Monday, January 5, 2009

'tis the season to stay in and watch some films.

i used to be quite the film buff a decade or so ago: i'd watch anything and everything i could get my hands on. i still enjoy movies, but since it's become less common of a pastime, i'm also more picky. during the holidays i caught up with many films i had wanted to see and, moreover, enjoyed a few unexpected cinematic treasures. equipped with a few boxes of chocolate pralines (any kind will do, i'm not picky...), red wine and a wool blanket, my main excuse for not blogging at all during the holidays is that i had my eyes glued to the tv.

one of the better ones was changeling starring angelina jolie. not your basic picker-upper, i do not recommend watching it when feeling down. the film itself is refreshingly lacking in tear-inducing gimmicks and concentrates on the drama of real human loss and insecurity.

i also finally saw the dark knight with the amazing joker played by heath ledger. it felt strange watching someone who had just passed away doing something that brilliantly. otherwise the movie was crap-o-lah, although i do wonder what device is used for christian bale's darth vader sound...

then there was milk starring sean penn. based on a true story, it concentrates on the essential last years of the life of a closeted gay man who ends up as the first openly homosexual public official in the u.s., more accurately in san francisco. a representation of a life of secrets which many people wish would stay hidden, it was tragic to see how the argumentation against gay people has not changed much during these three decades. also, worth of note is the lack of women visible: there are only two female roles, the activist lesbian and the christian fanatic.

as a total opposite, i also watched the women the remake of a 1939 film with the same title, where notably no men appear on screen. unfortunately the update's storyline has none of the witty charm of the original film's social commentary, but comes across as pathetically stereotypical, boring, superficial with monologues conjured only to bring about tears of fake pathos because someone lost a life of luxury. what a waste of time.

nevertheless, i can recommend seeing the curious case of benjamin button. a film that aspires towards greatness, with some exquisite performances (cate blanchett and taraji p. henson) it almost gets there. it does lack credibility in its grandiosity; there are better films about fleeting time and mortality than this one. but worthy it is.

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