November 18th, 2007

La Bete et la Belle

Eyes Wide Shut Mega Post

Eyes Wide Shut(1999)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

This is a beautiful movie about sexual appetite, how integral that appetite is to the workings of society and personal relationships, and what it means for a person to be dumb to the nature of sexuality. The movie shows Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) discovering that he knows almost nothing about how other people think about sex, how it figures into their lives, because he is, in some fundamental way, sterile. The flirtatiousness and gestures of lust that other people display are natural extensions of their genuine desire, while Bill employs these things like apparatuses unconnected to his desires. They are for him a mask he feels that he is expected to wear.

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Watching Jean Cocteau's Orphee last night, I suddenly got a strong hunger for Italian food, so I went out at 3am hoping to find something vaguely Italian at Denny's. Since my car's still not working, I've been walking across the small lake/sewage thing between the house and a commercial area to get to Santee's one Denny's. Normally at night, the little lake area is pitch black, and I basically have to walk based on memory the path that leads to the little bridge and back up a hill. Last night, though, there was an amazing haze over the land. Too low to be a cloud, too high to be fog, everything around me was clearly visible as the haze caught the electric lights from the houses and parking lot and distributed it strongly everywhere. It was like the middle of the day, except everything was closed.

Nothing resembling Italian food at the Denny's, but there were a lot of people there who looked like they were in their early twenties, I suppose because it was Saturday night. With the strange light, it was like being on another planet.

I saw Beowulf on Friday. I liked it a lot. It borrowed some things from the Lord of the Rings movies, but I'm starting to think this is going to be inevitable for every fantasy movie for the next twenty or thirty years. Though I'd like to call a moratorium on spinning axes thrown directly at the screen.

Ray Winstone was excellent as Beowulf. The whole cast was perfect. I heard Howard Stern thinks Angelina Jolie looks better in cg, and I have to agree. Though for the most part, I'd have preferred the movie be live action. I love the design elements of the cg, like the strange, oil rich way the light touches everything, but it feels strangely like nothing has weight, like every time something falls, it's deliberately moving down. And what's interesting, is that it still doesn't look very much better than the Final Fantasy VIII trailer that blew socks off when I saw it at a computer store nine years ago.

The battle sequences are generally well done, the fight with the dragon at the end is great, mainly because the dragon's golden scales contrast beautifully with the snow. But the best thing about the movie is by far the story and the dialogue. So I think I'm going to enjoy the novelisation a lot more than the movie.
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