My 27th wedding anniversary was yesterday and my wife and I went to the movies, as is our habit.
Our batting average has been rather good unless of course we follow a recommendation from our good friend Mr. X. My wife still hasn’t trusted one of his picks since the time he swore Dumb and Dumber was a GREAT film.
We were the ones who were dumb and dumber to actually believe him.
(Our problem with the film was that it wasn’t dumb enough. It didn’t have the courage to be truly idiotic but had to include a romance that was suppose to add a dimension to the character played by Jim Carrey. Ecch!)
Anyway, we saw a stinker yesterday all on our own unaided by Mr. X. Because we love Asian cinema and because we love Ziyi Zhang and Michelle Yeoh we saw Memoirs of a Geisha.
It was a beautifully designed, well-acted, brilliantly photographed story of child abuse, teen abuse and young woman abuse that has a pay-off tinged with the heady scent of pedophilia.
We knew it was not going to be a comedy. We knew that it wasn’t going to be some 90-minute film. But I knew it was not going to be a hit with my wife when after all sorts of terrible plot twists there wasn’t a need for tissue.
Generally if my wife cries at a movie I know she has liked it.
This one generated not a single tear – just a sore behind.
The movie’s pay-off is so frickin’ twisted that I was sincerely amazed.
Our heroine has endured a life-time of pain and suffering just to be near the one person who has shown her a kindness – he bought her a snow cone when she was nine-years-old – and when she finally gets the chance as a 30 year-old woman to express her feelings to him (she loves him of course) she finds out that he was so moved by her at age nine he orchestrated her geisha training.
Naturally he’s in love with her. Naturally he’s married and they can’t ever be together.
Now I’m used to unhappy endings in Chinese movies (if it’s a love story, you know someone is going to die), but this was just too much for us to process.
We would probably have had a better time at Cheaper by the Dozen II, a film that I hope never to have to see.
Back at home, though, I watched a new Michelle Yeoh DVD that seemed like a steps backwards for her. Being in a film such as Geisha – a prestige picture – that one doesn’t expect that she would have never consented to star in Silver Hawk, a blissfully nonsensical comic book movie.
She co-produced the film in which she stars as Lou Lou, rich lady by day and Silver Hawk, high tech kung fu-ing superhero by night.
Jingle Ma’s direction rolls right over any of the gaping plot holes. I didn’t care if the film had the feel of a 1988 Hong Kong production with 2004 (when it was made) techniques. The silliness felt good.
Hey, Michelle is kicking ass while wearing silver hot pants and a slitted duster to match. And she rescues pandas! BABY PANDAS!
Hong Kong fans will probably like this film for its throwback sensibilities, although I’m sure that many other viewers might not be so open-minded.
I picked up my copy for $14 at Best Buy. Worth every nickel I make working for THE MAN.