December 31st, 2007

Fishy Circumstances

Two movies

I've already received an email from tomorrow. In a few minutes, it will be the future in the UK. Here, it's not even dinnertime yet, and I'm skimming posts pondering the year past and the year to come. Many of them deal with the question of what the best movie they saw this past year was. If I had to choose one, it would be Hot Fuzz, but what I actually want to tell you about are two movies I saw recently.

Enchanted had a terrible and off-putting preview, but was a delightful and charming movie of fairy tale animateds come to unwilling life in New York City, where there are no happy endings. I loved the sequences transfering fairy tale moments to the city: summoning with songs pigeons and cockroaches to clean an apartment; Giselle's clothing patterns left behind in curtains and sheets. It's not a perfect movie, but it's an endearing one, and I like it quite a lot. fjm critiqued it minorly as part of a recent group of movies which show people with curly hair getting it straightened as part of their transformation sequence; knowing this in advance, I can redeem the movie by observing that Giselle's hair is straight in the opening sequence and she doesn't wear it curled until she goes to get married. Having her hair straighened, while not great for the message it sends about curls, is at least consistent with the status quo shown at the movie's beginning.

Shotgun Stories is a movie filmed in Scott, Arkansas, currently in very limited release, having won several major awards at a variety of more minor film festivals. I went to see it with my cousin, who did the costumes and still photography for it. It's a powerful, slow-paced piece about two sets of half brothers, raised in hate of each other, and the violence which comes from their upbringing after their father dies. Three of the brothers - Son, Boy, and Kid, are so alienated from their father that they never had proper names. It's about family and the other relationships which connect them. It's about the women who love them and the countryside which nurtured them. Inevitability is what gives the plot tension, but things don't always work out as you might expect.