Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Movie recap

I neglected to mention in my last post that I did have a little mini-marathon of my own last week on Tuesday after my Japanese sword class - did I forget to mention that too?

I have my third class tonight where we'll be focusing on drawing the sword. It's been interesting to learn the movement and relate them to the focus and discipline from yoga, albeit for the purpose of violence versus peace. I bought a wooden practice sword (bokken) to use at home, because handing my real sword means I'd have to clean and oil it each time I touch the blade. Besides, I wouldn't want to accidentally slice open my brand-new couch.

So after class last week I went to the AMC Empire to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower before it went out of theaters and maybe a couple other movies around it. I got there early and started with Lincoln, knowing that I was going to have to leave before the end. So I saw about 3/4th of Lincoln, then saw all of Wallflower, and then the midnight premiere of Anna Karenina.

Of the three, I liked Wallflower the best. It reminded me of a teenage version of Bernardo Bertolucci's 2003 film The Dreamers, starring Eva Green. And like that movie, you can't take your eyes off the female lead, here played by Emma Watson in her first big post-Harry Potter role. But other than Ms. Watson's undeniable star quality, the movie is a hip and touching coming of age story with a few dark twists thrown in. The characters are a bit one-note, but it was a satisfying ending.

Lincoln I can't really say much about since I didn't see the whole thing, but my impression was that Daniel Day-Lewis is a front-runner for Best Actor this year. He loses himself so completely in the role, not unlike Christian Bale did in The Fighter two years ago. I was very impressed.

Anna Karenina was something of an enigma. I give it points for being true to the novel (one of my favorites of the classics when I read it) and for a lush, sumptuous concept and production design. I want to like Joe Wright's work (Atonement, Hanna) more than I do, but there's something about his films that don't quite click for me. The movie itself reminded me of Baz Lurhmann's Moulin Rouge! but gentler. And like the first 15 minutes of Baz's movie, it was difficult to emotionally connect with Karenina. I've often heard it said that if you can get through the first 15 minutes of Moulin Rouge!, it will become one of your favorite movies. If you can't, then you'll never know what all the fuss was about.

Speaking of movies that people make a fuss about, I want to say again how much I enjoyed the Twilight finale. Tara once retweeted how Twilight is like soccer in that people run around for two hours, nobody scores, and its billion fans insist you don't get it. That is an apt description of the phenomenon.

I did a video interview with a VH-1 blogger at the premiere and I talked about how there's an innocence to Twilight that does not hold up well under scrutiny and cynicism. But if you watch movies with an open heart and not let tabloids and snarky GIFs on Facebook influence your opinions, the Twilight story is actually a very beautiful and loving work of fiction. And the quality of the movies, just from the production, script and acting, are on par with just about any popular movie out there, which is something you can't say about every fan franchise that is not based on Tolkien.

Here is the short interview I did for the blogger and a link to the full blog post on the marathon itself: