I have been watching a bit of video lately that was actual cinema. One film came with great cred – it was directed by Ang Lee and it received excellent reviews from darling. The second one only had its DVD cover to speak for it, but it was pretty convincing. Beathur (it is rare not to find an acquaintance at the Killarney Video Corner during peak hour) and I joked about the language of DVD covers – they always say “brilliant”, “unmissable” and so forth, in quotation marks, as if these words were used by someone other than the director’s girlfriend or the producer’s mother.
Both films, I am sorry to say, were disappointing. It could be that I was not really in the mood for these… types of films, or that the sound on my TV is failing, like the hearing of an octogenarian.
Either way, I thought that Taking Woodstock was funny and well cast and consisted of the most wonderful textures; it was full of gentle irony and witty art direction and none of the above could really save it from being unbelievably dull. I had to fast forward over the scene of the main oke (dunno) tripping on acid in a very beautiful, flowery replica of a late-60’s combi painted in psychedelic greens and oranges while being ménage-a-trois’d by two flower children. Liev Schreiber was reassuringly drop-dead handsome, EVEN in a blonde wig and a pink dress, and EVEN he could not rescue what was essentially a big old period wank. I approve of wanking, of course, and want to make it clear, therefore, that I did not think it was all bad. Just bad enough.
I am watching the second film right now, even as I write, so that should serve as irrefutable proof that DVD video covers can lie and often do. It is a fairly serious indictment of a film if one can follow its plot for two hours while baking bread rolls and writing a blog. The Air That I Breathe is a four-hander of sorts – four different stories of four different characters that are connected, in the most unlikely of ways, through a character nick-named “Fingers” and played by Andy Garcia. I lost interest in the first five minutes, when it became clear that Forest Whittaker was going to repeat the performance that Neil Jordan taught him for The Crying Game. I think Neil realised that Forest could not really carry a film, in spite of Neil’s excellent instruction, and we know that Forest’s calls on the movie were not many. It seems that that may be the only performance that Forest has in him. He could be doomed to repeat it until he does not receive a lifetime achievement award from the Academy. Either way, Forest dies in the 22nd minute of the film and I was puzzled for the rest of movie about why he was there in the first place. I never saw The Last King of Scotland and now I think I never may.
Stellar performances by Kevin Bacon, Brendan Frazer and Sarah Michelle Gellar could not save the film. Was it about love? Redemption? Sacrifice? Who the fuck knows. I am too bored to even Google it. And anyway, the bread rolls have proved beautifully and are ready to go in the oven.
AND I have a research report to write. Which is another story all together.