It’s been a long time since I went to the movies on a weekday. Definitely not since most places stopped their matine prices at 4 instead of 6 (if they have them at all.) But now I can’t remember why not. Because this worked out great. And that’s not a comment on the quality of the movies watched at all. It just means I didn’t feel rushed nor did I feel like I got home too late. I even got to eat at home before leaving. Oh, how interesting. But seriously, this was last week already. I am not timely with these. And it’s not as if I’m drafting anything before posting them. But that’s got to be obvious by now.
Paris je T’aime – I just read a review of this movie and realized, it’s kind of impossible to review. The guy was using two fancy adjectives and then tacking on the name of the segment, once in awhile throwing in a director’s name. But unless you were able to memorize all that information, there’s no way you’d be able to follow this (or any) review. Never mind if you hadn’t yet seen the movie.
In which case, you have no idea what I’m talking about either. Paris je T’aime is a feature made up of 18 vignettes, all centered around the titular city. Directors ranging from French ones you haven’t heard of to other foreign directors you haven’t heard of to Wes Craven, Alexander Payne and The Coen Brothers. And I hate to sound xenophobic, but those are the only ones that are really any good. Not many of them are bad, mind you, just… French. By which I mean boring. There’s an establishing shot of Paris between each story to serve as transition, but for me, they became the pauses that were long enough to signify that the preceding short was finished. Otherwise, I don’t know that I could tell, because mostly nothing had happened yet.
Regardless, it’s difficult to think about it as one movie. And at least arduous to do so as 18 movies. Because they never seem to have anything to do with each other. And I don’t mean to say that they should have had floating characters like that horrendous experiment Nine Lives. And I realize the point, sort of, is to illustrate all the facets that make up this supposedly fascinating city (people behind me couldn’t agree with each other enough that they’d see anything that took place in Paris), but I never got the sense that Paris wasn’t simply an excuse to get a bunch of big-time-in-the-small-time directors together to see who could make the best short (The Coen Brothers won.) In the end, they all appear to exist in the same space with dumb knowing glances and a coincidence-heavy party. Which at that point seems completely superfluous. Although it’s kind of funny that Elijah Wood and his vampire girlfriend show up amongst the rest of the normal people as if their portion fit in at all with the rest.
Once – The soundtrack to this movie is about 54 minutes long. And all of it, if not more, is in the movie. And the movie is 83 minutes long. Now sure, it’s technically a musical. So that’s not totally crazy. But it clearly does not want to be seen as a regular musical. And it shouldn’t be, even though some of the songs do advance the movie as a whole, including one brilliant piece of exposition.
I suppose I would like to be able to analyze it as a movie, seperate from the music, no matter how short that movie would be. But I can’t. Not necessarily because they’re inextricably linked, but because the non-music portion isn’t really anything. No one really has any problems that can be dealt with in any way other than in song. And while that might make for nice songs, it does not necessarily make for nice movie. Still, there is something inherently watchable about the two nameless leads (Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová) and their pointlessly doomed relationship. Nobody ever makes a big deal out of anything which is nice, but you wonder if that’s because asking these non-actors to do anything out of the ordinary would have been a mistake anyway.
And now I don’t know how to end this because it’s been a long time and I still haven’t come up with a way to say anything strictly positive even though I feel like I want to. Good thing nobody’s reading this or I’d be in trouble.