Friday, May 27, 2005

Geekin' Out and Going Deep

Subject: Cinema
Watched a couple of recent movies last night as a change of pace.

First up was "Sideways", a little indie film adapted from a novel centered around a struggling author and his buddy taking a trip through California wine country. The author character is a totally obsessive snob when it comes to wine, and can go into great geeky detail and descriptiveness about various aspects of tasting and judging the stuff. And, of course, he's a bit hopeless when it comes to interacting with women on a romantic level, a problem which his buddy, who's about to get married, is looking to fix him of.

I just got through complaining about romance stories involving ineffectual guys in that post about "Emma", and here I am watching one with real people. *Sigh*.

Of course, the plot and the story (and the ending) wind up being totally predictable, which is usually irritating in and of itself. But this one's saving grace was that it's really more about the characters than the story, and they're done pretty well. The dialogue is rather witty and fun. And, of course, I was drinking a fair bit of wine myself while watching, so I was more receptive to letting those aspects overrule my usual distaste.

After that, I moved on to the rather quirky (and obviously engineered that way) "The Life Aquatic with Steven Zissou". A famous-though-somewhat-past-his-prime ocean explorer, in the mold of some sort of defective Jacques Cousteau, and his crew make one last expedition to hunt down and kill the mysterious "jaguar shark" that ate his friend in a previous voyage. Beyond that little blurb, it's really tough to describe this one.

There's a lot weirdly humorous bits and pieces, some less humorous than others, basically progressing one after an other. And it's rich in atmosphere and little visual touches that really give it a stylized feeling throughout. And the details often feed the humor and running gags throughout, as well.

But I can't really tell if it was intentionally trying to make something meaninful out of itself by the end (because it did tilt a little melodramatic), or it was just looking to have those moments wash over you like waves, with the story just being the convienient framework on which to hang them. Hard to say. I think I'll need to watch it again later to see if I can catch on to what it's doing better. Anyway, it's not a total waste of time, just don't go into it expecting a raucous comedy or a statement of high art. Just let the waves wash over you.

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