In cinema & television on April 4, 2012 at 6:00 am
…of “the hunger games”.
no kidding. this is normally the last film i would weigh in on considering all of the hype around it. i saw john carter thanks to a free screening by the visual effects society and although it was rockin’ good fun, i was utterly confused and completely detached from every character. that was equally hyped and figuring there must be something more, i rushed right home and burned through edgar rice burrough’s “a princess of mars” on which the film was based. aha, once again a screenplay has failed to capture the essence of an otherwise, perfectly well rounded serial novella. the fact that it was originally published as a serial should be an indication of it’s suitability for the big screen…
“the hunger games” is yet another book adaptation which i had the pleasure of viewing, again, thanks to the vfx society. (without whom, i’d never bother to see anything until it comes to cable.) visually mediocre and passably acted, it fit right into the mold of made for tween media that sells so well. relatable female lead, accessibly attractive males, futuristic society with minimal parental control all of which could have been shot for fx as a made for telly series. but it wasn’t and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is justification for a big screen release.
my point here isn’t to actually review the film but to rebut the load of hypocritical trash i’ve been hearing from critics and parents my own age who are jumping into their bully pulpits and carrying on with regards to the “shocking spectacle” of kids killing kids. i have to ask “have we all lost our collective minds?!” where was all of this moralizing when we were kids and queuing up to see “the lost boys?” remember them? good looking, young vampires leaving a trail of blood all over santa cruz? or greedily reading “lord of the flies” and comparing it to our own school pecking order? “the outsiders?” “carrie?” i know, i know, some of these had “R” ratings but my question is, how many of you had a parent with you when you saw them?
i did hear one critic jump up and say that he could have understood the violence if there was some kind of philosophical creed behind it but finding none, it wasn’t going to pass muster for his kids. one suggestion, read the book. i found more back story within the first two chapters of the book than in the film which explains the deep seated feelings of the oppressed and underlines the rebellion that is fomenting within the 12 districts in the face of “the games”. the comments of the critic leads me to believe that he hadn’t read the books. but guess what? millions of tweens did and based on some of their commentary, available all over the web, a lot of them focused in on the humanity of the heroine’s unwillingness to kill and her handling of the deaths of her fellow participants.
the whole series is an ode to standing up for the rights of the weak, of rebelling against tyranny, of thinking for oneself, of sacrifice for others and retaining your humanity in the grimmest of circumstances. aren’t those lessons worthy of the big screen and our kids especially when we are part of the discussion?
In cinema & television on January 28, 2011 at 11:21 am
…you can sometimes break the box office. i tweeted this article i read on npr this morning regarding disney’s halting production on animated fairy tales due to lackluster box office return and decided it was worth further exploration. according to the article, disney execs have pointed out that this particular genre may have run it’s course for the time being and could be revitalized when someone has a fresh take. well according to access hollywood, universal already has that “fresh take” in the form of a live action version of snow white with the queen of tween, kristen stewart being wooed for the title role. having read and viewed the twilight series (more angst then all of the john hughes films put together with a liberal dash of shoe gazing goth), anything written by the brothers grimm would have a welcome place in a tween franchise proving that fairy tale films are not dead but undergoing a transition that encompasses a wider audience. hello box office! anyone who has worked in consumer products knows that what starts with big sister, usually trickles down to little sister thereby igniting the trend all over again. what’s so disappointing is that disney already planted the seeds years ago with the above images from one of it’s viral advertising campaigns shot by annie liebovitz. it’s just a shame that disney would wait for another studio to own this genre and then pick up sloppy seconds. i understand that shareholders expect returns but major growth is not going to happen without some projected risks…
In cinema & television on January 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm
…an absolute macrocosm of passion! not just carnal passion but passion for life, family, freedom and yes, love. the movie centers around the recchi family, specifically on the russian woman who has long settled on life in milan as wife, mother, dutiful daughter in law and household manager/hostess. she is impeccable and beyond reproach, quiet in demeanor and quick to defer to her extended italian family. the children are grown and coming into their own with all of the enthusiasm of an expected bright future. played by tilda swinton, the story follows emma recchi through the awakening of her senses and the subsequent headlong plunge into illicit love with the friend of her oldest son.
the visual impact of this movie was absolutely breathtaking and each frame upon pause an opportunity to ponder on life as it is. the beauty lies not in lining up the most exquisite scenery or panoramic views but in it’s simplicity and it’s reflection of how we see every day events. the tone, lighting and texture layered throughout anchors you firmly. the story flows as it would in any family without the overwrought melodrama of most dramatic films. it is incredibly believable and i was completely submerged in the experience. watching this story unfold towards it’s inevitable end, one can’t help but empathize so completely with emma given her lifetime of fitting herself rather neatly into the needs of others and it concludes with a whisper that’s impossible to ignore.
tilda swinton was pure genius, her acting subtle and finely nuanced which leaves me even more disappointed at her loss to natalie portman. ms. portman is a fine actress in her own right and did as well as she could with the black swan but i just found the movie melodramatic and wrought with clichés. darren aronofsky took a page from the gloria swanson school of acting (read: sunset boulevard) and built an entire movie around it that just lacked credibility. “i am love” left off the theatrics and told the story of a woman’s transformation with grace and beauty and showcased tilda swinton’s impeccable acting skills which, by the way, were put to the test considering the entire movie is in italian! directed by luca guadagnino, “i am love” simply can’t be missed.