Friday, May 18, 2012

Love and Death in Boring Oxford

...or is it Cambridge?  One of those snooty towns you hear so much, yet read so little, about!  At least, I do, anyway.  Yes, it's time to look at a slick turd called The Oxford Murders.  No disrespect to the talented people involved.  Why, I think even Jamie Kennedy himself would agree that this one could've used a slunky or two... never mind.  Don't Google that or it, by the way.
I think the problem is similar to the problem with Canadian Bacon and Getting Away With Murder.  With those two films, most of the stretches of dialogue seemed to be tailored to one character, yet shared among different people.  In Canadian Bacon, for example, there's the big scene where the high army brass discuss why attacking Canada is a good idea.  To me, it seemed more like a Michael Moore speech to be delivered in a TV Nation bit.  The problem with the whole script of The Oxford Murders seemed much worse than that: the film is not as smart as it thinks it is.  Also, it commits a unique sin by renaming Fermat's Last Theorem.  Here, it is called Bormat's Last Theorem, but they don't go so far as to change the formula itself for the movie.  To the screenwriters' credit, Podorov's dropping the name of Taniyama was apt, as he was involved in the lead-up to Andrew Wiles' eventual unveiling.
So, while some may find the script stimulating, I found it to keep consistently missing the right marks.  Also, I just wanted to make sure I wouldn't have to rewatch the movie, as with The Sixth Sense.  For some reason, nothing was sticking.  Also, I found it rather strange that Elijah Wood and John Hurt were spending so much time in the police station.  And John Hurt had reservations about appearing in Indiana Jones 4.  Shame on him!  I hear he's going to do a buddy road pic with Helen Mirren.  They could play brother and sister!  They have to drive from Vegas to Graceland in a powder blue '57 Chevy with a wax statue of Elvis in the back.  Along the way, the statue melts in the hot desert sun... but they find out the truth about themselves along the way, and isn't that the only thing in this world that matters?
The movie wasn't entirely without charm, though.  As I stared into the bright blue twin lakes that are Elijah Wood's eyes, I couldn't help but think of Gene Wilder, but without his blond curls.  Then, as the plot spread out before me, I couldn't help but next think of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, with Elijah Wood as Daniel Day-Lewis, Julie Cox as Juliette Binoche, and Leonor Watling as Lena Olin... you know what I'm talking about, right, guys?  Unfortunately, especially for the ladies, Elijah didn't quite put out the same vibe that Daniel did.  You're just too damn nice, Eli!
Spoiler alert: To show my ignorance, I thought the fourth shape in the sequence was going to be a square.  Apparently, the bowling pin arrangement makes more sense.  It's also used in medicine, apparently.  The film also gets credit for appearing to be on film rather than crappy HD videotape... but not that much credit.  If I had to retitle this movie, I might call it Agatha Christie's The Murder Mystery That was Too Boring to Solve

Interesting bit of trivia: did you know that John Hurt was in V for Vendetta, which also had a Guy Fawkes theme?... sorry, I told a fib.  It's actually not that interesting.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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