Monday, 3 January 2011

Did the movies get tired or was it me?

In my memory Christmas used to be quite definitively a time for exciting movie premieres on the telly: for checking the seasonal Radio Times keenly to see who was showing what and when. That all seems an aeon ago. Still, if you don’t see that many new films (and last year I think I saw about six) then you do get to catch up a bit over the holidays, for better or (usually) worse. From last year I remember the ghastly experience of catching the Miami Vice feature film – incredible high-end po-faced rubbish, its low point (or alleged romantic high-spot) the risible sequence of Colin Farrell and Li Gong power-boating over to Cuba so as to consummate their ‘passion’. This year’s flabbergasting post-prandial watch was the last Indiana Jones movie on the BBC. Are you actually telling me that Steven Spielberg directed that? And David Koepp wrote it, and Cate Blanchett wanted to be in it...?
Of course, you might riposte that I really ought to have been watching a film that was intended for grown-ups; and you would be right. Yet out of the half-dozen new movies I saw last year, probably the two I liked best were Sherlock Holmes and The Wolf Man – a grim return, not least for a supposed cinephile who belongs to a private society of Robert Bresson votaries. Still, these days one feels more and more worn out come nightfall... This Christmas I even sat through Terminator: Salvation on foreign-subtitled cable, just waiting and waiting for one good crunchy fight between Man and Robot. I had to wait the entire picture, and when it came it was the exact same fight as in Terminator, or Terminator 2, or the two of ‘em spot-welded together. Needless to say the irony of this discovery was entirely at my expense.
To speak of higher things, franchise-wise, The Godfather Part III was on Film Four tonight. When I edited the Ten Bad Dates with De Niro book a few years back quite a few contributors took a pop at this movie, including the Coen Bros, who claimed ("let’s not kid ourselves") that it was "not so hot." True, the things that are wrong with it are very obvious. But the things that are right are very right.

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