Thought Twenty-Four: Bad Dreams, Bad Movies

Funny, looking at the title I just wrote. Dreams are really what movies want to become. More Immersion than 3-D smell-o-vision, or any exotic technology yet to come for a long while. I remember the film ‘Strange Days’ where theres a little gadget that can record experiences and replay them to someones mind directly as if they are actually in the experience themselves. All our technology, our Hollywood wizardry, armies of geeks, racks of computing power, people trained for their entire lives to master the art of bringing to us the kind of exotic experiences we pay good money for, all to have a taste of something we can experience with much more intensity and ‘reality’ as when we close our eyes and fall asleep.

Nothing can be as exciting on celluloid as when we are fighting a giant monster, or flying like a superhero, nothing is as terrifying on film as when we face our deepest, darkest  fears, all from the comfort of our own bed, for free. All conjured up by our subconsciousness.

I awoke angry, hurt, held captive in slumber by my own imagination. In my dream I was with my ex girlfriend, a seemingly small comment from her had got under my skin, pushed my buttons, enraged me. I threw something of hers against the wall and stormed out of the room to simmer, stew in my own juices, full of anger and injustice and confusion and hurt.

Although I had never damaged anything of hers like that in reality, the rest was too close to reality for my liking. I felt helpless, weak, frustrated that almost 5 years of distance from the relationship that she could still get to me in my sleep, or rather that my mind could lead me to that situation where I would be annoyed by it while I slept. The heavy cloud of mixed emotions hung like a lead weight on me, crossing from sleep to the waking world. Dreams rarely cross over like that for me. Its usually a distant echo, a mist of half remembered fragments pulled together from what seems like another world, but this one was clear, reflected in bright painful color, leaving its imprint behind my eyes as if I had stared at the sun too long, and heavy on my heart.

So, out of bed, and the day is already just way off being productive. I need to get away from a lot of things, even my own head at that moment. What can take me away? The cinema.

At some point I will have to do a blog entry (or 5) devoted to my love of film. I am a proud film geek. I live for the movies.

Anyway, in Montreal, Tuesdays are cheap Tuesdays. All the cinemas are reduced prices for the films on Tuesday, so thats the day I usually see a film. I hadnt gone for a few weeks, so I needed to do a little catching up, plus its the fringes of the Hollywood season at the moment, with the larger films for the year beginning to be released, so I went a bit…crazy and saw 3 films today.

Midday was Sucker Punch at the AMC Cinema.

I had been waiting and hoping and praying for this movie for almost a year since the first previews came out online. Zak Snyder, director of Watchmen and 300, both films I liked (300 was actually filmed here in Montreal) and the trailer for Sucker Punch looked fantastic. Then came the reviews, the backlash, the accusations of sexism, contrary to the Directors rallying cry that it ‘empowered’ women by having them in strong assertive positive roles. I will leave that debate for now, other than to say the accusations are a little over the top, but entertaining anyway. The film was actually in 2nd place after the weekend box office to a sequel to a kids story book, no less.

It was safe to say my expectations had been greatly lowered, but the common theme was that even if it stunk, it was good to look at, and I am a sucker for an FX heavy movie, so I had to see it on the big screen.

Actually, it wasnt so bad. The visuals kept my interest going. One review that I agreed with, that stuck in my head, is that it was like watching someone else playing a video game, which was annoying and frustrating, whereas I actually enjoy watching someone playing a game, especially someone who is good at the game, as it feels like the kind of narrative flow you get in a movie, and at least watching this video game, you could surmize that the player was very, very good at what they do.

Yes, it was all sound, fury, and pretty colors for nothing. It was ultimately cold and soulless. Not an ounce of sympathy or an element of danger or drama felt for any of the characters, probably because any situation where they were in peril was all some fantasy anyway. One large, pretty, great looking, empty movie. I was as unmoved leaving as I was going in, but I still dont think it was a waste of money to watch.

20 minutes to dash to another local cinema between screenings to catch ‘Rango’ the CG animated film with the voice of Johnny Depp, amongst others.

Very well animated technically, and a surprisingly ‘adult’ film. There was only one child in the audience, and they looked bored half way through, wandering around the half empty cinema, not really paying attention to the screen. Not so surprisingly either, this wasnt really a cutesy animated film for kids. Many movie references (Apocalypse Now, for example) and adult dialogue that would go way, way over the kids heads, with little to redeem it in the eyes of children. Needless to say, I was quite entertained. It dragged in parts, was a little unsteady in staging, but was still a good film.

A food break, hooking up with a couple of friends, and time for the third film of the day ‘Hobo With A Shotgun’, a Canadian-made, first time film director, surprisingly accurate take on the 70s/80s gore/B-movie/low budget type films. Plenty of blood and guts, unique ways to die, terrible dialogue (intentionally, thank goodness) and a self aware tongue in cheek style that definitely didnt outstay its welcome and did exactly as it was advertized as. Also, packed out, which was a pleasant surprise, given its slasher gore origins, and it was only 7.30 on a Tuesday night.

Theres a part where a guy holds a molotov cocktail and firebombs a dumpster with a woman clutching a child to her, burning them both alive. . I laughed loud. The woman next to me turned and said ‘thats not funny!’ to which I replied ‘it’s hilarious’. If you cant laugh at a scene like that, in a film like that, you really dont get the joke.

And, here I am. Its late. Im tired. Movies are good, dreams are unpredictable.