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My Week in Movies (1/1–1/6)

January 7, 2013

Let’s see if we can get back into this in 2013.

Not a lot of movies this first week and all of them start with C, which I didn’t notice until just now. That’s funny.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY

Generally speaking, the plan is for movies currently in theatres to get a stand-alone review, but there’s not enough to say about WORLDS AWAY to make it worth its own post. The film is a collection of acts from the various Las Vegas Cirque troupes — including O, Kà, Zumanity, and others — shot in stereo (apparently sometimes with James Cameron, who produced the film, operating the camera) and loosely strung together by a framing story of a young man and woman traveling through the different “worlds” represented by each act, searching for each other.

I saw the film in 3D and for once I felt it actually enhanced the experience. Many of the acts involve stunts that travel great distances or are performed high above the stage, and being able to feel the depth of the space made a difference in creating a sense of awe and appreciation for the grace, agility, and courage of the performers.

WORLDS AWAY’s plot is effectively nonexistent, but that’s never really been the point of Cirque du Soleil. Cirque has always been about marveling at various feats of human athleticism, usually set to some pretty great music. Orders of magnitude cheaper than a trip to Vegas and tickets to seven Cirque shows — and, by being able to get the cameras in among the action, showcasing the performances in a better-than-front-row view — if you’ve ever wanted to check out a Cirque show, this is 90 minutes worth catching in theatres (if you can find a showing near you).

CLEANFLIX

A documentary about Clean Flicks, a Utah-based (read: Mormon) company which in the mid-2000s began producing unauthorized bowdlerizations of Hollywood movies. Described as chronicling the “rise and fall” of the company, it actually chronicles the rise and fall of an entire cottage industry of “family” (read: fundie) friendly re-cut films.

The film does a good job of letting the Clean Flicks side of things make their case, while addressing the legal, ethical, and creative objections from the studios and filmmakers whose work is being — in my view, theirs, and I think the documentary’s — inappropriately altered. It takes a rather bizarre turn in the final third, but it’s a bizarre turn in the real events and it feels right that the documentary, shot over the course of several years while the events unfolded, should cover it.

Surprisingly engaging for what you’d think would be esoteric subject matter, as of now the doc is available on Netflix and worth checking out.

CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)

I didn’t expect much from this, given its rather poor reviews (28% on Rotten Tomatoes), the fact I’m not super impressed by Louis Letterier, and the fact that — let’s have some real talk here — the 1980 CLASH was a pretty dumb movie to begin with, the inarguable genius of Ray Harryhausen notwithstanding.

Almost certainly as a result of such low expectations (and not having to shell out hard-earned cash for a ticket), I didn’t hate CLASH OF THE TITANS. I also didn’t love it by any means; in fact, trying at this moment to recall the movie enough to review it, I’m realizing it was literally almost completely forgettable and I have already done so. Stellar effects work, naturally, but nothing particularly memorable in terms of character, dialogue, plot or action. Oh, except the Djinn characters, they were a cool design.

I hear the sequel, WRATH OF THE TITANS, is significantly worse, which means I’ve pretty much got to check it out.

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