Saturday, February 02, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wow. Characters true to human emotion. Especially impressive was the acting of Katie Jarvis, who plays a 15 yr old female, Mia, growing up in a poor neighborhood, raised by a selfish mother who just wants to party. Starved of any positive encouragement, she fronts a tough persona to every one: her mother, her younger sister, neighborhood peers. But privately, she enjoys dancing to hip-hop and likes animals, at one point, trying to set free a captured horse.
Michael Fassbender plays a character who dates Mia's mother and tries his best to exert a positive influence on all 3 female characters. He shows special attention to Mia, encouraging her dancing talents, but does not act as responsible, emotionally mature adult and things lead to the inevitable.
Some of the turns are a bit predictable (c'mon dancing auditions?), but the emotional impact is still there. I'll have to check out more of Andrea Arnold's films.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Directed by Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman
This movie is not an adventure movie.
The name, trailer and poster are all misleading.
The movie really is about the relationship between a daughter and her mother and once you accept that, this is a well-done film and actually an interesting step in a new direction for Pixar. Pixar has always excelled at conveying a story and weaving in scenes, which elicit strong emotions from the audience: ex. Finding Nemo - the death of Nemo's mother, Toy Story 2 - Jessie's feelings of abandonment, Toy Story 3 - the garbage melting scene.
In Brave, it's a bit like the balance between the story and the emotion line have swapped. It's about the relationship between the characters and the coming-of-age emotional growth of the protagonist and yes, there's a bit of a story, but that's far secondary, making for a much, more subtle payoff.
Strangely, it had me asking myself - what's stopping Pixar from going ahead and making a movie, geared for adults?
That being said Brave still straddles that line quite well, having characters and a storyline that kids will understand and follow, but adding jokes and emotional layers that truly engage adults.
A small aside. It was apparently an incredible technological achievement to get the rendering of the hair done so realistically and the folks there deserve all the acclaim they get for that. The hair looked astounding. And boy, did they go crazy with shots and shots of the Princess's tousled, bright red hair - it was like a little boy's fascination with a girl's pigtails in elementary school meets an encyclopedic knowledge of every shot of female bedhead, tom-boy and and shampoo commercial rolled in one.
The more I think about this movie, the more I find myself truly liking it and thinking it will go down as an under appreciated film. I do, however, think that if Pixar were to create another film with a smart, capable female lead in a more structured story-oriented film (think female Jason Bourne movie), it would do gang-busters.
Monday, October 08, 2012
Monday, October 01, 2012
Overall, this BBC tv series features very solid writing, fantastic acting and high production values. The stories are modernized versions of the original writings (ex. Watson writes a blog); however, the storylines are loyal to the originals and more importantly, the series still maintains the emphasis on the intellectual problems and the reveals. There is some humor throughout, but the tone is more serious (than say the more light-hearted Robery Downey Jr Sherlock versions).
My only complaint about the series are that there are occasional missteps in the writing, which veer into the cheesy. The revealed code at the end of Season 2, episode 1, A Scandal in Belgravia, comes to mind, but there were other instances in Season 1 as well.
However, overall, it's an enjoyable series and well worth a watch. Both Season 1 and 2 are now on Netflix.