Monday, September 3, 2012

Joyful Noise, the movie, reviewed

The ECK or Spirit's first manifestation is as the Sound Current, and this is the foundation of all life. This Sound Current can be heard as an inner Sound, and its quality varies depending on what level of consciousness it is being filtered through.

One of the manifestations of the Sound Current on the astral plane, or the plane of emotions, is Gospel. The Joyful Noise is all about this uplifting and exuberant Sound as it manifests on the plane of feelings.

This is an old fashioned corny Hollywood movie. Does it manipulate your emotions? Of course! I think the best attitude to take in watching and listening to a movie like this is: Bring it on! Be like a little child and just enjoy it. It is pretty irresistible anyway:)

This is modern gospel too, ala, Michael Jackson, Sly Stone etc, so it really rocks!

Like all great gospel music, it opens the heart and uplifts and makes you feel Happy! What's not to like? Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Cortney Vance, and a very talented musical cast make the whole production a delight. Is it predictable? Duh? And again I say so what? Bring it on. We all need to see another happy ending. Recommended!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Astral City: A Spiritual Journey, the movie reviewed

This is a fascinating film that will be of special interest to those of us who are interested in higher states of consciousness, karma and reincarnation, and the survival of Soul.

Its a Brazilian film with subtitles. I discovered that the film is the second most expensive ever made in Brazil. I mention this because it is apparent that this is not an Indie film; it looks like a major production and the professional values are appreciated since it is a look into the Astral plane; it is quite breathtaking.

I found it interesting on many levels. Culturally it was fascinating to see the characters speaking Portuguese and the whole thing taking place in a non-English speaking world. Every treatment of this subject I have ever seen was in American English so just the Brazilian slant was interesting in itself.

The back story itself is equally interesting. I won't get into it here but you can find more info at this link. Particularly note the links to a You Tube video about the original author and another site which explores Spiritism, the path he articulated. All fascinating stuff:

BTW, I found this DVD at my local library. How cool is that? Recommended!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Me and You and Everyone We Know, A movie review

I realized soon after I started watching this movie that I had seen it before. But I proceeded to watch it through again, with fresh eyes.

A few days ago I watched a very remarkable movie called The Future which turned out to be written and directed by Miranda July, who also starred in, wrote and directed both of these Indie films. I was so impressed with this The Future movie that I looked up her earlier film, which is the one that is the subject of this review. This 2005 film is available for streaming on Netflix.

If all this starts to sound a bit Gertrude Stein-ish, it's the effect of spending too much time in the universe according to the very quirky and talented Ms July and attempting to write about it. She is an artist with a very particular vision. The Me and You film really breaks new ground and has stuff rarely before found in films to be seen by the public,at least in my experience, for instance children exploring their sexuality via the anonymity of the computer as well as in person. It's controversial stuff but July's approach to the material is so clearly mature and non-salacious that it has to be seen as the art that it is.

Real art always breaks new ground and walks the razor's edge, and now having seen two movies by this artist, I am starting to get a very good sense of her very individual vision of the Truth. It is refreshingly real, unsentimental, and true in a way rarely seen but often attempted especially in Indie films. Kids, especially pre-adolescents are curious about and often fascinated by sex. This combined with their inexperience and unbridled imagination makes for juicy stories. Coming-of-age is a favorite topic of filmmakers since it is a time so rich and pregnant with feeling and discovery.

Sex, love, art, communication and relationship are the themes explored here. Not just the kids exploring, but the adults experimenting with marriage, separation, divorce and reaching out for new love, new adventures and new artistic expression. There is a potential Pedophile here also to make things edgy and a bit dangerous. The way it is treated though is artistic, humorous and with compassion. But clearly this is not a film that would be recommended for or by the typical Republican household. It no doubt has been dismissed with selected denunciations and/or warnings by the narrow-minded. Lets just say its R rating is appropriate.

So it is a given that the audience for this movie is open minded, non-judgmental and sensitive and appreciative of the quirky, whimsical and artistic. If that is you, I predict you will enjoy this film as much as I did, even more so on a second viewing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

THE FUTURE, the movie reviewed

This indie film was written, directed by and stars a woman by the name of Miranda July. This was my first exposure to her work. It is quite clear that what we have here is an Artist with a very particular vision. She does not consent to the consensual reality. Instead she shows us her version, her vision.

Just like the cover, Miranda turns things upside down. Instead of seeing the Fu-ture, Miranda see it as it is displayed on the cover. The Fut-ure. This little off kilter reading is a very sweet exercise in mindfulness because it makes us take a fresh look at the ordinary. 

This film is all about an exercise in Miranda's kind of mindfulness. All an artist can do is allow you to see the world afresh, and she accomplishes this. So you can call her quirky, weird, a genius or just Way Whimsical but she is just doing what real Artists do.

It is appropriate that the setting is contemporary LA and the players are young enough to have spent a good portion of their formative years playing in the virtual reality of cyberspace. This is the setting where Miranda's vision works; its a viable possible extension of reality that we can relate to by stretching our own vision of what is possible.

The film moves slowly; it is always an exercise in meditative awareness. The most ordinary things are given respectful and sometimes crystalline attention. I found it to be most enjoyable and even though the vision was sometimes dark, it was always human and real and re-freshing. There was humor and pathos and much thoughtfulness.  

There is a certain kind of sunset that we would call a Maxfield Parrish sunset. When we say a Rubens woman everyone with some culture immediately sees a rosy voluptuous woman. It is only a small stretch to view an interior room and think it looks like a Miranda July's room. She is that good...


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Just Go With It, the movie reviewed

I had mixed feelings about reviewing this movie here because basically I don't recommend it, but I think it might be worthwhile to explore why.

The movie is a formulaic Hollywood RomCom production starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. Saturday Night Live's presence is fairly large here with Ratchel Dratch also playing a role and the general sensibility in this farce borrows a lot from their approach.

The premise is the complications that come from basing your life on lies to get what you want. Naturally humorous situations ensue as the house of cards is maintained at great expense. The problem is that sincerity of any sort is as rare as hen's teeth, and when it happens, they key the sappy music and you know that this is where they are supposed to touch your heart.

It is all so manipulative that its a big turn off. The natural humanity of the likeable players manages to keep this from being a total loss, but I wouldn't waste my time. This is a fine example of the kind of movie this writer wants to avoid. Live and Loin.

I AM the movie reviewed

I loved this film. It affirmed my most closely held values, and backed them up with scientific evidence.

This is a semi-documentary film made by the very successful film director Tom Shadyac. He was the one who directed Jim Carrey in the film Ace Ventura and he achieved wealth and fame as a result. He had the house in Beverly Hills and the lifestyle to match. A biking accident made him reevaluate everything though, and when he recovered he took a small film crew around the world talking to well known thinkers to answer the questions: What is wrong with the world and what can we do about it?

The result is this very positive, life-affirming film that is truly transformational. It concludes among other things that man's natural state is co-operation not competition. It gets into Quantum physics and the nature of reality in the most profound way. Please take the time to watch this movie; it is on my list of Must See! You can watch the movie on You Tube for free, broken up into three parts.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

aurora borealis, the movie reviewed

This is a very sweet movie with a great cast. Donald Sutherland, Louise Fletcher, and Juliette Lewis play leads along with Joshua Jackson. The fifth main character is Minneapolis. This is very much a movie with a local flavor, and if you watch it during summer like I did, it will help to keep you cool because it all takes place during a Minnesota winter.

Both main characters play caretakers, the Joshua character taking care of his dying grandpa (Donald Sutherland) and the Juliette character working as a professional health care worker.

The story is about family, home, the ties that bind; universal themes that keep the story very grounded and easily relatable. Such everyday subjects are easy to get wrong but this film gets them right. Good script, good actors, good direction, and a great soundtrack too.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Door in the Floor-a movie review

There were three things that drew me to this movie: the leads being played by Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger, and that it was an adaption of part of a novel by John Irving.  I was not disappointed.

It is a sad story that is told very well. This is one of those times when I really appreciated the extras that came with the DVD. One was a monologue by John Irving telling how he felt about the movie, and it was so enlightening. The director/writer wisely chose to only use the first part of Irving's novel, A Widow for a Year as the basis for the movie.

I have been making a study of the art of the screenplay recently and was very encouraged by the positive collaboration that occurred in the making of this film. Irving really left the writer/director to do his work, but he approved of the resulting screenplay, and his approval helped to get Bridges and Basinger on board for the project.

So much of what I had read about the art of the screenplay was disillusioning, that the Spirit of the original work is so often lost in the process of bring the work to film. Such was not the case here.

Film is a director's medium and a collaborative medium. What was apparent here was that all participants acted maturely in bring a work of art in one medium to realization in another very different medium.

John Irving has the ability to tap into an almost mythical quality, and the tragedy expressed in this film had this quality also. Recommended!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Head in the Clouds--a movie review.

First there are Charlize Theron playing a rich heiress and Penelope Cruz a Spanish dancer, both looking like the true stars that they are. Stuart Townsend completes the trio which never quite becomes a  literal menage-a-trois in this love story which one reviewer aptly compared to a hot fudge sundae.

The setting is Europe before and during WWII. It is a lavish and romantic story that I found thoroughly enjoyable in the great tradition of Hollywood movies. Great escapist fare with just enough literary content to make it worthwhile.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hereafter--A movie review

Clint Eastwood produced and directed this 2010 film which takes a decidedly secular and unsentimental approach to the subject matter of what lies beyond death. Three separate story lines unfold, with the characters inevitably meeting and interacting in the final scenes.

Matt Damon plays a reluctant psychic who considers his authentic gift more of a curse since it does not allow him to live a normal life. He plays his character brilliantly. Understated and real, his performance is a craftsman like work of the actor's art. Jay Mohr plays his older brother who wants to exploit his brother's gift.

This author read an article about the friendship and collaboration of Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood, and it was evident in the flawless integration of performance and story in this film. Just a pleasure to watch.

The movie begins with a French woman journalist caught in a Tsunami which one presumes was the big one that hit Indonesia a while back. She almost drowns and has a near death experience. She is haunted by this experience and her life is turned upside down as she decides to write about her experience.

The third story line involves a shy young boy who is tragically separated from his twin.

The way these three lives are brought together is what great storytelling is all about. This is a five star movie by my reckoning, just excellent. Highly recommended.