South Park Self

strange bedfellows

The rhapsodic interaction between my first ever Real Job And Paycheck, TM, and the happy invention of online shopping, has led, over the last four years, to the maddened growth of my DVD collection. It's like those mad scientist moments where you add the green liquid to the bubbling wossname in the beaker on the bench, and suddenly great gargantuan billows of pseuopodical stuff are taking over the lab in disturbingly organic leaps and bounds. While not quite up to the three or four metres worth of Books of Unread Reproach, the DVDs of Unwatched Reproach have at least outgrown their Evil-Landlord-constructed cabinet, and are piling up all over the show. Matters have not been helped by my happy immersion, over the last six months, in all of Smallville, all of Eureka, two seasons of Dollhouse and various bits of Castle. Addiction to fluffy TV does tend to fill up a girl's evenings.

I have thus sternly resolved to winnow out the unwatched pile, by the simple expedient of watching at least two movies per evening until further notice. Since I'm grabbing them more or less randomly, as dictated by the inexpressible whims of the moment or the conjunctions of the moons of Saturn, some slightly odd juxtapositions are likely. Last night: Strictly Ballroom! And The Secret of Kells!

Strictly Ballroom wasn't at all what I expected. It certainly fits the parameters of my low, reprehensible passion for dance movies, but it's not a fluffy romcom in the same way that, for example, Dirty Dancing is. Its tone is amazingly ironic, with moments of horribly exaggerated faux-documentary and an overall sense of conscious, tongue-in-cheek excess which makes it not so much a dance movie as a commentary on dance movies. I am forced to conclude that Baz Luhrmann is an odd, odd man. However, conscious play with sterotype and generic convention makes Extemp a happy girl, as do the lovely dance sequences. I'm sorry Paul Mercurio didn't make any more dance films, he moves quite beautifully. And if Luhrmann does anything well, it's spectacle. I enjoyed this movie a lot, but for what I felt were possibly all the wrong reasons. It also caused me unholy flashbacks, weirdly enough, to The Fighter, which depicts the same horrendous family pressure on a performing star. Although I'd rather watch a rumba than a rumble any day.

The Secret of Kells was an animated Oscar nominee in 2009, but lost to Up, which was really fighting in a different weight class. Kells is not your standard animation: it's a beautiful, stylised, poignant, amazing creation which does incredible things with repetition and two-dimensionality as well as with the medieval illumination on which it's based. The story is quirky and cute, with the usual orphaned-child focus and added points for the cat (called Pangur Ban, naturally) and a beautifully-animated forest-sprite, but it's not a kid's movie: the descent of the Viking hordes is quite horrifying, all black and red and spiky silhouettes. Nonetheless the love and respect for illumination and books in general shines though - this film really needs to be seen by all illuminators, medieval fetishists (I'm looking at you, local SCA) and anyone whose ploons are grooved by amazing stylised art. Bonus beautiful Irish accents at random intervals, too.

On the Film Pairing Game principle, I decree that the common theme in the above randomly-selected movies was... (thumbsuck...) artistic integrity. And stylisation. Remarkably coherently, in fact. Who knew?
  • Current Mood: exhausted ded again
  • Current Music: still with the She Wants Revenge
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Road to Nowhere
I did something similar at the weekend. I watched "Burlesque" (fabulous costumes, negligible plot, attractive cast led by Christina Aguilera and Cher belt out musical numbers) swiftly followed by Up in the Air" (corporate drone George Clooney lives for collecting flyer miles, attempts to find meaning in life). The dissonance left me slightly stunned.
Re: Road to Nowhere
Burlesque is so cool. At a recent dance show I went to they did a tribute burlesque dance and it was FANTASTIC.
Loved this! The animation was so beautiful and the cat was awesome. I agree that the Vikings were a bit scary for anyone under 10. The music was very good too, very fitting.

Would love to watch again :)
Re: Kells
I do have a copy, if you don't, and was vaguely planning to wave it at as much of the local SCA who hasn't actually seen it, probably starting with wolverine_nun. The bit with the oak galls for ink was too re-enactment for words!
Strictly Ballroom is one of our all-time favourites, we actually saw it on circuit back in the 90's. Great feel-good viewing.
I've been watching films, 3 in the last week:
The Thing
The Godfather part 2
Dead Snow

Common theme is something like 2/3 blood and shlock, 1/3 drama and blood.