Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau: A Review

Went over the pass to Durango with my husband and Daughter #2 who were taking a hunter safety course, a tradition for 12 year old in our family. Went to the see THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU in the old Gaslight Movie Theater next to the train station. Spring had momentarily descend down on the San Juan mountains, so everyone was out.
The movie stars Matt Damon (Bourne Identity) and Emily Blunt ( Young Victoria). Damon is a up and coming politician who is suppose to be inspired by a free spirited dancer played by Blunt...

 but since a long term relationship between the two would have great ramifications on history- Damon's character headed for the White House- the Adjustment Bureau steps in.

The film obviously has Christian undertones of Predestination, but to be honest, though I enjoyed it, the stakes were not quite high enough, both for the two main characters and for well, the fate of mankind. How the politician would change, what new course he would be on if his life ran parallel with the dancer was never spelled out, if it had been something like a decision like the "Bay of Pigs", the stakes would have been higher- just taking the Adjustment Bureau's word for it, keep the meter of tension from rising too high.

Driving back over the pass that night, I was talking to Jon about it. He's a lawyer so leans towards a pragmatic outlook that our fate is only ruled by our decisions and not, well timing of when we spill coffee on our shirt and whether that allows us to get on the bus with our dream girl or not- a key plot point to the movie.

I asked him if he thought we would have had a life together if not for a ill fated Midnight 4x4 wheel drive trip in college where we got no less than five vehicles stuck in deep mud and where because I stuck it out through the night, digging with the guys, while the rest of the girls bailed and went home- I caught his eye.

Of course, Jon declared that if we weren't both there that night, we would of connected somehow else through college- but wouldn't that support the idea of an "adjustment" .

Free will or Predestination?

My take- a little of each- God knows our choices and decision before we make them but we are the one who makes them. Our path does get "adjusted" by chance or God intervening- and Timing is everything- in movies and real life!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The film I always go back to: Last of the Mohicans

Taking on The Kid in the Front Row movie blog's challenge of blogging about the movie we always seem to go back to when life is not treating us well, for me that would be THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS.
Not just the recent version in 1992 starring Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, but also the 1936 version...

 starring Randolph Scott...

having watched it in black and white as a kid when I would hole up on Saturday's and watch movie marathons- humm kind of doing that today- since Daughter #1 and Grandpa are horseback riding and Jon and Daughter #2 are mountain biking. I am still in my sweats and well, the dogs in the back yard are whining and will probably force me to get outside and enjoy the spring weather that at the moment has descended over the San Juan Mountains.
Last of the Mohicans is one of the premium classic American tales- set in 1757 during the battles between France and England to claim the frontier of what would be New York State, with all the local native tribes taking up alliance to try and save their claim to the land.
 I read James Fenimore Cooper's novel , 1826, back in school but have sense concluded it must of been an abridged version since picking up the original novel to read to my girls and seeing that it's a hard book to get through in its old English style and with a much more complicated story line.
The movie plots center around Hawkeye, a white man, but rescued as a small child by one of the last of the Mohican tribe, Chingachgook, who raises him with his own son- Uncas.

The three men help the daughters of the English General Munro get to Fort William Henry after an Indian attack lead by Magua, who is seeking revenge again Munro, who lead an attack that killed Magua's wife and children and sent him into slavery to the Hurons.

The rugged war torn setting of the story, upstate New York- in the 1992 film version was actually filmed in the Blue Ridge mountain of North Carolina brings such power to the story- the sheer rock mountains, rivers and waterfalls adding to the wildness of the story.

This is the classic boy meet girl story- my favorite. Hawkeye falling for the prim and poper, but brave older sister, Cora, played by Madeline Stowe....

 and Uncas loving and protecting to death the weaker younger sister Alice.

I think I love the rawness and simplicity of the Last of the Mohicans. For love, Hawkeye and Uncas changed their course- ( just reviewed the new Matt Damon movie The Adjustment Bureau), one to the point of death.

Does love concur all- yes! and thus why I love Boy Meets Girl stories- some of my other favorites-




GLADIATOR ( yes it is a love story)

and it doesn't matter if the outcome isn't always peachy.


 with Timothy Olphant happens to be on Stars Edge right now, didn't change  the channel in my Saturday movie marathon and though it is no less than a Zombie movie- it has a pretty sweet love story of Oplhant the local sheriff- going back into the Zombie infested town to rescue his wife...
 Almost free, they stop at a deserted truck stop where his wife's spirits fall and here is the great line that expresses that "love conquers all" that brings me back to movies again and again

You want to give up...you want to sit here and die...tell me
and I will sit here and die with you.

David and Judy kiss passionately across  the truck stop resturant booth and table.

You gonna go get that truck?

Next Year in Jerusalem

Recently I enjoyed watching FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, actually blasted Topel's rendition of if I Were a Rich Man through the Surround Sound, much to my children's complaining, which was responded to by me just turning it up loader!

"If I were a rich man, da, de, da ,de, da...."

What a great story- Set in 1905 Russia, Tevye giving us a tour of his little village Anatevka and its interesting characters, both the Jews living under the shadow of their Traditions, ( keep wanting to break out in song!) and their neighbors living under the rule of the Christian Orthodox church. Both exist under the regional military authority that eventually will expel the Jews from the only home they have known- Tevye has to sell his home and all his possessions and take his wife and last two daughter and join the exodus out of his homeland, Russia expelling all the Jews.

The village match maker, Yente, bids good bye to Tevya's wife, Golde, at her gate with the phrase, "Next year in Jerusalem," a hope the displaced Jewish people have had for a millennium.

EXODUS, my favorite Paul Newman movie, moves this desire forward fifty years, after the horrors of the Holocaust has solidified the desire for a homeland in the hearts of the survivors of the concentration camps.
The movie is no musical, but follows the attempt of the Jewish people to claim the lands of their forefathers for themselves. The World might of declared their right to it, but it was left up to them to claim it.

Paul Newman plays Ari Ben Canaan a Jewish rebel who had fought in World War 2 and now leads a complex plan to get a group of Jewish refugee to the promised land and help establish the first foothold of the new Israeli State.

Eva Marie Saint (North by Northwest) is an American nurse on holiday that gets entwined with the castaways and falling in love with Ari, comes to help establish the colony.

The politics of such a movie are too vast to explain here, nor do I have any delusion I understand them. Certainly the Arabs that occupied and still do occupy Israel deserve their own opinion of this era of history, but I think Exodus does a good job of giving them a voice in the character of Taha, the local mukhtar or leader and lifelong friend of Ari's.

The movie was made in 1960 less then fifteen years from the events that established the State of Israel. Interestingly the film also has the notoriety of helping break the era of the Hollywood Blacklist when Dalton Trumbo, a confirmed Communist and one of the famous Hollywood 10- who refused to testify before the government and reveal others working in Hollywood with ties to the Communist party.

Interestingly- Trumbo is most well known for his anti -war novel JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN...

that I and my daughters read in Middle School- about a maimed and quad amputee soldier who screams out from the shell of a body, trying to communicate with the world.

What is doubly interesting and quite the co -inky-dink is I started writing this in Boulder, Colorado...

 in the Starbucks just north of the University of Colorado campus, while Daughter #1 toured the campus with her father, and low and behold- Trumbo graduated from CU- and, get this grew up in Montrose- Colorado- en route- to Boulder from our corner of the State- how small is the world and interlinked is that- a blacklisted Communist would write such a powerful screenplay about establishing the Jewish State and have written the anti war book most schools have their students read and I remember so vividly and be linked to Colorado- well it is University of Colorado in Boulder- that is known as quite a liberal school- doubt that has changed much in 60 years.

-Relied heavily on Wikipedia's page on the movies and the accompanying links.
-Both movies are available on Netflix