What's On? 25/11/16
First of all, no, I didn't review last week's movie, Dead Man, the postmodern Western directed by Jarmusch and starring Johnny Depp. I think it was a slightly underwhelming film, though I loved the soundtrack (Neil Young, riffing on an electric guitar, apparently in front of the film as he was watching it). It's the kind of film that might even be better to watch on TV in a chilled out mood, while you're eating or drinking or reading a magazine. I don't like Depp any more than I did before watching the movie – he looked beautiful on its black and white screen, but beauty's not enough, n'est pas? – but I might start listening to Neil Young now, especially as I've never given him a chance in the past.
So to this weekend. There's Jarmusch's latest release, Paterson, starring Adam Driver, another quirky-looking film set in a dead-town environment. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (FBAWTFT). The hype and advertising for this post-Harry-Potter-prequel is unsurprisingly huge, not dissimilar to George Lucas's Phantom Menace after the original Star Wars trilogy. The reviews for FBAWTFT are pretty strongly in favour of this Rowling-scripted movie, but I've become quite sceptical of reviews, as much as I like reading them (and I say that as a reviewer). So I don't know.
The film does bring up the legacy of Harry Potter, which remains strong. At my Edinburgh University graduation yesterday, it was impossible to see everyone coming on stage for their degrees and not think of the Sorting Hat ritual, especially since everyone's colours were either green (me and other Language-Literature post-grads), blue (law), red and yellow (don't remember what these disciplines were). Lawyers in the colours of Slytherin. Well, well.There are aspects of Harry Potter which leave me cold. Whatever Rowling's intentions with the script, I do see these post-Potter films as a blatant attempt by the studios at exploiting the Potter universe. But then again, sometimes capitalism gets it right – the attempt at trying to make money by providing people with what you think they want. And I don't doubt there are lots of people out there who are excited about going to see another Potter-universe movie. Which is a good thing, isn't it? Yes, I think it is. I've heard the same complaints about He-Man in sociology lectures, the cartoon / plastic figurine character from the 1980s (which I adored), which apparently was designed as a merchandising scheme. But again, so what? He-Man, Castle Grayskull, and all that stuff was wonderfully colourfull. I had the toys and watched the cartoons and played with friends (I was the child version of Man-At-Arms, 'Kid-At-Arms'). All good fun. Which is what you'd probably say about this latest movie, with Eddie Redmayne in the lead role. It looks like an IMAX-3D experience (the kind of hyperactive movie you couldn't enjoy as much on TV in a chill-out mood, I suspect). I expect it to be in the cinema for as long as they can keep it going – I don't know why they didn't release it at Christmas, it seems from the outside to look like a perfect Christmas film. The question on everyone's lips as they read this is, is Christmas to come early to Gina? And with that cliff-hanger, I'll see you next week.