Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: The Switch...

I have to confess, I went to see the new Jennifer Aniston movie ready to "lambast it" after all the hype it has gotten from a banter between Aniston and the ultra conservative Bill O'Reilly discussed on the Women and Hollywood blog regarding the worth of father's in a child's life, some might argue that really the discussion was whether women have the right to raise a child themselves, but really it was about the worth of a father.
Where do I start...well, the idea that by choice a women, financially secure can decide to inseminate herself, raise her children herself just as well as the archaic old fashion way of having a father or really any combination of parents (i.e homosexual) can raise a child just as well without the other sex involved has to be the most stupid and destructive "New" idea we have come up with in our society.
Why do I have the right to say that ?.... not take a "live and let live" attitude? Because I am THAT child, the one that lived my whole existence in a completely matriarchal home, with a strong independent mother and grandmother, who could not of provided a better living environment, but the fact that my father was nowhere around, that I knew nothing about him has always felt like I am missing an appendage, like an arm or a leg and frankly have had to compensate for it my whole life, especially in my relationships.
But getting back to the movie and not my own...warpness, what I try and explain to my friends who are considering divorce and trying to convince themselves that their children will do just fine, is that kids, like the boy in The Switch are cognitive little beings, trying to order the world around them and at the same time they can never ever think ill of their parents decisions, that is a ability that comes much, much later, so there are these two opposite ideas clashing in their little minds. The little boy in the movie collected picture frames for the made up photos in them from the store and made up stories about his imaginary father's family to try and order the world that he knew was not right, though his mother did everything to try to convince him it was.
The book of Romans, in the Bible, talks about this in chapter 1- that we do know the order of things, the way things should be, the way we should commune with God, innately we know, five year olds know, so as Paul writes- we are with NO excuse.
And frankly I wonder if Bill O'Reilly actually took the time to see the movie- it is rather raw- the whole insemination party- was nothing but tasteless, really reeking of Women Goddess worship- but really the whole movie does a 180 and in the end, the power of a father, even the genetics of "him" passing on traits, where even a lady on a bus could see the resemblance in his son, is powerful and like I have gone on and on about in other postings over on my other blog- Moonflower Musing, fathers are not a optional accessory, but an equal and as necessary component of a child's development.
I think the conclusion to The Switch, if not subtle, and hey I could be totally reading something into this movie, cause I am sensitive and maladjusted I admit, is a recognitions that a child wants and needs and has a right to, well a Mom and a Dad!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Okay, this was too funny. I did not plan on going to the very first matinee showing of Eat, Pray Love the first day it was released. But I needed to drive over to the Quilt Shop in Durango and it seemed inconceivable NOT to go to the movies.
First, there was literally pilgrimage of women, driving up and walking into the Theatre, some by themselves and some in pairs. But most all- a LOT older than me- which I thought was interesting.
Then it just got funnier inside when we stood under gigantic cardboard cut outs of these guys, in their black leather, holding their machine guns to buy our tickets.
I rarely read books that get turned into movies, but had read or listened to Eat Pray Love, twice actually, so was extra analytical watching the movie and was surprised by several things, that thought artistic license has to be given to changing a book into a movie- These changes, I think, changed the whole "flavor" and really outcome of the movie.
First Gilbert, in the book, went to great length to explain her desire to protect those she came into contact with in that year of travel and only "Richard from Texas" name, upon his request, was not changed. Gilbert explained she had no desire to bring undue attention to the really people.
Well the movie did nothing less than make her husband look like a complete undirected idiot, when in reality he also took a year of travel and actually did humanitarian work to re-find himself. All I can say is .... the poor guy!
All and all, I would have to say that the movie toned down the book- many of the characters were way more extreme- it wasn't her Brazilian husband who ran her off the road and their relationship to me in the movie, set a different tone in the book- where he campaigned to be her "Lover" not her champion and gave a huge speech that he would basically spend the rest of his days...."worshipping the ground she walked on.
I do think the book had some messages, good ones all women could benefit from, how to come to terms with who you are- as a women- but I think the movie feel short - really? the whole conclusion to enjoying food again for being food- in Italy- was a obsession with "fat pants!"
I guess I have "tones" on the brain- which some might argue as are subdual unimportant difference, but I think all books and movies have a flavor and in my mind the book and the movie should at least have the SAME flavor.
Also I was amazed the Julia Roberts did not talk more-either to other characters or in narrative- since the book is a continuous monologue, of her reflections of her experiences. So how can a movie of observing those experiences really bring us to the same place as the book in the end?
There really was not much of a story arc in the book or the movie for that matter- there Really was nothing at stake- i.e.- a gold ring to risk all to get in the volcano- it was a linear story, and the resolution at the end was weak to say the least.
I'd say that thought the movie was interesting, as the hype around it, in the end it just seemed a little flat.

Review: The Answer Man

With all the hype right now about the Elizabeth Gilbert's "Docu-Drama" Eat, Pray, Love, it was a "happy accident" to come across this movie- starring Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls fame. Both actors are not top names, but I always enjoy what they are in.
Bridges is a writer who twenty years ago wrote a book with all the answers from God and gained a world full of followers, becoming an instant Guru- Problem is now he is out of all the answers and is hiding alone in his home, trying to find them again. Trying about every tip from every religion to do so.
Graham is a struggling single mom and another fun character played by Kris Lucas is a down on his luck, just out of rehab - bookstore owner who Bridges tries unsuccessfully to resell his large library of unhelpful, self help books-
This is a very simple, very cute but the bottom line is profound - We are all screwed up, wandering around human being trying to find the answer- but through connections and relationships with the other screwed up being- we might survive!!

The Answer Man is available right now on Netflix Download

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is anything sacred?

In a few weeks, I am headed up to  the Telluride Film Festival ...
actually as a paying pass holder this time. I have gone before, on the outskirts to celebrity watch
( I shamefully admit) and to partake in the public discussions in the park and courthouse, always fascinating- but this year, I have official paid the entry fee- it helps that I have a friend who has a house up there- actually her family does.
Telluride's Festival is unique in that it does not release the list of film that will be showing until the day the festival starts, so there is always much speculation of what will show. It has done well over the years debuting many film like ...
Slumdog Millionaire that later went on to awards and glory.
Telluride is also known for being anti- paparazzi. I don't know if there is a city ordinance, but although there are big namers - Penelope Cruz, Forrest Whitaker, Laura Linney, Andy Garcia, Mickey Rooney, Nicholas Cage to name a few- everywhere, there are only a few cameras following them.
Back to the speculation about what will show- I read yesterday that 127 Hours , based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place,

about the guy who sawed his own arm off after being trapped in the Utah backcountry for five days is pretty likely. Which my husband thinks is hilarious since I detest those male stories of extreme stupidity. We figured that based on how much the pass cost and how many film I would see in the weekend I had in fact spent about $50.00 to see this movie- that I hate and he is dying to see! There are several on the speculation list that I am hoping for- obtained from Michael's Telluride Film Blog.
My only guess or hope is probably not going to happen- though it might be this year's surprise film- the remake of True Grit.
I think it might have a chance in the fact the original with John Wayne was actually filmed just on the other side of Telluride in Ridgeway, Colorado. We have often gone to the cafe that still displays the brick wall used in the 1969 filmTo say the least I am a little concerned, since a large part of me cannot believe that such an iconic movie, starring John Wayne and Glen Campbell has to be remade.

And it is being remade by the Cohen Brothers - if one looks at their string of award winning movies such as...

A pattern arises...lots of blood and gore, off the wall humor and well a screwball look at reality.

Which makes me wonder what these guys are going to do with my favorite genre and one of my favorite movie?Apparently, the new True Grit is holding closer to the original novel, which according to the Cohen's is more violent then the first movies was and .... also funnier. From Wikipedia.
They did the filming in Texas and New Mexico and are not known for doing the festival circuit, so I bet I will be seeing it and complaining about it in December when the remake of True Grit is released in theaters....but really is nothing sacred?

Friday, August 13, 2010

It is an odd thing...

It is an odd thing when you are sitting in a movie theater with your teenage daughters and you realize you are old enough to be the leading man,'s... mother!! That the "Hot" guys featured on the covers of the grocery store magazines, to you, look like babies and well,  the actors you consider your "Heart Throbs" are really showing their age.

Charlie St. Cloud stars an unbelievably "Buff" if not "Baby Faced" Zac Efron. My oldest daughters response to that is always- " Isn't that good you think they have a baby face, since you are like twenty years older then them!" She is probably right.

Isn't it amazing how we take our heart throbs and freezes them in our mind from the movies we love, kind of like that children's book  "My Teacher Sleeps in School"...
About children's belief that since they only see their teachers in school, surely they only exist there and not the real world..... Don't we do the same thing with actors and they don't have the privilige of aging like the rest of us!
I can't help it...Kevin Costner
well always be....Jay Cochran         
  And Tom Crusie...
  will always be Mavrick
Kevin Bacon.....

will always be... Ren McCormick

and Harrison Ford...
will always be Indiana Jones
But then again my husband, who I met when I was 18 and he was 19 will always be that kid with long legs that looked really nice in jeans and cowboy boots leaning against an old rust colored GMC truck- isn't that the way it should be with "Hearth Throbs?"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Salt doesn't pass the "Girl" test

Went and saw SALT quite awhile ago, but I am just now getting around to posting.
Salt is getting quite the hype- Angelina Jolie- arguable the most beautiful women in the world also establishing herself as well..."bad ass". Women are going to watch it for one reason and well, men for another.
Angelina graced the August cover of Vanity Fair

and gave an interesting interview taking a break from filming her new movie, the Tourist, with Johnny Depp in Venice Italy. The most interesting tidbit is that she was asked to be a "Bond Girl" and turned it down- telling them to talk to her when she could "Be Bond"....
All this seems like we can declare-"Let's strike one up for women all over the world- " but I think Salt is really a "chameleon of a Women's Movie" really.
For one it really doesn't have much of a plot- there are not a lot of twist and turns, it is pretty straight forward- Salt is an agent, is reveled as a mole, escapes to defend herself and save her husband, doesn't and then in revenge goes after the Russian bad guys. There is little depth to this movie. Not like the Bourne franchise or the New Bond franchise- where the hero is imperfect and struggles with not just the outer bad guys but the inner demons-
I can't think of a movie Angelina Jolie is in where imperfection is part of her character- now I have only her action movies- Tomb Raiders, Mr. and Mrs. Smtih- where Brad Pitt was loveable in all his imperfections.
Not a real women, but a demi god- is one strike against this movie-
-another is an interesting test I discovered over on Women and Hollywood blog- I call it the "Girl Test" , but officially it is


 /bech·del test/n.

1. It has to have at least two women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

If you go to the Bechdel site, you will be amazed about how many movies fail to pass- now there is many arguments about this- women's place in film and I am sure I plus others will hit on them periodically- but I do just find it very interesting and SALT definitely does not pass- though you could count the lady behind the counter or the girl she gives the dog to.