First thoughts on the Prestige

(try to write something smarter and more insightful than just that you can't decide who's hotter, Bale or Jackman. You can do this, you've been pretending to be intellectual like, forever. Ok. Let's do this)

Remember how I mentioned ambivalence in the context of Marie Antoinette? Well, it's also what redeems this movie, it's refreshing to not be told who to root for (kind of like Heat, in that way, but even more so).

I did figure it out. Most of it, anyway. But there was much nice trickery. I have some questions, but they would involve spoilers, and more thought than I can muster right now.

Liked the jumping back and forth in time, I'm not sure it was entirely necessary, but the many, many, many doubling were cool, underlining the themes, too. Nolan is a guy with style.

Has there been a casting choice as brilliant as David Bowie as Nicola Tesla? Ever?

Magic in movies is tricky. After all, movies ARE a form of magic, and we're so used to distrusting what we see. Or actually, we're so used to accepting that we're being fooled, we're no longer looking for the trick. And even if we are: they're not secret, witness "the Matrix revisited" for instance. And even then, there were still real tricks: in the later movies, it just came out of the pc. When everything's possible, what's there left to marvel about?

Luckily, there are still illusionists like Michel Gondry around.

Anyway, scatterbrain, the verdict? Cool movie. Not sure much of it will linger though. Also: I should have seen this in the theatre. Some movies need a big screen. And I have always enjoyed a good show of lightning.

Just a last aside (after a list of many): it's funny that almost two centuries after Frankenstein, electricity still speaks to the imagination.


Detour - First thoughts

There's something about classic noir, and Detour is as classic as they get: cynically narrated from when it's already all gone to shit by an everyman, sad-sack, doomed protagonist. The booze is plentiful, the women are just as cynical as the men and much more manipulative, and boy do I love it.

That's probably why noir is my favorite genre. It's not so much that many of my favorite films are noirs: the selection at the top is a little eclectic. It's just that I haven't met a noir yet I didn't at least enjoy.

Detour's a perfect introduction. It's short (about 70 minutes, still impressive for a film shot in 6 days), the sets and dingy and the rear projection can either be called clunky or appropriately claustrophobic. And most important of all: it conveys the basic message of noir: life's a bitch, and then you die. Or, as it's said in this film: "That's life. Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you".

Sidenote: the origin of the forever bad endings was of course that under the production code, no crime could go unpunished: at the very least, a guilty conscience should drive the culprit crazy, like in "Scarlet Street". I'm generally opposed to censorship, but there really is something to be said for the production code: not just because it forced filmmakers to be creative (see: It happened one night) but also because without it, the cynical world of film noir would have been much different.

Most notable about this one? Aside from the fact that Tom Neal makes me think of Kurt Russell (and wouldn't he make a great noir hero?), I loved the character of Vera, "as rotten in the morning as she'd been the night before". Women in noirs are generally bad news, but at least they have a mind of their own.

(here's bright lights on the film)

Impossible Dreams (from a film buff)

I just had to post it: any film buffs out there owe it to themselves to download the latest episode of Escape Pod, and listen to the story. You won't regret it.