I’m introducing a new music feature on this blog where I sort of create my own soundtrack for different movies I have watched recently. I came up with the idea a couple of days ago when I was listening to some of my favorite songs on my iPod and it reminded me are certain dramatic situations I have seen play out on the big screen or perfectly described a character’s motivations, feelings, or desires. So in my first edition of ‘Music Complements’, I present some songs that came to mind when I took a look back on my experience watching Terrance Malick’s To The Wonder.
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“To The Wonder”
[After visiting Mont Saint-Michel, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Marina meets a priest and fellow exile, who is struggling with his vocation, while Neil renews his ties with a childhood friend, Jane.]
In my world, Terrance Malick is infamous. I hadn’t seen any of his films before seeing Tree of Life (which I didn’t particularly like and thought to be pretentious cutting-room floor material posing as a grandiose work of existentialism). Now that he is one of the most talked about filmmakers in the last year or so (maybe for all the wrong reasons), I’m so intrigued to see what he comes out with next. After Tree of Life, it was said that he was coming out of his self-inflicting exile and working on three films all at once. Can’t believe I’m saying this but my curiosity is peaked. Now that the first trailer for To The Wonder is here, I may become a Malick fan yet. Yes, it looks quite similar (the first shot in the trailer is of a tree! Admittedly, I was scared) but for some reason, the slant on romance is getting to me. It also benefits from great trailer narration (there goes that brilliant Javier Bardem, again). Judge of yourself though. Am I the only one that thinks this movie probably only had two pages of dialogue? I’m just hoping there isn’t a 20 minute montage of how human kind developed feelings for one another spliced into the middle of the movie.
Thanks to Andrew at Encore for reviving his wet blogathan. The whole idea of cinematic wetness sounded interesting so I decided to take part. The objective here was to pick a single scene from any film that showcased rain and used it as an important moment for the story. I just had to choose the ending to the Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris (2012 Oscar winner for best original screenplay). Allen has become really great at paying homage to beautiful cities around the world and this film is no exception. This scene in particular played on the adage of the beauty of Paris in the rain.
To me, the rain here represents rebirth and a new beginning that is sweet and touching for Owen Wilson’s character Gil. Gil is a man that has forever lived in the past, yearning to be apart of decades long ao that he has always viewed as better than his own. The end of the film begins this discovery that life is best lived in the present and could possibly hold just as much wonder and enjoyment. In this cinematic moment, Gil decides to take a chance on a potentially new love. It’s a simple yet beautiful scene to watch unfold.
Gil: “Can I walk with you, or I’ll buy you a cup of coffee or… Oh, ok, now it’s starting to rain”
Gabriella: “No, but that’s okay. I don’t mind getting wet.”
Gabriella: “Yeah. Actually, Paris is the most beautiful in the rain”
You can watch the scene below:
I’m just now coming off my Sundance high and getting back into my regular theater-going schedule, though most of my movies on my latest Must Watch List are not independents (hey, a girl is allowed to mainstream it every now and then). Let me tell you a little secret about me - I have a weakness for sappy romantic comedies and Ryan Reynolds - which has (foolishly) led to see The Vow and Safe House this weekend.
Don’t See: The Vow (starring Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum) This is yet another example of a studio taking an emotionally complex and deeply affecting true story, stripping away the complicated nuances that would make it stand above average film mediocrity, and presenting a hollow shell of its former self to the populous, proclaiming “Love me anyway!”. I tried very hard to like it, but many aspects of it left me frustrated. Albeit the instances of confusion about the person she had become, Paige was relatively well-adjusted to her brain condition; I wanted them to explore the difficulties of everyday life that plagued her real-life counterpart and spilled over to her desires (or lack of desires) to reconnect with her husband. Leo was sweet enough, devoted even, but I was disappointed by the lack of internal struggle besides the very outward “I need to make my wife fall in love with me again”. It’s my fault really. I knew they had made this a predictable, formulaic rom-com, and I gave them my money anyway. It’s the promise of tender and loving Notebook-esque moments that keep me coming back though. I didn’t even get any of those (not a single tear!) which makes me even more disappointed in the lack of depth to this movie since I didn’t anything out of it.
Don’t See: Safe House (starring Denzel Washingon, Ryan Reynolds) Don’t get me wrong; I like Ryan Reynolds alot. I like Denzel Washington alot. Okay, I like them for different reasons but what it boils down to is that I’m typically a supporter of their work, but this movie was nothing special to me. Even with all the starpower that packed into the 117 minutes or so of running time, the brilliantly-crafted taunts only Washington can deliver, and Reynold’s wholesome do-gooder crusade, it didn’t give us anything inventive. A CIA movie with a CIA double-cross. Yawn. It has the same problem that plagues alot of movies in this genre - it’s all action and very little character development. What makes movies like those in the Bourne Identity series so great is that we cleverly get in the head of the characters at all times. Here, when we get a glimpse of what drives Reynold’s Matt Westin and Washington’s Frost, it’s all surface and glib philosophical banter. Yes, this was a fun free-for-all, car chase, shoot-em-out action fare, and if that’s all you need for your movie-going experience, be my guest. But it didn’t leave me wanting more. Do yourself a favor by skipping this and re-watching Jason Bourne in action.