Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Cinema Conventions

The cold has turned into a hacking cough which nobody would love, but I'm actually starting to feel better. Unhappily, dh seems to be going the other way.....

Last night I watched The Devil Wears Prada again, and enjoyed it. Sometimes you just want stuff that's little more than moving pictures - elegant pictures, pictures with humour, a pithy message or two but no great angst that will burden the dreams for years to come. The Devil fitted the bill. I think Emily Blunt does a great part as Emily, Streep is glacial and vicious without seeming to be bitchy, and Hathaway is something of a mismatch - clever ingenue, if that's the right phrase, so that when she decides to join the Runway girls, she has the brains to do the job. Not that Emily hasn't; for her it's love of fashion, whereas for Hathaway it's a challenge. Funny but I can't remember her character's name.....

I started to watch a Dustin Hoffman movie about a bug getting loose somewhere, and gave up before I was far in for fear my eardrums/brain would give up the unequal struggle.  Why does a certain type of US film have characters that shout at full speed on telephones or in corridors when a lot of the wiseass cracks (sorry, that is probably not a good phrase - it certainly isn't elegant) mean less than nothing? It's as bad as the constant thumps of deep base noise - almost ultrasound - to alert film audiences to the fact that something a) frightening, b) scary or c) plain ordinary is happening or about to happen on screen. The noise shocks even if the happening on the screen does not.

Other film conventions that irk - hero/heroine dashes across 4 lane highway, Starbucks and parcels flying and holds hand, palm out, to stop cars while she skids across. Try that here and you're likely to get squished. Then there's the hero/heroine who barges at full speed  through a conversational couple or group on the pavement, peacefully minding their own business, and no one turns a hair! A whole heap of abuse would follow you here. In the old days it used to be the cowboy who galloped his horse for miles and miles and miles - even days - across the Great Desert. Now it's the car chase where no one ever runs out of petrol at a crucial moment.....
Clearly I'm still not back to normal. Unless anyone out there has spotted a few film conventions to complain about? Go on, I'm sure you have!

2 comments:

Ursula Thompson said...

I have a few film conventions - people mumbling (now I don't want them shouting either, but still), night scenes where you can't see what the heck is going on, and films with constant background music. That drives me absolutely insane. And half the time if covers the dialogue. How can I enjoy a certain scene if there's always some noise in my ears?? Some scenes just require silence for the fulll effect. There is one perfect example, The Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn. The part where the Spanish sailors surprise our hero on his own ship. Absolute silence, the only thing you can hear is the noises of the ship and the footfall when they walk around. Absolutely perfect, the way I picture this scene.
Rant over.

Jen Black said...

A rant now and then is no bad thing, I always feel! I agree with all your points, too.