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Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

We are our own worst enemy – a trip through every sci fi I've ever seen,


Hello all. Today I thought I'd treat you to an approximate rendition of the conversation that took place over tea last night, and takes place most evenings. Abbreviations: D for dad, M for mum, A for my littler sister and E for me.

(Demi-trivia quiz of the week. I was delighted to see a 2005 film named after two of my three names- but wasn't my sort of thing at all, so I didn't see it. Still considering buying the poster though. Anyway, if anyone's good at recent films with girls names in the titles, guess away...)

And for those of you who eagerly spotted the title and are desperately interested in it, it is down there honest. Under my script. I won't be able to post all that frequently at the moment, so I thought I'd get everything I need to say down at once.

INT DINNER TABLE EVENING

D: So, what shall we do this evening?
E: We're going to sit down and watch a film
D: OK, what do you want to watch?
E: Don't ask me, you always ask me and I'm the only one who doesn't care.
D: Mum?
M: Well, I'd like to see the Madness of King George
A: Nooo, it's boring!
E: How can you tell, you haven't seen it. You liked Kung Fu Hustle (thinks: but I'm not sure she's going to like this)
M: Yeh, it's a lot of fun!
E: Is it?!
A: No thanks, I've got other stuff to do.
M: Well I don't want to see it unless we all sit down to watch.
A: But I don't want to. There's no point in me watching it if I've got better stuff to do...
D: Well, what do you want to watch?
A: Well, you know, like lots of stuff but you packed the DVDs
E: I could find it for you pretty quickly. They're still in catagories (note: I arranged our collection minutely. Outrageous sci fi -> quirky sci fi (includes Kaufmann movies) -> scary sci fi -> scary films (in order of scaryness) -> horror comedies -> comedies (in order of hilarity) -> Charlies Angels, Tomb Raider etc. You get the idea.)
M: What do you want to watch?
A: I dunno, other stuff
E: Try watching King George, you might like it.
A: (strop!) No, its not fair, I've been working so hard...*chorus of protests* I've been working so hard and I haven't had any time!
D: except when you were on the internet this morning.
A: That's not the point! We never see things that I want to watch! (note: probably true)
M: Well suggest something!
D: What about Narnia (note: nobody really wants to watch it at this time)
A: Yeh, fine, whatever.
D: You want to see that, don't you E? (note: not right now, but I don't want to cause a fuss) What about you Mum?
M: Well yes, don't worry about me, I'll just fall asleep
A: No, you guys watch something, I've got packing to do (note: typical Mum vs A attack. One gives in, followed by the other immediately giving in. Is vastly more annoying when they're both on the offensive...)
M: I don' t want to watch without everyone
A: Yes, but I don't like dreary period dramas!
E: You liked Master and Commander
A: That was different, it had action!
E: No it didn't - it was just four hours of them sailing slowly (note: hyperbole never hurts) It was as sober as you get.
A: That's not the point, there's no hot guys threatening people in this (note: she means Jack from Lost)
E: Well there wasn't in Master and Commander
A: Yes there was.
E: OK, I admit Paul Bettany was pretty dishy...
A: Exactly!
E: Well why don't you give this a go. I'll find you a hot guy in a tailcoat. Just watch the first 10 minutes.
A: They'res no point, I won't like it.
M: That's what you said about Muriel's Wedding and you enjoyed that.
A: No I didn't, I wrote in my notebook.
D: Well lets watch Narnia then.
M: NOBODY WANTS TO SEE NARNIA. *Mum and dad start tidying. Yeh, I'm bad, I dn't help. I normally do. Today I'm on a mission...*
E: Alright, everybody, here's the news (thinks: Oooh, nice quotery, lets watch Reservoir Dogs. My sister will love that...*SARCASM*). You watch just the beginning, and if you don't get into it go and do your packing, ok?
M: But I don't want to see it if she's going to go away.
(At this point, the same silly arguments circle until finally, A storms from the room. )

INT KITCHEN JOINED TO THE DINING ROOM NIGHT (but getting close to morning XD)
D: So, we going to watch King George.
M: No, because I don't want to see it without her. I don't know, call her back in - you see something you three want to watch. (note: see the classic Mum vs A attack here again)
E: But she's stormed off now
M: Call her back in, I don't mind, I'll go to sleep anyway. (E thinks: you should have said this, like, to begin with?)
E: We can't get her back.
M: There's no point just us three watching.
(icy, Pinter-like silence. I've been reading The Birthday Party in English - my teacher, who is wasted in a school instead of the stage, insists on pinching the best roles, which in this case is Goldberg. And he always forgets to drop out of character, which makes for disturbing lessons.)
E: Dad. Lets watch Leon. (note: something with just me and him)
(continues half heartedly to berate family for being pathetic, and swears to watch stuff on her own TV when she gets one. Nobody takes this too seriously, which is fair enough as it was only half meant.)

INT LOUNGE FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER
D: So what shall we watch?
E: DONT ASK ME.
M: Well I shall fall asleep regardless (E thinks: WE KNOW)
(time passes. D takes Woody Allen boxed set off shelf)
D: So, E, do you want to see slightly silly, very silly or artisticly amusing?
E: I DONT CARE...

INT LOUNGE TWO HOURS OR SO LATER
(A reenters having done something mind numbing elsewhere)
A: oh, what were you watching?
E: Manhattan.
A: OH! I wanted to see that...


Harsh, but true. Not 100% correct, but the progression of dimwit ideas is about there. And this happens. Every night. I come off in a good light in that script, which probably isn't fair. But it is true I very rarely have an opinion on what to see. Compare that with the 2 minutes it took us to move house (I say us, I wasn't really included. The downside of being happy to agree and compromise is that when you really have an opinon, no one listens to it.). Pathetic. And by the by, I know perfectly well my family read this blog , and it doesn't bother me at all. Perhaps you can have a think about this next time we settle on a film...

In other news...

2007. The first film I saw this year was Two Towers, which of course I've seen hundreds of times before. And I was reminded exactly how wonderful it was. If I revealed to you the name of the first film I saw this year for the first time, my life would be in great peril. I don't know how many of my friends read this, but better safe than sorry. It was absolutely brilliant, if that narrows it down a bit.

Anyway, I saw 2001:A Space Odyssey a few days later, on the recommendation of the same English teacher as I mentioned above. Now he's a bit of a Kubrick nut, and I've had the same conversation with him four times now trotting through the director's resume. Anyway, he lent me the tape because he thought it would be good for my film club.

*cough*. Now I thought it was a fantastic film. But it didn't strike me as that appealing for 12 year olds. Especially as these twelve year olds also had no interest in Strictly Ballroom. I've given up on the club, by the by. Too much heartache. But back to the film...

Fantastic, in a word. The point of decent direction is to convey the right emotions, right? The cinematography really suited space. It's never felt colder, emptier, quieter. If ever I leave the planet, this film is exactly what I expect it to feel like.

Now I’m pretty fond of surreal, confusing films, and a nose for working them out, but what the hell was that about?! I was up to speed riiight up until the Fantasia bit. Then I got lost. I thought it was great, but I didn’t understand it one bit.

It did, however, make me think about sci-fi. It comes in two breeds. The first just happens to be set in space – Flash Gordon and Star Wars are fantasy, Alien is horror, Serenity is a western of sorts. Logan’s Run seems more like a fascist allegory to me. Now according to me dad, the mark of “proper” sci-fi is a plot feature which couldn’t work anywhere else but the future. For example, Minority Report depends on the impossible ability to see the future. Well, it’s an idea which usually works, although it does mean things like Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy and Back to the Future qualify for the label “serious sci-fi”.

As far as I see it, sci fi is always asking a question. Frequently this is a “what if”, creating a slightly alternate reality to the one today. So in the case of Minority Report, “What would happen if we could look into the future?” But ultimately and most often, probably because sci-fi always creates a more machine-dependant society, that question is “what does it mean to be human?”. All those tricky issues raised by morality vs. technology. Can you arrest someone for what they’re going to do? (Minority Report again). Is it ok to kill robots if they’re virtually human? (See Blade Runner for details)

That’s why humans screwing things up is such a key theme – in real sci-fi, we are under threat from our own mistakes. Emotion (that which makes us human) is our greatest weakness, compared to cold, but perfect, mechanics. In a sci fi world, we are proud, warlike and plain dim most of the time. We don’t think through the consequences of our actions properly and tamper with things we don’t understand. In The Matrix we destroy the planet, and create the bad guys. I, Robot wades around the same mud puddle of us creating technology we can’t control. Even in Plan 9 from Outer Space, the greatest threat to the universe is man and his capability to destroy. It's interesting to note that the first thing the apes do in 2001 after "becoming" human is viciously attack another set of monkeys.

In fact, we the human race always come off looking terrible. We seem total nazis most of the time…

What a digression. What a lot of bold type. What a lot of time I’ve just wasted, quoting every sci-fi film I’ve ever seen instead of finishing my film studies coursework. What a pity. Back to 2001, though, it seems very aimless and random unless you grasp the whole humanity thing (which I didn’t until about half way through). The three strands –monkeys becoming men, HAL the very sweet, sentient computer and the possibility of life on other planets – all come together around that question.

Now I returned the video to my teacher, and told him I was disbanding the club (not that we ever had more than four members at any one time anyway), and asked him what the hell happend in the last ten minutes. This is more or less what he said:




Arthur C. Clark's book is based on Nitsche (spelt wrong, I know) a vaguely Nazi
philosopher who had this idea Hitler really liked about the three sorts of
people. The Untermenschen (i.e. Jewish people), the Menschen (normal peeps) and the Ubermenschen (i.e. the Aryan race). In 2001 this is represented by the monkeys, the men and the stuff at the end. So it's about evolution - the black rock heralds the switch from Untermensch to Mensch for the monkeys. And at the end, we see it again.

Dave has passed into this luxury place, the best humankind has to offer. But he is still human - hence he breaks the glass, he still has our weaknesses. Then the black rock appears again and WHOOSH (my teacher didn't quite use that word...) we evolve into a greater mode of being, ubermenschen, freed from bodily constraints. Hence the starchild at the end.

All nice psychobabble and tosh there for enhancing your viewing experience. On a more mundane note, I loved the cool effects created by the magnetic boots and lack of gravity. The waitress in the tunnel may be one of my favourite cinematic "wow" moments ever. In fact, films like this are precicely what cinema was invented for.

The rest of me watching so far? Well, as I was away for xmas, I present opened last week. Lots of DVD shaped boxes. The best of the bunch -
  • Kung Fu Hustle
(seen. OMG. Present from Friend 4, whose comments were "I thought you'd like it" and "redefines cheerfully violent". One scene had me laughing so hard...)
  • Leon (From my grandmother of all people. I open it and beam. My mother sees it, frowns and asks if its strictly suitable...)
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Ferris Whatever's Day Off
  • Night Watch
  • The Wizard of Oz (From Friend 3. She bought it for me after discovering I'd never seen it. She told my class, who were similarly shocked. She got me the special 2 disc edition with a box which sings the theme tune and glows when you press it. I used it to cause havoc at school)
  • The Reservoir Dogs 2007 calender. (Nuff said. I told my sister I wanted it, and she extracted a Lost-related promise in return for getting it. Unsuprisingly, I sacrificed my scruples in exchange for the wonderful thing. It's exactly what a movie tie-in calender should be - lots of pictures! They've even managed to find 12 swear word free quotes, quite a feat! Only problem I've had is putting it up. It's not exactly what I'd call a spoiler free calender. Or a gore-free one.)
  • A small yellow fluffy bear (Friend 5 gave me this. It's not particularly significant, aside from the fact I've named it Creasy. Spot the film reference that proves if I'm old enough to see the film, I'm probably also to old for fluffy bears...)
  • Grosse Pointe Blank (Seen this! Apart from the fact it was blatantly channeling Pulp Fiction in places, I adored it.)
  • Some other stuff I've forgotten but will add when I remember.
  • Only other significant event so far this year is watching Tombstone, which I also loved.

    Finally, I've made a new friend and a new enemy. And the same film is to blame for both. What happened was this: everyone else was out, and as you do (and I do more than you), I watched a film on account of being lonely and bored. Just so you understand how cross I get, the film was
    Reservoir Dogs, which I loved as much as ever.

    Half way through, the phone rings. I say half way - probably 2/3. It was a few minutes after Mr Orange had made his comment about being interrupted during Lost Boys. I sulkily paused the film, and answered it. Her name is Sophie from Swoffers and she wanted to talk to my parents. I said they weren't in, but would be back in about two hours. Now actually, they were going to be back in about an hour, but I didn't want her calling back before I'd finished. Selfish, but I really needn't have bothered. She evidently wasn't listening, as she certainly didn't wait that long.

    In fact, she called 40 seconds from the end. If you've seen the film, you'll understand why this got me a bit wound up. So I paused, told her they still weren't back, and was so well behaved and didn't say half the things I wanted to. I put the phone down, watched the tiny end slither and then planned how best to nuke her house.

    I was pretty unjust in my wrath the first time, I confess. But the second time no-oo!

    And my friend? Well this is friend in more of a Mr White/Orange sense of the word a.k.a. we don't actually know each other that well. She's a Tim Roth fan who wants a second brain to chat about her Reservoir Dogs term paper in a serious way. Guess who she asked? My prayers have been answered. XD.


    Apologies for excruciatingly long post. Read it in chunks and pretend I posted over several days...

    6 comments:

    Will said...

    You're named Sharkboy Lavagirl ? Cool Beans, never saw that movie. okay, seriously, is it this one?

    Anonymous said...

    Nietzsche wasn't remotely Nazi, he hated it and Hitler


    Lauren

    Ninquelosse said...

    Lauren - OK, sorry, perhaps that paragraph came out wrong. But his theories were pinched by the nazis, the same way pacifist Einstein contributed to the atom bomb

    Will - Nope and nope. Though being named Lavagirl would really make you stand out...xD

    Rob said...

    Well, how about this one then? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0404032/

    Ninquelosse said...

    Yay! That's the one. Well done.

    Aly Shephard said...

    Lmao! That conversation was so funny! And I wasn't referring to Jack from Lost *cough*!

     
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