Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stars in the Sky (Getting my Fix)

Not having slept for 24 hours, I refused to sleep on the plane. There were too many movies I'd missed and that were playing on the 14 hour flight. I limited myself to 'Stranger than Fiction', 'Hollywoodland', 'Little Children' and 'The Good Shepherd'.

'Stranger than Fiction' was very obviously trying to out-Charlie Kaufmann Charlie Kaufmann, but once it declared its central premise - man finds that he is a character in a new novel and destined to die unless the author changes her mind - it didn't know what to do with it and ended up effectively ignoring it. We had then a moderately pleasing romance involving an otherwise uninteresting man and a cookie cookie lady (as cliche-ridden a relationship as you can get). Given the ambition and the cast, it was a great disappointment. And what the hell has happened to Tom Hulce!

'Hollywoodland' unwisely tried to use a detective story format to tell a real life tale, that of the suicide of tv Superman, George Reeves. Again some good casting was wasted on a clumsy movie. It speaks volumes that the detective never actually does any detecting; indeed what few clues he does throw up he himself discards as irrelevant. Instead the Brody character acts as the eyes through which the audience views the events and characters surrounding the sad figure of Reeves. I couldn't help thinking that there was a far better movie to be told if they just told it straight a la 'The Aviator', or even 'Ed Wood'.

I liked 'Little Children' though it frequently made intensely uncomfortable viewing (even more uncomfortable when you are on a plane surrounded by 'Love Actually' viewers). The Jaws pastiche involving the paedophile in the swimming pool was a classic case in point. Perhaps a little too pat (and conservative) in its ending, but interesting nevertheless.

'The Good Shepherd' worked, but didn't achieve the classic epic status De Niro evidently sought (there were echoes of 'Godfather 3', for instance). What a cast though! Damon, Hurt, Pesci, Jolie, Gambon, Crudup; even De Niro stepping out from behind the camera to take a role. De Niro could even afford to give Keir Dullea ('2001') what was practically a non-speaking role. It got a little confusing towards the end, needlessly so, but was more hit than miss.

After fourteen hours of film watching, I should have been ready for sleep and I did have a four hour wait in Heathrow before my flight back to Dublin. Instead I read. Sitting in the Aer Lingus flight area, by the door, I waited and read. Suddenly I raised my head. My cousin, Janet was just walking by. She had just gotten off a Dublin flight to Britain. It turned out she was going to England for two months with 'Dublin by Lamplight', a play in which she stars. It was great to see a friendly face before I even got to Dublin.


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