Tuesday, June 17, 2003

The Movie I Watched Last Night LXX

Jean-Marie Jeunet adds some elements of Luc Besson's cinematography in this magic realism-inspired romantic comedy. What a beautiful, beautiful movie. Basically the story of a young woman who's overly sheltered as a young girl because her parents externalized their neuroses on her, Amelie follows her physical and emotional blossoming after she leaves home to work as a waitress in a bigger city. Her child-like glee and love of life is inspirational, and her unrealistic -- although in the end successful -- approach to finding a lover is a joy to watch unfold. So many elements work well in this film: the social microcosm at the restaurant, the role photomats play, the fact that her boyfriend-to-be works in a porn shop, the produce clerk. And Jeunet's visuals communicate Amelie's innocent bliss and fine attention to detail extremely well. A pleasantly dark and comic approach to the love story. Excellently done, and well worth watching if you're late to this film like me.

The Matrix Reloaded
I finally caved last weekend and made my way to the Boston Common Loews to catch this movie before it left the theaters. While it's not as awe-inspiring or inspirational as the first Matrix movie -- an unrealistic expectation, as far as I'm concerned -- the movie is good at what it does. Damn good. The Wachowski brothers up the ante in terms of special effects with a couple of key scenes -- the ghost twins and the many Agent Smiths -- and, otherwise, the movie is just as impressive visually as the first one. Additionally, the widescreen shots of Zion and other environmental locations are quite nice, even if the Wachowskis risk falling into the Terminator trap if they continue to dwell on the robot war and probe sequences. The threat of the Matrix feels relatively hollow because -- outside of the Architect -- there's little sense or personality behind it. Storywise, the movie is just as rich philsophically as the first one, but the back and forth between exposition and action staggers. The first Matrix was a much more coherent movie. That said, the commentary on choice is welcome, and the Wachowskis explain more about the Matrix world and the myth of the One, which moves the movie ahead nicely. I felt like the Cornell West character wasn't worth all the attention -- much less including; any actor would've done fine. And I felt like the ending could've been less of a cliff hanger. Nonetheless, see this in a theater if you haven't already. It's meant to be seen on the big screen, not on TV.

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