As is my grand tradition around this time of year, I'm doing anything and everything other than what I'm supposed to be doing. I filmed my final production project yesterday and everything went well as far as I can tell from the rough cut I put together today. As for my expanded narrative of my screenplay and my research paper...I'll get back to you. Now, on to reviews of the many movies I watched last week.
Talk to Her/Hable Con Ella (2002) (class assignment)
Two men hold vigil over the women they’re in love with, who are both in a coma. Marco watches over his girlfriend Lydia, a matador who was gored by a bull. Benigno works at the hospital facility and watches over Alicia, the woman he was in love with from afar but only actually met once. Marco and Benigno become good friends, but things take an interesting turn when Marco gets some bad news and Benigno gets himself into trouble. I liked this movie, it was interesting. It takes an interesting twist at the end…except I wouldn’t really call it a twist, because it’s much more gradual than that. Very much like life.
The Double Life of Veronique/La Double Vie de Vèronique (1991) (class assignment)
Two women are cosmically connected to each other, unbeknownst to them. When Weronika dies suddenly, Véronique begins experiencing strange feelings of loneliness. At least I think that’s what was going on. This one was ok. It felt somehow disjointed to me. Like the story points never really connected. I guess I just thought it was a really interesting concept, but it fell short of my expectations. I think my professor wanted me to watch it more for the camera work. There was one shot where my friend and I both started to comment on the nice camera angle, when the old man on screen suddenly and randomly flashed himself. Awesome. In addition to wanting us to see interesting camera work, we also think our professor just likes to think of us squirming while we watch these movies.
Downhill Racer (1969) (someone else's class assignment)
A cocky downhill skier (Robert Redford) with hopes of making the U.S. Olympic ski team spends four years trying to prove himself to his coach (Gene Hackman) and his teammates. Again, I think this one was assigned to my friend so he could see some different camera work. And I imagine this camera work was very new and interesting in 1969. The movie was ok, but to me it felt like it ends very abruptly. They set it up as following his professional skiing career and some aspects of his personal life, but they only really resolve the skiing storyline without any mention of the other plot lines. But Robert Redford’s pretty awesome.
A Christmas Carol (2009) (personal time)
I love Christmas. I love A Christmas Carol in almost all of its incarnations. And I love Jim Carrey. You do the math. There’s really not much more they can do with the story itself, so it would seem that Robert Zemeckis just made the decision to make the visuals amazing. Win. And I saw it in IMAX 3D, so the visual aspect really was amazing. Jim Carrey was great as Scrooge and as all three ghosts. They made him look different enough as the ghosts that, even though you knew it was Jim Carrey, it wasn’t distracting. I will admit that whipping through 3-dimensional Victorian London at high speeds made me a little motion sick at times, but that’s just the price we pay to be able to see 3D pimples on young Scrooge’s face. The other thing of note is that parts of the movie are actually a bit scary, in a ghosts-and-skeletons-jumping-out-at-you sort of way. Which was good, I think, because the story is actually a little frightening when you think about it. Get in the holiday spirit and go see it. Perhaps avoid 3D if you're prone to motion sickness.
Young Frankenstein (1974) (personal time)
If I had to pick a favorite movie, this would almost certainly be my pick. It was written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks…and I could end my review right there. But I won’t. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), the grandson of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein, cannot deny his familial destiny to reanimate the dead. With the help of his trusty sidekick Igor (Marty Feldmen) and beautiful lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr), Frederick is able to bring a man back from the dead (Peter Boyle as The Monster). The Monster of course runs amok and hilarity of course ensues. Also featuring Madelaine Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Kenneth Mars, and a cameo by Gene Hackman. Also also featuring my undying love. Well, it doesn’t really feature that, it just gets that. From me. Forever.
The River Wild (1994) (personal time)
I think we’ve discussed this before, but just in case you forgot – I love Meryl Streep. Now that we’re all caught up, Meryl Streep plays Gail, mother of two and wife of workaholic Tom (David Strathairn). Gail’s an outdoorsy type from Montana who now lives in Boston with her bookish architect husband. Gail wants to take her son Roarke (the annoying kid from Jurassic Park) rafting in Montana and Tom reluctantly comes along. They meet up with some suspicious folks, namely Kevin Bacon and Michael C. Reilly. Things get rough, threats are made, hostages are taken, Meryl Streep waits for the exact right moment then kicks some serious ass, etc. etc. Overall, it’s a decent thriller. You know exactly what’s going to happen, but the gorgeous scenery and the unique action make it worth a watch if you’ve got a free afternoon.