Thursday, June 28, 2018

What's Next On My List? The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

My sister watches way more movies than I do, but because of that, I get to see the best of the best, as she selects those movies that are really worth seeing. One of these gems was this movie, that I did not even know existed and have loved every single second of. Let us get into the magic trick that is:

We open with a magician duo who hasn't had a new act in years, and they are going out of style, because the new magician, or more accurately, illusionists, are taking over the audiences. Burt and his partner Anton part ways, and he has to relearn why he loved magic as a kid: it was never because of the profit, but for the feel of magic being real. He cared about making others believe and making others see the wonder in everything. He gets hold of his old partner to come up with a new show and become the biggest magicians in history.

I just loved how the movie made fun of illusionists: it is true, nowadays we cannot settle for little things, we have to be amazed and shocked and the more we are the better... it might just be me, but I love small magic tricks too. The magic comes from not understanding it, not from someone cutting their own head off... As children we believe in magic and I think as adults we miss that very much. But, do we really need big things? I know I don't. The movie focuses on how a man has to find himself again in order to be happy in life. I think that is a very heavy moral lesson for a great comedy. This movie has good writing, wonderful casting, and such comic delivery which is very rare in movies nowadays. I am not surprised that it has a low rating, because people with sophisticated sense of humor seem to be a minority on this planet... But I encounter this with almost all movies I see lately. Good comedies have their small group of fans, and that is fine. I feel bad because that is not what box offices are concerned with, but I know that actors do care for smaller projects too and knowing that there are fans of it is still rewarding.

Watch it? Definitely. I loved every minute of it! It not only made me believe in magic again, but it was a very spot on social commentary as far as consumption is concerned. It hit all the right notes with me, and I didn't even know it existed: Maybe someone out there is looking for a movie like this right now!

Until the next item on my list!
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Burt Wonderstone - Steve Carell
Anton Marvelton - Steve Buscemi
Jane - Olivia Wilde
Steve Gray - Jim Carrey
Doug Munny - James Gandolfini
Rance Holloway - Alan Arkin

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What's Next On My List? Blowup

I had a class on Italian movies this semester, and we covered famous Italian directors too, because they have a special style to them, and our first class focused on Michelangelo Antonioni.

This turns into a murder mystery from a simple photographer being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Thomas encounters a woman, whose affections toward an unnamed man make for a good picture, and he ends up documenting the murder of a man in a quiet English park. He has to accept that he cannot in any way change what happened and the evidence of the murder are confiscated from him.

I really enjoyed this movie. First off, I had no idea what it was going to develop into, and the fact that it surprised me so much made it wonderful. I love to be surprised, I love movies that go the extra mile to add a twist that is bound to blow one's brain (pun intended). Second, the movie is simply absurd. You have a young man who does what many of us struggle with: live for the day (he stays at a shelter, then has sex with models and wannabes, has artist friends, enters a concert and leaves with a piece of the band's guitar, and so on). He is the only one around really, who is able to enjoy simple things, as everyone else bears the weight of life on their shoulders. And thus, it is Thomas who is then faced with how quickly a life can end and fade away as well (as the corpse is removed and he no longer has evidence of what happened). Finally, the main reason why I wished to write about this movie, was the ending. Each article and review I encountered detailed how the ending is questionable and the meaning of it left open on purpose. I personally decided to come up with my own version and wished to share it. Thomas, in the same park, encounters a group of mimes playing tennis in an open court. They throw the ball out and wait for him to give it back to them. He walks up to it and decides to throw it back, as if it had really landed near him. To me this was the acceptance of what had happened, in other words, the willingness to pretend that nothing has indeed happened. No corpse, no mysterious woman, no conspiracy, no robbery, just a simple afternoon in the park.

Watch it? Definitely. Some people in the class complained that it was slow, but I felt no such problem with it. It is unique, as today you would not be satisfied with an ending of the same caliber, you would need revenge and for the truth to triumph, and Thomas would probably be in danger, or something like that. This movie intends to remain simple and it is that simplicity that shines a light on a lot of very smart questions. Among them the question of how one values life.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Thomas - David Hemmings
Patricia - Sarah Miles
Bill - John Castle

Monday, June 11, 2018

What's Next On My List? August: Osage County

I wanted to see this because of the cast for a long time and I just kept putting it off and off and off and decided that I have waited long enough. Let me tell you, when playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, this movie is a godsend!

The patriarch of a family goes missing and he is assumed dead by all. His family gathers to say their goodbyes, but a series of lies and secrets come to light as none of them can keep on pretending that everything is alright.

"My last refuge, my books... simple pleasures, like finding wild onions by the side of a road, or requited love."

This won't be a super detailed review for one very simple reason: I do not wish to give too much away. I do not know how I feel about this movie. You see, as far as acting is concerned they have cast the best people. I am sure that actors have won several awards with their performances, as this is originally made for stage, and the script itself is marvelous. That said... the messages are quite mixed. I just do not know what to think... This family is f*cked up alright, nonetheless, their interactions are spot on... this is not just for dramatic effect, truly, what I see here is something that I have had in my own family (that's a joke, allow yourself to laugh!). But what is love? What is blood? The story raises a lot of questions and doesn't really give an answer to them. Sometimes the end does not justify the means, and I think this is what is at core here. All these people have been forced to put others in front of themselves and resent those who were selfish. How can one go on living without ever putting themselves first? And when are you just going overboard with it? Ultimately, what makes a good mother a good mother? You have three here, who all made mistakes, and two who should probably never have families of their own because of the background they are coming from. The question that remained with me is if we are ever able to break the cycle that our families have forced us into... or are things set in stone?

"Thank God we can't tell the future. We'd never get out of bed."

Watch it? Yes. I think my mixed feelings are also a confirmation of it being a good story. I don't necessarily need answers to all the questions raised, but I am also not a big fan of those movies that just want to poke the monster in me. That said, many might still enjoy it tremendously. It is a good movie, that is for sure!

Until the next item on my list.
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Violet Weston - Meryl Streep
Barbara Weston - Julia Roberts
Charlie Aiken - Chris Cooper
Bill Fordham - Ewan McGregor
Mattie Fae Aiken - Margo Martindale
Beverly Weston - Sam Shepard
Steve Huberbrecht - Dermot Mulroney
Ivy Weston - Julianne Nicholson
Karen Weston - Juliette Lewis
Jean Fordham - Abigail Breslin
Little Charles Aiken - Benedict Cumberbatch
Johnna Monevata - Misty Upham