Monday, January 17, 2005

House of Flying Neverland

Monday, was a double feature out in Emeryville, AMC Bay 16:

"The House of Flying Daggers" (dir. Yimou Zhang) I am totally loving Zhang now! "Ju Dou" and "Raise the Red Lantern" are just too friggin' SLOW for me, though beautiful. But these last two, "Hero" and "The House of Flying Daggers," have really PICKED UP the pace, without sacrificing his aggressive use of color and episodes. "...Flying Daggers" is much easier to keep up with compared to "Hero." Fewer characters, and though there are a few twists along the way, having only four actors kept it from being confusing. It. Is. Simply. Gorgeous. Again. I don't know how much he spends on his sets or his locations, but he must use EVERY penny! Now, with all of that said, the last 10 minutes are sort of sloppy. There is a terrible edit in the middle of the snowstorm duel that makes no sense what so ever. And there is a climax-anti-climax that is sort of annoying and had people snickering at it. Pity. It was almost an operatic tragedy, before it felt like he was second guessing his ending.

Followed that up with "Finding Neverland" (dir. Marc Forster) Up until now, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was my favorite film of the year. I. Loved. "Finding Neverland." I didn't really expect anything specific, yet it was filled with surprises! The direction and editing are (yes, I'll use the "B" word) brilliant! The script (based upon a play I've never heard of) was quite lovely. I had heard about the 'fantasy sequences' but had no clue how well it would be done, especially how well the cast was able to juggle the scenes within scenes. Johnny Depp is quite good, though I thought his dialect was slipping here and there. Julie Christie is FABULOUS and Dustin Hoffman gets to have punchlines! The climax/ending wrecked me. Tears? Oh yes. Nearly sobbing. The film redefines what "Peter Pan" is all about to me. Truly incredible, in my book! This is my third out of four Marc Forster films. (LOVED "Everything Put Together" - did NOT love "Monster's Ball") He has two more in the can and I can't wait to see what he does next!

Now, I am home to an unhappy parrot. He is jealous/unsettled by Benji sitting across the room from him, and he is upset that I left him alone with him yesterday (at Gretchen's giving her a 'home media makeover') and today. He continues to attack the refrigerator also. He hates what I love. Jealous, angry little bird...

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