Monday 18 October 2010

Cookie Dough and Tax Forms.

In the last four days I have been to the cinema three times.

Is that extravagant?

It clearly isn’t a personal record, being as I once sat through five Marx Brother films in a night, but it is more frequent than anything else I have done in the last four days.

On Thursday night I went with Loui to the art house cinema in Toulouse to watch Kaboom. The blurb informed me that it starts as a typical teen movie and then gets weird and eventually involves aliens.

Ok, not exactly promising but since Loui is definitely teen and given that the alternative was Woody Allen I reasoned that it was the safer bet  - as far as he was concerned.

And I had free tickets.

I’m glad I didn’t pay.

For a start there were no aliens in it. Then, although it wasn’t the worst film I have ever seen, and I never felt the need to get up to leave, weird was an understatement. It started out as a series of jokes about sex, sexuality and sex – so I guess that was the review’s “teen” part – and then realising that they had stretched some potential youtube sketches to almost feature length, they decided to give it a context.

That was the weird bit.

And then they didn’t know how to end it.

So they blew it up – Kaboom.

The main character was an engaging bi-sexual homosexual – he played the part very well, but that couldn’t be said for his supposedly dead father who appears towards the beginning of the weird stuff and was hopelessly miscast, in the wrong movie and looked as if he knew it.

Critically missing information from the theatre’s blurb was that the director is a legend in the gay-lesbian scene.

Critically missing from the art-house cinema is chocolate.

So on Friday I made amends and went, alone, to see Woody Allen’s new film – You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger – in the multiplex around the corner from the art-house.

The multiplex sells chocolate, but even better - Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream tubs.

I chose cookie dough.

I left the cinema critically depressed.

Not entirely Mr Allen’s fault I hasten to add.

Every other person in the cinema was a third of my age, and the only people close to mine were on the screen - looking like life was causing them a few too many problems.

I kept thinking - why were they all here watching this tale of sex, sexuality and divorce and not Kaboom?

Maybe for the ice-cream?

Not one of Woody’s best – though faithful to his usual theme of people messing it up. There were some funny lines, the actors were all earnest and excellent and an underlying farce, which unfortunately never quite never quite took off, was in essence very funny.

Unfortunately nothing resolved and instead of an explosion to finish we had a voice over explaining – “and that’s where we will leave our tale.”

Did it feel like a cop out, like the director tired and was not bothered?


Saturday I stayed home and filled in a tax form.

And on Sunday, with apprehensive high hopes I went, with Minnie, to our local cinema for The Tree – an Australian/French co-production of an adaption of an Australian book written by a woman who used to work in Circus Oz and who now lives in Bristol, England.

Our local cinema has neither chocolate nor ice-cream.

Fortunately it has mints and good films.

Good enough not to want to tell you about it less I spoil the occasion that you may get for yourself to see it.

The tree at the centre of the film is beautiful, the little girl who has a lead part turns in an assured and commendable performance; the human tragedy, with the various characters' attempts to come to terms with it and rebuild, is compellingly portrayed.

Oh, and stay for the credits and discover an exceptional piece of music.

It’s not perfect – one edit is amiss and the climax, I felt, four minutes too short.

And again the final resolution is left, well, unresolved.

But maybe films are trying to get closer to how things are in life?

Sometimes when I watch a film I feel there is a line or piece of dialogue that is pivotal to everything the film is about – though clearly I may be deluded.

In Kaboom one of the characters asks another what he is studying. The reply is film, but he then goes on to say that it seems weird to be studying something that will not exist in the near future.

Obviously, as one who happily goes to see three films in four days I hope he is wrong.

Woody Allen’s film starts with the narrator quoting Shakespeare – “Life's ……….. is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”

I suspect my mood that evening fuelled my disappointment and that Tall Dark Stranger is cleverer than I. It is worthy of a second chance.

The Tree?

The line that struck me the most was ‘The saddest people don’t cry’ – though my memory may be paraphrasing, and another was when the young girl tells her friend “I can be happy or I can be sad, and I choose happy.”

It is slightly at odds with her actions later in the film but as Minnie pointed out when I suggested thus – it’s true each day.

I chose cookie dough.

p.s. Here's the song.


Anne said...

The song isn absolutely beautiful, and I love the expression on the singer's face when she says "raving". The Cinematic Orchestra's a find. What exactly is the tragedy in The Tree? Or perhaps you'd better not say. The dryads and I have a thing going, I feel it right down to the marrow when trees are cut down.

popps said...

I wont say more Anne cos i think you will love the film - go see it.

Mary said...

What a coincidence that while you were watching Woody Allen's film, I was on my way to a production of MacBeth. It was very well acted. The quote in Scene 5 delivered by MacBeth when he hears that Lady McBeth is dead about 'sound and fury' is certainly one of Shakespeare's greatest. It truly makes you think about mortality.

I went to visit my mother-in-law in the hospital on Saturday after seeing the play. Bed-ridden now due to broken arm and broken hip, her mind is also very much deteriorated so she swings from childlike giggles to fear and rage. She cannot grasp where she is. Every few minutes she says "So this is it?" 'Yes' we say. "Here?" We nod trying to smile.

Very Godot.

Everyday the choice is to triumph over the feelings of futility and doom. To find some meaning.


popps said...

Mary, there was another line in the film about this - "sometimes the illusions are better than the medicine".

Mary said...

To be sure.