January 04, 2007

Summer Viewing

One of the advantages of having to spend three days on a plane is that you get to catch up with a bunch of movies you'd been meaning to see. On my flight over here I watched several that I was curious about but hadn't really wanted to pay for. Namely:

World Trade Center (two out of five pundigrions). This actually wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting, with two caveats:

1. The "unexpected moment" underneath the rubble that will "leave you shaken" was indeed that the two men say they love each other. I sure can call 'em.

2. That is, unless the "unexpected moment" referred to the heart-stoppingly schmaltzy moment when John Leguizamo has a vision of Jesus, which was frankly too ridiculous for words.

Otherwise, though, despite a few other moments of over-earnest melodrama, it actually bordered on restraint for much of the time, which was a pleasant surprise; and Maggie Gyllenhall was excellent, as usual.

You, Me and Dupree (three out of five pundigrions). This also, believe it or not, bordered on restraint. Owen Wilson played it over the top, as usual, but Matt Dillon's wrenching descent into quasi-insanity was both unexpectedly straight-faced and fairly compelling; enough, anyway, to keep me interested for the entire movie, even in the absence of any other depth.

Dirty Harry (four out of five pundigrions). I'm not really sure why this was being shown on the plane, but I was glad to finally get the chance to see it. Even better, unlike Bullitt, that other "classic" cop movie set in San Francisco, this was one was not excrutiatingly dull from start to finish. It was, in fact, excrutiatingly entertaining, in that completely unhinged from reality way that only Seventies cinema can really pull off.

Night At The Museum (three out of five pundigrions). Actually, this wasn't on the plane, it was in a movie theatre in Sydney that I decided to patronise in order to escape some summer rain. It was certainly good fun, though aimed too much at kids with not enough sly grown-up jokes slipped in (though Paul Rudd as a bond trader is almost sufficient on its own). And despite a Who's Who of buzzworthy comedians for a cast, the best are under-used (especially Steve Coogan as a petulant centurion) and the rest are given pretty flat material. Still, for a family fun movie, you couldn't ask for much more, and my inner geek appreciated all the museum gags immensely.

I'm sure you're all dying to actually hear about Australia, but I'm still collecting my thoughts. In the meantime, I believe there are a few brief and stoic words written on the topic at Josh's blog.

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