Of Dark Tales and Mindless Fun

Having gotten out of my Woody Allen mode, I settled down for some assorted movies this weekend. I saw a fairytale, a superhero film, and a mindless comic mystery. Loved them all, in different ways.

Let me begin from the beginning. It all began when I found myself without the next episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; stuck with the cliffhanger ending of episode 13, I needed something to divert my mind, so I dug out a recommendation that had come my way in early March.

Pan’s Labyrinth is the darkest fairytale ever; dark but beautiful. The movie is based in post civil-war Spain, in 1940’s. It tells the tale of a little girl who travels to a post where her Captain stepfather is posted. There she meets two characters: a housemaid who happens to be a spy for the rebels and a faun who recognizes the little girl as the princess of the underworld from the past life. The beauty of the movie lies in easy fashion in which the two tales mesh and flow. A hard-hitting tale of Republican rebels and a fascinating journey in the land of fairies, giant toads, strange man with his eyeballs in his palms, and roots that want to be humans – together. I say it’s a dark fairytale not because of the Republican angle, no. I say so because there are deaths in the fairytale, something one doesn’t see often but it is so well told.

The superhero film, of course, was Spider-Man 3. Having heard/read umpteen tepid reviews of the movie in the last one week, I went in to the theater with very little expectations but I walked out entertained. An out-and-out masala movie, I think. Yes, the movie is more than a little messed up. There are many unessential characters and there is a little too much happening at a given point of time. Dunst continues to make MJ look shabby but Maguire takes the prize for making Peter Parker look hopeless! And I hate him for that. The evil Parker is pathetic and Gwen Stacey’s role is sad, spelled with a capital S. However, the action scenes made up for all of this! Yes, I loved the action sequences to bits. The fight sequence in the dark alley between the new Goblin and Peter Parker was a delight! Sandman scenes were fun too. But Harry Osborn is my new hero! Yes, this film has actually made Osborn (and James Franco) big for me. And this did not happen during the last sequence of the film. Franco stole the show from the very beginning.

After having watched two darkish films, I needed comic relief. So I ended my weekend with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a mindless tale of a smalltime crook who finds himself in middle of action in LA. The crook, Harry, happens to be the narrator of the film as well and he sucks at it. (Here, the sucky narration implies hilarious dialogues) Harry finds himself in an audition by mistake and gets the job by mistake as well. Next thing he knows he is in LA and is surrounded by babes, booze, and dead bodies. He also bumps into his childhood sweetheart and befriends a private eye, all connected through one dead body. Together the three kiss kiss bang bang. It is loopy. It is fun.


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