Where the Wild Things Are

December 12, 2009

If you see enough and read enough about films, there’s a tendency to pigeonhole everything into a genre, be it as broad as ‘drama’ or as specific as ‘neo-noir’ or ‘mumblecore’.  This practice is fine as far as it goes, as knowing the history of a particular type of film and understanding its basic conceits helps with expectations and, to some extent, enjoyment level.  Take westerns, for instance.  You can watch any Leone film, or maybe Eastwood’s Unforgiven, and knowing the tropes, you can recognize what is there, what is subverted, and what is being done to comment on what has come before.  The downside of this whole approach to cinema is that every so often a film comes along that explodes its genre that you really don’t know where it’s coming from or how to take it.  I don’t mean this in the sense of American Dreamz, which is both audaciously ridiculous and so wildly miscalculated that it turns into an interesting misfire.  I mean this in the sense that the aim of the filmmakers to work in an area is obvious, and they succeed at getting across what they want to get across, and yet you’re still not sure how you’re meant to take it. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Twilight Saga: New Moon

December 1, 2009

Oh boy. I really don’t know where to begin.  The Twilight series of books and now accompanying films are a genuine global phenomenon, and it is almost enough to make me give up on the world altogether.  Okay, that’s unfair, as there are plenty of cultural touch points that are just as bad and befuddling in their popularity (Dan Brown, Transformers, and The Hills come to mind).  Still, there’s something insidious about the enterprise that just feels worse in some way.  The writing in the books (of what little I have read, anyway) is appalling, and I can’t help but feel that an entire generation is getting dumber for reading them.  At least with Dan Brown and Nicholas Sparks it’s a more adult demographic, meaning that an awful lot of people are already lost.  As Stephanie Meyer’s series is directed at tweens and teens,  I worry that it might stunt their growth.  Only time will tell, and that’s literature anyway, which isn’t my area in the first place.  Based on the two films so far, however, I wonder if they’re not just feeding a generation of emotional idiots, but actually creating them. Read the rest of this entry »