One side effect of living in Dubai, I've realised, is that I have become a voracious movie watcher. I can safely assert that I think I watch as many movies as any member of the academy that dishes out the Oscars. Because of this, I find myself overly interested in films that get all the hype and praise and feel compelled to judge them in my own way. So, despite not having a red carpet beneath my feet, or the smell of popcorn in the air, these are my alternative views on the films that everyone has been talking about.
First off, I wasn't a big fan of The King's Speech. There was a lot of hype surrounding this film and its subject matter, way beyond what was deserved. The timing, of course, was perfect, what with a royal wedding this year. And to be fair, it is a nicely made film with some strong performances. But for me, it's a simple story with a misleading climax. I have to declare I am not a supporter of the English royal family. Ignoring this prejudice, I just didn't feel that the big ending, with the king managing to pull off his speech, was intellectually rewarding and, in fact, I found it duplicitous. The king didn't stride away from the microphone and into the battle he so proudly encouraged the nation to support. It was others far less privileged that had to man up and go fight. Even the most basic of action films show heroes both talking the talk and walking the walk, an honourable message to communicate, and one we can relate to.
Just to prove I'm not being confrontational just for the sake of it, amazingly I loved Black Swan. Even to attempt a film about ballet and achieve broad appeal with it is a massive achievement. But the way in which the story was told and directed was nothing short of magical. For me, this film placed the audience right behind the eyes of Natalie Portman as the neurotic, frail but fiercely driven star of the dance company. We felt every emotion and challenge she faced right in our hearts, and our heads were left spinning in her crazy world. I am not saying I am now inspired to pull on a pair of tights and prance around on stage or even submit myself to sitting through a ballet performance in real life, but I could see that film over and over again and be mesmerised in different ways each time I watched it.
Now a jump from the sublime to the ridiculous! I must salute the genius of Jackass 3D, which despite being puerile, disgusting and ultimately pointless, earns my accolade as the funniest film I have seen in years. And the fact that they used 3-D technology, heralded as the newest and most cutting-edge big-screen innovation, to enhance the childish vision of Johnny Knoxville jumping a jet ski from a fountain through a hedge is pure gold!