May 2, 2005

What's a DVD that we have in the house, that would look great on the HDTV, and that I haven't seen yet?

That was my question for Chris last night, and he quickly picked out "The Cell."



If you enjoy seeing people suspended from the ceiling in a horizontal position, trekking across sand dunes in glamorous gowns, and watching their own intestines being twirled onto a rotisserie held up by statues of seahorses, this is the film for you.

Is it good? Well, I didn't expect it to be good. I just wanted to watch some images, and it delivered. At one point, I paused to talk to someone and happened to stop at an image of Jennifer Lopez exhaling a neat little cloud of smoke. It looked great. (And I'm not one who finds Lopez especially interesting to stare at.) The overwhelming sadism of the images -- not that smoke cloud one, but many others -- is really too much.

Perhaps I'll finish watching this thing some time, but I ended up turning it off. Oddly, it wasn't because I was so deeply offended by all the sadism. I just got bored after a while. All the images are interesting, but the story is actually rather dull. A woman is trapped somewhere, and the police need to find out where to save her life. They have the criminal and just need to extract the information. Then there's the absurdity of Jennifer Lopez being able to run around inside his dreams to try to find the answer.

UPDATE: Watched to the end the following night. The ending was very predictable, but I was disappointed by how little was discovered in the journeys into the mind of the murderer. Vince Vaughan found one little clue, then left the dream world to do ordinary police work. Jennifer Lopez then continued in the dream world doing something unrelated to saving the man's victim. There should have been a complex and amazing secret to be unraveled in the dream world, something only comprehensible inside the mind, which was intricately tied to finding the victim.

17 comments:

Dave said...

I find it odd you have something positive to say about The Cell but nothing positive to say about Dogville.

Both are execrable in my opinion.

Ron said...

That still looks like a combination of Rocky Horror and The King and I...


etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

Vicky said...

Interesting - we rented The Cell and fast-forwarded to get to the more striking images. I've "seen" the film but don't really know the plot very well. The sand dunes at the beginning are particularly breathtaking.

The art is, in my opinion, decidedly influenced by Gerald Brom. (See http://images.google.com/images?q=gerald+brom)

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: I wanted to see some extravagant, imaginative imagery. In that respect, "Dogville" is practically the polar opposite of "The Cell." "Dogville" eliminates the scenery altogether!

Dave said...

Well, The Cell and Dogville are certainly cut from very different aesthetic cloths. But the one positive thing I will say about both movies is that I find both aesthetically interesting. Or at least unusual and fresh.

Beyond that, not much positive to say about either one.

Dave said...

Incidentally, if you're interested in scenery/beautful scenes and have HDTV, I'd recommend the Hero DVD.

Be said...

Ann: There was a gorgeous film that The Guy and I caught a couple weeks ago that I think you'd enjoy, both for the content and the visuals - Kobayashi's "Kwaidan." Kobayashi, another vanguard of the Japanese New Wave Movement (am on a massive Japanese kick right now) was originally trained as a painter, and boy, can you see it. The second and third stories are particularly beautiful - story number two showing his interest in both surrealism and 'social realism,' story number three being so faithful to the old woodblock prints I've seen of that story, along with fidelity with calligraphy as I understand it in their culture. (Blows "Pillow Book" out of the water.) It's scary stuff, too, being ghost stories. Criterion put out the DVD, so it should be easy enough to find.

Ann Althouse said...

Be: I've seen "Kwaidan" several times and have the DVD.

Dave: I saw "Hero" in the theater--one of a handful of movies I went out to see last year.

A big problem with DVDs on HDTV is that the subtiles are off screen if you try to display the picture on screen! Very disappointing limitation on many DVDs that I have.

Ann Althouse said...

I mean: if you try to display the picture in the mode that uses the wide screen.

HaloJonesFan said...

How about "The Fifth Element"?

Ann Althouse said...

Halo: "The Fifth Element" is a film I went right out to see in the theater, thinking it was exactly the sort of thing I like and I found it horribly boring. I really should have walked out, because I was truly bored out of my skull. Maybe at home, where I could control it, it might have worked, but I have SUCH bad memories of seeing it!

Be said...

(snort) Though I live with someone who works for Gemstar/TV Guide, I don't have a TV. I'd consider getting one (with a bigger screen, too) in order to properly see "Kwaidan." The visuals made me cry.

Harkonnendog said...

This might sound odd, but Shrek or Finding Nemo would both probably be great.
Cheers!
Hark

HaloJonesFan said...

How about "The Replacement Killers"?

Or maybe "Blade".

Vicky said...

If you're still looking for suggestions, The Last of the Mohicans is beautiful.

Kayle said...

Re: subtitles offscreen. You probably have a configuration problem between your DVD player and your HDTV. It sounds like you currently have your DVD player set up for playback on a 4:3 display, and then use one of the zoom modes on your HDTV for display 4:3 material on a widescreen display. What you want to do is tell your DVD player that it is hooked up to a widescreen display, and then set your HDTV to display widescreen material.

Kayle said...

Also, if you'd like to see some visuals that really take advantage of your HDTV, there aer some DVDs with an HD version... the main problem is that you'll need too hook up a computer to your HDTV. Once you've done that, there are several DVDs with MS Windows Media High Definition versions as an extra: T2, Step Into Liquid, and a bunch of IMAX films. See http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/content_provider/film/dvd.aspx