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26 December 2010 @ 11:58 am
The Movie Backlog, Part Three  
The Magician (1958), Ingmar Bergman. Nov 27, 6pm. View count: One.
Labyrinth (1986), Jim Henson. Dec 8, 8pm. View count: Eightish?
The Princess Bride (1987), Rob Reiner. Dec 8, 11pm. View count: Also eightish? I should probably just say "a bunch."
High Fidelity (2000), Stephen Frears. Dec 12, 1pm. View count: One.

The Magician is a little light for Bergman, really. It's about a travelling troupe of performers, who have magic as a theme, and their arrival at and departure from a little town. Decidedly worth watching, and surprising in several ways; it's quite difficult to be sure of how much in the way of supernatural activity is actually occurring until the plot has progressed to the end. All the old favorite Bergman touches are generally present, adding up nicely to a pretty well-rounded story. With depth and complexity, yet still occasionally flip, it's an unusual one. I was quite pleased by it.

Labyrinth is, as it always is, pleasant to watch. A lot of love was put into this movie, and even if it's so gentle as to seem toothless, I still enjoy it. Watching with friends is recommended. Also, the blu-ray makes it apparent that Jareth's grey stretch-pants have sparkles on them.
Also also, this.

Princess Bride is another childhood favorite, which does hold up, I was pleased to note. As advertised, it has everything ("Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison [...]"). And I don't think that Cary Elwes will ever see its like again. I was struck this time by how lame the Princess is as a character, but, eh. What else is new. Most other aspects I've essentially memorized, so it's hard to think about them critically.

High Fidelity I'd never seen, due to an idea that it was a wallowy, disaffected man-child movie. Which is is in a way, but it actually was not unamusing. I got some fun out of it, and even Jack Black can't take that away. (I am not usually very much in favor of Jack Black.) I ended up amusing myself by thinking of the whole story as a typically self-absorbed memory belonging to someone semi-functional like Dr. Venture, in which light it sorta worked. The whole thing had such a strong perspective that it encouraged this, I think. The specific viewpoint may have been the most successful thing about it.
Jacob Hallerjwgh on December 27th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
I think your approach to 'High Fidelity' is the desired one. This also applies to the book, which the movie follows pretty closely (apart from details like the location being moved 4,000 miles).

I think any movie where the main character stops, looks at the camera, and gives an interpretation of what's going on (which happens in High Fidelity, right? it's been while since I've seen it) is probably overtly being told from that character's point of view. Are there examples of this other than High Fidelity and Annie Hall?
Some Frightening Dingbatsanspoof on December 27th, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, I guess what I was trying to say was that that's nearly all the movie has going for it -- its specific perspective. Like, it actively is annoying if you don't think of it as the inside of someone's head, all the time. You can't just be amused by the story, because everything's too skewed, I think. I dunno, maybe that's just me.
Matt McIrvinmmcirvin on December 27th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC)
Every movie Matthew Broderick made in the early part of his career did that.
Talysman the Ur-Beatleurbeatle on December 27th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
I think The Magician was the first Bergman film I ever saw. Up to that point, my knowledge of Bergman was limited to quips in Mad Magazine or on SCTV (and miscellaneous other comedy shows) about how all swedish films were artsy, mad now sense, had no plot, and involved people giving monologues in swedish about philosophy. The Magician was so freaking NOT like this that I was immediately sold on Bergman.
Some Frightening Dingbatsanspoof on December 27th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
It's true, it's really accessible, isn't it?
Now that I think of it, Bergman really isn't inaccessible, even usually, but he usually is a lot more downbeat. But, yeah, The Magician is a lot of fun.
Talysman the Ur-Beatleurbeatle on December 27th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, a lot of other Bergman films turn out to be less deep than Mad Magazine, '70s sitcoms, and Bergman parodies pretend. But The Magician is so accessible, I think it's the best one to start with if a person has been misled, as I was.
Some Frightening Dingbat: comics: Mysterio laughs at nothingsanspoof on December 27th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
(Although sometimes those parodies are awesome. Viz. especially the excellent MST3K bit.)
[Spoiler removed!]

Edited at 2010-12-27 08:38 pm (UTC)
Talysman the Ur-Beatleurbeatle on December 27th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
In defense of Mike and the bots, they really only slowed down delivery of the joke. It's not as extreme as SCTV's Whispers of the Wolf or the short film "The Dove".

Those were pretty funny, too, though.
Matt McIrvinmmcirvin on December 27th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
I never saw Labyrinth until relatively recently, so I never had any childhood affection for it. I found it more peculiar than enchanting, but one thing I did like a lot about the movie was its use of on-set practical effects of a sort you don't see much any more--stuff that was almost stage magic: forced perspective, camouflaged portals, all that puppetry of course.
Some Frightening Dingbat: Puutansanspoof on December 27th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
Good point. (If I'd buckled down and written up everything right after I'd seen it maybe I'd've been able to discriminate important from not-important, but... I procrastinated, and here we are! Who knows what's unique or good? Not I!)