November 8, 2009

Giant Cabbages From Outer Space

There are two surefire signs that Autumn has officially arrived in Beijing.

First of all, you have the two week stretch of November that is invariably the coldest of the year, thanks to the Government’s central heating rules. In America, you might think of central heating as the thermostat control that lets you turn up your heat as high as your electricity bill will allow.

In China, however, central heating is the neighborhood controlled system that allows one boiler to provide warmth to an entire village. In Beijing, November 15th is something of an informal holiday every year, as that is the date when the city’s boilers switch on. But for those first two weeks of the month, you find yourself bundling up to go to the bathroom, and showers gain you entry into the polar bear club.

The second sure fire sign of Autumn in Beijing is the deluge of 白菜 that descends on the city like an alien invasion. Harking back to the 3 vegetable winters of decades past, every old woman in the capital stocks up on the hardy cabbages, buying enough to last a family all the way to spring.

Speaking of alien invasions, I finally watched District 9 this week. Definitely worthy of all the hype. I especially enjoyed the father and son prawns. The strongest characters in the movie.

The only drawback was the documentary style. The feel of it was nice, but I was constantly annoyed because too often the scenes were shot in places and circumstances that never would have allowed for cameras. Inside the alien hideout? Close-ups during a firefight? If you are going to use the faux documentary technique, go all the way. Otherwise, YOU, the filmmaker, have violated our tacit agreement by which I, the viewer, have agreed to willingly suspend my judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.

And I hate it when that happens.

10 comments:

kimberly kyan said...

that was the shittiest movie. you just lost all cred.

A Clark Randt III Production said...

actually, YOU just lost all cred. you're the first person i've met, in fact, that didn't LOVE the movie. i've got commenters saying it's the greatest science fiction movie of all time.

does it help that i watched the ugly truth last night and enjoyed it?

kimberly kyan said...

that is very sweet that you enjoyed that movie.

Back to District 9. FAIL. with emphasis. especially because it got such great hype immediately after it opened. you are sheep.
It started off well...but didn't take too long to show it sucked. The story sucked. lacked depth. Movie was suppose to be apartheid theme w/ aliens. cool, sounds different, but ended up feeling gimicky. and a total injustice to the chosen theme-which is loaded with good stuff to play with story-wise. there was so much that could have been done here... and im talking little things, like gestures or better directed stills or whatever...that would have at least made the characters compelling. because they WERENT AT ALL. I didn't even care about the baby alien. well, maybe only a teensy but, but only for a moment, and by that point, I was already upset i wasted almost two hours on aliens and idiot protagonist, who acts like the guy from the Office, but even that guy gets sympathy.

A Clark Randt III Production said...

so you're giving it 3.5 out four stars?

kimberly kyan said...

no. -3.5. applies to you too.

Solo said...
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Solo said...

I honestly disagree, the documentary style, was at its basis a cinematic style, it didn't feel disjointed, flowing quite well.
But overall it still added to the experience of the movie. One of the best sci-fi movies this year, and of all time.

J. kimmy said...
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J. kimmy said...
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J. kimmy said...

eek. sorry. problem w/ posting.

I don't deny "District 9" could possibly have been a good experience for you. It was for a lot of people.
It reminds me of how "Titanic" was also this amazing experience for people. It got great hype, was considered epic, and a technical feat, etc... People were taken by the big sinking ship and the violins...but that didn't last long, and comments of Titanic being one of the greatest romances of all time got retracted, while focus centered on the flimsy script.

No positive review of District 9 spoke of how well written or in-depth the screenplay was. at most, attention was given to the apartheid allegory, which is a cool idea, but wasn't given any meat. and at the end, that counts.