We watched a surprising number of movies this month. Perhaps this is a sign of the Cape Town winter approaching, tempting us with evenings curled up on the sofa, a hot-water-bottle (and Tuffy-Cat) purring between us, and a steaming mug of hot chocolate in easy reach.
Quite frankly, I find this incomparably better than driving to an overcrowded and noisy movie theatre in the pouring rain, being shoved around in rowdy queues, and having my ears blown off by movie-house speakers that are designed to make us deaf by the ripe old age of 30.
What is the point of that, by the way?! Is it really necessary to feel the soundtrack under your feet and bum? And what delight is there in having an alarming combination of tinnitus, numbness and stabbing pain in both ears for the rest of the night?
But back to our selection of movies, which ranged from the dreadful to the inspirational: At the bottom of the rung was the appalling Mercenary for Justice; starring Steven Seagal, it was predictably violent with a confusing storyline, so perhaps best to give it a miss. Just marginally better was Lost, starring Dean Cain (Clark Kent of Lois and Clark/Superman fame) as a man who gets lost in the Nevada desert after robbing his own bank; I thought it was an appropriate title for a movie that had no idea where it was going. Even though Hitman was graphically violent and had an unrivalled body count (perhaps because it is actually based on a video-game and shot in that style), its storyline was at least comprehensible. And Timothy Olyphant in the role of bald-headed Agent 47 was strangely sexy. We also watched The Mummy Returns – which is a sequel to The Mummy; it is a rollicking adventure story about a husband and wife team of archeologists and their son, who discover the magical/cursed bracelet of Anubis, the guardian of the underworld. Far better was Beowulf, set in ancient Denmark, about a hero who battles three frightening monsters; using the motion capture technique, it was technically very interesting to watch.
We really liked Pan’s Labyrinth, a dark sort of fairy tale with monsters, about a little girl in war-time who discovers a parallel world in a forest labyrinth. She is told by the guardian of this world that she must complete three difficult magical tasks to prove that she is worthy of entering this magical world. It’s a little disturbing, but compelling viewing. Another thoroughly enjoyable fantasy movie, though much lighter and less ominous, was The Golden Compass.
And as a counter-balance to all this action and darkness, we took out Martian Child, based on a real life story of a widower who adopts a young boy who claims he is from Mars; it’s a real feel-good snot-en-trane movie. Montana Sky was an interesting modern-day Western, revolving (most unusually) around a trio of women, only one of whom was in the slightest bit tomboy-ish and cowboy-ish. A very good movie was The Jane Austen Book Club, which – as is probably evident from the title – revolves around a book club that meets once a month over a period of 6 months to discuss one of Jane Austen’s novels. And we ended off May with Griffin and Phoenix, a very moving and uplifting love story about two people, both dying of cancer, who fall in love and discover life together.