03 October 2006

if we're going to be damned ...

Three school shootings in the span of a week? methinks the U.S. government needs to stop worrying about spreading freedom and democracy, and start worrying about our own damned selves. Clearly there's something wrong with our system. Just LOOK!

But now, on to the movies ...

The Road to Wellville - Based on T. Coraghessan Boyle's best-selling novel satirizing late-19th century health fads. Will and Eleanor Lightbody (Matthew Broderick and Bridget Fonda), guests at cereal mogul Dr. John Harvey Kellogg's (Anthony Hopkins) health spa, are forced to undergo an array of hilariously absurd medical treatments. Meanwhile, a con artist (John Cusack) and Kellogg's adopted son (Dana Carvey) plot to steal the doctor's coveted corn flake recipe.

My favorite character? Definitely George (Dana Carvey). He's so mindlessly angry with his father (well, not entirely mindless--Dr. Kellogg was overly religious, fanatically asexual, and obsessed with vegetarianism; so there's a reason to the madness one might feel about having such a man for one's father, adopted or otherwise). Throughout the film there are a series of flashbacks to Dr. Kellogg's interaction with his children--George, in particular. And I love the jacket-on-the-hook scene.

George won't hang up his jacket when he enters the house, just drops it on the floor; so, as punishment, Dr. Kellogg has him repeat the action over and over again. Only George won't stop. And he does the action throughout the night, keeping everyone awake by slamming the door and thumping up and down the stairs again and again and again. Finally, Dr. Kellogg stops him forcibly, slaps him across the face, apologizes profusely for having done so, and bewilderedly pleads that the boy just go to bed. So George walks around him, dumps his coat on the floor, and goes to bed. It's GREAT. The message(s)? If you thought modern vegetarians were bonkers, you haven't heard of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Also, if your desire is to alleviate the suffering of other creatures, fine; but everyone dies of something, and being a vegetarian won't save you from that. ***1/2

La Reine Margot (Queen Margot) - To cement a partnership between Protestants and Catholics in France, Margot de Valois (Isabelle Adjani) agrees to an arranged marriage to Henri of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil). Although she's a staunch supporter of Henri, she's not a loyal wife and takes up with a Protestant lover (Vincent Perez). During the St. Bartholomew's Night Massacre, she helps her lover escape, setting off a chain of events that alters their lives and the course of history.

I don't know if there's a lot of basis in reality, but French period pieces are chockobox full of freaky sexual relations. The Queen Mother Catherine (Virna Lisi) seems to have the hots for Anjou (Pascal Greggory), and Margot has apparently lost her virginity to one of her other brothers; but Margot prefers the company of this other guy from the court who she's trying to bang when her new husband walks in (because he's decided he won't be banging this other baroness on his wedding night). But then Margot kicks him out and goes walking the streets with her friend (in masks) to look for somebody else to bang--and finds Vincent Perez.

Vincent's character, by the way, already thinks that Margot is a filthy Catholic whore and has no idea that it's her he's having fun with. Sexy; but, of course, it doesn't end well. Incest, royal insanity, religious warring that would do the modern Middle East proud, and pretty impressive costumes and sets to watch throughout the whole business. Oh, yeah. And when they say Massacre, they mean it. They killed all the Protestant wedding guests. ALL of them. Except for Vincent's character. Message? Royals are crazy. Also, isn't it good that Christians have gotten over self-hatred in their unifying hatred of ... oh, everybody else? ****

Swept from the Sea - Shunned by her seaside farming community, servant girl Amy Foster (Rachel Weisz) reciprocates with silence and is thus branded a halfwit. She finds a kindred spirit, though, when shipwrecked Ukrainian Yanko Gooral (Vincent Perez) ambles onto her master's farm. While the rest of the townsfolk spurn the disheveled stranger, Amy gently cares for him, giving rise to romance, marriage and a child ... but tragedy lies just around the corner.

Yes, Vincent Perez again--and he's not speaking a lot of English in this one either. For the whole movie, I'm wondering, Why is everyone so bitchy with Amy? She's not an halfwit, and one can't help but feel that other people would figure that out if they'd just give her the time of day. And then the BIG SECRET is let loose towards the end, and it's kind of an oh moment, but in a very old-fashioned and 19th-century reasoning way. I kind of felt like the end was plodding--courtship, struggle, courtship--Married! Baby! Aggh! There's lots of selectiveness about the portrayal of life and how much time the film should devote to certain aspects. I just feel like Amy and Yanko are never happy (because we don't get to see them being very happy for very long--though clearly they must've had at least nine months of happiness that we don't get to witness at all). Message? Talk to people, or they'll just think you're a dunce. Then again, there's also that other saying--it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and prove it. ***

I got the Q Collective in the mail yesterday. He (Q) is so right on so many levels. The only reason Jean-Luc can prove him wrong on these occasions is the deus ex machina--the Enterprise crew has to prove him wrong, or there's no story after that. Real mankind? Real mankind sucks balls.

No comments: