is plagued with visions of the future. (This might be one of the reasons the Spider-man franchise puts me to sleep, too.)

Speaking of action heroines, Paprika the new Kon Satoshi anime offering, is totally weird and very, very cool. It's about dreams and it's filled with all of this weird Freudian and Lacanian imagery. I was crazy about it, and its heroine is a truly badass chick. Plus, as is usual for Kon, Paprika is a visual knockout. See this one in the theatre, y'all.