Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mini Reviews: Fall Movies

I haven't written much about movies, which is odd, because movies, after theater, are my favorite art form. I haven't written about theater yet, either, but that's because I haven't seen anything new in a few months.

But autumn is the season of serious movies. I love this time of year for that. I don't want to write long torturous entries on everything I see, though; I'm too lazy. Still, I have opinions on what's out there right now, and so I've invented the VeryMarkMcCormick mini review.

Into the Wild. See it. It's ambitious and will make you think and feel. It's scenic. Sean Penn bit off a lot and good for him. Sometimes it does weird, first film things, like the split screen, but I liked it for the story, the acting, the scenery, but most of all the theme: we all have a journey inside of us: it takes bravery to take it.

Michael Clayton. See it. Tom Wilkinson, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack--they're all good. I'm finding I like darkness in movies and music. I mean this is no great revelation, because I've always liked the dark side of things, but I like espionage more than I thought. I loved the Bourne movies, and this is like that in that the plot is largely psychological.

The Brave One. Hmmm. A little cheesy, but watching Jodie Foster work through any horror is a treat. See it.

Darjeeling Limited. Definitely see it. It's getting only mixed reviews. People are too hard on Wes Anderson. Build him up then knock him down. Critics think his characters aren't really emotionally complex enough, or the serious emotional drama is ignored in favor of clever art direction and music. I disagree. I think the story of these three brothers is fable-like but rich. It's archetypal somehow: "once upon a time three brothers traveled to India to ask their mother why she was absent at their father's funeral. They had many bags and lots of baggage. Each brother had some pain: one was in love, one was afraid, and one was confused." I loved the moment when Owen Wilson took off his bandages and said, "I think I still have some healing to do." How poignant to find out the actor has been suicidal as well.

Lars and the Real Girl. See it. It reminds me of a movie called Big Eden, which presented a Utopian version of small town America. As a product of small towns, I can tell you that they do not bend and sway to express their love for the misfits of society as this movie posits. In reality, small towns tolerate a very narrow range of behavior. But we can dream, can't we? What if, this movie asks, what if one amongst us had a delusion and asked us to participate in that delusion. Would we go along with it, in order to support that person, who after all had been Christlike himself, had sacrificed for us, had asked for nothing? In this town they rally behind Lars who falls for a doll (literally) named Bianca. You will find yourself crying and here's why: because Ryan Gosling is one of the best actors living. We believe his loneliness, and in the end, his grief and redemption. This movie is gentle, a warm bath, and sometimes we all need a little comfort. Oh and Patricia Clark is understated and pitch perfect as always. Love her.

Lust, Caution. See it. Ang Lee's new movie is complex and multi-faceted. It's full of atmosphere. And can I say this: Ang Lee likes his sex rough! Consider the scenes in Brokeback Mountain and this movie: pleasure through pain, baby! Bone up on your WWII history of the Chinese resistance.

Okay, so that's it. Can't say there was a dog amongst these. I've chosen well this fall. Agree? Disagree? Comment!

1 comment:

Jeff Osteen said...

"Into the Wild"...who hasn't wanted to run away to "Slab City"?