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Monday Movies: “I wanna be… where the Navi are…”

Movies The Girlfriend and I watched this week include the following:

  • The Castle — this movie fit well with both my Haneke completism (only Funny Games remains) and The Girlfriend’s newfound fascination with Kafka. She pointed out that the film is pretty faithful to the book but still feels Haneke-esque in that you feel anxious for all the characters even though not much is happening on the surface. His technique of using abrupt cuts also worked well with the abrupt ending of Kafka’s unfinished (and probably unfinishable) novel. One interesting thing I found was that I would sometimes find myself being sucked into the explanations of the bureaucratic procedures and how they’d gone wrong — even though it was obviously made up and designed to be absurd, there’s something compelling about such discussions, at least to me.
  • Avatar — The Girlfriend hadn’t seen it and we were both in need of a brain-dead movie on Friday night, so this was our choice. Let me tell you, this does not hold up well on a second viewing or indeed on a regular TV — the immersive experience of the theater carried it for me the first time I saw it, but it really dragged this time around. The dialogue is horrible, the characters are more gestures toward characters (Sigourney Weaver is brash and likes to smoke, but she has a heart!), and there’s so much about this world that just doesn’t make sense. Like who could’ve predicted before the last half hour of the movie that there were whole other clans of Navi and a huge amount of variation in the landscape, etc.? Sure seemed to me like Hometree represented the whole population. And why on earth would you want to stage your counterattack right near the site the humans are trying to destroy? It seems like you could wind up causing the destruction of the holy site by accident when you blew up the ships! Morons! Of course, the biggest question is why you would go along with the leadership of someone with literally no internal life whatsoever. And is the actor Australian or something? I would’ve looked it up, but I didn’t care enough. One funny thing, though, was the parallel we developed between Avatar and The Little Mermaid. I centered on the famous song: “Taking to animals with those… what do you call them? … BRAIDS!!!” The Girlfriend also pointed out the parallels between the villain and Ursula. To me, this is a more amusing parallel than Dances With Wolves.

March 21, 2011 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. 3/16/11 – Maboroshi No Hakiri – Kore-Eda
    3/17/11 – Oyuki the Virgin – Mizoguchi
    3/18/11 – Vive le Amour – Tsai Ming-Liang
    3/19/11 – Tokyo Story – Ozu
    3/20/11 – Swallowtail Butterfly – Iwai – the only Asian movie I have quit on in months – very post-modern and mashup, with handheld cameras, indulgent and weird, but what was difficult was the characters speaking in English (and Japanese and Mandarin) phonetically and/or with bad accents. Like Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | March 21, 2011

  2. i watched three French comedies and liked it, one indie movie which i surprisingly liked too, _Please Give_, and a little of Pingu, then two episodes of Archer
    _Avatar_ is a children’s movie, fairy tale, and people just can’t enjoy it mindlessly like any such cartoons, no, they’ll bring into it native Americans saying something denigrating about them regardless whether they defend them or are defensive themselves

    Comment by read | March 21, 2011

  3. it/those

    Comment by read | March 21, 2011

  4. I streamed Escape from New York over the weekend, and I think that was the only movie I watched this past week. Isn’t this something of a cult classic?

    If it is, it wouldn’t surprise me because it’s my experience people tend to either love or hate “cult movies”. That’s why they’re cult classics and not just classics, right? Anyway, assuming it’s a cult movie, consider me squarely outside its cult.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | March 21, 2011

  5. I watched The Saddest Music in the World and, prompted by a Metafilter post, Top Secret!, which I’d never seen before and enjoyed immensely.

    I begin to think, though, that the ability to exit from full-screen viewing merely by pressing “f” is deleterious to my movie-watching experience, at least when I watch by myself and thus have no other out of consideration for whose preferences I might refrain from so pressing. This is a problem.

    Comment by ben | March 21, 2011

  6. Ah, Top Secret! I loved that movie when I saw it. I remember laughing a lot, but the joke that…ahem…sticks out the most is the ballet scene.

    I just remember my friend’s mom saying, “What are they dancing on?…Oh. What are you guys watching?”

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | March 21, 2011

  7. 6 is exactly right.

    Comment by k-sky | March 21, 2011

  8. I watched The Saddest Music in the World

    That’s a good movie.

    I made efforts to watch Jane Eyre this weekend, which were ultimately unsuccessful. I liked the Samantha Morton/Ciaran Hinds version from the nineties.

    Comment by jms | March 21, 2011

  9. We tried to watch “The Expendables” last weekend. If the principle “Everything is better with Jason Statham” is true, then could you imagine this movie without him? I can barely imagine this movie with him. Halfway through, we got out our computers and slowly stopped paying attention. A review on IMDB suggests that it would be better called “The Unflushables.” No shit.

    Comment by Craig | March 21, 2011

  10. I really like Saddest Music when I saw it in the theater, but this time I found myself unable to attend to it completely, for the reason identified in 5. I didn’t really mind it when it happened with Top Secret! but it was an unfortunate occurrence with the former movie. Maybe I should blame myself.

    Comment by ben | March 21, 2011

  11. Ah, I liked Avatar. But lets see, what have I seen…Rango-watched it last weekend at the movies. As many reviewers have noted, it is one odd flick. There were a couple scenes done extremely one-I’m particularly thinking of a canyon sequence that was pure fun-but in the end, it was just an ok movie.

    Um-I watched a movie called “Creation” about Darwin and the personal struggles he went through when finishing up his manuscript “On the Origin of Species.” I wonder how accurate the move is to Darwin’s own life-if the man Darwin really went through intense struggles over the idea that he was “killing God” with his scientific ideas. However, I did not finish the movie and thought it lacked the emotional impact that it should have had.

    Comment by William | March 21, 2011

  12. I somehow forgot two other movies we watched this week: Sita Sings the Blues and Viridiana. The best part of Sita was the conversation among the narrators — I found the present-day story somewhat pointless, though, and thought that there were a few too many musical numbers. As for Viridiana: dude, what the fuck?!

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | March 22, 2011

  13. I also forgot to mention that the guy who plays K. in The Castle really reminded me of the character Taub from House for some reason.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | March 22, 2011

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