Thursday, January 24, 2008

Double Death

I went to two pretty lousy movie screenings this week. The first was Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind. I really wanted to like this one, if only for Michel Gondry’s future as a director. But the movie sucked pretty hard. It’s about these two dudes in New Jersey who work in a video store where all of the tapes are accidentally erased, and so they recreate all of the movies themselves. First of all, the premise is just stupid; who watches VHS anymore? But mostly, Jack Black single-handedly brings down the entire movie by monopolizing every scene. That guy has always annoyed me. There were, however, about twenty minutes of good film making when Gondry did what he does best: visual effects. I wish, though, that he would just stick to making music videos.

The second screening was a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie called The Russell Girl, which was not nearly as bad. Still, within the first five minutes of the movie, the audience finds out that a young girl has Leukemia. And then we sit and watch as she tries to hide it from her family and high school boyfriend for the next two hours. Hallmark is quite cunning, actually, and knows how to hijack its viewers’ emotions. Even though the screening did not have commercials, it was explained to me at the reception beforehand that when Hallmark shows the movie on TV, they only use Hallmark commercials. Each commercial is strategically placed at specific points in the film to provoke certain emotions. Even without the commercials, though, I still found myself crying at the end of the movie. I don’t know why. I felt no attachment to the characters or the story; I just couldn’t help but cry.


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