Brief comments on film by Amy.
Some old, some new. Domestic films and foreign too.
Motherhood: I don’t know why I often rent movies fully expecting to dislike them. I totally expected to hate this film but was pleasantly surprised. That’s not to say that I will be casting my Oscar ballot in its favor but I won’t be sticking my tongue out at Uma Thurman should I bump into her sometime. I was curious to see how the topic of motherhood would be handled. Usually in Hollywood films it is either condescending (“Look at the slaves laboring in vain, changing diapers and thinking their lives have meaning.”) or, well, condescending. I didn’t fully buy Thurman as the stay-at-home mom trying to balance raising two kids whom she genuinely loves and maintaining her own identity as a woman, writer and wife. Still, it was a nice flick to pop in while this slave was folding the laundry.
Up in the Air: The theme of this month’s Snapshots could be “Movies I thought I would hate and ended up almost liking.” Key word: almost. I haven’t cared much for George Clooney since he stopped wooing nurses and saving lives on ER back in the day. He completely throws off my suspension of disbelief, and I find that very frustrating. So I can’t remember the thought process behind picking this one up (probably nothing else in the Redbox and nothing but foreign films and self-help left at the library). What surprised me more than my mild-to-moderate enjoyment of Up in the Air was Jim’s moderate to heavy enjoyment. He even compared its atmosphere to that of films directed by a certain native New Yorker we all know with bad hair and a less than positive outlook on life. The topic (the consequences of living a life detached from all commitment) could be a real wrist slasher, but director and co-writer Jason Reitman seems to have a gift for treating heavy topics lightly while still taking them seriously. The ending is a bit of a disappointment, but overall the film is worth watching, especially for the performance by Anna Kendrick whose Golden Globe nomination was well-deserved.
The Hurt Locker: I don’t have too much to say about this one simply because I hate to nauseate readers with glowing reviews. This movie is among the best I have seen in a long time. The casting was flawless; the performances perfectly understated; the plot completely absorbing. It’s not for the faint of heart, due to the bad language and violence that isn’t overly graphic but still incredibly intense. Tuck Grandma in early and then prepare to be transported. I can’t believe the Academy actually got one right.
Honorable and Dishonorable Mentions: Did You Heard About the Morgans?: Watching this movie is like being followed by an annoying neighbor through the grocery store, then the checkout line, and into the parking lot. Trust me—get in the car and drive away, tires squealing. Ponyo: I didn’t actually watch this one but the kids gave it a thumbs-up and I don’t know how you can go wrong with director Hayao Miyazaki (Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service and, my fave, Spirited Away). Where the Wild Things Are: How can you mess up this book? Ask the dolt who wrote this screenplay. Sherlock Holmes: I am not a big fan of this genre but if you dig that sort of hybrid action-period-cheeky film, you could certainly do worse.
I don’t have anything meaningful to add, just to point out that a whopping 12 people went to see that Uma Thurman movie in Britain the weekend it came out. I’m not sure what that says about Brits and motherhood, or about that movie:
I really enjoyed Up in the Air, but the ease with which Vera Farmiga’s character negotiated marital infidelity while still caring for the preservation of her family unit was, well, frightening. To be able to morally compartmentalize your actions like that. Eesh.
i completely agree. i thought this was a fault of the movie in that alex goran (vera’s character) was able to do as you say, compartmentalize to that degree. maybe it is naive of me, but it seems more like movie manipulation than true to life.
haha thanks for ruining the plot nick.
hahah sorry zane. I should have thrown a disclaimer *spoiler alert* in there. I still haven’t seen Hurt Locker, but that’s a pretty solid recommendation.
amy, i love reading your Snapshots!
i don’t like surprises anyway, so it works out. as for the hurt locker, i thought it lived up to the hype…great story focused on characters rather than a political message.
I finally saw Hurt Locker, too, and thought that it nailed the disillusion and pointlessness that a number of my service friends felt; but also the adrenaline and hype that sent a few of them back for additional tours. It was a great movie.