Archive for January, 2009

January 23, 2009

>Australia

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I love epics, they’ve always made me escape to another place called the movie screen, huger than life in all its glory. In Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, I wanted to escape from the theater after the film’s first half, as within two hours it felt like the movie was over, and Australia: the sequel was about to begin. Epics are supposed to be long, right? But when both the script and the leading characters lack substance, nothing is left but an overdose of stunning images, mainly in slow motion with an impressive music behind. Paying homage to classic Hollywood epics was a sweet idea, but instead of creating a Gone with the wind esque film in its core, the director mainly delivered one cliche after another. Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) ain’t Scarlett O’Hara and Drover (Hugh Jackman) ain’t… Clint Eastwood. Epics are usually influenced by a variety of genres, but Australia is very peculiar in this aspect. Nicole’s character is firstly an affected version of Meryl Streep in Out of Africa, I could almost picture her saying “I had a farm in Darwin in the middle of nowhere”, while wearing designer gloves and hats. Suddenly she becomes a widow and puts on some dirty pants so a western begins, but after the cows are gone, bombs and evil japanese soldiers come to start a world war 2 film. Lady Ashley goes through all that and still finds time for falling deeply in love, defying her time’s morality code and “adopting” an aboriginal child. Everything is very predictable, cheesy, and have I already mentioned that it lacks substance?

Australia (Australia, USA, 2008) Directed by Baz Luhrmann. Starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Brandon Walters.

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January 23, 2009

>Youth

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EnidGhost World (2001)

-It’s really quite something to see you all grown-up like this, Enid. I’d love to know what you’re doing now. I can’t help but feel I had some small part in how you turned out. What’re you studying? You were always such a smart little girl.
-I’m taking a remedial high school art class for fuck-ups and retards.
Charlotte Lost in Translation (2003)

I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be. I tried being a writer, but I hate what I write. And I tried taking pictures, but they were so mediocre. I guess every girl goes through a photography phase, you know, like horses, dumb pictures of your feet.

IgbyIgby Goes Down (2002)

-It’s ironic that the first time in my life that I feel remotely affectionate for her (his mother), is when she’s dead.

-You beat up her corpse.
-I know, but after that.

Benjamin The Graduate (1967)

-What’s the matter? The guests are all downstairs, Ben, waiting to see you.

-Look, Dad, could you explain to them that I have to be alone for a while?
-These are all our good friends, Ben. Most of them have known you since, well, practically since you were born. What is it, Ben?
-I’m just…
-Worried?
-Well…
-About what?
-I guess about my future.
-What about it?
-I don’t know… I want it to be…
-To be what?
-Different.

Somehow I relate to these characters. Any other film characters with similar conflicts? I’d love to hear!

January 17, 2009

>Changeling

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Once I made a post about strong and positive female roles in the movies, about how these are rare even these days, and this is the reason why I could never entirely appreciate a film like Black Snake Moan and even something like Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (well, its editing bugs me too, somehow). Thank God for men like Clint Eastwood, who once again tells a story of a strong and positive female role model, and he tells it well. In the film’s first act, we’re presented to Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), a working single mother living in the 1920s, whose biggest joy in life is her little boy Walter. After her child disappears, Christine contacts the Los Angeles police department, which finds the missing child in five months time. The boy who came back home, however, is not hers. From now on Christine’s real struggle begins. In a time that women had no voice and authorities like the LAPD acted above the law, speaking up against their interest would bring serious consequences. Refusing to accept the strange child as her real son and desperate for not having the cops’ help, she contacts the press and the next day she’s taken to a mental institution. There she meets women who were brought for the same reason, for “defying” the LAPD.

Luckily, not everything is lost for Christine, as she is helped by the Reverend Briegleb (John Malkovich), a man who has always criticized the corrupted police and now decides to act instead of only speaking about it on the radio. Would have she made it without one’s help in the first place? A man’s help, and a respected figure. In those times, I don’t think so. Coincidently or not, in Million Dollar Baby, there’s also a male figure struggling beside the leading lady. The difference is that here, the kind man is supporting, and nothing but supporting. The film belongs to Christine and consequently to Angelina Jolie, whose melodramatic acting convinces as the right choice for the role. Filmed in a traditional style, Changeling gets one’s attention despite its long screen time, after all, it has all a good classic melodrama requires and a litte more. It might not be Eastwood’s best picture, but it still has its signature and it’s definitely worth a visit in the movies.

Changeling (USA, 2008). Directed by Clint Eatwood. Written by J. Michael Straczynski. Starring Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan, Jason Butler Harner.

January 12, 2009

>Will Kate finally win an academy award?

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🙂

Photo: UOL

January 7, 2009

>Vincent (1982) by Tim Burton

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Vincent Malloy is seven years old, / He’s always polite and does what he’s told. / For a boy his age he’s considerate and nice, / But he wants to be just like Vincent Price…

January 5, 2009

>Love Songs

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Oh, love. And sex. Both deeply attached sometimes. In this story, the characters deal with love and sex issues, being only able to speak up their feelings by singing a love song. Ismaël and Julie are together and welcome a third person, Alice, forming therefore a romantic triangle. Alice is playful and seems genuinely happy living a free and “uncommitted” love whereas Julie questions her own feelings and Ismaël’s. Death strikes suddenly, affecting Ismaël, who begins to lose his faith in love. What’s love, then? The film doesn’t give any answers as it doesn’t go deeply within this question. The songs are not even part of the narrative, but play rather as beautiful digressions that come out in opportune moments. And there’s Louis Garrel. *Sigh*.

This song is just beautiful, and so is this scene.

Love Songs (Les Chansons d’amour, France, 2007). Written and directed by Christophe Honoré. Starring Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet.