Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Thoughts on 4 Films From 2010

1. You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger - Plot wise - the film is definitely lacking. The fact that it shared a plot with this seasons 90210 (a talented guy dies with undiscovered work so naturally someone steals this work and pretends it is their own) proves that the film has major problems. However, I love the different themes that are explored. One being the idea of reincarnation. I am not really a believer - but this film made me understand why it is important for some to believe in such ideas. As one character states - "If I didn't think that there was more to life...I couldn't go on." I usually don't connect with overly spiritual messages in films, but for some reason this one hit me. It hit me that these beliefs are more for masking reality, giving hope and healing ones pain - if more people used religion and spirituality for these reasons then I probably wouldn't be so against it. The whole film can be reduced to one sentence "illusions work better than medicine". When you think about it - this is exactly what film is. Stories that distract us from life. This is what makes it a Woody Allen film. At first I was confused by the spiritual message - but if you think of this message as a reverse allegory for film making and story telling then this is definitely a Woody Allen film (because Allen is totally narcissistic enough to know that what he does heal people). Anyway, besides this fascinating exploration - the film is rather lacking. It features great actors, but none stand out. The characters lack depth and are not easy to sympathize with. Sally (played by the usually phenomenal Naomi Watts) desperately wants to start a family, but she is so obsessed with the idea that she is hardly considered stable...therefore we don't want her to procreate. Right? Her husband (Josh Brolin) falls for the girl across the way (who doesn't know how to close her shades before she takes her top off) is a pathetic loser - and the girl who he falls for, Dia, can pretty much be described as the girl who wears red (because she is given no personality traits at all). While I would recommend it to anyone that is an Allen fan, I was expecting more. Much more.

2. The Runaways - I honestly don't know much about Joan Jett and even less about Cherie Currie except that they were bad-ass rocker chicks. Unfortunately, a film devoted to their lives and their band 'The Runaways' doesn't give much more information than just that - bad-ass rocker chicks. I liked the relationship between the 2 women and how they are completely different in personality but still considered "strong". I guess calling Cherie a "woman" at this time would be inaccurate - she was only 15. I liked the idea of using Dakota Fanning instead of an older actress because it reminds the audience just how young Cherie really was. Dakota seems so out of place wearing a corset, strutting around the stage completely high - but this was the reality of it. However, (and a big however) the acting was horrific. Dakota was trying way too hard and it was painful to watch, while Kristen Stewart has the same bored expression on her face that she always has. Joan Jett is confident and raw, Kristen is much too insecure and awkward - she should never have been considered for this role. Plus, the film was too much of a cliche - the lead singer gets the most attention, the rest of the band gets jealous, the band breaks up (didn't that just happen with 'Paramore'?). The film doesn't ever get into the whole drug aspect nor does it give any attention to anyone else in the band. Did anyone else even notice Alia Shawkat (a.k.a Maeby from Arrested Development)?? I am sure that anyone who is a fan of 'The Runaways' music would be severely disappointed with this film.

3. Never Let Me G0 - This story is amazing. It is based on a book (that I can't wait to read) that is basically about human cloning. Yet, it wasn't a "science fiction" film or a "medical" film at all - instead it was a love story. As much as I love the originality of it and the beauty of it's simplicity, I can't really say I enjoyed the film. In fact I have 4 major problems with it - First, why did Tommy stay in a relationship with someone he didn't love? They never give us his side of the story or any reason behind his decision. Maybe he didn't want to be with Kathy because it would hurt to much if she "completed" (died) first? We are supposed to blame Ruth for keeping Tommy & Kathy apart but it takes 2 to be in a relationship. We hear Ruth's reasons but I would have loved more depth from Tommy. Second, we get a sense that they are trapped (they have some sort of tracking device in their wrist) but are they literally trapped (it doesn't seem like it - they can drive and live on their own) or do they just not know how to leave? I wish they explored this more so we get a better sense of their relationship to the rest of the world. Third, I needed more information about the whole cloning process - like how do they keep them from becoming pregnant? And wouldn't they be constantly medically evaluated (basically tortured) to ensure they stay healthy? Fourth, it is hard to make Keira Knightly look bad but they figured out a question is why? I am hoping these things are explored in the book (aside from Knightly's fugliness).

4. The Ghost Writer - I am sort of pissed at myself for watching this film. I hate supporting someone that belongs in prison but I consistently read great things about it so I finally gave in and it totally wasn't worth it!! The film sucked. It was boring, pointless and predictable. There is a mystery surrounding the memoirs of the prime minister. His assistant who is the original "ghost writer" dies (suicide? murder? not a big surprise it is the latter...). He obviously dug too deep and of course the mysterious wife was involved. They didn’t do a very good job at making her seem innocent - I was suspicious of her from the second she appeared on screen. So a new "ghost writer" comes along and tries to solve the mystery (something about the prime minister committing crimes against humanity and getting away with it). Anyway, I basically hated it - but I will admit that it was beautiful. The ending was such a beautiful shot - with the memoir pages blowing in the wind. That last shot almost made the entire film worth watching. And Ewan McGregor - he's a cutie.

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