Tag Archives: romance

To Rome, With Love (2012)

Just saw the newest Woody Allen movie, and it was pretty good. My sister convinced me to see it saying it wasMidnight in Paris, but set in Rome. Midnight in Paris was much better, and this film’s series of vignettes allowed for a much more scattered movie-watching experience, which you get already from Woody Allen‘s writing. 

The characters were endearing, filled with ditzy tourists and pseudo-intellectuals that fell in love, suffered from paranoia, and took initiative in the opportunities that were presented to them. They were blubbering and babbling, as if they gave the actors the outline of the scene and told them to just go

The shots of Rome were beautiful, the music was fantastic, and the cast of characters caused one surprise after another. First of all, Woody Allen himself finally stepped in front of the camera again for the first time since 2006. He could have been Mickey Sachs from Hannah and Her Sisters, just the sequel. 

Another great thing I noticed was that he has chosen great young actors to take the reins on the “young romance” quota of the film. Diane Keaton and Woody himself have been replaced by Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg, and they definitely fill the large shoes left for them. They both have the nervous babbling down from previous roles, so matching that with the genius writing of Allen, and you have a masterpiece. 

Some parts were slow, so I’ll give it four stars. 

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Midnight in Paris (2011)

I just saw this film tonight with Annie and my initial thoughts are as follows.

Beautiful. Just beautiful. First of all, I have always been a fan of Woody Allen films. Annie Hall is an absolute classic and his comedy has a charming cheekiness to it. We went to the movie with open minds because you never really know what to expect when it comes to Woody Allen, respectfully admiring his quirkiness.

I read through the other reviews when I was searching for good photos for this post and I don’t want to say what everyone else said, “Oh my god, this film is like my life.” But I think that’s the whole point. The entire message of the film is that it is human nature to be unsatisfied with the present. Even the good old days had good old days.

I discovered that the reason I’ve been so obsessed with old music and movies lately is because I am so sick of the pop culture that embodies the present tense. I’m tired of listening to cop out artists that are only in the business to make money. I’m bored with the same songs and movies and television shows that are being released that claim to be original. After seeing this movie, I realized that I should just shut up, because deep down everyone feels that way. In real life, we can’t just jump into a cab at midnight, time travel to the 20s and have Hemingway and Picasso critique our work. We just have to make the best of it.

If you think about it, the artists of today are in a pretty tough spot. We read and write about these painters, writers and musicians that have laid out impossible acts to follow. Artists are desperate to find something special and original, and despite my opinion of it all, it is one of the eras that pop culture must travel through.

Back to the film, Owen Wilson is the same in everything. But his blissful ignorance is so charming in this movie, perfect for a classic Woody Allen character. He carries the same romanticized view of the world that I do.

I absolutely loved this film, it was a breath of fresh air.

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The Joy Luck Club (1993)

This film was an incredibly moving and emotional story of eight women that cross cultural borders. There was a recurring theme of self-deprication in these women despite whether they were raised in China or in San Francisco.

Being that this was based on a book, the film’s ability to jump story lines and rotate perspectives was quite fluent. This could be really complicated for a lot of movies, but it was organized in such a way that made the audience draw the parallels between the mothers and daughters, as well as the culture gaps in general. Since they experienced emotionally and physically abusive relationships, and they suffered from having zero self-esteem, these women learned to be strong by depending on one another.

The level of resentment turns to loving support. There are reunions and partings and happy endings. A fascinating mix of stories – I definitely recommend it.

Ming-Na was Dr. Chen on ER – best part EVER.

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The Last Emperor (1987)

All three and a half hours, I did it. You barely notice it though, the constant flashback action that goes on causes the film to be very fluent and quick.

Speaking specifically of the flashback formation of the film, I couldn’t help but notice the technical differences applied between the past and present scenes. Bertolucci, the Italian director, who also did La Conformista, structured the film based on the range of perspective. In the present, Pu Yi is one of many. He is no longer the emperor, but rather a fellow prisoner in Red China. Scenes are shot from a distance, often only going so far as the 9 foot shot. This demonstrates his place in society.

However, in the scenes beginning at his age of three, the camera is often placed directly in front of the child, using a close up to illustrate his vulnerability. He is, at first, completely unaware of his power and responsibility. If the camera is not portraying a close up, it is placed behind him. The environment surrounding him is as important at the subject. Like in the photo above, this scene in the film shows the first time the new emperor is exposed to the members of the Forbidden City. He is so small, taking up only a small portion of the frame, yet you feel his importance vibrating through the image.

The transition between these two forms of filmmaking occur in a very strategically organized scene. At least this when I noticed it. There is some sort of ball attended by Pu Yi and his two wives. From the balcony above, we the audience see a camera man slowly panning down to the main center, filming the group. Since we see this first, we obviously get the sense that time has passed due to emerging technology. Our camera glances toward this camera man, but soon joins it side by side. In just a matter of about 15 seconds, we are once the observer, then suddenly at the same time and place as everyone else. Hello Communism.

This film was great, I definitely recommend it.

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Children of a Lesser God (1986)

So I don’t usually use movie posters as the picture for these reviews but one: I really love this poster, and two: it was pretty slim pickin’s on the reblog front. I’m snuggled in bed with some tea on this snowy evening to conclude two really bad days, so I’m feeling a little better. Plus, this movie was heart-wrenching, beautiful, and incredibly eye opening.

Let’s begin with William Hurt. He started out as kind of a drugged out intellectual in The Big Chill (in my top five, it’s a big deal), but his character in this film is a complete 180. He’s romantic, passionate, and patient. Perhaps it’s because he’s a teacher, perhaps it’s because he’s a speech and language teacher at a deaf school, perhaps it’s because he’s simply brilliant. I’m thinking all three. His performance in this film completely shattered the seemingly lower expectations that I had approaching this film.

Next up: Marlee Matlin. She’s the first deaf actress to hold a leading role (besides getting an Academy Award for her performance) since a silent film from 1926 in You’d Be Surprised (I’ve seen it and it’s fabulous). For a role in which there are no spoken lines, her performance blew me away. It’s a form of communication that I never understood, it’s a relationship and responsibility that I never understood, and it’s a lifestyle that I could never imagine.

The film basically discusses the hardships with the romantic relationship between Matlin and Hurt. There are tensions due to their differing opinions regarding speech and sign language. She is capable of speaking, but chooses not to. He, as a speech teacher, sees this as a fear of failure. So, of course, he spends a lot of their relationship trying to improve her quality of communication.

After everything, they reconcile and decide that these challenges won’t be ones they hide from, but rather join together to conquer them. I LOVE this, because I’ve seen far too many movies in which the characters whine all day long about their problems and don’t do anything to change it. This is the great last line, they couldn’t have ended it any other way.

Do you think there’s someplace where we can meet that’s not in silence and not in sound? 

This was one of the greats because it relies solely on performance. There weren’t many twists and turns in the narrative, but it didn’t need it. It’s about two people, no props, just two people building and rebuilding their romance.

Also, I just read that William Hurt and Marlee Matlin were a couple for three years. No wonder they had so much chemistry. And he’s got great shoulders. That’s all folks.

Children of a Lesser God (1986)