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Archive for August 5th, 2010


Review: Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation
movie: | DVD:
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola.
Starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

Remember how with back in the olden days of videotapes you had to fast forward through the trailers to get to the movie? Well, those days are back with the Lost in Translation DVD, a textbook example of annoying DVD authoring. You get a self-promo ad for Focus Features (the production company), trailers for 21 Grams, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Swimming Pool — five and a half minutes in all, if you choose to watch it all. I wouldn’t have minded much if you could skip it easily, but the Menu buttons on your DVD player are disabled; the Track/Skip buttons are disabled, too; hell, even if you wanted to hit Pause (to check out Kirsten Dunst … er, I mean, read the credits in the Eternal Sunshine trailer, perhaps) — that’s disabled, too. You can Fast Forward past the trailers, but I thought that never having to do that again was part of the charm of the DVD format.

Once you get to the movie, it’s brilliant, of course. For those who haven’t seen it yet (shame on you, it was in theaters forever), Lost in Translation is about two Americans, aging has-been movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and aimless photographer’s wife Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), who meet in Tokyo and find a strange, deep connection with each other that is beautifully romantic yet almost totally platonic. Some will argue that Lost in Translation is all atmosphere and no plot, but so what? The fact that they don’t profess their undying love for each other and cheat on their spouses doesn’t make for very good melodrama, but under Ms. Coppola’s guiding hand, Bill Murray and the far-too-talented-for-being-only-19-years-old Scarlett Johansson communicate volumes with just a glance or a gesture; sometimes, in both movies and relationships, words just get in the way.


(Originally posted at LiveJournal when Disney bought Marvel. I forget when that was.)