My Mini Movie Reviews!

19 Jan

This holiday season, I’ve found solace in something I’ve done since I can remember: seeing movies. This is always the best time of year to see movies, in my opinion, because tis the season for Oscar contenders! Not only did I receive two free passes to AMC for my birthday, I also accidentally forgot to take my Netflix account off hold and it automatically renewed itself.

“Black Swan” was twisted, ironic, and like most of Aronofsky’s movies, has images that stick with you days later. I’m still seeing Natalie Portman looking crazily at herself in the mirror or the physical rash she developed as she descends into the darkness that is her role as the Black Swan. The whole movie has a creepy vibe that left me chilled despite my three layers of clothes I wore to the theater. Wonderfully acted by Portman and her supporting cast, especially Barbara Hershey, this movie put a face to perfectionism and made me take a cold, hard look at the things I try to make perfect. After seeing Black Swan, I realized that “being perfect” definitely has it’s price…Obession, multiple personalities, psychosis, oh my! I would not recommend this for the squeamish (there’s blood) or those who don’t like disturbing images. This isn’t “Center Stage” but from what I’ve heard from dancers who have seen it, this movie is a pretty accurate look at what some dancers go through. Aside from the disturbing parts, it’s fascinating to take a look in the mind of someone who will do anything to get her dream.

I recently saw another movie that gave a different look at how far dreams can drive you. It’s called “Testing Life,” and it’s by my friend, Carolyn Von Petzholt, a German filmmaker who now lives in Los Angeles. The film’s main character is Ana, a young wannabe actress, who wants to come to Hollywood to learn acting. The problem is, she needs money and decides to become a lab rat who tests medicines so that she can make her airfare. Ana’s dream drives her so far that she starts to question it. Like Black Swan, questions of how far one can and should go for a dream were raised.

I was excited to see “True Grit” because of the cast and of course, the Coen Bros. I heard that the girl who played the avenging 14 year old daughter looking to bring her father’s murderer to justice was terrific. And she was! She easily made this movie and it was easy to see that while she was in search for a US Marshal with “grit” who would be able to help her find and capture her father’s murderer in Indian territory, it was she that had the true grit after all. Who doesn’t love a good western with a good story and great characters. It was a little tricky to get past the dialogue (it seemed stilted when the characters would totally avoid conjunctions, but that was intentional based on the book).  What I liked most about it was the journey from total disregard to mutual respect that each of the main characters had to take in order to accomplish their goal. I found myself sad that it was over.

“Another Year” was Mike Leigh’s latest movie that I just happened to see because I had a screener copy. SHHHH! It followed around an older loving couple (which you don’t really see too much anymore) through the seasons of the year. The film explored their relationship with a codependent friend, Mary, who kept becomming more and more pathetic throughout the seasons. By the end, I was just plain sad for her, but it was a greatly acted and written movie, if a little slow in parts. Still, the characters are what made it. I really wanted to take Mary to therapy though.

There are so many more movies I still want to see. “The Fighter.” “Secret Sunshine.” “Tangled in 3D”. Maybe soon!

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