Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Idle Thoughts

I don't understand the lack of love for David Slade's "30 Days of Night". I raved about it during an earlier post and on a second viewing this week, my appreciation only grew. Instead of trying to be a full-screen version of a graphic novel (think "Sin City"), "30 Days of Night" fully places itself in the cinematic realm as a movie based on a graphic novel, sparing us the cartoonish after-effects of previous attempts at this conversion from page to screen. Simply put, while the images in the film are clearly inspired from it's 4x4 framed origins on paper, director Slade transforms them into wholly cinematic terms. Think of the beautifully composed overhead pan down the city street that documents the carnage below with a coolly detached mood. Or the image of the creatures standing against a backdrop of rising flames in the snowy street towards the 'rock star' finale as described by actor Josh Hartnett on the commentary. I'm sure these images fit perfectly in a graphic novel form, but they look even better on screen. And, as stated before, these are some of the most visually impressive and terrifying embodiments of a vampire ever put on screen, complete with demonic voices that eek out language that sounds like a record playing in reverse. I love this movie.

I didn't exactly love Michel Gondry's "Be Kind Rewind", one of the worst experiences I've had in a movie theater this early season. While Gondry certainly makes movies with imaginative 'young kid gusto', this one searches for tone and mood early and never finds a rhythm. I'm not sure exactly what the hell was going on the first 45 minutes of this film. Was it slapstick (based on the magnetism of Jack Black sticking to everything metal), was it social drama (with Danny Glover making some weird secret cross-neighborhood odyssey to study a competition DVD rental store).. and what the hell is Mia Farrow doing as an old woman renting VHS movies, seemingly the most culturally alienated urban woman in the universe? None of it made any sense. When the "sweded movies" come into play, the laugh factor and visual inventiveness picks up considerably, but "Be Kind Rewind" plays like a film drastically out of touch with modern audiences. Pretty painful stuff.

1 comment:

Piper said...

Joseph,

I wanted to like 30 Days of Night a lot. I loved the idea and I'm a sucker for the "trapped" movies, but I guess it was the vampires that killed it for me. One moment speaking in something like German, then the next shrieking. I like my spooks to be quiet and calculated. Their look was cool, but the talky talky took away the creepy factor for me.

And I would have loved to see a few more minutes dedicated to how the guy in the jail cell helped prepare the town for being taken over.

And I'm glad you felt the same way about Be Kind Rewind. You have to forgive a lot to really like this movie. In the whole scheme of things, this was not the worst movie I have seen. But when you consider the talent associated, it should have been so much better than it was.