Monday, August 29

[Just try to see in the dark]

Stop reading here if you plan to see The Brothers Grimm.

"I was the perfect guy to do 'Harry Potter.' I remember leaving the meeting, getting in my car, and driving for about two hours along Mulholland Drive just so angry. I mean, Chris Columbus' versions are terrible. Just dull. Pedestrian…. I saw 'War of the Worlds' and I thought, Steven Spielberg is a man who makes brilliant scenes but can't make a movie anymore."

— Terry Gilliam, in Entertainment Weekly

No offense, Terry, but to talk such a big game and then to slap something like Grimm up on the screen completely takes the wind out of your incredulity. Because, while it has its little moments of sadistic and comedic near-brilliance, Grimm is a mess. I've seen the phrase "lost in the woods" used by critics and I can't argue. It starts out promisingly enough (though I did note with surprise the unusually abrupt opening sequence) but loses its focus due to a smattering of unrelated sight gags and annoying-as-fuck French people with cartoony accents and bewildering behavior. And, let's face it, some of the special effects were just embarrassing. The horse-kneeling-in-slow-motion part seemed especially badly edited, but I'm nitpicking. (I read something about budget cuts, so I suppose dated effects can be forgiven, but it doesn't make them any less cringeworthy.)

What saves this film slightly is what saves almost all films I desperately want to like but can't: the sets. From the muddy confines of the castle at Marbaden to the enchanted forest dressed in its palette of grey and greyer, there was plenty to look at on screen even if what was actually happening made no sense or made me hide my face in my hands and peek through my fingers in embarrassment.

I think's Jürgen Fauth sums it up best: "It pains me to write this, but The Brothers Grimm amounts to a third class theme park ride, much too dark for children, too familiar for adults, and too lame for either."

Katrina keeps on coming. The Weather Channel gets new footage from New Orleans every now and again. Most of it is of high rise offices with windows busted out, their metal blinds twisting violently in the wind. The Superdome has incurred a hole or two in the roof, but so far the people inside are still safe. The roads are covered in water. But some people are still standing outside, I guess to see what's going on.

Here it's overcast, muggy, and wet. We had planned to take to Tunica for a few hours, just to see what was there (we've never been), but the hurricane has shoved Louisiana and Mississippi residents north, and a news report yesterday said Tunica's hotels were filling up fast. So it's likely to be crowded with stressed-out people in pajamas, their heads filled with a peculiar combination of relief and dread. Can't say it would be smart to go, but it sure might be interesting.


Blogger Colby said...

I'm pretty convinced Gilliam has just about fallen off his rocker. I mean, did you see Lost in La Mancha? Divine Providence ensured that movie wasn't made and inflicted upon all of us.

Tue Aug 30, 12:27:00 AM  

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