Saturday, January 30, 2010

Precious - And in that tunnel, the only light they had, was inside of them. And then long after they escape that tunnel, they still be shining for everybody else.

Wow. That is all that I could utter for about twenty minutes after leaving the theater when I saw Precious. The story is about a young, abused African-American girl and her struggle to rise above the uncontrollable circumstances that surround her life. I haven’t had the chance to read Sapphire’s novel, Push, so I cannot give any comparison to the book. But as for the film, Lee Daniels (director) created a work that felt as real as if you were a fly on the wall in Harlem witnessing these unbelievably events as they unfolded.
This film shocked and stunned the audience with the raw, harsh scenes of abuse by both her mother and father. Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) opened our eyes to the reality of the situations, which she narrated in a monotone, disconnected manner that mirrored her attitude toward life. After her second pregnancy was discovered the school authorities transferred her to an alternative program to obtain her GED. Precious was placed in a class taught by Ms. Rain (Paula Patton) who saw potential in all of her students. Ms. Rain, as well as the social worker, Mrs. Weiss (Mariah Carey) both took an interest in this girl whom had become invisible to others. They both invested time, emotional and physical energy to help her lift herself out of the mire that she was born.
The newcomer Sidibe was masterful in her portrayal of Precious. Creating a girl who built a fortress of hard, apathetic emotions out of necessity to protect her. Also, she funneled the monsoon of anger and terror into her scenes, displaying the break down of a sixteen year-old girl who suffocating under the weight of circumstances that were completely out of her control. However, Mo’Nique, who played Mary the abusive mother, was the force that made this movie. She was compassionless and irrational in hatred toward her child. Without her unbridled performance the film wouldn’t have been as real. As for the other actors, which included Patton, Carey, Lenny Kravitz, and Sherri Shepherd, they created an ensemble that complimented the rare beauty of Precious. They all fed off her unrelenting spirit and never let her give into the horrors of her life.
Precious shows us that there are people in the world that are monsters to the innocent, but there are also other people that value humanity above all else. Those people are willing to struggle to help the innocent find a way to escape the grip of the monsters in their lives. This film gave me a glimpse into a world that seems light years away from my reality. However, it is world that needs to be brought into the light in order to protect the pure. With very raw, vulgar language and vivid flashbacks I warn all the faint of heart to view this film with caution and a box of tissues. The tissues recommendation is for everyone!  

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It’s Complicated - Uh-oh, not the best time to be feelin’ groovy.

This movie was a delightful, heart-felt comedy that was packed with star performances by Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, and the sweet John Krasinski, but had an unethical premise. The story follows Jane Adler (Streep) a divorced mother of three that owns a bakery and her ex-husband, Jake (Baldwin), a lawyer that has started a new family with the young mistress, played ever so sultrily by Lake Bell. The film begins with the feel of “life after divorce” for the modern family. The Adlers, after ten years, seem to have it down to a tolerant art. However, after a scandalous encounter while in New York for their son’s graduation the paradigm of their relationship shifts. While, Jake relishes in the new found excitement of an affair and hopes to continue the escapades, Jane is hesitant to disrupt her post-divorce life. Then, as if her life isn’t complicated enough, she begins a courtship with her nerdy architect, Adam (Martin).
Now, not being divorced, or even married for that matter, I think there are aspects of this film that I just don’t comprehend. But, omg, my jaw was on the floor during the scene in the psychiatrist’s office. He advised her to continue her adulterous relationship with her ex-husband! Does that sound crazy to anyone else? After that scene, I wanted a title change to “You’re Making it Complicated”. Clearly, I don’t agree with some of the choices that Jane makes, however, she does stand up for herself and her feelings when it comes down to it later in the movie. And I praise her for that.
But, oh how I love Meryl Streep! She played Jane with the breezy confidence, but a subtle vulnerability that made her “soft spot” for Jake completely believable. She was the strong, capable heroine that this kind of film needed in order to flourish. Alec Baldwin created a Jake that actually made my skin crawl, which worked with the character development perfectly. Also, you saw glimpses of regret and realization of responsibility to his past actions, but like any man-child they were only glimpses. Adam, on the other hand, was an excellent opponent in the fight for Jane’s affection. Martin brought a light, nervous sweetness to Adam’s character, along with the same kind of post-divorced vulnerability, which Jane complete understood. As for the secondary characters, Krasinski stole the show! Sorry to the three cookie-cutter kids, but Harvey (John Krasinski), the soon to be son-in-law, was the only sort of-sibling that brought depth to the scenes. Maybe I’m a little bias to the beloved Jim, but he was a delight every time he came on screen. With Harvey it was all in the eyebrows, he had the best nonverbal reactions to all of the “complications” in the film. And his chemistry with Meryl was great! I would love to see them together on screen again.
So if you’re in the mood for a fun, flirty flick that has some emotion and depth into post-marital bliss, it’s not a complicated choice… I give it a thumbs up!  

Bright Star - “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

For anyone who has read any work of John Keats and has been left breathless in the wake of his genius, this movie is for you. From the first note of the prelude to the last eloquent word softy spoken by Keats (Ben Whishaw) I was in awe and rapture of the beauty and truth of this movie. Jane Campion, writer and director, created a film that retold the three-year love story of Keats and Fanny Barwne. Throughout the coarse of the film, you feel like you are walking through a fog, a fog that is in essence the embodiment of Keats’ works. It was the combination of the beautiful music, flowing and rich fabrics of the wardrobe, and even how the characters moved around one another and the natural scenery that created this humbly, beautiful film.
I also commend Campion in her ability to incorporate actual text from letters of Keats into the dialogue. There is one scene in particular that is an exact representation of an account written by Charles Brown depicting the day Keats wrote “Ode to a Nightingale”. She interpreted the scene with such a quiet magnitude that it seemed seamless, yet if you’ve read the account, there would be no other way for it to be. It was perfect! Another scene that I can not help but mention, was when Keats was explaining the art of poetry to Fanny. He compared the act of reading a poem to jumping in a lake. It was an excellent analogy that encompasses his actual views on poetry that can be interpreted from his writings and letters. 
The actors brought a fresh, youthful feel to the film that allowed you to connect with them and feel their joy along with their sorrow. Abby Cornish played Fanny with such effortless passion. She wore Fanny’s self-made fashion with pride and confidence, as well as honed the emotions of a maiden in an impossible love affair. Charles Brown was wonderfully played by Paul Schneider, he brought a crass, unlikeable balance to the characters. Brown, along with impending death, was the needed friction in the plot. Ben Whishaw recreated a John Keats that walked with a wise calm beyond his years and held a melancholy in his eyes that foretold his untimely death.
Now, for those of you that haven’t had the elating experience of reading and loving John Keats, this movie may just spark your interest. However, be warned that the tempo of the film is slow and steady, where the majority of the movie is set in one house. So if you don’t have an affinity for films filled with beautiful language and set in 19th century England you might want to steer clear. ☺ But as for me, I give this movie a giant thumbs up!

p.s. I want to thank Kim for her love of all things Keats, that assisted me in this post.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To Begin, Lets Start at the Beginning...

Hello friends and bloggers! As you might have assumed, this blog is solely dedicated to my opinions on movies. All movies? (You might ask.) Yes. All movies. From the beautiful to the disgusting and all the glorious cinema that lies in between. I have always had a love of movies, they way they can transport you to other places, dimensions, and minds. As well as, an appreciation for the beauty that is seen and then reproduced by the directors and cinematographers of yesterday and today. However, my love does not only lie with the beautiful movie, but also the raw, real movies that can stab full forced into the center of your heart, making a person feel more deeply about a character than you ever thought possible. And to go further, I even love the bad, the movies so bad they are an art form in themselves. With this little blog, I will go through and give my thoughts on all the movies that I have seen! And if you know me, you know that this is no small feat! So sit back and enjoy my quirky take on life through the motion pictures I see. I might even throw in a few book reviews sometime, just to spice it up a bit!