From Friday to Sunday, here are the three movies I ogled my eyes and heart upon:
The Descendants (2011), novel written by Kaui Hart Hemmings, directed by Alexander Payne
Let’s not mention George Clooney’s dashing charm and fine-wine aging (oops) and instead praise him for a role where, really, he’s kind of pathetic. I like this realer-to-life Clooney (a 40-something absent father and husband attorney with quite an inheritance) and hope to see more of him. The rest of the cast was fairly new to me as was the Hawaiian setting, both elements that made the storytelling that much more refreshing. Seeing the same faces too often can kind of kill that whole suspension of disbelief that movies have going for them. Perhaps that’s why the strongest character to the story was one who was in a coma and rarely seen, yet was the impetus for every action.
The story was emotionally complex and interesting, but it never quite gripped me completely. The mix of comedy, although effective and touching, may have taken away from the drama and vice versa. Overall, I thought the movie was lovely and found myself contemplating unconventional family, loss, redemption, regret and forgiveness. And I still laughed.
Titanic 3D (1997/2012), written and directed by James Cameron
Titanic, in any dimension, has been and will always be the pivotal movie experience of my life. After seeing this movie in theaters in 1997, I carried it around with me for weeks and ultimately, years. I was overwhelmed by the love story, the history, the loss of life and love, the best and worst acts of man, the grandeur, the Unsinkable Ship, the everything. I was 11. Now I’m 25 and I can’t say that the experience was much different. I understand life differently and have more context to put the story in, but the visceral, heart and gut feelings are the same. The biggest difference was that this time I knew of James Cameron and wanted nothing more than to say, ‘THANK YOU!’ to him and to the hundreds of crew members listed in what was one of the longest credit sequences I’ve ever sat through. And that song, oh that song! THANK YOU, Celine!
The 3D conversion didn’t do much for me, but I suspect the theater projection was a bit poor. I’d still urge you to see Titanic while it is still in theaters, whether you’ve seen it before or not. And then let’s all start campaigning for re-releases, shall we? To never be able to see our greatest films in theaters after one theatrical run is all too unfortunate.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012), written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, directed by Drew Goddard
Three cheers for word of mouth and social media (and a Sunday power outage and writer’s procrastination). If it hadn’t been for a text and a tweet, both in praise of The Cabin in the Woods, I never would have even considered seeing this movie. I likely saw the first few seconds of the trailer and wrote if off as being another youth-doomed horror genre movie. Turns out, it kind of is. And yet, it is all genres. Sci-fi, romance, horror, drama, comedy, apocalyptic (that’s a new genre, right?), action; they all make several appearances. It was entertaining and lovable and to my biggest surprise, thought-stirring:
What if we reconstruct the world and while we’re at it, reconstruct horror? To find out, we have to destroy them both.
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