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Taking the incomplete

Posted by martinteller on June 14, 2014

As my movie-watching habit has been getting toned down from “obsessive” to more healthy levels, one thing I’ve learned to do more often is bail out on a film when I’m not into it.  I no longer feel that I need to watch certain movies, or that I should continue an unpleasant experience just for the sake of writing a review, or having the right to say “I’ve seen that”.  Still, it’s good to get some thoughts down, if for no other reason than having something to refer to in case I ever get the urge to watch one of these again.  So here’s a few recent incompletes.

I wouldn’t mind taking another stab at Mathilukal, but the available print is too shoddy to appreciate.  The 5-10 minutes I watched were also hard to follow and didn’t seem to have any of the fine qualities of Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s earlier masterpiece Rat-Trap.  But like I said, I’d give it another go if a decent copy surfaced.

Watched half an hour of American Hustle.  It was okay, but I wasn’t that enthused.  The blatant Scorsese-isms are tiresome, and I say that as a fan of Scorsese.  Also, I’m still not entirely on board the Amy Adams train, and I find Bale annoying, especially when he’s doing American accents.  I think there is some enjoyment I could find in this film (I do like con movies), but I’m just not motivated to seek it out at this time.

Welcome to Dongmakgol concerns three North Korean soldiers, two South Korean soldiers and a wounded American pilot who converge on an isolated mountain village where no one knows anything about the war.  I somehow made it through nearly an hour of this, perhaps spurred on by the movie’s 7.9 rating on IMDb.  The trouble starts early on, as the first villager we encounter is a young woman who is clearly mentally disabled but her naïve innocence is supposed to be charming and cute.  That sets the tone for a lot of scenes that are predictable and hokey and reductive.  There’s a lot of wonderful Korean cinema, but sometimes it seems like we forgive them for cheap sentimentality that we would never swallow from Hollywood (thinking also of Tae Guk Gi).  The only interesting thing going on here is when a soldier throws himself on a grenade more out of suicidal impulse than heroism.  Nothing else grabbed me much, although I wouldn’t say it was horrible or anything.

 

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