Saturday, June 25, 2005

Films Summer 2005

I slacked off here, and have seen some films without commenting. I'll get back to it, I hope. Until then, here's Wikipedia's List of films that have been considered the worst ever: And a corking good list it is, too.

Time for a new post to go with the coming of summer! Most recently, watched Kaze no tani no Naushika (1984) known here as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds here in the US in the Disney-distributed DVD. Charming, and thrilling. Not as polished as his later Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, but a stronger story by far. Some of the American dialog is a bit puzzling if you have the sub-titles on, but I suggest doing so to get more of the flavor of the Japanese terms. 78.

Debra brought over Hotel Rwanda (2004). I hesitated to see it, because the original massacre was so heart-rending 10 years ago. Aside from the BBC and NPR, it seemed to be ignored at the time. Now, there is a *wonderful* film which is the dramatization of the story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand refugees during the genocide in Rwanda. His courage is so inspiring that the film is entertaining instead of painful and horrifying. Don Cheadle is MAGNIFICENT in the role of Paul Rusesabagina, and the remainder of the casting is just as good. If you have held back seeing this film because you fear it will be too painful, I urge you to overcome your fears and watch it anyway. You will be shaken to the core by the horror that humans are capable of, but you will come away inspired, too. This is one where you will want to watch and listed to all the DVD extras. Well worth buying so you can lend it to reluctant friends. 95.

Watched the teen movie Mean Girls (2004) featuring Lindsay Lohan as the new girl, Cady Heron. Rachel McAdams is her friend/enemy Regina George, and Lizzy Caplan is wonderful as the art-geek Janis Ian. The adult cast is a lot of SNL veterans: Tina Fey as the helpful teacher Ms. Norbury, Tim Meadows as the hunky principal Mr. Duvall, who is helpless in the face of the bullying; Amy Poehler is hilarious as the completely inappropriate mom Mrs. George; Ana Gasteyer is Betsy Heron, Cady's clueless mom. Daniel Franzese is wonderful as Damian, gay friend of Janis, although he is apparently sexless; and Jonathan Bennett is mightly cute as the love-interest Aaron Samuels. But there is more than just a teen movie here -- Tina Fey wrote the script after reading Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman. Good, and fun! 82.

Still fun, but not as good: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004), also starring Lindsey Lohan. More subtle and more fun than the run-of-the-mill teenie flick. 75.

Colin, Thomas and I had a fun evening watching Howl's Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro (2004)), Miyazaki/Disney's latest release. Completely wonderful! Such beautiful, odd, funky, horrifying imagery. This one was about war and the courage to stand up for peace and loyalty. Wonderful characters, great storytelling. Studio Ghibli rocks! 89.

I don't know what to say about Boogie Nights (1997). A bit of genius, I think, but so disturbing, and about such sad, pathetic people. About the porn industry, but so NOT sexy. More later.

Tonight, The Village (2004), by M. Night Shyamalan. MUCH better than I expected, from the luke-warm to poor reviews it got. I liked it very much - the acting and writing was excellent, as was the cinematography and score. The plot was a bit contrived, true -- but it was a "what if," like good science fiction. Maybe people were disappointed by the "plot twist(s)" that are now expected of MNS, but I was pretty pleased. 77.

Freedom is never letting your fears stop you from following your heart. - Susie Switzer

No comments: