Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Cinema

The first two movies of the Christmas season were quite satisfying, each in a very different way.

This Is 40 is classic Apatow territory, humour infused with and given ballast by pathos.  The story is not exactly comi-tragic, as it seems to follow, at times, a very Hollowood-oriented path complete with a happy (if post-cathartic and somewhat violent) ending.  It is more, rather, comic than tragic, and that is just what the doctor ordered.  Sometimes you just want a good laugh.

At the opposite end of the spectrum I went with my wife Diane (who was with me at the Apatow-flick) to see Django Unchained, a truly violent movie with lots of camp and lots more to think about.  Upending stereotypes at the same time as playing upon the ability of those same stereotypes to make us think, when applied sensitively, Tarantino has, in much the same way as he did in Inglourious Basterds, managed to entertain in a way only he can.  His inimitable style, for all its questionable taste, and his ability to tell a compelling story, have real value.

I went through a long spell of over a decade of boycotting Tarantino on two principles, the first was a consequence of my being overly politically correct; and the second was my sense that too much irony is never a good thing.  Rilke pointed this out to me in his little book Letters to a Young Poet.  I still think the second factor true but now that I've loosened up a bit and let myself enjoy Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and all the rest, it is no longer enough to keep me from watching, fascinated.

Lincoln (we missed it yesterday) and Life of Pi are still on the roster for the weekend.  If we get lucky we might catch Argo and the Hobbit too, though I've heard the latter got mixed reviews.
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