It not a joke!!! It is the truth!!!

Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

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No, I can't go into a movie that's already started, because I'm anal
mini me + poo
In a rare treat, I saw two films on Saturday.

Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia AKA Curse of the Golden Flower: I used to say that The Phantom Menance may have been was crap but also contained the best eye candy ever projected onto a screen. Not any more - if there's a more staggeringly beautiful film, I can't think of it. Plus this one has - gasp - a plot that doesn't insult the intelligence, and - wonder - spectacle that didn't come from a computer. (Clearly, there is some CGI in there, but if some of those crowd scenes were CGI, they fooled me.) I'm amazed this just got a nomination for costume design and not art direction and cinematography as well.

Oh, the plot? Royalty being nasty to each other: how unlike the home life of our own dear Queen.

Das Leben der Anderen AKA The Lives of Others - this would have to be very good to beat Pan's Labyrinth to the 'foreign language' award, and it is (even if I don't think it actually is better).

I can remember a book by a Brit who was living in East Berlin in the run up to the fall of the Berlin Wall (they actually missed that, due to being elsewhere in Eastern Europe) which made me simultaneously sad and glad that I'd never been in East Berlin when it was another country.

Most of the German audience will know that the bit of park they go to for some privacy is the Soviet War Memorial to the hundred thousand or so of the Soviet army who died in the assault on the city in 1945. When I went there in 1996, there were rabbit warrens in the mound with the main statue...

Seeing Sebastian Koch being excellent again reminds me - when I saw Zwartboek / Black Book at that cinema, I managed to miss the first few minutes. I wondered what I'd missed and now I know: a scene in the kibbutz which appears in the final scene.

Annoyingly, there's no 'director's commentary' on the DVD, because it'd be very interesting to hear the justification for including it. When I saw it, the survival or otherwise of two of the main characters was, to me, an open question. For everyone else, that crucial element of tension is missing: you know they're going to survive!

While I'm normally with Woody Allen on knowingly going into a film that's started, it's interesting to see how often chopping off the start of a film improves it.

So there's a '30th Anniversary Edition' version of Night of the Living Dead which opens with a scene establishing who the first zombie to be seen is. Who cares?

Similarly, Escape from New York originally opened with Snake's failed robbery which led to him being sent to the prison New York has become. We find out what happened in a few minutes, we don't need to see it!

And is there anyone who thinks Titanic wouldn't have been greatly improved by losing the first two hours? :)

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Interesting ideas. I agree many films are changed, often for the worse, by editing that Hollywood-izes them and makes them more 'consumable.' I find it ironic that sometimes valuable scenes are lost in order to make the film fit a specific time-limit, claiming the audience can't sit still for any more, when the theatre then adds 30+ minutes of advertising at the front end. Although I enjoy previews, I'd rather have more film for my money rather than adverts. Gone are the days of dashing from the sweet counter to the seats in barely enough time to catch the beginning!

When I was 10, my favourite film in the world was Disney's "The Jungle Book" (it's still in my top 10). They re-released it in the cinema in the early 1980s and I begged my mom to take me. The only showing we could fit into her busy schedule was one which involved going to a showing halfway through, then watching the first half of the next showing. I agreed because it was the only way I was going to get to see it. When the scene in which we'd entered came around again, Mom had to literally drag me kicking and screaming out of the theatre. Since then, I've experimented with watching other much-loved films out of sequence, it does give you a very different perspective. :^)

The reason I accidentally missed the start of Black Book was that this place has started showing (some) films at the advertised time rather than after about 15 minutes of previews and ads. Had I known, I'd have run a bit faster.

So Curse.. started on 'time', but Lives.. was about 15 mins 'later'.

Ah yes, Jungle Book is fab. I saw it about twelve times as a child, in the days before video.

There was a film on Channel Four, one of the ones they funded not long after it started, where I recorded it and could only watch it in about ten minute chunks. Like that, it was really great. When I saw it in one go, it wasn't.

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