Thursday, September 13, 2007

Middle of Nowhere: Films

Every once in a while I'm going to pick movies at random ... movies I really like or maybe don't like and give a mini-review. Or ... pick a performance in a movie (like Lee Grant in The Detective Story) that I just want to talk about. I'll call this kind of tidbitty kinda post Middle of Nowhere.

My Waking Life (USA) animated but you won't find it in the kids' section.
It's an adult animated film which doesn't mean sex. Lots of conversations.
The use of animation is incredible. The director, Richard Linklater, actually filmed a movie and then created the animation afterwards with the help of animation software Very creative. He doesn’t just convert the live action to animation though. He changes it. And he’ll add things. Like when someone is thinking something deep or strange, there will be starts floating out of the top of her head. And the conversations in the movie are thought-provoking. Mostly they're about the nature of consciousness.

Spirited Away (Japan) Animated. It is a kids' movie but for older kids ... 8 and up depending on the kid. It's very trippy. Absolutely wonderful animation. You never know what's going to happen. I love this filmmaker--Hayao Miyazaki. He also made My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Just gorgeous animation. Plus, not your usual plot.

Eve's Bayou (USA) Just watched this recently. It's about an African-American family in Louisiana. The father's a doctor and a philanderer. The main character is an 11 year old girl. The acting is great. I'm shocked that people don't talk about this more. It's really a good movie ... very interesting.

All About My Mother
Talk To Her

Both from Spain and directed by Pedro Almodovar. He's one of my favorite directors. And Matador is one of my favorite movies of his but you can’t get it on Netflix because it’s not on DVD ... at least here in the U.S. Both were made in the past 10 years. Really good.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (Mexico) Sexy. Fun. With substance. Plus, gorgeous beaches. Great escape. But my kind of escape -- with substance/pain too.

Bend it like Beckham (U.K.) Just a fun fun movie. About an Anglo-Indian 18 yr old woman who wants to play soccer but her parents want her to start learning how to be a good wife to prepare her for marriage which she should be concentrating on instead of soccer. She's not married but they want her to start thinking in that direction. Good soccer scenes. Funny too.

Fire (from India) directed by Deepa Mehta. Set in India. It's about a young woman who is newly married to a man who's having an affair on the side from the very beginning. They live with his brother and the brother's wife. The two women of the household become attracted to each other. Sparks fly. Both women are very sexy in my humble yet haughty opinion.

Bleu (part of a trilogy by Krzysztof Kieslowski - the director) Sometimes titled: Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993) It's in French so I think from France. But the director is Polish. Juliette Binoche stars in it. The movie is about a woman -- a composer -- who is mourning the recent death by car accident -- of her husband and daughter. The acting is superb. The music is wonderful. And Kieslowski really pays attention to photography so it's beautiful.

Rushmore (USA) Quirky. Interesting. The acting is very good. It's about a 15 yr old boy at an all-boys school. He's got a crush on the female teacher from England who's grieving the loss of her husband. It's also about how this boy has failing grades yet a leader at his school. A real organizer. The actor who plays the boy is very good - Jason Schwartzman. All the acting is good. Bill Murray gives a really good, subtle performance.

In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong) Set in the 60's. This is such a subtle film. I really love it. But it's the anti-thesis of a Hollywood action film. Very little action. Lots of feeling - true human feeling. Beautiful photography, luscious music and close-ups. The slowness of two adult human beings spending time together. Mystery - human mystery, not murder mystery. No murders. No violence. Oh, I should amend that. No violence created by any of the main characters. Just some scenes from newsreels about the Viet Nam War to place the characters in time/context. The movie begins in 1962 and goes forward to 1966. It takes place in Hong Kong. Great acting. Subtle. It seeps into you slowly. The whole movie is a slow cooker. Until you're stewing in your own juices. An ending that defies the audience's desires. Directed by Kar Wai Wong. It stars Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu Wai.

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