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The International Writers Magazine:
Film Space

Not a Vintage Movie Year
Sam North

My week started with New Moon - the 2nd part of the Twilight series and it needs no introduction. It was a tad slow and the weakest book in the series - but on the whole I don't think Director Chris Wietz did such a bad job. Certainly the brief scenes in Italy were done with style.


The Vancouver Island locations were spectacular, as ever.  Looking at it dispassionately, this a story about a girl torn between loving a 102 year old vampire and a young werewolf and is plain ridiculous, but utterly absorbing. Thirty million copies sold proves that. The fact is though Bella Swan’s dilemma is not uncommon. This is all about class. Edward Cullen is clearly a member of the upper classes (a vampiric clan that have been sucking the blood from the proletariat for thousands of years) and the working class Jacob, not just working class, but oppressed indigenous person whose tribe has been marginalised by colonisation. It’s a tough choice for her but on the whole, if I were Bella I’d go for the warm rug wrapped around you at night than the cold fish. Eternity is overrated.
Kristen Stewart (Adventureland) is perfect as Bella – heartbroken and lovestruck the special effects were cool, but will Edward eventually discover her limited vocabulary a handicap and seek the attention of bar girls – we shall have to wait and see. The next one ‘Eclipse’ is due on our screen in July 2010.

Last night caught ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ directed by Spike Jonze from a script by David Eggers (who wrote the dull Away We Go). I remember the original Maurice Sendak illustrated book, indeed have bought many copies for differing nieces over the years but I never realised until this movie that the monsters were from Brooklyn.

It was as if Woody Allen’s family from Radio Days had been turned into these quarrelling monsters. They weren’t very scary and I suppose if they had been they might also scare away the intended audience. In fact the scariest moment came when female monster KW (voiced by Lauren Ambrose) offered to hide Max from a rampaging Carol in her stomach. That was claustrophobic for a start and yukky when he finally is set free. (Fun to see the Racoon in there there)

It was fun, it was sad, more often sad really, the locations in Australia were spectacular, the boy, Max was wonderful but why – if all these characters are inside him, are they from Brooklyn? This is a deep movie about the id but kids won't know that. But grab a child and take them, it is a perfect Christmas movie and they will love the roaring and destruction and the building of the deathstar out of twigs. They will also learn about rage and the consequences. (Then rent Radio Days, have a good laugh and see what I mean)

I was going to do a round up of the best films of 2009 but realised that so few stood out that it came down to Star Trek and District 9 and the amazing animated 9. One a reinvigorated franchise with wit and style and another the most inventive and surprisingly tense sci-fi film ever to deal with aliens and racism ever and 9 a wonderful post-apocalyptic sock-puppet film that completely blew me away. If you haven’t got these in your DVD collection, you need to remedy that. Add UP in for light relief and finally Let the Right One In - a perfect, small but beautiful story of a child vampire that will break your heart.

I have now seen Avatar– and it is spectacular and is right up there with one of the best movies of '09. I am looking forward to Daybreakers now and of course Sherlock Holmes on Boxing Day. January should get off to a good start.

See you in the movies.
© Sam North December 22nd
Author of the Flu Pandemic Novel Another Place to Die and Mean Tide - a childhood ghost adventure
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