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So: I saw Kick-Ass a couple weeks ago at previews, and it predictably rocked, which was something of a foregone conclusion but still a lot of fun getting there :o)

Obviously all the good stuff we saw at the presentations last year were present and correct; but in context they take on slightly different aspects... yep to all the ultraviolence; but for the most part the ultraviolence is only how they let you see Mindy, and it's completely comic, played for the breathless, manic silliness that's wholly designed to make you squeal and gasp. It's the counterpoints that get you; the real, real violence that doesn't cut away. 

And the Daily Mail, reliably, wrote exactly the review everyone expected them to write (double page spread, 'Crime Against Cinema', one star, etc, etc, ad infinitum..) and so completely missed the point that it was quite painful. 

Surely it doesn't take half a brain to acknowledge that the whole reason Dave invents Kick-Ass in the first place is because he's sick of the local thugs always getting away with constant muggings/breaking into cars (also: because it is exceedingly cool to be a fake superhero, but there you go).  He's refusing to stand by and do nothing (and that moment, when he's refusing to give up and let the guy be attacked... that was one of the most powerful scenes in the whole dang thing).  That, also, is an exceedingly Daily Mail kinda philosophy, or so they'd like to think.. and hell, I should know, as I seem to have been reluctantly reading the rag by default for most of my life (I actually go out and pay for the Times or Guardian for actual, y'know, journalism.  Anything from the Associated group I can pretty much read for free as they give away Metro and the Standard.  Aaand then my parents conveniently pay for the Mail, heheh...).

So it wound up being kinda sad... I really don't think the whole completely conservative underlying moral code of Kick-Ass was exactly subtle or deeply buried, but a hell of a lot of reviews seem to have been a teeny bit distracted by Chloe Moretz swearing, ho hum.

But then I finally saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night, which was a teensy bit traumatic for my liking, and, well.. eh. I haven't read the books, admittedly, (apart from a tiny extract from Hornet's Nest that completely spoiled the whole twist about Lisbeth's background)  but there has been something a little fascinating about the real life drama going on after Stieg Larsson's untimely death so I was interested to go see the film after all the rave reviews. 

Heh.  It wasn't badly made or acted (Noomi Rapace was simply extraordinary) but some of it did feel like you were being repeated punched, over and over.. the constant obsession with abuse and emotional damage was just draining after a while and made for decidedly uncomfortable viewing.  So it's a film about misogyny and extremely abused women, but I couldn't help wondering if the theme just ran a little rampant after a while... Did there come a point when it tipped over into being slightly sleazy about it maybe? I don't want to say yes, but something about it didn't sit comfortably with me at all.  And as for the 'romance'.. what would usually sell it to me, I didn't buy into for a second.  It felt like an overly simplistic reaction to what had happened to her, and the thought that the audience is meant to be rooting for it (I'm assuming) made me feel slightly nauseous.  Watching Lisbeth make crappy emotional choices was almost as unpleasant as watching her being attacked cos, hell, there seemed to be the spin that the relationship was a positive thing, but nothing about it felt healthy so much.  Hell, nothing about this film felt very healthy..


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Jennifer Howell

July 2015

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