Sunday, May 6, 2012

For the Birds Part Two

  Another bird made the theatres recently.  This one may seem a bit more dark compared to the light hearted Dodo/scientist adventures; it is.  So, death by Poe story, I said when it came out that the premise was Saw for smart people.  The movie is more than that though. 
Studies reveal that ravens are incredibly intelligent, tool using creatures.

Again, this movie will be overshadowed by comicdom, but it shouldn't.  The literary connections aside, the movie is as well done a whodunit as I have seen in awhile.  The plot keeps you guessing, and characters are pretty believable.

That's what the bird says, you say all these other parts. 
 The characters are pretty well developed, notwithstanding historical inaccuracies, but this is not a documentary.  Cusack captures the arrogance, the poverty, the brilliance, and the addiction of Poe as well as anyone probably could have.  Although the goatee, not sure.

splashed with mud adds insult to injury
 There are many who know more about Poe than I do. A well respected literary historian airs his disagreements here.  But for the most part, the Poe that has made his way into popular culture is more Poe than Poe was. Poor Poe.
How many times did I use Poe in one sentence? 
Couldn't find a photo of my favorite scenes.  Poe with his pet raccoon.  I particularly enjoyed this piece of the film, as in addition to Poe being one of my muses, I grew up with a pet raccoon on two separate occasions, and felt a nice warm connection between myself and one of my favorite authors. The fact that he might not have had a pet raccoon does not diminish that feeling.  

Back when newspapers mattered
All in all it is a period piece and they are generally always fun.  The music was good, the costumes were great, the dialogue was very good.  Anytime someone calls out a mouth breather is a good time.  Professional historians aside, (as they tend to take themselves entirely too seriously to enjoy a film with) I think The Raven is worth a see. Probably twice.  The second time you will be trying to see if the director or actors give away anything to reveal the killer(s).  If you have read Poe, go see it for the joy(?) of his stories coming alive, plus the added bonus of getting several asides that the general public will miss.  If not, go see if for the mystery.  Don't take your history from hollywood though. Maybe this will drive you to research the father of horror writing, and stem more than a little pride for an American author trying desperately to make a name for himself when very little of anything coming out go the United States was respected.  You may also find out why copyright laws are such a big issue these days.

Of all the ones I have seen, this is the best movie poster

There are a couple other reasons to go see this thriller.  

1.) Luke Evans' portrayal of the inspector is quite good.
Brillaint performance actually. Though still damnably difficult to run in a top hat.
...and B.) Alice Eve is quite nice to look at.

If you like a fresh look at old cliches and never take historical fiction too seriously, you should enjoy this film. However, if you see it your duty to go through life correcting everything then you will be an annoyance to anyone that takes you to see this film, and perhaps you should be stuffed into a chimney.  You probably read Longfellow too. 

For the Birds: Part One

After a dreadfully long absence from the blogging scene, I return with something a bit out of character for the presets of this blog. At least on the surface.  As I have been writing and rewriting my Master's Thesis, things have been a bit back burner lately.  However in todays riveting episode I will be talking about two movies that ARE NOT the Avengers.  Not that I am knocking the Avengers, I just never got up to the fever (okay, any) pitch to go see it. These two, however, did pique my interest some time ago. Shall we begin? Part I.

Firstly we went to see the latest in stop motion animation by the incomparable Peter Lord Aardman and co.  Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists (or "Band of misfits" as they dumbed it down for the states.*eye-roll*) The adventure is based loosely on the absolutely hilarious book by Gideon Defoe:

There are more as more or less a serial.  They are all literally laugh out loud funny. They are a bit more adult than the "family" movie portrays.  Not in a bad way, just more of the literature jokes are geared toward a high capacity of thought.  The take for the movie is quite good. Without revealing any of the secret nuances of the film I will stick with how it related to this blog: Polly.

She's the one on the right.

Polly is a Dodo. The last one it seems. Hilarity ensues. To see the Victorian fascination with the extinct is part of the joy that is the movie.  It's just a fun movie will all the wit and humour that make Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run so enjoyable.

There is also a bit of victorian fun poking going on as well. 

Here we see a young Charles Darwin aboard the Beagle. Baboon Kidneys and all.
 He shares a great interest in Polly, but does not love her the way the crew does.

The Pirate Captain commonly refers to his new friend as Chuck.  For some reason this is funnier than when Peppermint Patty does it to Charlie Brown.  As I chose the UK title more because I like scientists more than misfits, I will say as a historian of science I found the scientific references and underhandedness quite funny. 
Rampant monocle dropping ensued.
Another Americanism that made its way in differed from the trailer.  Don't go to American theatres looking for the "complete pants" remark.  Instead, we get (and I quote:) "a load of crap." Still funny when you find out what the reference is to, but I suppose people in the U.S. don't get underwear jokes.
 Either way, there is a great and gallant crew (in the street sense, yo) always supporting the Pirate Captain. As well as an overly zealous Queen Victoria. The movie is worth going to see and the books are worth more to read. Just use care when reading on the bus or train as boisterous laughter may get you some stares.
Pretty sure they raided Keith Richards closet for the zebra print captain's jacket.

If nothing I have said will help you fence sitters decide whether or not to go and see Aardman's latest barrel of fun I will leave you with this small token from the Pirate King.