Thursday, March 29, 2012

Great Plays liked Movies

When one flies more than 24 hours and couldn't fall asleep in the economy class's less than spacious seats, one succumbs to pass the time with on board entertainment provided. Even though one's buttocks were in pain, with good movies, these less than glamorous irritations could easily be forgiven. Such was the case after I've seen this unexpectedly great movie. Of course the prerequisite is that, the flight you have decided to fly in provide such selections. (Read somewhere that a first class passenger in the infamous American Airlines was offered, to his great horror, latest selection of 90s movies on VHS tapes wheeled on a cart for his perusal. My friend can't stop laughing when hearing this.)

Those spanking new airlines from the Middle Eastern cities are the best when it came to offering top and newest offerings in movies selections, on their spanking new latest technology big screen touch pad crystal clear personal LCD screens (oil money is might). But you have to be tolerant of kissing scene suddenly jumped to "after action" smoking scene. There are always surprising selections, thus it is always a good time for me to catch up on movies that I longed to watch, or just didn't have the time to watch when I wasn't flying.

This trip to New York, I got to watch this otherwise missed masterpiece, Glengarry Glen Ross. If it wasn't for the glittering cast, I wouldn't even be curious enough to watch this one. By the title of the movie, one wouldn't half guess what it is about. But such a catch! It was essentially a play at first, adapted into a film, starring such glittering cast, one respect these cast's commitment to good script, good direction, and their enjoyment of what they do: acting. I read somewhere that they are not getting paid much for doing this movie, but man, aren't they enjoyed every moment of it, and immersed themselves in the accompaniment of their peers. This is like great jazz, it is not about one person stand out, but rather everybody play together with good interaction, mutual respects and everybody shine!

The cast consists of Al Pacino (his character only enters the scene after about a whole hour), Alec Baldwin (only appears for about 15 minutes, but wow), Ed Harris, Jack Lemmon (I only know his works in those Black & White movies, and JFK, isn't he good!) Kevin Spacey (maybe of the constraint of his character here, he is just like a bassist dutifully doing his job) Just by looking at such list one would be tempted to watch this movie, even if the movie sucks. But this is great one!

I always find it hard to immerse myself into lengthy, conversation and narration based movies on the plane, simply because such environment isn't prone to deep concentration to dialogues. I would rather watch some action flicks without having to listen to anything being said on the screen. But this particular movie had me absorbed throughout.

Rather than spoil the movie for you, I suggest you to watch it if you have the chance.

Which brought me to my fascination to Movies with Minimal set, or rather movies that are like Plays.
Here is one of my favorite, 12 Angry Men:

What a treat, such simple story line, only one location (maybe several, but most of the happening was in that jury's room) and 12 amazing actors, amazing script and dialogues. Damn! Just by thinking of it, I would want to watch this again. Must see if you are into movies.

Of course one wouldn't forget the powerhouse Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf:

Amazing Elizabeth Taylor before her name is equaled to that woman that married for 8 times and each time is proportionately more disastrous than the last time. This is of course a movie that is adapted from a play. Watching this, I would love to have seen the play somehow. This is also one of the three movies, that all the cast on screen were nominated for Oscar nominations.

For some reason, I love Lars Von Triers's stuff. Over the years, I would try to appreciate his output, some I genuinely like, some I would save for later time. But this particular movie (but positively Play, stripped down Play) is amazing. The message, the lesson is clear, but disturbing. The sequel to this movie, Manderlay is equally disturbing with another set of message.

Both movies are anti-movie to the extreme. There are no set, no props, no nothing. Only a stages with chalked lines outlining spaces. They are even more stripped down than a stage play!
Without spoiling the movies for you, I recommend these very much, and I am sure they would open up your world even more, maybe for better or for worse....

By the way, if you haven't find out about Lars von Triers yet, please find his stuff. They are powerful and fresh. Try:

Breaking the Wave
Dancer in the Dark

 My world isn't the same anymore after these movies, or after some of those mind blowing Japanese or Korean movies, or Akira Kurosawa, or Ozu Yasujiro, or Ang Lee, or Christopher Nolan, or Martin Scorcessee, or Sophia Coppola or........

Cherish Life with Wonderful Art. 


Going-Solo said...

aisehman...envy! That's a great idea - catching up & cashing in on movies on long haul flights. I watched Four Weddings And A Funeral (for the 3rd or 4th time) again on the way to UK bcoz it's so good! On the way back I watched Sideways - a quiet, depressing little movie about an average Joe.

how do you get your movies? other than in flights.

Glengarry Ross one sounds bloody good, grrrrr..

speaking of good jazz and a good play - please please please try to watch War Hose & Woman In Black (both are plays) when you get to London.

please please watch that. War Horse is, GOOOD.

Cher Siang said...

Boss, when I am in USA, I watched movies on Netflix, an online video rental subscription service.
When I am in Malaysia, I bought those DVDs from the "lanun" and also "muat turun" from good sources.

Would watch War Horse in London. Thanks for the recommendation.