Filmism.net Dispatch October 9, 2012

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I'm the first to admit I was never the biggest fan of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers or Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. They were certainly good and they were technically groundbreaking. In fact they broke so much ground they become a victim of their own success. I watched all three on DVD a year or so back for the first time since seeing them at the cinema, and they've aged badly.

They showed things we'd never seen on screen before to such a huge extent (look back to the late 90s, nobody was making CGI fantasy films) that the styles, the staging and the entire movement that has enjoyed a resurgence since then have aped, copied, stolen, rehashed, remade, rejiggered and respawned everything in those movies so many times. Back in the early 2000s it was quite thrilling. A decade later we've seen it a million times.

You won't hear many people admit they don't like the Rings films. Kevin Smith is one (he even scripted an anti-Rings rant in Clerks II), but depending on your taste in movies that's no endorsement.

So I admit I'm not completely impartial in this, but I'm not the least bit excited for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I've never read the book so I don't know any of its nuances, but as far as I can tell from the trailer, a band of travellers leaves Hobbiton and passes through Elrond to make their way to a far off, forbidding mountain, with the untrustworthy Gollum (Andy Serkis) in tow.

Am I missing something or is that the exact same plot of the first three? It reminds me of the panel from Mad Magazine's Return of the Jedi parody where Admiral Ackbar asks the audience to recite the attack plan on the second Death Star because the Rebel Alliance uses the same one every time.

Anyway, here's something else that has my goat this week. What's up with scenes of people driving where the characters look at each other instead of the road for far too long?

We all know how easy it is to drift out of a lane when you're not watching properly, and hopefully you haven't had the heart-in-throat experienced of an animal or child running in front of you. If people really looked at each other instead of where they were going for that long, we'd all be burning corpses along the sides of the road.

Ridiculous that it irritates me so supremely (but if you remember 2000's Amélie, Audrey Tatou's titular character had the same pet peeve), but I'm sure you have your own.

Well it's not quite rule 34, but there are plenty of website devoted to movie hates. In fact, click here and scroll down to a user named 'Anamorphic' and you'll see I'm right.

I also saw PT Anderson's sublimely staged and acted but dramatically kind of dry The Master. How did you like it?

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