The Year of Living Dangerously

 I truly enjoyed watching this film in which Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt gave a phenomenal performance. It was very moving to see a character like Billy Kwan and how he loved and cared for so many people. I was amazed to discover the Billy Kwan was played by a woman named Linda Hunt. It is no surprise that she won an academy award for Best Actress in a supporting role. The majority off all the memorable lines from the movie are spoken by Billy. Mel Gibson also did a great job in this film as the Australian journalist Guy Hamilton (love the name by the way) on his first foreign correspondent assignment in Indonesia. I believe that Guy was a success because Billy helped him get there, without Billy I don’t think he would have done well in Indonesia. It was very sad to watch their friendship fall apart near the end of the film when Guy betrays his trust with diplomat Jill Bryant just to get the story of a life time. Billy had a sense of loyalty that Guy lacked and Billy felt betrayed by Guy’s decision to seek out his big story. From this point the film got sadder and sadder. I still can’t believe that Billy jumped from the window and killed himself just to get Sukarno’s attention for the people in his country who were starving. In the end I am glad that Guy was able to make it out of Indonesia safely, except for his eye. It was a very intense film that I enjoyed watching very much. This one is a must see. Billy was by far my favorite character in this film.

December 8, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Whale Rider

I truly enjoyed Whale Rider. It was a beautiful film that introduced to me aspects of a culture that I had previously known nothing about. I fond myself sympathizing with the young girl who was not wanted by either her father or grandfather. The way she was treated just because she was the girl who lived seemed very unfair to me. I liked her spunk and determination to learn the old ways despite her grandfather’s objections. She had a genuine heart that made her a good leader and I am glad that her grandfather finally realized that in the end. I found myself wanted to cry right along with her when her grandfather did  not come to her school performance. I am glad that she lived and everything worked out in the end. I enjoyed the ending watching all of the tribal people, performing their ceremony and going back to the old ways. It truly was a proud moment not only grandfather and granddaughter, but the whole tribe. I highly recommend this movie.

November 30, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Manufactured Landscapes

Manufactured landscapes was a very interesting documentary. I actually found it boring and intriguing at the same time. At times I was draw into the pictures or the stories, but the rest of the time I found it hard to watch. The photographer is a great photographer, making beautiful  pictures out of scenes that are manufactures by the worlds economies. It made me sad to see whole towns in China that were built around taking apart and disposing of our American e-waste. These towns were polluted by the e-waste and the people’s whole life was based on the task of disposing of it. I was also amazed by the Chinese people taking on the task of building the worlds largest dam. I liked the pictures, but wish the documentary was more interesting.

November 25, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

War Photographer

War Photographer was a very interesting documentary to watch. I am intrigued by this man who travels the world documenting human tragedy. I am surprised that people allow him to stand by and witness their most intimate moments of suffering and take pictures. It is a job that few people can take. I am interested in knowing more about how he copes with the amount of horror and suffering that he has seen and witnessed. He seems so humble, gentle and soft-spoken despite the horrific things he has seen. I was shocked with his photos of famine victims. They were nothing but skeletons with skin. He was right in saying that those are not usually the images that we see of famine because most are taken at feeding centers. It is important to document tragedy and to let the world know, so I value this task that he has taken on. It was a very interesting documentary to watch.

November 12, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Shall We Dance? Japanese vs. American Version

 Shall We Dance? Was originally a japanese movie created in Japanese. It is a film about a Japanese man, unhappy with his mundane existence is drawn to a dance school by a beautiful woman he sees every day from the train looking forlornly out her window. He was drawn to dance by this beautiful woman, but eventually falls in love with dancing. His wife is afraid that he is having an affair since he stays out late and seems to be more happy, so she hires a detective to find out what he is up to. To be a dancer, especially a male dancer was not something looked well upon in Japanese culture. It was more of an embarrassment and something you keep a secret. He joins a ballroom dance class along with two other beginners and the fun begins. Eventually his dancing develops and he is entered into a composition where his wife and daughter surprisingly show up to. Eventually his secret is out and his beautiful instructor regains her love of dancing to compete once again in the Blackpool competition. It is story full of love, laughter and dance. Truly a delight to watch. 

 The American version starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez came later. It follows the same basic plot with a bit of a modern American twist. The differences between the two versions are not many, but they do make them different. I have seen both of these films before, first the Japanese version then the American version. I like the Japanese version for its peek into Japanese culture, but I still favor the American version. The two main reasons why I favor the American version is because I can watch it without having to read subtitles, unlike the Japanese version which is in Japanese. The second reason because I like the ending better in the American version. The ending is more developed and romantic. It makes me happy to see him reunite with his wife and dance with her. Both films are wonderful and the different characters are well-developed.

November 8, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot was a very delightful movie. I love movies about individuals that rise above insurmountable odds to achieve their dreams. Such tales are very inspiring and touch you emotionally. I found myself right there in the film with Billy rooting for him to continue dancing even though his father forbade it. I admired Billy for his courage to dance ballet since it was not something that a lot of boys did. he was really good at it though and I enjoyed watching him dance. I felt sorry for his father because you can tell that he only wanted what was best for his son and could not understand why he wanted to dance so much. I was not sure how his father would react when he finally saw Billy dance, but I was ecstatic when to the realization that he needed to let him dance. I was touched when his father was actually willing to cross the picket line and risk his reputation with his fellow miners. It was hard to watch as he went from a persecutor of scabs to a scab himself. I was glad that his older son rescued him from making this mistake in his haste to give Billy the chance to dance. Mr. Elliot went from being Billy’s biggest obstacle to becoming a dancer to Billy’s biggest advocate and source of encouragement. I was happy with the ending and would recommend this movie to others to watch.

October 29, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Maya Lin, A Strong Clear Vision

Previous to watching this documentary I had never heard of Maya Lin or her work designing memorials. I had also never seen any of the memorials she had designed that were present in the film. I think that Maya Lin is a very creative, dedicated and strong individual. She stood up to opposition and persevered against all odds to create the Vietnam Memorial. It saddens me to think that some individuals were against her design even after it had been chosen just because she was a woman and of Asian descent. Neither of these in my opinion were good reasons to oppose the selection of her design. I am glad that in the end her design was chosen and that she was honored by many Vietnam veterans for her work in creating a memorial that truly cut right to the heart and allowed people to reflect and grieve. All of her pieces in the film were simplistic yet spoke volumes to viewers. She had a way of getting past all the frills to the heart of a memorials purpose.

My favorite memorial presented in this film that she created was the Civil Rights Memorial. I love her use of Martin Luther Kings’ quote, water, a circle and a chronological listing of important events from the civil rights movement. It touched my heart deeply to see all the people gathered around the memorial in a circle, touching the events forever etched in time, creating ripples in the water as they remembered loved ones and their history. Maya Lin is a remarkable artist and architect all in one and as a fellow artist myself I admire her work and dedication.

October 16, 2010. Movie Reflections, Uncategorized. 1 comment.

The Buena Vista Social Club

I would have to say that this was my least favorite film so far, but at the same time it was not bad. I had a difficult time watching it because of having to read the subtitles in order to understand what was going on. The subtitles made it hard to enjoy the film because I had to concentrate so hard on reading the text. I thought the musicians were excellent and enjoyed their music and singing. I was able to get a peek into Cuban culture through the music, the sites and the life stories of each of these men. I enjoyed hearing each one of them tell the stories of growing up and how they became musicians or singers. My favorite part was at the end of the film when they all got to come to New York and play at Carnegie Hall. I could tell that the men were excited and honored to be in America. It was interesting to see our country from their perspective. I am glad that the music of these men and woman was able to be revived and given the honor that it deserved.

October 5, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Stomp Live

Stomp Live is an exhilarating display of musical talent. They can create rhythm and beat from any percussion instrument they can find, including the kitchen sink, literally! I am amazed by the sounds and instruments that they use. I believe my favorite part was when they all came out with kitchen sinks hanging around their necks and rubber gloves on their hands. They created a musical number that was both genius and comical. Not only can Stomp make noise and move to the beat, they can create humor and develop character without saying a single word. I was surprised by how much character and humor they put into their performance, creating a story line and even including audience participation. You had the one guy who was also the odd man out. He wanted it quiet and the others couldn’t stop making noise. He wanted to make noise and the others would make it louder or bigger. I especially liked the scene in which he was sitting trying to read the paper and they were all dancing like monkeys around him, making as much noise as they possibly could with the newspapers. You could tell that it was driving him crazy. Eventually he did get them all to quiet down only to make noise himself. I also liked the scenes that they would hang from the ceiling and make noise on the gigantic wall at the back of the stage. Stomp is definitely a unique and original talent perfect for all audiences.  

                    

September 27, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

Songcatcher

Songcatcher was a wonderful film full of beautiful ballads. The ballads were my favorite part of the whole film. I loved it when the young girl would sing them. She had such a beautiful voice. The ballads themselves were full of lyrics that reflected love, culture, story telling, and humor. I am glad that Miss Pennlyric’s attitude changed over time as she spent time with the mountain people. I don’t think she ever planned on exploiting them for profit, but I don’t think in the beginning she understood anything about how her actions would effect the people who treasured the ballads and their unique way of life. It was after the fire that I beleive she began to see things cleary and had a change of heart. Overall I liked the movie, not only for opeing my eyes to an unfamiliar culture and it’s beautiful music, but also for it’s entertainment value. This film contained some action, adventure, mystery and a love story, all of which are great aspects of film.

September 19, 2010. Movie Reflections. Leave a comment.

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