January 17, 2007

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

boratVery funny movie, even with only 10 people in the theater. Borat prompted a long conversation about the making of a fake documentary: We impressed with the verisimilitide, so much so that we talked at length about the logistics of filming a movie where the authentic reactions of unaware "real" people are the essential ingredient. Just imagine how many hours of footage must have been shot to unearth the few nuggets of comedy gold! We noticed the hard work that must have gone into editing this movie together- unlike the lengthy Borat interview segments on HBO, most of the interview segments in the movie are very short. I hypothesized that star Sasha Baron Cohen was unable to sustain longer interviews because subjects refused to talk to him after hearing him talk for 5 minutes; Emily suspects this was an effort to keep the pace of the movie fast: at 84 minutes it almost felt too long. We both wonder if Cohen will be able to make a similar movie from another of his characters (Bruno, Ali G) when everyone in America knows who he is now. (Landmark Embassy Theater, Waltham)

January 5, 2007

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

startrek2I have been a fan of this space opera since I first saw it in the early 1980s. I don't know if I saw TWoK in the theater in 1982. My parents were big fans of The Original Series, and the movies, so the 10-year-old Stub Hubby probably saw TWoK in the theater. My main memory is watching the taped-from-ABC videocassette copy for many years.
Starting on Saturday Night Live in the 1980s, William Shatner's bad acting as Captain Kirk has become an ironic icon, and in the 21st century, his defiant scream into his communicator (see photo, left) is a widely-distributed Internet joke. It's true, Shatner's acting on the 1960s TV show was pretty terrible at times. His performance as Kirk in Wrath of Khan is actually well modulated and subtle...except for that one scene:
Kirk: Khan, you bloodsucker. You're gonna have to do your own dirty work now, do you hear me? Do you?!!
Khan: Kirk? You're still alive, old friend!
Kirk: Still, "old friend." You've managed to kill everyone else but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target.
Khan: Perhaps I no longer need to try, Admiral.
Kirk: Khan... Khan, you've got Genesis, but you don't have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You're gonna have to come down here. You're gonna have to come down here.
Khan: I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her: marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet, buried alive. Buried alive.
Because this one scene has become an eternal Internet gag, the crowd at the Brattle Theater was chock full of stoned college kids, primed to giggle at everything and anything: any dramatic or emotional moment, however inconsequential, elicited giggles. NOTES: One patron loudly snored through the middle of the movie. I think I've heard him snore there before. Also, the father behind me brought his 10-year-old daughter with him. I am all in favor of exposing America's youth to the Star Trek phenomenon, but she kept asking Dad questions about the plot, in a too-loud 'stage' whisper. Bringing your kids to the movies requires some responsibility, and teaching your kids how to whisper in the theater is one of them.