Sunday, December 20, 2009

Massive Catch Up Post

500 Days of Summer
Paul: Robin is better than the girl of my dreams. She's real.
In a lot of ways, I wanted to like this movie, but couldn't quite bring myself to. It was really hard for me to connect with the characters b/c while they weren't your atypical indie romantic comedy leads, they just...something just seemed like it was missing. Essentially "500 Days of Summer" just focuses on the two main characters Tom and Summer and while Tom's friends and sister made appearances, they really weren't there long enough for me to see who they really were like as characters- as characters with more to do than just being involved in Tom's life. And it's so hard to have a movie with just two main characters- it really gets myopic at times. While I don't mind a fragmented narration (actually I love it when movies/shows mess with time) nor an omniscient narrator in a movie when it's done well, these two elements don't work quite so well with the movie either.

What I did like about the movie that I wish they'd hit on harder is the idea of whether or not love was a result of fate or a result of random chance/coincidences- kind of reminded me of one of the main themes of Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Other great moments in the movie: there is this great, profound sense of sadness seeing side by side, Tom's wishes of what would happen at Summer's party versus what actually happened- and then as he walks away and the background melts into animation- quite a beautiful moment. The other one, is when Paul, his friend who's had a girlfriend forever, talks about how he feels about his gf. I couldn't find the whole quote but essentially he talks about how his dream girl would have had larger breasts and liked sports more, but that "Robin is better than the girl of my dreams. She's real." That is...I think, is a very romantic, a very mature take on love that's very rarely seen in movies, and now I wish that the movie had perhaps, gone into that idea a bit more- perhaps let us see what Paul's relationship was like with Robin.

Ponyo on the Cliff
Lisa: So, what's your Mother like, then?
Ponyo: She's big, and beautiful! But, she can be very scary.
Sosuke: Just like my Mom.
Perhaps I'll come off sounding Scrooge-like by saying this but I felt a bit too old for this movie. It's not that I don't like movies about kids- I love love love Totoro for example b/c it's so magical and so precious and makes you feel nostalgic about the days when you could really let your imagination run wild but Ponyo was a bit more on the fantastical juvenile side and just sort of felt like a bit of a mashup of elements of his earlier films. Eg. the water reminded me of a less horrific version of the demon worms, the final task reminded me of the final task in Spirited Away, etc. A stand out moment in the film was perhaps when Sosuke and his mom were signaling to his dad away at sea. So essentially, while the movie made me crave ham+ramen, it doesn't really make me want to go back and re-watch it again.

I Love You, Man
Peter Klaven: I will see you there, or I will see you on another time!

Another entry into the genre of guy-oriented romantic comedies, which I prefer over female-oriented rom coms (naturally). I haven't watched too too many of these but I still think that the very first of these was the best: The 40-Year Old Virgin, which somehow despite all its crudeness still managed to be very cute and endearing. I Love You, Man is another solid entry into this category and I liked it more than I thought I would (gauging from expectations after watching the trailer). Essentially Peter has trouble making friends with other guys and sets out to find a best man for his upcoming wedding. Also has Adam Sandberg playing an amusingly flamboyantly straight gay guy.

Vicky Christina Barcelona

Juan Antonio: Maria Elena used to say that only unfulfilled love can be romantic.

Second time watching this movie- it's still a great movie. Barcelona is beautiful. Penelope Cruz is absolutely fantastic in this- as Maria Elena, she's crazy, funny, and ultimately full of this despair/sadness. What I love the most about this movie though, is how it really infuses this sense of summer within it.

Julie & Julia

The main reason to watch Julie & Julia is for Meryl Strep's performance as Julia Child. Even with an accent that will tend to come off as obnoxious, Strep's Julia Child is still lovable, adorable, and fearless. In general, Julia Child's storyline always tended to be the more interesting one, doing a good job in the background of showing the partnership that the Childs had, supporting each other as they had ups and downs in their careers/endeavors. In particular, I loved this one scene where at a Valentine's dinner, Paul Child tells everyone how much Julia means to him and she looks at him, thumping the paper heart attached to her blouse.

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