Because I Like Movies That Make Me Cry

yay this movie!

I asked Reilly when we saw this movie at the Broadway Theater in Salt Lake City, and he said it was sometime in July. I believe him because he has an unbelievable memory. Because not only did he say we saw this movie in July, he described all the circumstances of our seeing it. Something about how the Saturday before we went to a cousin’s wedding and laughed a lot at the reception but not because people were being deliberately funny. Except for one cousin who’s good at being funny and telling stories. And we ate such-and-such, and I wore an outfit with these sleeves and shoes, and we also saw the Dark Knight Rises the Friday before at a matinee and other details of which I have absolutely no recollection.

We saw the preview for Beasts of the Southern Wild before we saw Polisse and Intouchables. (By the way, those two movies are very different French films, and I highly recommend both of them.) If a preview makes me cry, I pretty much want to see the movie. I was excited for it, because I knew it would be sad and tragic and beautiful. I knew that I would believe the little girl in it. I knew that I would be holding my breath and wanting to scream at the screen. I knew that it would make me feel sticky and gross. I knew that I cheer for the strained relationships and the massively fallen characters. I mean, what else would you do if you were watching actual news footage of a hurricane’s destruction and seeing people removed and/or displaced from their homes? And seeing the apparently well-meaning government swoop in and insist on improving the lives of people who don’t want to leave their territory because they’ve only known one home, one community, one happiness?

While we watched the movie, I did all those things that I knew I would do. I’ll probably still do those things every time I watch it from now on.
May’s rating scale:

MAY!

May?

meh…

meh?

MESS.

Part of a Conversation on Martin Scorsese’s The Departed — SPOILER ALERT

The movie won four Academy Awards. It’s dark, but it’s funny in the right places. It’s vulgar, violent and bitter. It’s not for viewers who like blatantly happy endings. Or even subtly happy endings. If you like rats, though, this is for you.

The following is an online chat about the movie. It has been edited for clarity. Skip the rest of this post to avoid spoilers.

person 1: you watch de-potted?
person 2: yiss
person 1: whatchoo fink?
person 2: he shooted him!
  they all shooted!
person 1: he shooted weo in da heed!
  did mawk wahboag and awick bodween meek you waff?
person 2: yiss
person 1: they funny–but they say the f wodes and the c wodes a lot
person 2: wots of bad wodes!
I don’t know why these people chat in baby talk. They seem pretty darn cute, though. And insufferably awesome.

May’s Movie Review: Howard’s End

May synopsis: Sometimes I’m in the mood for a slow and subtle period film. It’s all fine and understated until someone wields a sword.

May’s rating scale:

MAY!

May?

meh…

meh?

MESS.

(The following is actually a response I wrote for a class. I haven’t written a review in a while, and I thought this could serve both purposes.)

Howard’s End, a film adaptation of a novel of the same name by E. M. Forster, recounts the relationship of three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century. The Wilcoxes are wealthy and landed capitalists; the Schlegels appear to be bourgeois, and the Basts represent the lower middle class. The movie is marvelously cast, and the acting is exquisite, bringing a quiet power to the movie’s overall understatedness.

The film seems to depict the tension between these three socioeconomic statuses. Henry Wilcox, played by Anthony Hopkins, seems content to interact with the bourgeois sisters, Margaret and Helen Schlegel, who are played by Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter. Henry even marries Margaret. However, his rootedness in tradition emerges when Helen Schelgel becomes pregnant by Leonard Bast, played by Samuel West. First, Helen is not married when she becomes pregnant, and according to tradition, she should be shunned. Secondly, the other responsible party is a man from a lower class than the Wilcoxes. Helen should have not have become involved with him.

In keeping with tradition of double standards in a patriarchal society, Henry Wilcox’s past emerges when he admits to Margaret that he had a mistress. He cannot be bothered with this particular skeleton when Margaret brings up this fact to show how hypocritical Henry is as she asks him to allow Helen to stay his estate, Howard’s End, for one evening. He adamantly refuses. Life has always been a certain way for him, and he refuses to see anything differently.

It isn’t until Henry’s son goes to prison for murdering Leonard Bast (seeming a true hate crime) that he undergoes a change of heart.  He decides to bequeath Howard’s End to the Schlegels, and Helen plans to raise her new son as heir.

Howard’s End illustrates the shift in mentality in early Modernist England, regarding who should own land and how the classes should interact. In certain aspects, the country at that time slowly opened itself up to new and evolving ideas of society.

***

Emma Thompson’s character wore ties. I want to do that.

The Foreign Is Familiar

Now that the proper week is over, I can officially report on its awesomeness.

International night last night. Some friends picked me up and we went to an Indian restaurant on Center Street in Provo. We all ordered differently prepared chicken dishes. It was pretty good, and the conversation was fun. We talked about school and work and food. I got to tell a little bit of the story of living and working in New York. It was a story I told all the time while there, but it doesn’t come up often here. Plus, I really like these friends and felt I could open up to them a bit.

Then we went to the International Cinema on campus. I like the IC. It’s the “longest running program of its kind in the world!” Free, foreign movies. And of course, all the ones I’ve seen are amazing. We saw the Iranian movie,  Color of Paradise. Don’t tell, but I’d seen it before, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t excited to see it again. I’m the kind of person who can reread books and rewatch movies; there’s always more stuff to see and talk about.

Not long after my friends dropped me off, I’d begun working on some homework when a friend from Eastern European descent called. He was in the area about to get something to eat and wanted to know if I wanted to catch a movie. However, the one he wanted to see at the theater was about to start and he didn’t think he’d be able to make it. So I invited him over.

Blankets, check.
Smell nice, check.
Brush teeth again, check.

So he came over with his Mexican food, and we caught up a little bit at the dinner table. Then he sat in the middle of the couch, which is a hint for me to sit next to him, right? We went through my incredible, but small, collection of DVDs and decided on Wit. Not an international movie, but also not Hollywood-mainstream, and yet I did loan him Children of Heaven, from the same director as Color of Paradise.

Oh, gosh, you’re probably wondering. So we were sitting next to each other and the movie’s playing and we were both commenting on the movie, since we’ve seen it before. I turned out the living room light. I offered him a blanket, because I’d taken one for myself, and he accepted, but we ended up sharing both of them. We’re already sort of leaning on each other, arms touching, yada yada. A few minutes into the movie he announced he was taking off his shoes then after removing his them, he lay across the couch and rested his head on my ample bosom (those of you who know me realize this is a big joke and now it’s not funny because I had to say it’s a big joke). And, everybody knows that it is a truth universally acknowledged that I can’t have somebody’s head so close to me and not play with his hair. So that’s what I did.

We didn’t get to finish the movie. Midnight, curfews, etc. He had to go home.

Stop it with the booing. Like I was going to try to kiss him. Please.

But I didn’t. And that was sort of foreign.

I Love My French Class SO. MUCH.

We watched this in class today. If you have a spare 21 minutes and a translator handy, please, please, PLEASE watch it. I’m sorry there’s no translation. I’m sorry the video quality is crummy. I’m sorry that most of these French short films make me cry for exhibiting so many shades of brilliance and constantly high levels of awesomeness. I wanted to bounce off the walls and dance with people and just keep saying over and over how cool this film is. I stayed in my desk instead, deciding to downplay the reaction a little, just like the French.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Movie Batch

Planet B-Boy – fun, yet a little bit long documentary following the international breakdancing championships in Germany. The dancing is unreal, and you feel like you’re in the middle of the action. Competitions like these are often organized chaos, and the filmmaker expects you to keep up, as the film as a whole is pretty rough around the edges. However, he invites you effectively to sympathize with and follow a few individuals. Nice, if not unsubtle, commentary on father-son relationships where career breakdancing is not the cultural norm. Go Korea!

The Watcher in the Woods – definitely a rewatch, 6th or 7th. This movie doesn’t really get less terrifying. That this is a Disney film is shocking enough! (And the movie trailers disclaim it being not your traditional family film.) The surprise effects with sound and light, and the sparse, fitting soundtrack were all well-done. Blue lasers shooting! Mirrors and windows cracking! Blood! Drowning! Tense violin chords! Scary, possessed voices that call out common names backwards! “Nerak.” !!! But, if you watch the alternate endings, this thriller suddenly becomes a comedy. I jumped quite a few times. That is all. I’ll probably watch it again in a couple of years.

Tron – okay, so maybe when I was 8 years old, when plot sometimes fell secondary, this movie was visually interesting and fun. The story, however? 25 years later? The computer programming jargon that brought all the renegade geeks out of the woodwork and into the theaters in the early 80s? Major snoozer. I wonder if Jeff Bridges watches this movie and then asks himself what he was thinking. Although, he seems to be involved in a remake, or a sequel? Redemptive, hopefully.

Dear Zachary – perhaps one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever seen. Here is a review that won’t spoil it. The language is strong and some of the images are grim. This felt like more of a personal endeavor – which, it really was – and the documentarian masterfully crafted it with a whole lot of heart. It sent me through the emotional gamut: laughing and crying and being en/outraged and then crying some more. It’s not an easy film to watch, but it’s worth it if you make it to the end.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – I saw this for the first time in the theater, in 2004. I remember loving the entire concept of it. The performances are nicely understated; Jim Carrey keeps his cool, at least relatively, in this somewhat frenetic movie. This was not his typical role. Anyway, this film quite creatively encouraged working through kinks and setbacks in relationships. Maybe I related to it a little bit. I cried, but mostly rejoiced.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – I didn’t see this so much as a “movie” as a reminder of one of my adventures around the city, when I first moved here. Cruising in a car with a few of my non-nondrinking friends, looking for gigs, coming from gigs, taking friends home, watching a few of them almost hook up, not getting home until daybreak. It portrays that aspect of city life pretty accurately, and I do adore Michael Cera and think he’s quite talented, even if he is mostly typecast.

The Visitor – There’s this one scene where Walter and Zainab are discussing Tarek’s detention in an illegal immigrant facility in Queens. Tarek is a drummer from Syria, and Zainab is his girlfriend from Senegal. Walter is a bored, washed-out professor in the city who lets the couple live with him in his apartment and becomes their friend. Walter has visited Tarek in Queens and tells Zainab he has hired an immigration lawyer. Zainab interrupts that they cannot afford one, and Walter says it’s okay. I cry at this scene. The acting is exquisite. It’s not so much you can see Walter’s heart and Zainab’s gratitude, but you can sense them. The nuance is stunning. Richard Jenkins really deserved his Oscar nomination for this role.

Princess Mononoke – Not Miyazake’s best work, in my opinion. To be fair, I’ve only seen two of his films, and I liked Spirited Away a lot more. This is an incredibly violent piece of anime, fyi. The friend I watched this with agreed the plot could have been more developed; they could have tied a few elements together better. Maybe the ideas didn’t translate well from the Japanese version. The hate within; forest spirits; general mythology. As a whole, it seemed pretty disjointed. Oh, but you don’t have to second-guess one of the themes of the movie, which is the relationship between man and nature. Save the forests, people! That one they pretty much shove down your throat, all the while neglecting everything else. The movie, for all its 2 hours and 14 minutes, felt incomplete. Maybe they should have cut back on everything else.