Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer in the City, Pt. II (Movies)

In all honesty, I haven't gone out to too many movies lately. I'll write about the last few I saw in theaters, and the next ones I'm anticipating, but this is by no means a comprehensive look at the movies of Summer 2009.

What can I say? I remain heartbroken. I saw this in 3D the weekend before starting my new job at an animation studio, and it just took the wind out of me. I loved Wall-E, and saw it twice in theaters, but where the large scope of that movie is what impressed me, it was the intimate poignancy of Up that was stunning. As with everyone else in the world, I was weeping after 10 minutes, and again at the end. I can't go into any details in case anyone hasn't seen it yet. But I will say that two weeks after seeing the movie, I was looking at a billboard for it while stopped at a red light, and I lost it. I cried for an hour. So brilliant.

Away We Go
I enjoyed this movie even more than I anticipated, and I had been looking forward to it quite eagerly. What seemed like a cute, romantic road trip movie was far more affective than I'd expected, and the movie stuck with me long after. The fears and dreams that the main characters had were portrayed so wonderfully in their tight performances, and I felt like I'd want to rewatch this movie when I'm pregnant with my first child, to make me feel better about what I'm sure must be a very scary time. I can't pick a favorite vignette out of the story, but I definitely was impressed by John Krasinski's character. It is so rare to see fatherhood portrayed so admirably in media these days, and I loved how excited he was to be a dad. It was a shock to see what a fulfilling movie Sam Mendes made after Revolutionary Road which was the ultimate suburban horror story.

(500) Days of Summer
While I definitely enjoyed this movie, in a packed cinema at the Arclight, I think I'd overhyped it in the weeks preceding. The music, the non-linear story, the sentiment, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt: all wonderful. Zooey Deschanel was good in her role, but the character of Summer left me ill at ease. I don't think she's a bad person at all, and I completely understand where she's coming from, but I think that Gordon-Levitt's Tom is just so earnest and dimpled and heartwarming that it's hard not to be saddened by the woman who eventually scorns him. Some of the narration was a little off, but the musical set piece, the unorthodox use of animation and split-screen, and the wonderful ode to my love, Los Angeles, all sat very well with me. I think I must be honest though that it was great seeing Cameron from 10 Things I Hate About You show through in some scenes. Charming!

The Hurt Locker
Romance, romance, romance, WAR MOVIE. I'm sure I've blogged previously about my love of war movies, like Three Kings, Black Hawk Down, and The Best Years of Our Lives (which is about what happens after you come home, but is still one of the best war movies I've ever seen). This became one of my dad's favorite movies of recent years, and I have to say I was sucked in from the opening shot, barely able to blink the whole time. The film runs the gamut, showing us how our three main soldiers interact with each other, how they interact with their work and duty, how they interact with the locals, and finally, with their families. The film perfectly sets up the right feeling of dread from the outset, and then slowly needles the tension throughout. I highly recommend this candid and fascinating movie.

Some movies I'm looking forward to seeing in the coming weeks are Julie & Julia, Adam, District 9, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. I should be seeing the first two sometime this week, so I will let you know how I like them!

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