Monday, August 1, 2016

July Films

Ivory - I thought this film had some potential and it was really just sort of, "eh."

Dancing Across Borders - Uniquely interesting story of Sokvannara "Sy" Sar, a fantastically captivating dancer from Cambodia who was brought to America to learn ballet. I liked it, but wanted to see more of his dancing. He was astounding.

Baytown Outlaws - There was a lot of bigotry in this movie. I mean I get that it's a story, but it's really unoriginal to portray Southerners as greasy, dirty, brain-dead hicks, or to show women as objects that use their sexuality to manipulate men, and to present black men as thugs and Native Americans as savages. The one decent Latin American character was an illegal immigrant that cleaned toilets. And just so the LGBT community didn't feel left out, the word faggot was thrown around like it's still a relevant word. Heads up, it isn't. So I'm pretty much done with Travis Fimmel's films. Aside from Maggie's Plan, his work is clearly not directed at a female demographic or even just inclusive of us. Kind of a shame because I think he actually has some talent behind those sleepy eyes and stunning beard. Oh well, I'll always have Brendan Sexton to make me proud. All day, every day.

Jodorowsky's Dune - Every time I see this film (which is a lot) I am always left thinking, "Man, I would so love to be friends with Jodorowsky..." He seems so bright and interesting and kind and like someone who would be such fun to engage in discussions on art and life

The Thing

Sir, No Sir! - I know, I know, another documentary, but frankly they aren't as disappointing as regular films and I'm really over disappointment. I'm kind of obsessed with documentaries; if someone says they saw a good movie, I'm usually interested, but if they say it's a documentary I perk up and write the title down to seek it out. I've no idea how I came to find out about Sir, No Sir!, but it was good. I was, perhaps naïvely, surprised that GIs could be imprisoned for speaking out against the war. I mean, I get if they are mutinous or go AWOL that they would be held accountable, but I guess it didn't dawn on me that by being "Government Issued" they were no longer able to have their own thoughts and opinions.

Let the Fire Burn - I picked this up at the library and I was struck by a few things that I never noticed or realised the first time I had seen it. First was the music by Christopher Mangum. It's subtle yet extremely powerful in engaging the viewer even more in the film. It was absolutely perfect. Then there was the fact that the city of Philadelphia allowed 11 people to burn to death. I get that the people in that house were a potential threat and that they were reeking havoc on the neighbourhood (Bishop actually grew up not far from a MOVE house and said how horrible it was kept and that there was garbage everywhere), however, regardless of their actions, it is beyond inhumane to allow 11 people - FIVE of whom were children - to be burned alive. It's appalling and despicable. Also, I was reminded of that Mister Rogers quote I read recently about looking for the helpers; that helper was James Berghaier. Lastly, I thought about how when Berghaier was gonna run over to get Birdie Africa and bring him to safety that his partner, Charles Mellor, said, "I'll cover ya." Why would he say that? If those two men are on the line with other officers, wouldn't those officers see Berghaier go over to grab Birdie and automatically cover their fellow brother if there was a possibility that MOVE members would open fire on their comrade? Who was Mellor gonna protect Berghaier from? My thought is that the other officers might not look too kindly on a cop trying to rescue one of the people associated with MOVE. What other explanation could their be? In the end it is a brilliant documentary about one of the most shameful events in the history of Philadelphia.

Rebirth - After a hellish two weeks of work I needed a large glass of Macallan's Scotch and a good cry. This film does it every time. Rebirth is a beautiful, beautiful film. For those of you not in the know, this is a film which tells of five people and the affect that the events of September 11th had on their lives. There is Nicholas, a teenager who lost his mother in the towers; Brian, a construction worker who helped at Ground Zero, that lost his brother, a firefighter; Tim, a firefighter who fought that day and lost his best friend; Tanya, whose fiancé was a firefighter killed that day; and Ling, a woman that worked in TWC and was badly burned when escaping the building. Filming began shortly after September 11th and was released in August of 2011. It is a completely mesmerising film.

The music, by legendary composer Philip Glass is moving, glorious, and equally heart breaking and heart warming, as only Glass can create. It's understated and dances beside each frame, careful not to step on toes.The film begins full of sadness, despair, guilt, and crushing, overwhelming loss of friends, loved ones, joy, hope, a future, function of body, and function of mind. It radiates anger, bitterness, resentment and envy and gradually glides to acceptance, growth, a return of joy and happiness and a desire to be better and do better. James Whitaker pieced together five lives, five stories, and made every moment they shared become a connection between the viewer to the individual on the screen.

The scene that stands out the most for, I'm certain every person who has watched Rebirth is the eulogy that Nicholas gives to his mom. It is astonishing. He is about 15 years old and is shown to be clearly upset, but holding it together. He speaks of what a great lady she was, a friend, a daughter, a wife, and mother. The moment the word "mother" leaves his lips a small bird flies into frame and gently lands on his head. Nick reaches up and carefully in a "what the hell??" sort of way and grasps the bird in his fingers. He looks at it, puzzled, then places it in the outstretched hand of someone. Nick released his hold and the bird flies off. As his eyes follow the bird's flight the look of anxiety, from being at his mother's funeral and reading her eulogy, vanishes and you see Nick's face show a freshness and look of wonder at what had just happened. I don't know if that was a sign from his mother, the universe, or a supreme being, but it was so unbelievably touching that it's damn near impossible to not feel an overwhelming emotion that leads to tears. It was incredible. The entire film is absolutely breathtaking.

The Lady in the Van - I don't know why people are drawn to bitter, mean, and rude older ladies. They aren't charming. Those traits are deplorable in every human regardless of their age. I did not find her charming or quirky or endearing. I found Maggie Smith's character annoying and can't believe I lasted through the entire film. This woman is a legendary talent in the industry and the powers that be
need to offer her roles that are not nasty old ladies that occasionally say something witty. Maggie Smith has so very much to offer, I wish we could see her in more diverse roles.

The Kings of Summer - A decent coming-of-age flick that was really original. Every moment Megan Mullally was on screen was hysterically funny. When she randomly asks her son and his friend if they want "a cold washcloth" I howled with laughter. Patrick's parents were so all over him all the time that he started breaking out in hives. It was my favourite thing in the show. Well, that at when they did the tribal drumming in the woods. That was incredible.

Paper Clips - A 2004 documentary about a school in rural Tennessee that took on an extraordinary project. Since the town of Whitwell was not terribly diverse, the school decided to teach the children about the Holocaust in an effort to show the importance of tolerance and understanding the differences between people. One of the students asked what 6 million looks like, in reference to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. They decided to collect six million paper clips in an attempt to understand just how many people perished for absolutely no reason. It had moments where the interviewee made rather insincere comments, like they were trying to sound a certain way so as to be perceived a certain way. Like when at a funeral someone tells the widow, "Your husband is now another of God's angels in Heaven..." You know, just a canned response with very little thought. But the kids were awesome - all of them. They were real and involved and interested. It was really wonderful to see.


Cerpts said...

I absolutely love documentaries and will watch them at any opportunity. NO apologies necessary!

Star said...

So glad you agree - I am severely obsessed with them and can't get enough.