Thursday, February 08, 2007

Movies Seen*

*When I list movies or books, it's mostly for me so I can remember what I've seen or read. Sometimes I feel like I have cottage cheese for brains. You may look at this as reviews, but as reviews go, my thoughts would be pretty lame. (and this is about 2 months worth of viewing...I haven't been that much of a couch potato.)

Lost Horizon
This took me back to my AMC watching days, not necessarily in a good way. I was bothered a bit by the depiction of Tibet, and how a utopian society in the middle of the high mountains was led by a white man who'd supposedly lived over 200 years and was called the "High Lama." The people there had created an elite little European enclave with European furnishings but stole the ideas of the Tibetan Buddhists to make it a utopia.

Howl's Moving Castle
Who doesn't like anime by Hayao Miyazaki, director of Spirited Away? This story also happens to come from one of my favorite SciFi/Fantasy authors, Diana Wynne Jones. A girl is cursed into an old lady, and she's caught up in the middle of battling witches. Lauren Bacall wonderful as the voice of the Witch of the Waste.

My Neighbor Totoro

Anime also by Hayao Miyazaki. A co-worker told me I would love it, and she was right. The soot sprites of Spirited Away make a comeback, and Totoro is a giant oak tree spirit that makes friends of two girls who move to the country and whose mother is sick. It was so sweet, I could watch it again. I especially loved the scene when the girls wait in the rain for the bus with their father on it. Totoro joins them, and the girls offer the creature their umbrella. Extra large drops plunk the umbrella, causing Totoro to frizz with startled alarm. I also loved the giant cat bus that Totoro summons to help the older girl look for the younger. Shades of the Cheshire cat. Dakota Fanning (love her!) and her little sister Elle were the voices of the girls for the English version.

Kicking Bird
A truly indie movie shot in Portland. A decent story about a boy who runs to escape bullies who are on the cross-country team. The coach wants him on the team, but also wants the boy to be his ticket out. No Hollywood slickness here. I was tickled to find a small but good part played by one of my Dharma School moms. She also was the casting director. Produced by Angry Filmmaker.

The Ref
Denis Leary makes a great burglar. The bickering couple comes home, and he ends up refereeing. Therapy didn't help, but they find each other again at the end of a gun. Hmmm. I did like it though.

Country Boys
This was a fascinating documentary series from Frontline in which two Appalachian boys were followed by a camera crew, and interviewed, for several years. Poverty is indeed crushing. One boy was born again about a year before the filming, and was and is in a heavy metal Christian band. His girlfriend, now wife, is pretty sharp. They feel God brought them together. With such a love larger than themselves, I kind of think they'll be one of those rare sweet lifelong couples.

Just Like Heaven
A spirit haunts the condo of a man who falls in love with her, and helps her figure out her story. Romantic comedy with a paranormal twist, I like that. And I like Reese Witherspoon.

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
A teenage girl is told she's not wanted there anymore, so she leaves home and joins the circus. True depression-era story about a girl who dives into a pool of water on a horse. The scarier part of that for me was her jumping on the horse just before it jumped off the high-dive. Great story. Wild job. She has an accident that makes her blind, and that doesn't stop her.

Taken (miniseries)
A Steven Spielberg creation, it's 10 movies made for TV that pulls in all the lore of UFOlogy. The story follows several generations of three families: one family that descends from an alien and human; one that is consistently taken and probed by the aliens; and one that one that obsessively ties it's supersecret area 51 career to hunting those aliens and the other families. I'm sure Art Bell listeners would catch a whole lot more references than I could. Narrator and final hero of the story played by my favorite child star, Dakota Fanning.

Stage Beauty
Better than "Shakespeare in Love" (who could ever think that was remotely about Shakespeare?) this story is about the time of transition when women went from being outlawed in the theater, to being allowed. But eh, suddenly the women bring a less stylized acting to the stage, and there had to be a romance where she bests him. I guess they had to appeal to the modern audience.

Aeon Flux
I used to watch this as a cartoon on MTV's Liquid Television. I was curious as to how they would translate this into a movie. I never quite knew what was going on with the Liquid Television vignettes, but I guess I wasn't supposed to. Aean Flux was spindly and taut muscles and bones, and could crawl up buildings and jump from skycrapers, and died and rose like a phoenix each episode. The movie captured this well. The plot provided backstory for the cartoon (finally).

Neverwhere (miniseries)
Neil Gaiman is considered one of the best graphic novel artists and authors. I'm not into graphic novels, but was curious about his artistry. It's got a British production feel, not something I find appealing, but the fantasy genre willed out. A parallel society lives Under London, and a man with a boring life finds himself more a part of that world where rats talk, than his old life. Above-ground people don't notice the people from under.

Mysterious Skin
A little league coach messes up two boys for life. One grows up to become a prostitute, the other obsesses about his lost time and thinks he was abducted by aliens. They need each other to recover. Good movie.

Reading Rumi in an Uncertain World
Poetry reading by Robert Bly and Naomi Shihab Nye. Bly has a neat way of repeating lines, allows them to sink in. Rumi's great.

1 comment:

Pen Names: justwhen, rachel said...

Hi, Heidi. It's fun to know what you've been watching.

On our fridge is a list of titles we're meaning to see, and I'm going to add some of these. Thanks. : )