Thursday, August 09, 2007

Movies Seen

The Persuaders
Available online. It's all about branding, and about limiting what truth is easily available. Example: the persuaders marketed the estate tax as the "death tax." Suddenly Americans don't want the "death tax." That tax only affects the very rich, but it was brought down successfully by marketing to the poorer majority. There's now so much advertising, so much clutter, the advertisers must cut through that by telling us less.

The Stepford Wives (1975)
With the new movie already out awhile, I thought I'd like to see the old one first. If I saw it as a child, I was too young to know what it meant. With 'stepford wife' commonly used to identify a certain type of woman's life, I felt it my duty to go to the source. Now I'm not sure I want to see the new movie. This one was great. I don't know but I'm willing to bet there's a whole subset of kinky folks who love to role play based on this movie.

Bridge to Terabithia
How'd I see a 2007 movie on dvd already? A co-worker gave me the heads up to put a hold on it, so I got it as soon as it came out on dvd. Not quite as enchanting as Narnia, but this was about imagination rather than an alternative world. I liked what they did with the arch-nemesis from school as a troll.

Little Miss Sunshine
The little girl really sparkled, and that mostly is what it's all about. When it came to the moment she really needed to, I thought she didn't, so it kind of fell flat for me. Maybe the point of that was, even when she didn't sparkle, she just keeps going.

Whisper of the Heart
Unlike Studio Ghibli's other fantasy movies, this anime is a story about a girl in junior high who finds herself and the stories inside her waiting to be written. No otherworldly action, just the imagination of a girl and a first love. Oh, the cat just might be otherworldly. Sweet movie.

U.S. vs John Lennon
Would that there were a musician with the drawing power of John Lennon today to give voice to an anti-war movement. Would that there were media drawn to a bed-in to film the word peace on superstars' wall as they made their honeymoon a means to protest the war. Maybe it has happened but nobody paid attention because all the media does is follow the lives of misstepping starlets and discuss the latest intimacies of a faux-reality show. I checked this out because I was reminded by Rosie that everyone must see it. I wonder if she was influenced by John Lennon when she chose to speak her views frankly on The View.

Ladies in Lavender
A young man is washed up on the shore of Cornwall between the World Wars. Two spinster sisters take him in while his broken ankle heals. Based on a short story by William J. Locke, the director confesses that he made the ladies a little older, in their sixties rather than in their forties. I thought that made it all the more interesting. Judy Dench showed sublime talent portraying an old lady falling in love with a younger man.

I loved this movie, even with it's muted British undercurrents. At first I pegged it for a tale of Odysseus from the other side, an older Circe seducing the mysterious young traveler with her hospitality. What was the young man's past? Did he even remember it? Did he know where he was meant to go?

A neighboring woman, suspect because she was German, took an interest in him as well. The director called this a fairy tale, and her character was the wicked queen fairy, and thus a dazzling beauty. I could see that. The young man already seems to have a bit of the fairy in him with his almost otherworldly talent with the violin. Perhaps he more belonged with the fairy queen, and the spinster sister with her unrequited love seemed to recognize that.

Archetypal undercurrents aside, it's a daring movie to have an older woman fall in love with a younger man, and to have nothing happen with that except that he leaves the town, as was always expected.

Sir! No Sir!
They tell us that Vietnam Vets were spit on when they returned home, but that's an urban legend. The vets were welcomed into the anti-war movement. And there was an anti-war movement among the serving troops. This movie reveals Jane Fonda was there with the troops, not something the Fonda-haters would have you know. Underground newspapers, refusal of orders, sabotage, fragging, all talked about here.

A couple of guys were asked by their neighbors to shoot their daughter's Quinceañera. They told each other that somebody needed to make a movie about this. They turned out to be the somebodies. I finally got this after hearing about it on the IFC Spirit Awards. It's a glimpse into a world I know nothing about, and in the movie, the Latino gay boy makes reference to that to the gay men gentrifying his hood. The older man says, "You live in a whole other world don't you." The Latino says, "No, you do."

There's a scene that keeps echoing in my head: girl with boy on bike on a hill. Very much like a scene in Whisper of the Heart. A Quinceañera is much like a wedding, with the celebrating girl walking down the aisle created by her flower-holding court. The movie begins and ends with one, I like that, as though the movie is creating the space for the story's own coming of age.

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