Sunday, December 03, 2006

Objective Opinions Masquerading as Subjective Facts

For this blog post, I thought I'd put up two movie reviews.

The Descent

At some point in the 18th and 19th century - I'm not sure when, and they probably didn't either - high literature became full of nixies, trixies, and Bogarts. Trixies were like Trixy Belden, only less annoying, and Nixies were their brothers; Bogarts lived in caves and stagnant fens, and were like bogans, only with a better education. And then there were sylphs, nymphs, kobolds, banshees, elves, fairies, and miscellaneous supernatural entities who found their abode in various caverns, swamps, meadows, leas, etc, etc.
It was back to this simple, innocent era in 19th century literature that I wistfully cast my mind yesterday upon watching the film 'The Descent'. Like the miners and explorers of past eras, the heroines of this film find themselves entrapped in a set of cyclopean subterranean passageways, wherein they encounter a supernatural life form habituating these infernal regions. These beasts are human-like in shape; their skin is of an argent hue, with a similar texture to vanilla yoghurt (albeit yoghurt is more cultured). They apparently like nothing better than to feast upon the flesh of hapless amateur speleologists who come upon them in their misadventures. Naturally, the female spelunkers object to these admittedly whimsical notions regarding dinner held by these creatures (doubtless evolutionary throwbacks to Khruschev's Russia, or similar) and attempt to find their way out, into the external world once again.
The film is all good, clean fun - if by 'good' you mean 'somewhat malicious' and 'clean' you mean 'full of dirt, grime, puss, spew, and bloodbaths'. It left me, however, asking the question: what is the point of horror films? Perhaps if they are to become true classics in cinematic history, they ought to fulfill a higher purpose. 'Saw', a film which opens with two men waking up chained to pipes in a grimy basement they have never seen before provides a somewhat optimistic view of the share-housing experience. 'Wolf Creek', a film wherein several bright young things have an encounter with an eccentric psychopath in outback Australia, has done wonders for our tourism industry. And the classic 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' provides many, many delightful suggestions for the latter-day Daniel Boone to exercise his enthusiasm and ebullience for all things related to the chainsaw. Will 'The Descent' do something similar for the spelunking experience? We may just have to wait and see.

The Descent: 2 and 1/2 fleshy chunks out of 5.

The Devil Wears Prada

I am not sure what a simper is, but I'm sure you'll find a simper in 'The Devil Wears Prada'. The simperer will probably be simpering to Meryl Streep - who plays fashion magazine editor/termagant Miranda - and the film itself is a veritable lexicon of minute gestures. Sneers, half-smiles, quarter-frowns, eye-tilts, head-inclinations of various angles in various directions, pouting, puckering, pursing and unpursing of the lips. All this before we get to the script (which isn't, really) and the plot (which is less).
Anne Hathaway plays a cliche waiting for a Hollywood plot to arrive. The cliche's name is Andy, who apparently lands a job for a best-selling fashion magazine by having no fashion sense, and then keeps the job by developing a fashion sense. She finally leaves the job behind, though not before wangling a trip to Paris out of her boss - although apparently she never really wanted to go to Paris, not really. Yeah, right, whatever.
Along the way she drags the sort of entourage that you sort of expect of the sort of romantic comedy that this sort of film sort of tries to be but sort of isn't. There's the rugged boyfriend (although apparently the rug is getting a bit tattered), the handsome professional flirt who she has a brief fling with (although what exactly they fling, and where they fling it to, is left up to our imaginations); the coterie of friends who could have been borrowed from Bridget Jones (and probably were) and the gay fashion industry professional who spends his time acting like a gay fashion industry professional. (There's probably a poodle in there as well, but I missed it.)

All in all, I think this film can be summed up in three sentences:

Girl gets job with fashion magazine. Everybody wears pretty clothes and sneers. Girl quits, the end.

It wasn't a bad film, but it wasn't a good film, either. It was just a film film. That doesn't make sense; neither does 'The Devil Wears Prada'. I enjoyed it, sort of.

The Devil Wears Prada: 3 uncertain stars.

(Cross posted at Vibewire. )

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Me person. Live in world. Like stuff. Need job. Need BRAINS! (DROOLS IN THE MANNER OF ZOMBIES) Ergggggh ...