I saw Beowulf last week and Stardust (twice!) the week before that. Stardust was spectacular. I have nothing more to say about the movie. But Beowulf was another story. I really don’t understand why they need to do it 3D because even though the CGs were brilliant I felt like I was watching a bunch of porcelain dolls trying to act. The characters’ eyes were sometimes so lifeless I felt like slapping their faces! And the movements! Don’t even get me started on that! Even Angelina Jolie’s acting looked as if she was fresh out of acting school… it was so frustrating. Maybe it’s just me but Beowulf sucks. But Star Wars fans and guys tend to love it… I am sure we could pin point the reason to the blurry crossing point between Sword-fights and Angelina Jolie’s digitally rendered Boobs.
I saw another movie last week. It was a small movie called “Once”. The funny thing about this movie is the fact that it is a musical and a love story – a combination that usually makes me gag – But this movie changed my perception on what a musical should be. It is far from the typical Hollywood/Bollywood idea of people bursting into songs, Once is far more realistic and much more simpler. In an era where a musical usually means a bunch of high school kids singing bubble-gum pop tunes in school hallways (or maybe we could also replace that with a bunch of cartoon characters singing Elton John songs), Once can be considered as downright revolutionary. Plus, the song-driven storyline is so simple and beautiful – it makes me want to cry! The last time I ever feel this way about a movie was when I saw Kim Ki Duk’s 3 Iron earlier this year.
Once is about a busker, whose name was never mentioned even once in the film ( in the credit they just wrote “guy”), and a Czech immigrant, whose name was also never mentioned throughout the film (credited as “girl”). When he’s not helping his widowed father (Bill Hodnett) at the family-owned vacuum repair shop, our unnamed hero (Glen Hansard, singer/songwriter of the Irish band the Frames) is out on Dublin’s streets with his big voice, battered acoustic guitar and repertoire of self-penned songs. Busking for small change and pursuing his dream of becoming a star, he’s also trying to forget the long-term girlfriend who recently decamped for London and broke his heart. He gets help in both quarters from a pretty flower seller (the utterly charming Marketa Irglova) from the Czech Republic, recently arrived in Dublin with her young daughter and her mother (Danuse Ktrestova). Charmed by his music, she tosses the singer a dime and strikes up a conversation. Our hero soon learns that she just happens to have a Hoover in need of fixing and quite a bit of musical talent: Back home, her father was a highly regarded violinist before he committed suicide. When she takes him to the local music shop where the owner lets her practice piano on the floor models, she plays a scrap of Mendelssohn before they launch into a duet of one of his original compositions. The chemistry is immediately obvious, and the musician realizes he’s found the perfect partner for his delicate, folk-based pop songs. He fixes her vacuum, she takes him home to meet her daughter and mum, and together they make arrangements to record a demo, backed by a trio of Thin Lizzy-loving street musicians (this is Dublin, after all). But making music together is one thing; untangling their heartstrings from the complications of their individual pasts is quite another. (TVGuide Review).
Once was directed by John Carney and was entirely shot using hand-held video cameras (because they couldn’t afford a tripod) using mostly natural lighting. The captivating songs became the life of film – they took the film forward. Once was so passionate in a way that you could almost sense how much Carney love music. It was not just a small film about a smalltime singer trying to make it big. Once was Carney’s tribute to music (He was the former bassist of the indie band called the Frames, where Glen Hansard was the front man). I think in essence, this small film could beat Beowulf and Stardust hands down! Who cares about what the Star Wars fans think?
Anyway, Glen Hansard is my current “Douglas Coupland” of the musical world. Next to Thom Yorke, of course!
Checkout the Soundtrack of Once [ Here ]