So much to look forward to in November - my blog anniversary, my birthday & Thanksgiving (on the same day this year!), and of course some great movies. Here is a list of the movies I recommend or can’t wait to see this month. As always, check back here to catch of on my thoughts and commentary related to these movies as I watch them.
*Note: some of this theatrical release dates are for limited release before it opens in wide release; all are US dates
"Thor: The Dark World"
Chris Hemsworth is back in action as the Norse god Thor, and I can’t be happier. I’m still surprised how much I loved the last movie, only watching it hours before seeing The Avengers as a way to get any backstory I needed. Love what Marvel is doing with creating a plan for the whole universe and how each movie franchise - Iron Man (though the movies bore me), Thor, Captain America… and hopefully one day Hulk (Mark Ruffalo is by far the best of all I’ve seen on the big screen) - fits into that universe.
Another day, another blogathon. This week I sent in my recommendation for the “Paris in Genre” blogathon being run by Eternity of Dream. The object of this was to recommend in a few sentences a movie about Paris or set in Paris in one of the film genres. After everyone has submitted there recommendations, there will be one film for each genre for anyone in the mood for a Paris film (the entire list has now been posted). The genre for my recommendation is Music and for it, I revisited Hotel Chevalier (the prologue to The Darjeeling Limited) by Wes Anderson. Read my recommendation:
I don’t have alot of experience with the work of Wes Anderson beyond the wonderful The Royal Tenenbaums (which have forever changed my perspective on the versatility of active wear and the casual nature of fur coasts), however, in my recent reintroduction to the quirky, maddened creativity of writer/director Anderson, I discovered the short film Hotel Chevalier which serves as a companion opening film to his 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited. Set the in fictitious Parisian Hotel Chevalier, featuring the pair of Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman, it tell the story of a brief encounter between American exs who just can’t seem to let each other go. The film showcases the Paris-inspired song “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?” by Peter Sarstedt which we hear as we are introduced to Portman’s character, a women who tracks down her former lover and intrudes on his solace emotionally and physically. The song parallels what is implied in the film; this is a woman who possess enviable loveliness but is sadly trapped in a continued search to find contentment, ultimately bringing her to Paris. If you are so inclined, watch the entire 13-minute film here.
So I’ll admit it. I have never experience much of Wes Anderson’s work, only a short foray into the world of The Royal Tennebaums which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m not avoiding him, really, especially since I am known to enjoy some “twee” every now and then. I know there are alot of Anderson fans out there who really enjoy his zany portraits Americana throughout the years. With the recent release of Moonrise Kingdom and appreciators of film once again becoming Wes Anderson obsessed, I decides to make it a point more of his work. One thing that has made a revival online is Hotel Chevalier, a 13-minute short film Anderson wrote and directed that proceeded The Darjeeling Limited (on the long list of movies I have yet to see). This film has it all - a beautiful, short-haired Natalie Portman post-V for Vendetta, a lovelorn Jason Schwartzman, the saddest almost sex scene ever, a physical and emotion sense of intrusion, a beautiful Parisian hotel room, and a vulernability to Anderson’s work I had never experienced. You can watch the entire short film below. What are your thoughts?
Let’s just say I was determined to watch the movies in the Marvel-verse that I hadn’t already seen before enjoying The Avengers. I had already seen both of the Hulk movies (the Edward Norton version definitely coming out on top), Captain American (which was pretty damn good), and the first Iron Man (blah). I just had to finish the movies out…
Thor (Friday, 5:30 pm). One of the best movies I never wanted to see. I attribute it all to Chris Hemsworth’s charming appeal.
Iron Man 2 (Friday, 7:30pm). A franchise that continues to cater to the role Robert Downey Jr was born to play. He has mastered the art of snarky and makes it oh so funny, yet just I still can’t really get into the movies for whatever reason.
The Avengers (Friday, 10:00pm). A little slow out of the gate and not enough Jeremy Renner, but a super-fun movie with a cast of characters that are great to watch whether they are playing nice or at each other’s throats. Ruffalo is definitely my favorite onscreen Hulk to date, Pine cracked me up with the red boots he sported in every screen, loved the on-screen bromance between Hulk and Iron Man, and (dare I say it) Black Widow had me intrigued.
Pop Culture Randomness (Marvel edition):
Check out the studio’s awesome official Cinematic Universe movie timeline from their new Art of the Avengers book. Of course we all know these films are mapped out but it’s cool to see how it is.
And of course there is more from the list I have already started…
21. You never know what twisted things are going on in someone’s head. [Being John Malkovich] 22. Sometimes you have to live alittle. And if a quick tempered Spanish woman says she thinks about killing you, beware. [Vicky Cristina Barcelona] 23. Never. underestimate. anyone. [The Usual Suspects]
24. The quest for perfection can only lead to personal destruction. [Black Swan] 25. In every moment, there is a possibility that someone’s life will collide with yours. Plus, a dead body that drops seemingly out of nowhere onto your car has to have a rich backstory. [11:14] 26. Some teenage boys have too much time of their hands its scary. [Funny Games] 27. Family drama is oddly similar in any language. [2 Days in Paris]
28. Limber up; you never know when the ability to run long distances will come in handy. [Run, Lola, Run] 29. Love that goes unfulfilled, no matter the couple, can be heartbreaking. [Brokeback Mountain] 30. Sometimes a kid is wiser than the teacher. [Half Nelson]
I came across this idea after reading a post on Cinematic Corner so I decided to put my own spin on it and discuss some of the actual life lessons I have been taught by movies. These are things that when I turn off the TV or walked out of the theater, it made my think about how I live my life and/or affected how I think about certain situations. I want to do this as more of a series, spreading out this post over time so I hope you come back to read more. And of course, I always lean toward arthouse flicks as my movies of choice so this list will discuss all things independent. So sit back and read some of the little pearls of wisdom I have gained along the way…
1. There is a level of trust implied in telling someone your real name. [Closer] 2. You can be truly alone in a city full of people. [Shame] 3. You can’t run away from your past forever. Also, never assume how far along a pregnant woman is. [Away We Go]
4. Saturday morning detentions are a bitch. Plus, applying lipstick with your cleavage is a lost art form that I must master. [The Breakfast Club] 5. Humanity is so connected that your actions, no matter how inconsequential, can have an affect on someone of a different culture, a different language, a different societial status. [Babel] 6. Domestic partnerships are so much like traditional marriage, it’s scary. And beautiful. [The Kids Are All Right] 7. Music is the soundtrack of our lives, so play on. Also, the process of coming up with a name for a queercore dance band will always be pure comedy. Oh, and never get a car that can be mistaken for a taxi cab. [Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist]
8. There is more than one way to love a city. [Paris, Je t’aime] 9. Reality. truly. bites. Plus, lead singers of bands usually have alot of angst to get off their chests. [Reality Bites] 10. A picture can really be worth a thousand words. In some cases, it can even define a man’s whole life and leave him with too great of a burden to bare. [The Bang Bang Club]
I have to admit that I never heard of Terrance Malick before The Tree of Life, which I still have mixed feelings about. I never saw The New World or The Thin Red Line and (surprisingly) never heard of the whole public debacle between him and Adrian Brody. One thing is for sure though, the man goes for grandiosity. He is now (probably permanently) on my radar, and since he is skipping the long hiatuses between films he is known for and coming out with three, count ‘em three, new films, he probably will remain there. Here are some details of his upcoming projects. In what seems to be true Malick style, no one know much in terms of plot details, but there is enough to peak curiosity. Terrance Malick fans rejoice, Terrance Malick haters beware:
Untitled Terrance Malick Project (2012) Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Javier Bardem
Synopsis: A romantic drama (Ben Affleck) centered on a man who rekindles an old love affair with a woman from his hometown (Rachel McAdams) after his marriage to a European woman dissolves.
My Initial Reaction: A good one. I think this is a good cast for the plot of the film. I am really curious to see the on screen chemistry between McAdams and Affleck, how Malick presents the American vs. European landscape, and what internal struggles the main characters have to color the tone of the film.
[Two simultaneous film projects with overlapping casts and primary shooting location in Austin, TX. Talk about ambition! The projects were first announced to be unconnected narratives but I guess there is always potential for an interesting cross-over with the characters. This is presented in their order of shooting and probably theatrical release:]
Knight of Cups (2013) Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman
Synopsis: A man is in search of love and truth.
My Initial Reaction: Not sure since the details are scarce. I would never have considered a convergence between the intensity of Bale and the often sweeping majesty I have heard about in alot of Malick’s films, but hey, I’ll be interested to hear more about this.
Lawless (2013) Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman
Synopsis: Two intersecting love triangles, a story of sexual obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, TX.
My Initial Reaction: Seeing that ubber-talented Ryan Gosling picked this movie to do, I don’t see why I wouldn’t want to see it. The mysterious combo of Gosling and Mara is intriguing, and my money is on Portman being the go between of the Gosling-Mara, Bale-Blanchett relationships. Can’t say I have ever been to Austin (though I hope to attend SxSW next year) so I am interested in the whole amazing music scene of Austin I have heard so much about and how that will play into the narrative.