Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some Thoughts About Movies

I'm not a huge movie watcher. I like them occasionally, but despite my love for TV, I prefer the good old book to a movie. Movies are often far too squished, the story too rushed. Think about it - they tell a whole story in roughly the time of a two-hour pilot. It's sad.

However, I do have some favourite movies...

Princess Mononoke: An animated masterpiece from Japan, it tells a beautiful story of the clash between nature and technology while working as a fantasy in its own right. The characters are well-drawn, especially the 'villain', Lady Iboshi, who is very believable as a woman looking out for her people and hardy an evil person. Also, gorgeous.

Juno: Brilliantly written, performed and directed, this is a masterpiece. Ellen Page as teenage mother Juno is better than most actresses twice, three times her age, and I cannot wait to see what comes next from her. The cast altogether is brilliant: Michael Cera as her child's awkward father, J.K. Simmons and Alison Janney as her strict-but-loving father and stepmother, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as the hopeful adoptive parents and even Olivia Thirlby as her best friend, cheerleader Leah. Diabo Cody wrote a great script here, as well, and they nailed every relationship with the perfect amount of chemistry - even the supposed-to-be-creepy chemistry that develops between Juno and Mark (Jason Bateman's character).

Pan's Labyrinth: A dark, heartbreaking Spanish fairytale about a young girl in the turbulent period after the Spanish civil War, being tempted with stories by a mysterious creature who tells her she is really a fairy princess and must complete three tasks to regain her princesship. This is set against stories of her step-father viciously hunting down rebels. Just an amazing movie all-round, with the ambiguity of the fairy-tale never wavering, and an ending you will never forget. Ivana Baquero as Ofelia and Meribel Verdu as Mercedes especially shine.

Little Miss Sunshine: The movie where I truly fell for little Abigail Breslin, who was the cutest thing since puppies here. It's a quirky family-oriented tale that offers the moral to follow your heart and be yourself, and does it so well that I refuse to be annoyed at this common message. The entire cast is brilliant, with Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear as her parents, stressed Cheryl and self-help-book writer Richard, Alan Arkin as her heroin- and sex-addicted grandfather Edwin, Paul Dano as her silent brother Dwayne, and Steve Carell as her suicidal uncle Frank.

There's plenty more where that came from. :) Later, though.

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