Sunday, September 28, 2003

where's-johnny dept.

Just last week, I saw Once Upon a Time in Mexico -- the quixotic new Robert Rodriguez film -- whups 'flick', as rodriguez would himself like us to call it. On the web, this movie has elicited a mixed bag of reactions, the dude who reluctantly tagged along with me disliked it vehemently. I found it thoroughly delectable; of course, though I was disappointed with the meatless sandwich that was Salma Hayek's role.

Well, not really. Maybe Rodriguez isn't intimidated by his characters. He can hack, cut, edit his way among them with the same ruthless efficiency with which his hero, 'El', dispatches the bad guys with his exploding guitar. But you can't wish away the entertainment value of Johnny Depp's dapper, chilly CIA agent asking his Mexican informer: "Are you a Mexi-can or a Mexi-can't?". Or gorging himself on slow-roasted pork. Or his prosthetic arm. And of course, his version of the famous American cellular add, moving into the frame, cell in hand, and asking, "Can you here me now? good!".

brain-fart dept.

That's what someone just called my blog. But yesss, my precious, we shall not care about opinions, we shall have our say.

To keep the vapid friday nights from eating away at whatever's left of my ragged mind, I hauled myself and a friend over to Century 25 theatres in San Jose. The dude graciously offered to skip dinner for the movie -- and hasn't made me forget it since. Century 25 is an old run-down (I mean, by my standards) cinema house in downtown San Jose. It features what must be the most bizarre architecture I have ever seen, the roof is dome shaped, and the screen we went to was right-oriented, so people sitting on the left end were basically screwed. Boy, was it some sadistic architect's wet-dream.
The film: Lost in Translation.
A very visual movie, with sparse dialog. About a middle aged film star forging an unusual bond with a young, alienated American girl in Tokyo.
Tedious at times, but with some beautiful shots of the explosion of colour that is the Tokyo skyline. I think the attempt was to bring out nuances in the
characterizations using subtle visual cues. But most of the film is so static that it gets on your nerves at times. Bill Murray was effective though, very effectively cast -- the man with wisecracks dumped in a city where no one understands him.