Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Vacancy and still more Warriors

After "Underworld Evolution" I've become a Kate Beckinsale fan. I saw her in "Click" with Adam Sandler and I was curious about "Vacancy" with Luke Wilson, which came out last weekend. It is about a couple having problems staying at an out of the way motel only to realize that they are the stars of a real life snuff film. The film is about their attempts to get away before they are killed in front of a camera.

Apparently Beckinsale took the role largely because she wanted to portray this woman who was having problems in her marriage. So she is in this role shed of her vampiric invincibility and definitely a wounded woman in a marriage very much on the rocks. I thought it would be interesting to see her in this role, as opposed to the archetypal Selene of the Underworld films or in Romantic comedies like '"Serendipity", which I also think is quite good. Well, I think her performance is quite good, and, probably even more importantly, she looks great. As Robert Nadeau might put it, she can do bitchy.

I found the movie quite disturbing. The level of violence on the wide screen pales by the violence on the small screen. The couple watches dvd's of people being slaughtered and abused, and then realize that they were all shot in the very room in which they are now staying. I found the small screen violence much more disturbing than the stylized suspense and cinema blood in the main feature. Will I see this film again? The answer is no. I find what the film represents to be personally objectionable. In the Underworld movies mostly immortals are killed by other immortals. Watching people doing violence like this to other people is not something I find at all watcheable at all. And this stuff is so much a part of the culture now. I watched part of a slasher type film with my goddaughter and her sister on cable tv. And they were really quite cool with it all. It worries me that this stuff can become so seemingly harmlessly a part of our culture, and its effects on an increasingly violent world ignored.

I remember a story Robert Frager told me about an occasion where he spent some time with Osensei watching tv. They watched a series of samurai sword dramas where the heroes would kill armies of opponents with their swords. This was followed by an American western, which had a complex character who was a mixture of light and dark. When this character was killed, apparently this upset Osensei, who remarked:"that's the trouble with the West! Too much violence!" So the stylized chambara violence of the Japanese tv series did not register on Ueshiba Osensei, but the death of a character he felt something for did disturb him.

What disturbed me about Vacancy was seeing women and older people frightened, beaten, and killed. All too ordinary. All too human. And on some level for someone's enterainment. Luke Wilson as the husband did a good job. I thought he was great in "My Super Ex-girlfriend" opposite Uma Thurman. And without giving away the ending to the film, it is as if the Beckinsale character suddenly channels Selene.

Congrats to the Warriors for their 97-85 victory over the Mavericks in Dallas. As I write this, they are still undefeated in the post season. Game 2 tonite!


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