I went to the movies this fall and saw more in the theaters than I have in years. Our local theater in Brooklyn is my favorite. It’s an independent chain and, before the movie, they play this amazingly retro video with galaxy-flying popcorn (which someone captured on youtube here. You must watch it.) and I always say, if I see a dud film there, it is okay because we’ll always have the intro, in the way some others have Paris.
I mainly saw the big films this year and I have thoughts. I’ll put them here because I can’t find any other place to keep them.
I went into this film thinking it was one of these epic biographical films spanning the life of an American hero. As it turns out, it’s less biographical in nature and more political, featuring the swift negotiations that took place during Lincoln’s final weeks in office. It’s The West Wing, just Civil War style, complete with the wheelie camera following walking conversations but without Sorkin nerd dialogue. It’s long. Most of the time, I wasn’t smart enough to understand what was happening. But Daniel Day Lewis is spectacular. Each time he came on screen, I was riveted. It’s clear he won the Academy Award before he even walked on set. My history buff husband walked out of the theater as giddy as a child with loot from a candy store. I left wondering things like Do you think Lincoln really loved Mary Todd? and other important musings.
Life of Pi
I enjoyed reading this book and, when film rights were sold, I had no idea how someone could re-imagine this story as a film. I’m going to go out on a limb and make one of those extreme statements and say it is one of the most visually stunning pictures I’ve ever seen. It’s exactly the kind of aesthetic I love. Hypercolor. Rainbow magic. Crayon blue skies. I love this kind of style. In my mind, the book left bigger questions and the film preferred to take the neat-bow-tying approach. For me, this is a must-see in that, you must sit back and, simply, see it and not reach further for meaning than you have to reach.
I saw this musical when I was fourteen years old and listened to the tape (double cassettes) more times than I can count. As soon as I saw the preview I knew that no matter how epic, dramatic, drape over a dying body, fist-shake at the heavens, throw yourself off a tower, remember the time the French Revolution spit up over some broken furniture, this film might be (and oh-it-was, good God, dramatic) I would pay the money, see it immediately, sing the songs in my heart, and cry like a baby. Did it. Done. And now we can all move on with our lives. Oh. Sigh. But I can’t. I love.
Surprise of the year for me. I rarely pay attention to what a film is about (unless, ya know, someone is singing in the preview) so I walked in clueless and then Tyler said it was about the Iran hostage crisis and the lights dimmed and I thought what I always think, we’ll always have the intro. Well. I loved it. Truly loved it. Favorite of all I’ve seen this year. Except for one scene in which Ben Affleck looks longingly at a photo of his estranged son and wife (cheap, cheap attempt at exposition, Affleck, just cheap. A Melissa pet-peeve.) I thought the script (and everything else) was pretty much perfect.
Looking for your thoughts on what you’ve seen this fall.