movies this week: so tempting

This week’s crop of movies looks very tempting. I wish I could skip work and sit in the theater catching up on Kung Fu Hustle, seeing the new releases (to Austin) of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and ,em>the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and finally seeing Inside Deep Throat and Imelda and Downfalland then getting to catch some obscure new movies like Viva Les Amis.
“Hi, Ms. Boss? I won’t be in today. I’m sorry. I’m suffering from cinematic withdrawal disorder.”
No, I guess that won’t fly.

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Bride and Prejudice (2004)

Bride and Prejudice: 2004, dir. Gurinder Chadha. Seen at Arbor Great Hills (March 9).
I couldn’t resist seeing Bride and Prejudice, because I am such a huge Jane Austen fan and I delight in watching all the weird adaptations and permutations of Austen novels on film. Would it be as charming as Douglas McGrath’s adaptation of Emma, would it be as annoying as the recent Mansfield Park, would Lizzy be transformed to someone as passive and silly as Bridget Jones? I had to find out.
I liked Bride and Prejudice much better than Bridget Jones’s Diary or Clueless. It is a successful (and cute) transformation of Pride and Prejudice to contemporary India, L.A., and London. Light and frothy, yes, but fun to watch, especially if you know the source material.

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Sin City (2005)

Sin City: 2004, dir. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. Seen at Galaxy Highland (April 3).
Sin City is a difficult movie to review. I started writing this review on April 4 and you can see how long it took me to finish it.
I can say that it is one of the most visually impressive movies I have seen in recent memory. It captures a comic-book world better than any other film. It is an excellent adaptation.
But does an excellent adaptation equal a good movie?

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movies this week: allergy season

It’s that time of year again, when my allergies are sorely put to the test. I am walking around all the time with dull sinus headaches and congestion and feeling generally crummy. You-know-what is in the air, and I just can’t tolerate very much of it.
No, I don’t mean pollen. I mean dumb movie remakes. Why do we need another version of The Amityville Horror? My sinuses are throbbing in protest.
Get ready for a summer full of dumb remakes. So far I have heard about House of Wax, The Longest Yard, War of the Worlds, The Bad News Bears (okay, that one’s Linklater, but still), The Pink Panther, and probably others that I would be happier not to know about.
I am also allergic to movies adapted from TV shows and I know I am going to be afflicted with a bout of those, including The Dukes of Hazzard (urrrrgh), Bewitched (it’s the Ephrons, but still), and even The Honeymooners.
Does anyone else notice that remakes of old movies and adaptations of old TV series provide filmmakers with an excellent excuse for showing women in stereotypical, subservient roles? I can’t wait for a summer of seeing women as housewives, bimbos in halters and shorty shorts, and gruesome horror-movie victims.
I don’t think the doctor is going to be able to prescribe anything to cure these allergies, sadly. I’m going to put an ice pack on my head and watch Holiday again. Someone come find me when a Terry Gilliam movie opens.
And don’t even talk to me about horrible sequels/prequels being released this summer, or I may require emergency care.

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I saw dead people

I saw some fascinating movies this week, movies that none of you will ever see.
I have my family’s Super 8 movies here in Austin. A few years ago, I thought I might transfer them all to video by hand using a projector and video camera. I wanted to find out if I could transfer them to digital media but at the time, people looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested it.
However, these days you can find all kinds of services to transfer Super 8 movies to digital files. I found a nearby local company, Dub King, that transferred the movies to miniDV format and then used the DV master to make me some DVDs and even a videotape (my grandparents don’t have a DVD player).
Eventually, I would like to get a miniDV deck (probably by getting a digital video camera) and edit the two hours of footage into something more interesting and watchable. In the meantime, though, we have the DVDs to enjoy, and we can always fast-forward past the parts where my dad overexposed the film at the beach when he was trying to film young women in bikinis, or the footage from my parents’ trip to Mexico that has no people in it, only scenery.

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movies this week: cinespamia

So last weekend, my parents and my boyfriend and I all went to Spamarama. Spamarama is a longtime (29 years) Austin festival devoted not to unwanted email, but to the potted meat product. I hadn’t been to Spamarama before. We stayed long enough to watch the Spam relay and scarier still, the Spam toss.
The highlight of Spamarama is the big tent of people participating in the Spam cooking contest and offering samples to everyone. There was a long line of people waiting to get into the Spam sample tent. I am not quite sure what this says about Austinites. Are they brave, innovative, weird, or not very bright? We were in line with everyone else, so it’s hard for me to judge.
What I learned is that anything that tastes remotely edible with Spam in it probably tastes even better without Spam in it. (Very similar to Rachel’s insight about capers in Nora Ephron’s Heartburn.) The (relatively) tastiest dishes were so heavily spiced that any potential Spam flavor was masked: chili, jambalaya, and sauteed Spam in a mushroom wine sauce.
But I knew that deep down, it was Spam. And later on, I regretted it and had to clear my palate with some fudge pie a la mode from Scholz’s.
This week’s movies tend to make me think of Spam that has been heavily disguised with all kinds of trimmings. But at its heart … potted pork. Yum.

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movies this week: abbreviated in Austin

I realized this morning that some cool movies are playing in Austin this week, and I missed telling everyone about them because I was too busy playing Ask Jette. (You can still email me questions, you know. I am seriously considering doing it again if I get enough good questions.)
I am not going to list the movies that opened over the weekend because you probably already know about Sin City and Beauty Shop, and if you’re enough of a Woody Allen fan to care, you also know that Melinda and Melinda opened in Austin.
But here are a few gems you might have overlooked:

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introducing … Ask Jette!

I decided that I have had just about enough of digging up information on all the movies opening in Austin this week, and then thinking of semi-clever things to write about them. Who am I to presume to write about movies I haven’t even seen yet?
I would rather presume to write about people I don’t know and situations that aren’t mine. So I have decided that instead of Movies This Week, I will institute a weekly advice column. Some people (hi Iain!) have been saying for years that I should be dispensing etiquette advice, and while I prefer to leave that to Miss Manners, I have found my own niche: the movies.
No, this isn’t going to be anything like Roger Ebert’s Movie Answer Man. Think of it more as being like Dear Abby for film geeks and the people who love them.
Feel free to email me with your film-related personal problems and I will address the most interesting ones here. Ask Jette! I reserve the right to decide not to answer any or all questions I receive if I get bored with this.

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