Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Emily's Been Watching, January Edition

I have had a complicated month (Especially the beginning of it). Enough said.

Problem is, my memory that is notoriously bad in the first place when coming up with the movies I watched- gets progressively more bad as time passes. THEREFORE, you will be getting a pretty lousy accounting of my January movies. The ones I remember later, I will add to later months (as I am going to do with Winter's Bone -which I watched ages ago and totally forgot to add where appropriate- so that will even out my list a little). The biggest question here is, "Why oh why is it so hard for me to keep a comprehensive list of movies handy to write down after watching? WHY?" Oh, this is just one of the mysteries that make me who I am. I wouldn't know what to do with the stranger that would be "organized Emily".

Here's what I remember for now:

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (twice more) (2010) [R]:Documentary. Did a full review of this movie last month, but watched it the next day again. Then again with Rob, cause he of course needed to see it. The good thing was- I got the physical copy of it to watch with Rob and it had EXTRAS. My favorite was a little film done on Banksy and he did the coolest thing I have ever heard of. When Paris Hilton came out with an album a few years ago, he made his own Paris album that looked on the outside like hers, but he doctored the inside pictures with little blurbs of... you know what? I just found a bit of that part on youtube so I'll just show that. (just so you are warned: he does something to her picture involving her breasts on this clip, but it's blurred out.) Here is my full review of the movie I did last month in case you missed it:
Banksy is my hero.

THE HURT LOCKER (2008) [R] : Action. This is one I've meant to see for a time and finally did. I like a good war movie, that's for sure. I have to admit, my first impression of the Jeremy Renner character had me rolling my eyes. It was just so by-the-book-same-old-story: well established platoon, "new guy" comes and crashes their delicate hierarchy, he's a rebel, first mission he doesn't play by their rules, goes through his part with a cigarette butt hanging from his mouth (that is how rebellious and blase and too cool for school he was). Anyway, yes it follows that formula, but it really is good and manages to throw a twist and a turn or two in that classic story. Emily can recommend this movie to the war movie loving crowd. It is especially intense (it is about a bomb unit in the Iraq war- so yeah, it's intense). Language and violence peeps, as any respectable war movie should have.

BRIGHAM CITY (2001) [PG-13] :Crime thriller. Alright. Here's the deal: I saw the world of Mormon Cinema unfold and watched it happen with horror for the most part. I didn't pay attention to it closely, just saw titles like, "The Singles Ward" and "Mormons and Mobsters" and in my head, these movies played out like a bad road show (remember those?) I wanted nothing to do with them and pretty much ignored the rise and fall. I also heard of Deucher's films and heard some of the controversy surrounding them and wasn't impressed with that either. For what ever reason nothing about all that interested me.
So was it this summer? Fall? I'm not sure. But my cousin Dan interviewed Richard Deucher on a podcast and this raised my interest enough to listen to it. I found the 4 hours to be engaging and interesting.
If I am to be completely honest, (to me) he came across as egotistic (which probably works in his favor for the business he's in), but to a casual listener, the egotism seemed unwarranted. The egotism wasn't a big deal though, my biggest impression I came away with was how I found his journey through Mormonism contradictory like crazy. Let's just say I finished that interview with my impression of the man not so good and I had prejudged his movies as amateurish and probably laughable. I discussed it (the interview) a little with my bro who also listened and he brought up some favorable things that I didn't think of (perhaps you needed to listen with a brain that makes movies as my bro does to have appreciated this -or maybe you just needed a more open mind then I had) but Matt respected his perseverance in getting his movies funded and seeing them through to the end when that took a lot of effort and hard work. Matt's right. That is totally commendable of him and I can respect that, so thanks Matt. However hard he worked to get these films made, I didn't leave the interview with any real intent to see any of his stuff, I left it with the impression that I was going to go on ignoring Mormon Cinema.
Yet, while at the library last month, I spontaneously grabbed Brigham City. Why not? My intent was to be able to dislike it and his movies with some actual intelligence. My overall impression? You know what? It was not nearly as bad as I was set for it to be. Sure there were some actors in it that couldn't act (dispatcher girl comes to mind), but over all, it really looked and felt a whole lot more professional then I would ever have thought. The story was good too. Kept me guessing and all that jazz. I am surprised that the ordinances shown were a big deal to any one.
It was surprising and fun to see my home town as the back drop, I liked that.
The people in the movie brought up the church too much to feel natural to me though. I thought that was over done. But perhaps that's what we do with Mormon Cinema, and perhaps why I instinctively knew to keep away. I also balked a little at the "end scene" that was supposed to be so touching. For whatever reason it fell TOTALLY flat to me. To her surprise, Emily can actually recommend this movie for the most part. Perhaps you need to go in to it with low expectations as I did, but if you do, it will pleasantly surprise you. I might be persuaded to see "God's Army" someday, but just so you know, no one will ever get me to see "Home Teachers". Not a chance in H-E-double hockey sticks.

SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009) [PG-13]:Action. Never saw this one. Always meant to, figured it was worth at least a rent someday when the time was right. The time was right one night when Rob and I were in the mood for a little at home date night and a red box. Fun, silly, and entertaining, but not overly so. For whatever reason, Robert Downey, Jr. absolutely delights me. Always has. He is 100% adorable. Emily COULD recommend this movie, but she is pretty sure you've already seen it.

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS (2010) [PG-13]: Comedy (or was supposed to be at any rate). This was at home date movie for the next week. I am not keen to go on about this movie. Bottom line: tortuously bad. I like Steve Carell. I like Paul Rudd. I wanted to like this movie, or at least not hate it. Too bad, hated it. Stuffed mice were funny. Pretty much other then that--- chirp chirp. I will say that Rob hated it a lot more then I did. In fact it was one of those movies that crossed the line for him from just "this movie is so stupid", to "so stupid it made him angry". In fact, we tried to watch The Office a few days later, a show he has always enjoyed, but he couldn't even look at Steve Carell and we were forced to turn the channel. Emily and Rob wouldn't recommend wasting your time and if you want a more comprehensive review on the stupidity that is this movie, call Rob.

WINTER'S BONE (2010) [R]: Drama/mystery/thriller. I don't recall how long ago it was I saw this movie, but it's been several months. Another casualty of my bad organization (I may have found a working answer to my writing down problem- the memo feature on my phone). Anyway, this was a great movie. It takes place in the mountain's of Arkansas (or similar) and the culture that is the Ozarks. The screenplay is really good and the acting is fantastic. John Hawkes played the uncle "teardrop" and he really blew me away. I would have been VERY happy for him had he won the Oscar (even though I picked Bale and racked myself up 19 points by doing so). Jennifer Lawrence blew me away too. The movie really pulls you in to the atmosphere and world that is portrayed in it, and it left me glad of my own situation and surroundings. The heroine is an amazing character and I was impressed with her ability to do what needed to be done at risk to her own self physically and emotionally. I just might need to check that book out. Emily recommends this movie if you like this kind of thing and enjoy immersing yourself in a corner of the world you might never experience otherwise.

Alright kids, there it is. February won't be late. Yikes! I guess that means it will be in a couple days. Sure glad I polished this off tonight and made it on the last day of Feb. (I DID work on this last night and about a week ago, just didn't quite finish/polish it off in time for last night).


Pops said...

Nice posting and reviews, Ems. It made me want to pick up Winter's Bone that I would not of otherwise. I am with you and Matt on the Mormon Movies and Richard D. However I am going to watch "Gods Army" again. I remember liking it a lot when it first came out and it spawned all the other really bad "Mormon Movies". You should watch it Ems.

Dan W said...

Fun, Em, on you seeing a Dutcher film! I just won a boxed set of God's Army, Brigham City, and States of Grace at his Oscars party Sunday night. Want to borrow? (You KNOW you do!)

Agree with Matt that the confidence comes in handy when you're an independent filmmaker. you have to believe in your vision and talent, and that can come across as arrogant at times. I may even have come across that way with Dutcher from my first encounter or two, but then we good became friends (about 2004) and he is really, really enjoyable and insightful and way funny.(I'm in the credits for States of Grace--and maybe Falling and Evil Angel, but I can't remember for sure and don't have DVDs to check. So now you MUST see at least States of Grace!)

Glad you liked Brigham City enough to recommend. The Mapleton stuff was fun for me, too. The final sacrament scene DID work for me. Would love to know where it missed for you? Also, did you ever see the Sally Field movie, Places in the Heart? It has a cool reconciliation scene that uses a sacrament/communion service as its medium. I think the "communal meal" aspect of the sacrament is too often ignored in Mormonism, and I loved that it got played in this movie.

Agree on some of the actors not being great. Small budget reasons mostly, I think. As far as the controversy over showing Mormon ordinances go, the bigger freak out came when he showed them in God's Army. I think by time BC came out, it had died down, plus the sacrament isn't quite as stark to see on camera for Mormons than administering to the sick (and having non-LDS actors doing it).

Anyway, glad you're now initiated a bit! Thanks for the insights into the other ones. Like George, I'm definitely going to watch Winter's Bone very soon, and likely the others you recommended....


Related Posts with Thumbnails