I saw a couple movies this week. One was "Phone Booth" which I caught most of on cable. Basically, a psycho/sniper has some random vaguely corrupt guy trapped in a phone booth for most of an hour (the movie's longer than that, but the guy starts out on the street). I sorta wanted to see this movie, just because I was curious whether they could make it work, what with having essentially one scene through the film. Ultimately.. hm, yes and no. There is the requisite tension throughout most of the film (will the main character live or die?). However, certain elements, and even the thrust of the plot itself, ultimately sort of hang loosely together (or, mostly fall apart) upon reflection. Plus, there was the "surprise" ending which was, naturally, completely unsurprising. I guess my complaint is that films of this nature need to have a big payoff, and this example just never builds enough pressure for there to be a satisfying pop.
The other movie was called "21 Grams", which Jim brought over on DVD. This was a film along the lines of Momento, in so far as the narrative is non-linear. It is not, however, the bass-ackwards story that the other film was. Instead, we have a mix. It is a montage. It is somewhat artfully done. It does drag a bit, though. Part of the problem is that the film could have been shorter, even if it was linear. Since the chronology gets mixed up, you can more or less intuit various big plot elements and turning points long before they properly show up, since we've either seen them or had them referenced or basically already described fully. One big plot element even shows up long after it has occurred and the display of it seems to be in there only for people with absolutely no imagination who have to actually see everything happen. The last half hour or so drags, since they're filling in the less interesting parts between the more interesting parts, which we've already figured out and want to see executed. However, I have to admit that there was some symbolism to the ending which changed my mind a bit. In a juxtaposition to the previous movie (Phone Booth), this film actually reveals what will happen long before it does, yet the payoff made it feel worth while. It ends up ranking above Momento (not a favorite of mine) and well above Requiem for a Dream (definitely not a favorite), and while I'd say I enjoyed it overall, I don't know that I would strongly recommend it to others. If you're looking for a mildly ok plot mixed up artfully to entertain yourself with for a while, then go for it, I guess.
No review tonight. My study of the most recent chapters has been soso.. I actually know some of the words for family units (anime girls seem to use obasan fairly often) but there are still many words that don't come to me, and for some reason it makes it hard to study them. Anyways, Mike was tired so we'll do it sometime this weekend. I figure I might as well try, and even if I don't know the word, I might end up remembering from the sessions.. window is mado, right? Yeah.