29 January 2008


It's probably a sign of how far behind I am that I watched Babel for the first time this weekend. It was a good film, though. I was quite on edge through most of it wondering what would go wrong next. The performances were all strong and the images - cinematography - was also great. Films it made me think of... Crash and Magnolia. They also have several intersecting stories. Somehow, when the there are parallel stories happening within a film, it starts to give the film the texture of a novel. It also adds a nice mental challenge to try and figure out just how everything fits together.

This reminds me of an article I read recently in the New Yorker, "Twilight of the Books". It describes a decline the amount that people read over the past 70 years. The first surprise is that anyone even keeps track of these things. But the article also suggests that watching TV and reading are about the same thing in so far as they are both forms of entertainment. I'm not so sure what I think of that. I suppose it works for me if the parallel is drawn further. Watching reality TV might be the same as reading People magazine, for example. How much do you think about the quality of what you watch and read? Are your criteria the same for both media? Is there a difference between quality and entertainment?


  1. Funny - I saw Babel on 'round about 29th January as well. Thought it was portentous nonsense with some shockingly bad over-acting (Brad Pitt please stand up); the characterisation was poor - I didn't care what happened to most of them. And it needed about half an hour cut out of it - how many shots of helicopters does one really need? Only the Japanese school girl storyline saved it from being truly horrible.

    Funny how opinions differ so greatly between two fairly bright people. Perhaps a blog topic in the future? "What is taste?"

    Was most disappointed as Amores Perros, which was Inarritu's first film of note, is truly stunning. See that next if you haven't already!

  2. Differing opinions make for great discussion, though! I must admit that I've been given a hard time in the past for my film appreciation(s) and judge most films based on the hard and fast, "Did I like it" criteria.

    However, I would very much agree that Brad Pitt's performance wasn't particularly inspiring and that the Japanese story line was the most interesting... perhaps we'll have to talk about nuances one day.

    In the meantime, I'll add Amores Perros to my list!


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