Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Case for Being Mooned

The International Film Festival (Wellington) is now on in full force, and as part of that force, I went to see a film called Moon, a film starring the fantastic Sam Rockwell, the disembodied voice of Kevin Spacey, some tunes from the 1990s I thought I would never hear again, and (according to the NotKate) is somehow linked to the Bowie dynasty.

As first films go, it was a very good start: while the film basically just has one character throughout its 90+ minute running time, it is not a boring film. This is a mystery set on a moonbase very reminiscent of Space: 1999's Alpha, as are the special effects (in a very refreshing change, the special effects seem (good) model-based rather than 100% CGI extravagance - there were no Eagles in sight though), leaving it up to Rockwell and a very helpful, smiley-face robot to take us through the running time.

And they do so very well. Without giving away a huge amount of plot, it is a mystery. There we are - hopefully that says enough. Some of the mystery comes from the mysterious 3rd moon buggy (where did they park it?) that shows up at some point, and trying to figure out afterwards who was where and when, but at the time, you don't really care - things crack along at an atmospheric, if not high speed, pace. With great SFX, a great cast and a very spacious set, I really enjoyed this film, and recommend it for "mystery in space" kind of people.

Verdict: A great start to the fest. 7 moon rocks out of 10.

And while I think about it, let me just comment on a review posted by the NotKate on a few docos, some I saw a while ago, some I have not seen, but one in particular I viewed and completely agree with the NotKate's assessment: Operation Filmmaker is a really annoying movie. It is touted as this great film, with the Iraqi budding film maker invited to work on an American film though on his arrival things start to go wrong, when in reality almost everyone involved in the film (apart from The Rock) seems to be a bit of a self-centred pr!ck.

While there is no doubt that the documentary makers did not get the grateful Iraqi they were expecting, the fact people's attitudes seemed to change the instant that Muthana Mohmed said that he was thankful for George Bush's invasion and that nobody really seemed to be able to tell him what he was expected to do on his secondment (and that he obviously was not told beforehand) kind of threw everyone off. The documentary makers kept going back, kept giving him things (even when they protested they shouldn't) and then went back again. And Muthana Mohmed then just seemed to learn that he could get almost anything he wanted (for a while anyway) by trotting out an "Iraqi abroad post invasion" sob story.

The biggest failure of the film (to me) is when the documentary makers themselves get too involved in the story, while trying to appear impartial. Michael Moore makes docos, but you know going in the line he will take; these people try and be flies on the wall, but end up being flies in the soup instead. As liberal as their intentions might have been, they, and this film, end up looking as "fair and balanced" as a Fox News programme.

Verdict: I agree with NotKate, in that Operation Filmmaker really got on my tits, and gets more so the more I write about it. So I will stop. 2 good deeds on the road to 10 hells.

1 comment:

Not Kate said...

Wikipedia and a comment on IMDB support my Bowie theory. Can you doubt those sources???