Monday, August 30, 2010

Keep an Eye Out For: Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go

It's getting outstanding buzz right now. The performances are supposed to be astonishing. Just check out this trailer. It looks just beautiful. It's rather intriguing given the trailer's bleak and vague glimpse at the picture. Gosh darnit it looks like it's going to be a good one. It's nice to know people are still making movies.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

American Beauty (1999)

 Now I haven’t watched this in quite a while. But due to the recent surge of examples being given from this film in my academic classes, reminded me to watch it again. Subsequently the film didn’t cease to floor me just as it did when I watched the first time.

There is something strangely beautiful and tragic about the mundane, or I should say the mundane on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Mendes really did something here and it’s truly wondrous. The screenplay itself is astonishing and it’s these little key moments that screenwriter, Alan Ball, allows into the drama that gets to the beautiful tragedy about the human condition. You can see it's something Mendes takes great interest in. It's amazing to see. It’s these little moments, these brief glimpses into someone’s soul that is amazingly captured in this film. 

Which brings me to cast, let’s get serious here. Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Wes Bently, Chris Cooper, Allison Janning and Peter Gallagher(who’s eyebrows are a marvel). What’s important is that each of these roles doesn’t serve the same purpose as the other but they’re all acted strongly. Providing these moments, these glances, I spoke about above. Each role, however small, has a moment where we see this glimpse of utter tragedy in their hearts. Mendes watches, he waits, watches the silent vulnerability that leaves their souls bare to us, and it’s beautiful. For example, in a scene with Allison Janning’s character she sits alone at a table; we just sit with her and watch. She’s empty; we can see the void in her eyes and it’s completely breathtaking.

With moments like these we get a chance to peek inside these human beings while they’re on the edge of reason and sanity. It’s so thoroughly compelling and wonderful. It’s sad, but it’s true to form and allows us to get a glimpse of the human condition.

If you haven’t seen it, I don’t think I need to say go watch. Just do it.

Keep an eye out for Mendes' new film On Chesil Beach. Based on a novel written by the awesome Ian McEwan and the screenplay will be written by him also. The film is set in the 1960s and revolves around a couple on their honeymoon. Much much to look forward to!

Happy moviegoing!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quills (2000)

If you haven't seen this you should. I am not sure why Philip Kaufman isn't making more movies like this anymore. Mind you he hasn't made much since this.  However, the film is masterfully done and has performances to astonish you. With a cast that includes, Michael Cane, Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, & Joaquin Phoenix you think it would surely be a mere performance film. But the film, despite it's perverse nature, is stunning with a color palette that only has muted creams, greys, and beiges powering ever scene. It was nominated for both costume design and art direction at the academy awards and it shows.

Now regardless of the fact that this could have turned to a performance film the actors cannot be wiped aside. Firstly, and most important the scenes that are filled with other characters then the above mentioned are riddled with performances that are brilliant also. However Cane, is devilishly creepy. Kate is mild, but she stays true to form an complements both Joaquin and Geoffrey's performances beautifully. Joaquin is wondrous and it's too bad he isn't focused anymore because giving more performances like these would make him a force to be reckoned with. Geoffrey Rush, Oh! Geoffrey Rush; I don't think I've seen anything with him where his performances was just so, so. He's brilliant. Truly you could should see this movie just for his performance and you should enjoy it just as much because of it.

Now I must remind you the film is about the Marquis de Sade, the man that the word Sadism comes from, and is set during his thirteen year stay at an insane asylum. So prepare yourself for something out of your usual viewing but definitely worth a look. "But in order to know virtue, we must aquanaut ourselves with vice, only then can we know the full measure of man." - Doug Wright Screenwriter and Playwright of Quills.  

Happy moviegoing!