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Tuesday, April 12, 2011  

M. Ovie Reviews: Surprise!

Last month, Trash bought me a Groupon for something called Talk Cinema. At the art-house theater near our home, they apparently do this thing a couple of Saturdays a month where people can go, get free coffee, watch a movie that isn't even in theaters yet, and talk about it afterwards. The catch-slash-draw is, you don't know what the movie's going to be until you show up. Honestly, it could be anything.

I was kind of looking forward to being surprised. Now, if life were a Seinfeld episode, Chao and I would have shown up to learn that today's presentation would be some near-parody of a French costume drama, with a poster of people in period outfits making out under a tree, maybe with the word "Princess" in the title. But Trash had watched some trailers on Hulu a few nights before while I was in the room, so I knew there were plenty of modern, gripping, independent, international films coming out, and many of them looked gritty and grim. It was probably going to be one of those. The hypothetical French costume drama would be just too on-the-Gallic-nose.

Well…

You've got to be shitting me.

And as a bonus, it even has the sound of the word "poncey" in the title.

This isn't exactly a feminist piece, which shouldn't be surprising given that it's set in the sixteenth century, based on a short story written in the seventeenth, but I think I've gotten used to people working around that. During the 139 minutes of this film, the last half of which my tankard of Pibb Xtra started crying to get out, I kept waiting for the titular princess to exercise or even achieve some degree of agency over her own life, but from beginning to end she's pretty much at the mercy of the men in her life. There's her loser dad, her loser fiancé, the loser fiancé's allegedly hot brother who just looks like a French Eric Balfour to me, her upright but nerdy and jealous husband, her arrogant father-in-law, her husband's old teacher (who becomes hers in the course of events), and the King's brother, the Duke of Anjou. Basically she just gets bounced off these various men like a cue ball, and on the rare occasions when she's allowed to make decisions, she makes shitty ones. I probably shouldn't have expected more from a seventeenth-century story, but then I didn't have any reason to expect anything at all.

It's pretty low-tech, with no special effects of any kind. Unfortunately that extends even to the battle scenes, which, given that the story is set during the war between the Catholics and the Huguenots, there are plenty of. It's college-theater fight choreography, but then people who see this won't be there for the fight choreography in the first place.

People will go for the costumes, which I hope I won't embarrass Chao by saying we were both pretty impressed with them. Fifteenth-century clothes often look pretty ridiculous to our eyes, but this cast pulled it off pretty well for the most part, moving like they dress that way every day. And people will see this for the costumes.

In the end, though, I kind of wished we'd held off until the next Talk Cinema event and seen that movie instead. What movie? I have no idea. Still, though.

And I don't even drink coffee.

posted by M. Giant 9:06 PM 1 comments

1 Comments:

For a French movie, there sure was a severe lack of boobs...

I'm down for the April 30th Movie Talk if you want to!

By Blogger Chao, at April 13, 2011 at 1:11 PM  

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