Friday, January 4, 2008


I totally admit it. I'm a snob when it comes to movies. There are simply some films I cannot allow myself to watch. If it's a blockbuster with lots of explosions, a prequel, sequel, or one in a series of children's books, you won't catch me near it. I can't even stay in the room while the DVD is playing, and if I do, I get shushed for making snide comments that are much more entertaining than the actual dialogue. In my opinion, at least. And don't get me started on wizards, light sabers, and short, furry-footed creatures who eat two breakfasts. I just don't get it. In fact, the only thing I get is nauseous.

I can, however, speak seriously about some films, and I saw several over the Christmas holidays. My parents rented The Painted Veil, based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, and starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. While I haven't read the book (I know!), I did really enjoy the movie. It's nothing particularly romantic or stand-out, but the cinematography is beautiful and the story is touching. I'm reading Nancy Mitford at the moment, so I'm all about rich girls in England looking for love, and The Painted Veil was right up my alley. Throw in a sordid love affair, an outbreak of cholera, and the exotic setting of the Chinese countryside, and you've got yourself a pretty good movie for a night spent at home.

Earlier this week, I finally got my hands on The Namesake, based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. I haven't read the book yet (notice the yet!), but the movie is excellent. There was the minor fact that I couldn't figure out how to cue the subtitles on the screen, so I watched the entire film without them; but honestly, the movie is so well done that I didn't even need the subtitles. I strongly recommend this movie to everyone. It follows the life of an Indian couple as they move to the United States and raise a family. Their children are completely westernized, and the title refers to the son's journey as he learns the significance of his name. I plan to watch it again this weekend, with the subtitles on, for the full effect.

Then today, a friend and I saw Atonement with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, based on the novel by Ian McEwan (I have so much homework to do!). I've heard nothing but rave reviews about this film, and the previews looked amazing, but I must say that I was really disappointed, especially after all the hype. I'm hoping the book is much more appealing (I'm guessing it is, based upon the people I saw crying in the theater who obviously read it), but the film certainly didn't touch my inner being at all. The movie is extremely long and beautifully filmed, but it does little to make the viewer care about the main characters or their love affair. In fact, I got really tired of staring at Knightley's sharp, anorexia-induced shoulder blades and the same vacant look she wears in the Chanel ad and commercial. If you've seen the commercial, you've basically seen the movie. I also had a hard time understanding some of her dialogue, and wished for a remote to rewind the film at certain points along the way.

Don't get me wrong. Keira Knightley is stunningly beautiful and talented, and I'm sure she makes an excellent swashbuckler, though I don't know personally (see above). But somebody needs to feed the girl a hamburger or two so she can have the strength to speak clearly again. In the movie, Knightley's character begs McAvoy to "come back, come back to me," over and over again, even using the lines to calm him down when he is in the midst of a furious rage. My friend and I couldn't help but laugh at this, and I had an image in my sick mind of him complaining about taking out the trash, and Knightley's tragic face begging, "come back, come back to me." I definitely think I need to read the book to fully appreciate the movie, and I'm sure I'll like its pre-World War II in England setting. Not to mention the rich girl looking for love. "Come back, come back to me!"