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Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

Dear girls behind me watching Wonder Women,

I wasn’t thinking about you while I was there.  In fact, I didn’t even know you were there until the moment I left.  I was so happy to be out with a friend (and away from my darling but draining two-year-old twins) and watching the documentary Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines at Busboys and Poets while eating sweet potato fries — I wasn’t thinking about who else was there and what they were getting from this evening, or what they needed to get from this evening.  I was just feeling, well, wonderful.

Wonder Women logoBut after the film there was a panel discussion, not about the film but about the two panelists.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t paying much attention during the introductions — I was letting the film wash over me, and thinking about the twins, and what kind of world they might grow up in.  I was also thinking about maybe ordering a slice of cake and a cup of coffee.  But I sat respectfully if distractedly as I heard something about Women’s History Month and the two panelists being strong Hispanic women, and one of the filmmakers is Hispanic, and Linda Carter (who, as you know, played Wonder Woman on TV in the 70s) is also Hispanic (which you might not have known; I didn’t).

But then the first panelist started speaking and I came out of my happy haze, first puzzled, then uneasy (more…)

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Last night I watched The Queen of Versailles and was reminded once again of the idea of “enough.”

It’s very simple: stop when you have enough.

This goes for all kinds of consumption: eating (especially large meals at restaurants where you don’t usually get to pick your portion), drinking (coffee, alcohol, milkshakes or any “vice” drinks), shopping (for clothes, shoes, and even more “educational” items like books, CDs or toys for the twins).  You get to decide for yourself what “enough” is.  But stopping when you’ve had enough allows you to enjoy what you have and avoid all kinds of bloat and clutter — such as the piles of clothes and toys and papers I saw in The Queen of Versailles.

Now, the Queen and her family were very, very rich.  And then the market crashed and they (more…)

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I strongly recommend seeing Anna Karenina in a theatre, but preferably a nearly empty one.  Try for a matinee or a very late show, and try not to sit near anyone else — I don’t want other people’s whispered commentary (or snorts or sighs or gasps) to distract you from your own opinion of this curious film.

As you may have read in other reviews (and as you can somewhat see in the picture above) much of the story — including Vronsky’s horse race — is set in a theatre.  This will either totally work for you or it may totally alienate you.  I, for one, loved it.  The stylized nature of the “society” scenes call attention to their rigidity and ridiculousness in a shorthand that I think Tolstoy would have admired.  And watching Matthew Macfadyen — as Oblonsky — spin in and out of different coats as he marches in and out of different scenes was a choreographic pleasure all its own.

Less enjoyable was (more…)

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Last night I watched the last episode of the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce.

Kate Winslet as Mildred Pierce.  From wordandfilm.com.

At first it took me a while to get into it.  I had seen the original, but quite a long time ago, so I both remembered it and didn’t.  Occasionally a shot would jump out at me — or a particular dress — and I would think, yes, I’ve seen that before.  But my memory was so hazy that it was almost as if I were watching the film for the first time.   I knew the basic plot — the increasingly poisonous relationship between Mildred and her daughter — and I remembered the dramatic ending … but Todd Haynes and Jon Raymond’s adaptation finishes quite differently in terms of plot, even as it keeps the original’s sentiment.

What made me (more…)

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I saw War Horse last night.  Wasn’t this movie supposed to be a big Oscar winner?  Phew!  My review can be summed up in this phrase: tear and jeer.

War Horse

What made me tear:

Annoyingly, almost every minor dramatic moment.  Spielberg is a master manipulator — of your emotions, that is.  Slap a John Williams score onto a horse dragging an artillery gun up a muddy hill and I’m teary in spite of myself.

What made me jeer:

When that same horse looks back to his nearly-fallen comrade-in-harness with a look of such inflated horsey compassion that I’m scoffing at the treacly sentiment while rolling those same teary eyes.

Hence: tear and jeer.

Also of note, and potentially jeer-worthy: (more…)

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