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.