Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Ladies Who Lunch with The Ides of March

Last Friday afternoon I went along to the movies to catch up with The Ides of March. It's always a good time to go to the movies due to the dearth of horrible movie patrons who would seemingly rather do anything but watch the movie they paid money to see. As I took my seat in walked two nice old ladies who proceeded to sit down behind me. They discussed the delicious lunch they'd just devoured (one had a caeser salad, the other a focaccia) and as the trailers began to play they continued to provide a chucklesome running commentary.

On J. Edgar:
"Oh that Clint Eastwood always makes good movies, don't you think?"
"Oh yes. Judi Dench! She's fabulous."

On The Descendants:
"Another one with George Clooney? It looks like a good one."
"Who is that young girl?"
"I don't know."

On Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy:
"Hmmm. I like British movies."
"Oh I thought it was out soon. That's very disappointing."

On War Horse:
"It's about a horse."

On the "summer school holidays" ad that plays at Village:
"Do you think the kiddies would like The Muppets?"
"Doesn't everybody like the muppets?"

Amen to that!

They thankfully quietened down throughout the actual film, although one did gasp and whisper "Gotcha!" during one of Ides' concluding scenes. I can't say I agree with the ladies' thoughts on J Edgar, which looks interminable, but sit through it I shall, I suppose, at some stage. I'll consider it a success if it's better than Hereafter. Oh Hereafter, you are so very, very shit. Upon leaving the theatre the two ladies discussed the movie - I walked considerably slower than I normally would just so I could continue to eavesdrop - and it turns out they both enjoyed it. They were particularly fond of the "young guy" (I'm assuming they mean Gosling), but who isn't? As they walked past a big foyer standee for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, one of the ladies made the rather true observation that "I don't know who Rooney Mara is, but she is gorgeous!" Piercings and all. As I walked out of the cinema, I happened to spot Shannon "Bazura Project" Marinko who was waiting to go in and see... The Ides of March. Small world.

As for the film itself? Well, it's a very solid piece of filmmaking from George Clooney, who certainly doesn't want for confidence in front or behind the camera. I admired the low-key, but never flat cinematography and the occasionally curious use of music. Performances were generally all fantastic - I particularly liked the trio of Gosling, Wood and Tomei - but, and this is a very big but (ahem), I have to call foul on Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. I am long on the record of not being a fan of either of these two men. Two actors who almost everybody can't help but stumble over with hyperbole. I have like Hoffman more often than Giamatti (his turns in Capote, Happiness and Doubt are, I feel, particularly strong), but their duelling shlubbery routine has grown incredibly tired. Hoffman has given the exact same performance twice this year in Ides and Moneyball. It's acting with a capital A. And a capital C, T, I, N, G, too. Followed by several exclamation points. Kitchen sinks, they own many. I feel positively exhausted watching these two perform, huffing and puffing their way through loud, shouty scenes. Hoffman proved in Capote that you don't need to shout in order to be powerful, so why does he keep playing these characters that require him to do so? It's tiresome. People have the same criticism about Nicole Kidman and her whispered delivery, but she alternates it enough and adds enough character-defining flourishes to make the performances in, say, Birth and Dogville completely and vividly different. I don't so much get that with Giamatti and Hoffman. Perhaps it's just my personal biases - one-dimensional masculine tropes aren't so much my thing - but I guess I can't change that. I wish I could see what everyone else sees, but I just don't.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

J EDGAR is not too bad although a tad bit long. It is also the gayest mainstream film since MILK although I noticed the trailer avoids J Edgar's close relationship with his assistant. The movie does not shy away from it but the trailer surely does.