Sunday, September 27, 2009

Films That Are Surprisingly Good

Every so often comes a film that prompts me to think about similar film experiences, and so here we are. The film this time is 17 Again. The reaction was pleasant surprise. You see I was expecting the teeny bopper routine that always gets old in five minutes. Anything 'Zac Efron' generally screams 'steer clear' for me. But generally, this latest Efron epic (no, it's not an epic by any means, but I made an alliteration so the word stays) was not bad. It had enough to keep me interested. And by enough I mean plenty of Efron charm (and his comic timing is ok), several other interesting characters (my favourite being Mike's best friend--have forgotten his name--the weird sci fi fan), good enough dialogue and some sweet moments (my favourite being--spoiler--when young Mike enters the courtroom, which older Mike was supposed to attend to finalise his divorce, and he starts 'reading out' Mike's message. After he leaves, Scarlett goes over to the letter and realises those spoken words weren't written down. Surprisingly effective).

Now, it's not that I'm hailing 17 Again as the best film of all time, but what I mean to say is that it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. It was entertaining, and the flaws weren't distracting enough. With so-so ratings by the Herald Sun I was expecting much less.

And now for some other examples of films that I was expecting to not get along with (mais au contraire...).

Yolanda and the Thief -- in the classic lover's world this film hardly gets a mention (though I'm pleased to say it does have its fans on imdb) and during its release it flopped badly. So I wasn't expecting much when I approached it. But as it turned out, this was a film I could like. It has Fred Astaire (big plus), gorgeous technicolour, nice dancing and it's directed by Vincente Minelli (one of the best musical directors this side of the universe). It's arguably not for everyone, maybe because it's indulgent and not really conscious of marketing appeal.

Dr. Zhivago -- This film didn't have much to recommend itself to me. Its running time is too long and I've read from others that they couldn't sit through it. Somehow I did endure, and it wasn't so bad. Granted, I do have issues with it -- mostly that the illicit romance doesn't seem interesting, but instead its saddening for the wife that gets laid aside (Geraldine Chaplin, who's character is my favourite, so of course my sympathies are entirely with her). Otherwise, the film's grandeur, gorgeous cinematography and great music (Lara's Theme in particular) outweigh the flaws. Quite a surprising treasure.

School of Rock -- I avoided watching this film for God knows how long. One friend kept telling me how wonderful it was, but I didn't believe them. So really the only way I was going to see this film was if it was obligatory to, and that was just the case this year in cinema studies. Needless to say it's a treat from beginning to end, with terrific lines and a great delivery by Jack Black. Oh and the end title song is cool.

C'est tout.

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