Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Emily's Been Watching, March Edition

Yay!  It is still April and I am actually getting to this!  This post has had to take a backseat until I finished the epic concert/road trip posts and I finished last night (phew)  I was very excited to have that chapter closed.  (Not that I didn't enjoy writing those posts, cause I did-  I just was ready to move on.)  So March movies.............hmmm, one thing I should say is that kind of on a lark, I have decided to get into French movies for a while.  Why not?  I say.  It started with running into a movie based on a book I really liked, then my neighbors suggesting a movie (that happened to be French), and perhaps a little influence from The Artist.  Anyway, it has just kind of snowballed and I've decided to explore what France has to offer in the form of movies (or "le film" say the French).  Having a good time so far and I must say, I am starting to pick up a little French (especially swear words- those are the easiest to pick out).

TAKE SHELTER (2011) [R] drama.  Matt and I watched this one night while he was out here.  It's been on my radar for ages, and was happy to finally be able to see it.  Interesting movie.  Remember how last year or the year before there was this trend with documentaries where film makers were giving them twist endings and they were a little mysterious?  Well, this year the trend was definitely the "ambiguous ending", where we are forced to think a lot when the movie is over and discuss it, and try to come up with how we think the film is really ending.  I think this might mark the last one I've heard about in this series.  I really like to be able to do that- it's fun and nice to be able to discuss your take and compare it to what the person next to you might think (by the way- I still don't know anyone that has seen Certified Copy and so I haven't been able to discuss that one.  Get on it people!) and come up with theories, etc.  I do like this- a lot.  But do you know what I would like even better?  A little note, or a youtube video perhaps, (I'm not picky- whatever you want guys) of the film maker telling us what really happened.  We could watch it a few weeks after seeing the movie, at our leisure, when we are sick of discussing and theorizing about it.  Because I like to discuss, but in the end, I stop discussing, because you can only discuss a movie for so long and then you are left with wondering what actually happened and there is a bit of unrest.  Keep these movies coming, but please think about my idea.  Thanks. 
This particular movie is about a guy that starts having nightmares that are very real to him.  He also has visions while he is awake, foreshadowing an epic storm coming.  He wrestles with whether or not he is schizophrenic or if it could be actual visions.  He keeps it from his wife and deaf daughter.  It was really good and led to a great discussion with Matt afterwards.  He had ideas and takes I never thought of and vice-versa.  Like I implied- the end is ambiguous and I don't want to say much more about the movie.  It is worth your time to see this one- good stuff (unless you're my dad- he disliked it and must not have been in a thinking mood that night, so didn't get much enjoyment out of it).  Emily recommends this movie highly, but put on your thinking caps.  And, I heard a great theory on it and will share it with you if you'd like after you see it.

THE HUNGER GAMES (2012) [PG13] drama.  Read the books- liked them.  Saw this- liked it.  Cat, Sue, Matt, B and I went to the midnight showing after Kelly and Mike's reception while we were all out in St. George.  It was fun to see it together but man, we were all so very tired (good thing my mom scheduled a breakfast together at the Cracker Barrel at 8 that next morning).  I had to fight to keep awake through the last third of the movie.  Good thing it was exciting and fast paced.  We really liked the casting choices- Woody Harrelson was particularly inspired.  That's about it.  Emily recommends it, but the world has already seen it.  Books are good too, but you already read them.

Screw it.   All the embedding of trailers seems to have been disabled.  I'm not going to mess with it.  You've probably seen it anyways eh?

RETREAT (2011) [R] thriller.  Matt and I liked the previews before Take Shelter so much, we used them to pick out our next movie night (that combined with what was available on Redbox).  This one was the winner, but it ended up not winning, I'm afraid.  I am also afraid I have forgotten most of it by now.  It wasn't bad, but we both agreed that it's biggest sin was that it was pointless.  Everything about it was pointless.  I remember that it is about a couple that are totally sequestered on an island for an extended vacation and they are visited by a stranger that says that there has been an outbreak of a disease that has desecrated the population really quickly and they have no way of proving him right or wrong and they have to decide that to do.  The acting and writing were all fine as I can recall, and the ending was satisfyingly twisty, it just had too many elements that were pointless.  Emily does not really recommend this movie.  If it's on tv sometime and you are in a movie watching mood- by all means, you won't be totally wasting your time.  It's ok.

TELL ON ONE (Ne le dis á personne) [UR] mystery/thriller.  I came across this movie as a Netflix instant suggestion and I noticed it was based on a book by one of my very favorite mystery/crime authors, Harlan Cobin.  I dug into it a little and saw how well received it was.  I had read the book and liked it, so gave it a go.  It was good.  It was fun to see a Foreign movie based on an American book and see the little ways they make it their own and French it up.  It worked.  The basic story is about this guy, whose wife is murdered and 7 years later he gets an email from her, of a video of her walking around and a note for him to "tell no one".  Then the story unfolds from there. Oh, and it stars a French Dustin Hoffman. Emily recommends this movie to anyone.  It's a good time, but didn't knock my socks off or anything.  Worth a watch though.

Female backside shown briefly in this trailer and a man is naked but you don't see anything if that bothers you- you've been advised- the French, what can you do?  Nudity is pretty casual as far as I've seen.  It's nothing that bother's me personally, but perhaps I'm a bit relaxed about the subject.  Nudity- meh.

THE TRIP (2010) [NR] comedy.  This is another movie that's been on my radar a long time and in my queue even (for a long time), but was nudged to watch it finally after having Sue recommend it to me.  I knew it was a comedy and I knew the guys in the film spend the whole movie talking and arguing and trying to best each other's Micheal Caine impersonations.  Sounds great and yeah, it was.  It really amused me.  I know it is more then just a movie, I think it is either based on some sort of reality tv show in the UK or something.  Perhaps I should have done some research before I wrote this, but it's one in the morning and I'm not going to.  I didn't need the back story to enjoy it, it was just entertaining on it's own.  Two guys are thrown together to a trip to eat at fancy restaurants and they are a little awkward about it, but end up being changed a little by the experience.  That's about it.  Emily recommends this if you like yourself a good British comedy now and then. Probably enough swearing to get an R rating.

HEARTBREAKER (L'arnacoeur) (2010) [NR] romantic comedy.  This is the one that my neighbors suggested I watch.  Oh my gosh I LOVED it.  This movie was so fun.  It's about a brother, sister and her husband who run a business where they break up relationships (hired by interested parties, not the couple).  They have rules about it, like it always has to be in the girl's best interest.  They do this, by using the brother as a kind of symbol that wakes them up and tells them that there is someone better out there (but not him of course).  This is a romcom, so of course there is going to be "that big job" that has "the girl" that gets to him and messes everything up.  In this case, it is Vanessa Paradis (who happens to be Johnny Depp's real life wife) and she is so adorable.  This movie is kind of your average romcom in many ways, but much better then average.  Emily recommends this movie very much!  Totally check it out-  it is pretty clean, she has a slutty best friend (I told you it was kind of classic romcom stuff- who knew the rules of the romcom are international?) who says one kind of nasty sentence in the back of a car and there is some French swearing now and then (and one quick lingerie malfunction (slutty friend again)), but it's not too bad.  You will enjoy it I think and I defy anyone not to have a huge grin on their face during the Dirty Dancing scene.  You know it's coming during most of the movie, but it still will make you smile.  It's on Netflix streaming and I've watched it twice so far.  

Les poupées russes (Russian Dolls) (2005) [NR] comedy/drama.  This was suggested to me by Netflix and people seemed to like it, so I watched it.  I spent most of the movie thinking I was watching some sort of French Micheal C. Hall (aka French Dexter) then it dawned on me that it is the same dude that was in Heartbreaker.  He looked so different* (*see: nerdy) in this.  I suppose that is why this was recommended to me (his name is Romain Duris by the way).  This movie was kind of meh- but on the better side of meh for sure.  I liked it alright, but it was no Heartbreaker.  The whole time I felt like I was missing something and then found out after the fact that it was a sequel to another movie (I watched in April- more on that next month).  It actually did a good job being it's own movie, but still, I felt confused from time to time, and like I said- felt as if I was missing something.  Turned out that I was!  It was a pretty good mix of comedy and drama and romance.  I'm not sure I want to get into the plot really, it's got a pretty big cast of twenty something singles, with one being the main focus (French Dexter), trying to bridge the gap from college to the professional world, or "single and loving it" to "settling down".  You know..........that sort of stuff.  Emily sort of half heartedly recommends this one.  You will be entertained somewhat, but your socks will most likely stay firmly on.

Alright, you'll have to go here to watch this clip I picked out for this movie.  It is Xavier (in his mind) walking down "the street of Ideal Proportions" in St. Petersburg behind this girl.  If memory serves (this clip is not subtitled) he is working out some things in his mind about perfection in women and why that distracts men from the real deal (his girlfriend).  He just all of a sudden starts into this dance like thing or strange walk and arm movements and it was just weird enough to raise the movie a notch or two in my eyes for whatever reason.  I really liked it.
I thought this was better then the trailer.

SPIRITED AWAY (2001) [PG] family/adventure.  So I saw this movie because of a few things:  1. I listened to a top 5 list of best animated movies and neither guy could stop bringing up Miyazaki.  2. Just days later Matt and I were having a little discussion about a NY Times article about Jonny Greenwood and the author described the contents of Jonny's backpack and one of those items was an Anime book (sp?).  Matt and I were a little taken aback by this news, and made a few innocent comments and this was facebook overhead by my friend Ami, and she basically told me that I might like some Anime and that I should see this movie.  Then my friend Jacob jumped on as well and backed her up.  So, when you combine 1 and 2, you kind of think perhaps you should see this movie.  oh and 3.  Ami recommended it.  Ami pretty much has reached "top movie recommend status" and so she can pretty much tell me to watch anything and I'll try it.  She's earned it with enough home runs through the years.  You're a diamond level member Aim, congrats.  
So, I watched it and it WAS really good.  At first glance visually, it doesn't seem like anything special, in fact looks like something I may have watched in my youth, but you shift your eyes to the background and there is some stunning visuals to be seen.  They were amazing.  The story is about a little girl that finds herself in a strange, magical world that is ruled by a witch and her parents are turned into pigs.  She has to figure out how to reverse this and get them all out of there.  It's super weird and trippy at times, and ends up having a nice message about loyalty and bravery and kindness.  Good for the kids to watch if they can handle some major weirdness.  Weird and intense at times, but I wouldn't call it ever really scarey.  Right away I could tell that I would have much preferred watching it in it's original language with subtitles instead of dubbed.  (Very few things bug me more then dubbed movies- everything always just seems so wrong, but especially the voices.)  But dubbed is what Netflix sent me, so I had no choice.  Oh well, I still enjoyed it.  Don't know if I have some sort of anime bug now or something- yes, I can answer that- I don't.  BUT I am sure I will be a little more open to watching something like this again if I'm told it's awesome.  It really wasn't as bad (see: nerdy) as I may have imagined at one time.  Emily can totally recommend this movie.  It may surprise you if you aren't into this world.  Much more interesting then your average Disney princess flick (and much more up Scout's alley).  I didn't have her watch it, but I would if I ever came across it again.  I think she'd get a kick out of it.

I don't know- might be a little scary for Scout still.

Emily's Wall of Shame

CITIZEN KANE (1941) [PG] Drama/mystery.  When I think of my wall of shame, this movie is right at the top of the list.  This is one of the most brought up movies in history and a must for all cinephiles.  Well, I finally watched it and I don't want to sound like an idiot, but I have to be honest.  I really didn't see what the big deal was. *dutifully shamed*  It was a good movie, well done, etc etc.  but seriously- what did I miss?  Perhaps that it is supposed to be a great big mystery about who Rosebud is, but by now, aren't we all spoiled on that?  I wouldn't think that would really make a huge difference.  Maybe I should study it a little and learn more about what makes it "great".   But I am glad I went in without all that pretension, so I could just see it as a lame person and not already impressed by it's wonder glories.  Does it sound like I hated it?  Cause I didn't- it just didn't live up to "the greatest movie ever" as it is touted in many circles.  It was fun seeing Orson Wells so young!  He was a handsome young man and an amazing actor.   Emily recommends this movie so you can educate me.  Or if you've seen it tell me your take and what makes it great to you.  I am really interested.

other stuff

Buffy:  only watched one episode.  The season is heating up a little I guess.

I finished The Wonder Years and am now going through How I Met Your Mother.  It is really amusing me.  Some jokes make me giggle long after they are done.  I am not a sitcom person by any stretch of the imagination, but this one is clever enough to like. 


Ami Hart said...

Hooray! I reached diamond status. I'm honored. Really.

Sue said...

That is some good watching Em! I saw Take Shelter and really liked it. You, me and Matt can have a private discussion about that. I really like Jessica Chastain. She is turning into one of my favorite actresses.

I saw the trailor for Retreat and am not sure why you and Matt watched that, haha. I really like Cillian Murphy though.

I am so glad you watched The Trip and liked it. Both of those guys cracked me up. One of my favorite parts was when they were at Steve Coogen's parent's house.

That is cool you are getting into French movies. I've heard of Heartbreaker, I'll have to check it out. One that I liked a lot was A Pure Formality, I cannot remember the French title. It stars Gerard Depardu and Roman Polanski. It is a murder mystery, so I think you would like it. Depardu plays a man who has temporary amnesia and is accused of murder. Polanski plays a police detective trying to solve the murder. Almost the entire movie is just the two of them talking at the police station and then there are some flash back scenes. It is easy to follow because you can really pay attention to the subtitles because there isn't a lot of action to distract you. So, I recommend that. I haven't seen it in many years, so I think I'm going to give it another watch too. And I know that Chis and Jimmy really like Francois Truffaut movies. I know they picked a few of his movies as their DVD picks. Jules and Jim and 400 Blows are the ones I remember.

And I think it is really funny you watched Spirited Away. I was just thinking of that movie on Sunday. I was flipping through the chanels and watched about 5 minutes of an anime cartoon. It reminded me that I need to see Spirited Away because I've heard it's really good.

And finally, Citizen Kane. I pretty much feel exactly the way you do. I watched it about 10 years ago. I liked it, but had the same "I don't get why it is always #1 on best movie lists" thoughts. I've heard that if you watch a bunch of movies that came out before it came out, you see it more. I think he was the first to use certain camera angles and I think something about the way he did crowds was innovative. It is fun to see such a young Orson Welles. I was only familiar with the wine commercial Welles and Muppet Movie Welles. I think a lot of movie lists have stopped putting that movie at #1. I just checked AMC's top 100 movies of all time and they have Citizen Kane at 14.

Okay, that is enough for now. Except one thing Em, husband bulge. hahahahaha

Emily said...

HAHA!! You me and Cat could NOT stop giggling at that- we were like 13 year old boys or something. It was just funny on many levels.

Thanks for the recommendations- A Pure Formality is a hard one to find! I checked Netflix, Orem Library, Salt Lake County Libary, (they had a VHS copy for about $10), itunes, and FINALLY Amazon video has it available to rent for 1.99 (I've rented from itunes but never Amazon before- I imagine it is the same kind of deal though). I added the 2 you mentioned as Chris and Jimmy's favorites to my dvd queue- they all sound fantastic! I'm excited.
Glad you felt the same way about Citizen Kane, and I figured it had to be innovation or similar that makes it so great- that makes sense. You probably have to take a film class to really get it.

The retreat seemed pretty interesting to us- we only had two available that met the two criteria I spoke of and The Skin I live In was the other choice and that one actually had my vote, but in the end we chose The Retreat. Live and learn- it wasn't anywhere near the worst movie Matt and I have watched together.

Amy said...

I thought it quite a coincidence that you watched Citizen Kane recently because as I read this post the other day, Citizen Kane was sitting in my red Netflix envelope on my kitchen desk waiting for me to watch it and get it off of my Wall of Shame, too. I watched it and liked it. Thought about your comments and tried to notice things that would make it great. And I think you're right about taking a film class would probably really help you understand why. Scott took a film class and they watched and discussed this movie and he remembers something about using "juxtaposition" for the first time. I also read that it was the first movie which combined several new techniques. Not necessarily the first to use them, but the first to use them all together. I did notice a lot of cool effects (for that time) and I actually liked the movie quite a bit. Glad I watched it and finally know who Rosebud is.

Sue said...

I didn't realize A Pure Formality was so hard to find. I remember now that I watched it when I lived across the street from Liberty Park. I used to walk over to the Tower Theater and rent movies from them. They had the best selection of movies you've never heard of. Some some killer movies that I rented from them.

And yes, me, you and Cat were like a bunch of 13 year old boys giggling at that line. But it was funny on many different levels. The timing, the delivery and the fact he was just walking through the room. Man, makes me giggle.

Emily said...

Yeah- the casually walking by killed me.

Good job working on your wall of shame Aim!

Adri Pug said...

I love Spirited Away and I could direct you to good movies by Hayao Miyazaki, though not all of them are as normal as Spirited Away which is pretty tame for a Miyazaki movie. The first one I ever watched was Princess Mononoke when I was 9 or 10 and it blew my mind. I rented it 5 times on VHS before I finally got the DVD much later. Though it's more serious than Spirited Away and it came out before it so then later when Spirited Away came out I knew what I was in for with a Miyazaki movie.


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