Sunday, August 22, 2010

Of Dogs and Men

Old Boy: Man locked in hotel room for 15 years then mysteriously released seeks out the person/persons responsible. Result is sort of like The Prisoner, only with martial arts and some gleefully Jacobean incest, mutilation and ironic vengeance schemes.

My Life as a Dog: An earlier you-will-cry-buckets dog story by Lasse Hallstrom, about a young Swedish boy separated from his beloved pet and sent to live with small-town relatives when his mother develops a fatal illness. Suffused with guilt and grief, as well as burgeoning feelings of sexuality which confuse his relationship with his tomboy friend Saga, he conflates his own identity with that of his dog, his mother, and the then-recently-deceased Laika, eventually coming to accept his situation despite all its unfairnesses, leaving the viewer to carry on the anger and grief on his behalf.

10 Things I Hate About You: After my last foray into the post-Lurman Shakespeare-for-teens genre, I was not expecting too much from this, but it proved surprisingly good, being The Taming of the Shrew redone as a Whedonesque high-school comedy, full of zingy one-liners and humourous stereotypes of teenage cliques and with the misogynous treatment of Kate in the original play considerably mitigated (as the focus is less on Kate's brainwashing at the hands of Petruchio, as on the Kate- and Petruchio-equivalents both unbending and becoming less hostile to each other and the world). The one real complaint is that the start of the film seems to set up a subplot involving Alison Janney's randy school guidance counsellor which gets abandoned about one-third of the way in.

Movie count for 2010: 93