Thursday, July 06, 2006

no more free movies

i'm sad to report that my trial period of blockbuster online expires on july 10th. that means no more free movies. but perhaps 'free' isn't the way to go with rentals. that is, i've watched a string of rather disappointing films (listed in order of preference with commentary and approximate 17 point scale rating in parentheses):

1. munich (10 - long; i feel like the film tried to do too much)
2. searching for the wrong-eyed jesus (11 - quirky; this rating is a bit like a blind dart toss toward a bull's eye--i don't exist in a context where the film makes any sense. the film is a documentary of the south that lacks a formal narrative. while it may be particularly fitting that the characters wander in and out of the story, i had difficulty finding the cohesive themes that make the moments relevant. i expect that my rating would improve with a second viewing or after reading some more flannery o'connor)
3. brokeback mountain (10 - i think the movie had some some poignant moments that rescue it from mediocrity, but i really felt the movie was waaaaaaaay tooooooo lonnnnnnng. however realistic it may be to have your lead actors drawl slowly back at one another, it makes for some boring cinema. i'm also surprised that the director couldn't capture the scenery in a more moving fashion. beth and i recently traveled through brokeback territory, and i kinda' feel that any amateur photographer could get the same shots as brokeback's director: it just was never stunning like films 2, 4, and 5 from this list. the renowned film critic sean meichle has argued, to the director's credit, that this may have been a deliberate mirroring of the depressing tale which brokeback mtn encapsulates. still, if you're not going to entertain me with a moving plot, give me something to look at! alas, i find myself thinking that brokeback may be an important film that is unfortunately mostly hype. i could say more, but this was supposed to be brief...)
4. dandelion (9 - strange characters, disjointed plot, pretty flowers. the film is a big blubbery ball of awkwardness. i know i'm falling into the "intentional fallacy," but if the film's awkwardness was unintentional, i feel that it deserves a 5. if it was intentional, an 11 may be more fitting)
5. new world (5 - beautiful scenery, cliche in its attempt to be uncliche, long, boring; beth and i gave up half way through)

if you don't care much about plot, i heartily recommend the last four films. despite my disparaging comments about brokeback, each of these films takes a national geographic-like approach to cinematography. there are beautiful scenes from the backwaters and byways of the south, the rocky mountains, the rolling hills of idaho, and coastal virginia. the problem is just that i wasn't planning on watching the travel channel.

speaking of beautiful scenery, here are some pictures of my puerto vallarta travel companions:

andrew david "girls" puerto vallarta, mexico.