Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Consumables #83

My 100 Movies in 2014 resolution is going along at a rapid clip. I have watched 12 movies so far, and I am not even trying to watch at a faster rate than normal, and that seems like a lot of movies for it to be mid-January. I guess? I mean, I still eat and sleep and work and spend non-movie-watching time with Nordic Boy and family and friends and errand and do chores and exercise and do all sorts of other things in my day. Not to mention intaking copious amounts of other media like books and tv and podcasts and musics. Why do I feel the need to apologize for my movie watching rates right now and assure you that I have not fallen into a hole where my sweatpants have grown into my couch and my veins are filled with nothing but the oil and salt from too much popcorn? I don't know why, but I do. I WATCHED A DOZEN MOVIES IN TWO WEEKS WITHOUT TRYING BUT I AM STILL A GOOD MEMBER OF SOCIETY SHAME SPIRAL AHHHHHH.

Anyhoozle. Let's talk about 'em.

The Water Front
You know how Netflix has those microgenres in their recommendations? ("Classic tearjerkers with a strong female lead" or what have you). I wonder if they have one called "The People of Michigan Get Screwed But They Are Scrappy and Will Fight Back." If they do not, then they should. Think about it: you've got your Roger and Me, your Searching for Sugarman, your Detropolis. Listen, I am not knocking it, for I'm a prime audience for those movies, for sure. I am just saying there are a lot of them, which is unfortunate only insofar as there are so many ways that people are getting screwed and having to fight back about it. This one is about how water is being privatized in the Detroit area and how citizens in that area are fighting for their right to affordable water.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*
Let me see if I can explain this. This Swedish documentarian makes a film about Dole, as in the banana company, that is critical of their business practices. Dole brings a lawsuit against him, and so he makes a film about his battle with them over the lawsuit. This is that film. Meaning, it's the film about the original film. The thing that fascinated me the most about this was the parts that showed the political process in Sweden. Which, hello, yes, me, boring.

The Island President
Another documentary (yes, I like a documentary) about Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, who is known for his fight against climate change due to the fact that the Maldives is being alarmingly affected by rising sea levels.

Keep your expectations low on this one and you'll be fine. There are several under-explained plot lines, like one where Jodie Foster plans a coup whereby she can take over a computer program and yadda yadda she unseats the president (huh?), and I think she is trying to have some sort of South African accent (I think? or maybe I am projecting because the director is South African) but that goes horribly wrong. So just, expectations: low.

Somehow we managed to find this still playing on the big screen in 3D, and I am so glad we did. It was definitely the most captivating use of 3D that I have ever seen, although if you are prone to the throw-upsies then you might not enjoy it quite so much. I guess I had never realized it before but the thought of being untethered in open space is effing TERRIFYING. And yes, basically the whole movie is: something goes wrong, figure out how to fix it, something else goes wrong, figure out how to fix it, something else goes wrong, figure out how to fix it. But I was totally engaged with that loop the entire time. I loved that the Sandra Bullock character was not sexualized in any way (Hollywood will usually find a way to put a lady in a sexy jumpsuit if she is to go to space). Even when she has to take off her space suit and she is essentially in her underthings, they are normal underthings and the camera does not shoot her lasciviously ever, which I'm just saying hardly ever happens. There were things about the script that I could have done without, but overall, I thought it was really good. And could George Clooney look any more Buzz Lightyear? I do not think so.

Yeah, you know the drill on these superhero movies. But this one was pretty good. Can I just ask you what the deal is with Wolverine's muttonchops and crazy hairdo? Is that like, his style choice, or is there something about his mutation that makes him have those things? In this movie there is a period of time where he has grown out all his hair, and then when he comes back to society, he unwillingly gets cleaned up by his rescuers, including a haircut and a shave. Next scene, he arrives with that damn cheek-beard and the headwings. So, did he tell them to style it like that? Or did they just have to for some reason? These are the things I think about.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
I remember as a child being FER-REAKED OUT by the child catcher, but for the life of me I cannot see why now. I also have a super strong memory of the Old Bamboo song and the Doll on a Music Box song. Oh Dick Van Dyke, I heart you. And also, BENNY HILL IS IN THIS MOVIE. That just don't seem right, people.

Dancing Dreams
Documentary about choreographer Pina Bausch and how she selected a bunch of teens in Germany who had never danced before and taught them her famous piece called Contact Zone. There were many things about this that blew my effing mind. First of all, the fact that these non-dancy, non-performy teens, who had all of the self-consciousness that teens have, actually did this piece which has many parts in it where you have to make yourself extremely vulnerable and awkward on purpose, was crazy. Second of all, that the community and the parents in that community allowed those teens to participate in a piece that asks such deep questions about gender and sexuality was astounding. Europe really is less freaked out about sex than we are. It was pretty awesome.

Before Midnight
The third in the Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight set of movies, and it was my least favorite. This one had a little too much "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" talk. Plus, I get that it's supposed to be showing different sides to a multi-faceted long term relationship, but these two really do not seem to like each other much at all. Even when they were being nice to each other there were constant verbal jabs and little cruelties and not a lick of kindness. I get that relationships can be hard but I just wanted them to break up already.

The Square
Documentary about the "Arab Spring," especially focusing on the events in Tahrir Square in Egypt, this had amazing footage, told a complicated story really well, and was simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking. There was crying on my part.

Cutie and the Boxer
Documentary about renowned "boxing painter" Ushio Shinohara and his 40-year marriage to his wife Noriko. The movie showcases their struggle with poverty, their struggles in their marriage, and their artistic journey together. Noriko, who has assisted Ushio to the detriment of her own artistic career, is stepping out on her own with her artwork starring her alter ego "Cutie." Totally fascinating.

20 Feet from Stardom
Documentary that celebrates the largely unknown female back up singers that fueled Top 40 hits from the 60s through current times. These ladies got pipes, y'all. Loved it.

Woo wee. You stuck with this whole post? You deserve a dance. (Does this song seem dirty to you? "It's useful in the underbrush to have a hefty spear?" Anyone? Just me? Ok).

Me Ol' Bamboo, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


Matt said...

OH! MY! GOSH! You actually posted the Me Ol' Bamboo vid. Just to zero in on the least "important" of your dozen movies because I'm shallow like that, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of the all time faves in this household. And those songs...hey, don't be all apologetic...they're wonderfully creative, funny and musical! The Truly Scrumptious/Girl on a Music Box duet is just phenomenally good writing. I can see that I'm going to go on at length here and I'm sorry, but it's just such a rich, wholesome and amusing movie with great songs. The last suspended note in the Toot Sweets rocker? Come oawn! Grandpa's P-O-S-H outing in the outhouse? A riot! And did you know that Lionel Jeffries who played Grandpa was 6 months younger than Dick Van Dyke who played his son? Just a 'toid for you. Millie and Mara call our Subaru Chitty. The only song I didn't like when I was a kid and my little brother played the record over and over and over was Truly's pining garden solo, because it was slow and yucky. Oddly, that song I came to appreciate over time as a very beautiful piece of music and singing, though I dislike it now for other reasons having to do with wanting to protect my daughters from stereotypes about how women have to be in relationship to men. Wow, you hit me where I live with this one. Thanks for the caution about Midnight, we'd been eyeing that one. Where do you find so many good documentaries? More coffee, yes please.

Mattagain said...

Oh wait. You weren't being apologetic at all. Maybe I was projecting. I've been projecting a lot. Sorry. Good post.

Librarian Girl said...

Matt- Netflix streaming has tons of good documentaries. A few of the ones I mentioned in this post are recent Oscar nominees.

And your Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fandom is pretty rad.

cadiz12 said...

"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" is a classic.

And you summarized my feelings about "Gravity" perfectly.