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This post is for The Film Experience’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot series. This series concerns choosing a shot from a current film that has been chosen and sharing why it’s your favorite shot and/or in some way important to you.
The Talented Mr. Ripley was released in the late 90′s. While I don’t think that the 90′s are a particularly important time for movies in general it was important to me. It was in the mid 90′s, as a pre-teen, that I realized how much movies meant to me. Prior to that I wasn’t old enough to care about any movie that wasn’t just pure fun, a drama like this wouldn’t have appealed to me. Luckily I grew up.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a long, yet fascinating film about sociopath Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) who is adept at studying and mimicking others. He uses this to his advantage when during happenstance he meets a rich father who hires him to bring his fun loving son who has traveled abroad back to the US. The man assumes that he went to school with his son due to what he is wearing and sensing an opportunity he doesn’t disabuse him of the notion.
He studies up on the son, Dickie Greenleaf’s (Jude Law), interests to figure out how to endear himself to him after arranging a faux meet cute. The only thing that I really find silly about the film is that Damon isn’t really considered one of the beautiful people (hence he wears glasses, ah!).
At any rate, there are many important moments in the movie. However Tom often seems to wear a blank expression during key moments, which are what I often go for. Despite this it was still difficult to choose a scene.
I chose the above scene as at this point in the movie he is going back and forth between playing Ripley and playing Dickie Greenleaf. To me it seems as if he’s looking in the mirror to see which he is playing at.
I also almost chose this last scene which is amazing but probably pretty obvious.
and just for fun…
gratuitous, shirtless Jude Law
If you are an Amazon Prime member you can watch The Talented Mr. Ripley for free, otherwise you can rent it from them by clicking here.
Yet another movie that I wouldn’t know existed if it weren’t for the amazing, VideoETA.com. You see VideoETA is a great resource for finding out both theatrical and home release dates of movies. Often while checking to find the date of a film I know about I discover hidden gems. These are often films that had a limited or direct to DVD release.
That was the case with Perfect Sense, also known as The Last Word. It is a perfect case of this, as the film was released in only 1 theater for 1 week. It was directed by David Mackenzie and written by Kim Fupz Aakeson. It was shot and set in Glasgow.
If you only saw the film’s cover you may just go in thinking that it’s a standard romantic drama but it’s so much more. This 2011 drama is actually the most disturbing movie that I’ve seen this year.
The movie is about a horrifying disease that individually steals humans’ senses. As the film progresses, we gradually see and feel the characters lose their senses of smell, taste, sound and finally sight. It’s implied that they will eventually lose touch as well.
Although the movie shows how this would affect large populations of people in various countries (most likely using stock footage of actual riots, etc, which is also incredibly disturbing) it mainly focuses on how this would affect us as individuals.
The movie focuses on Michael (Ewan McGregor), a chef with intimacy issues, and Susan (Eva Green), a scientist who is sick of men mistreating her.
Despite her annoyance at the interruption of a phone call, Susan first meets Michael when he bums a cigarette from her. Their meet cute takes place easily since he is a chef at a restaurant right across the alley from her apartment.
Despite her initial reticence at getting involved with a player Susan decides to dine one night after hours with Michael. This is during the beginning of their loss of senses. This causes a very close connection between them as they simultaneously lose their sense of smell.
As they lose more and more senses they rely on and fall for each other. This is incredibly romantic and seductive. They let down their defenses and tell each other things they’ve never told another soul because they can feel everything ending and need something honest.
“Want to go dancing?” “Sure” “Get drunk?” “Sure” “smoke cigarettes?” “Always”
Despite the interspersed footage of riots and the horror of the situation, including the fact that as someone who has been studying this epidemic from the beginning, Susan admits that no one really knows what will happen next, for a while things are going better than normal for the characters. Why? LOVE, of course.
Unfortunately, prior to the loss of each sense, humans experience a heightened sense or emotion. So prior to the loss of hearing they become very angry and violent. This is when Michael scares and drives away Susan after yelling terrible things at her and then wrecking his own home.
This causes them to be apart during the horror of losing their hearing. However they both try their best to enjoy life as they can. Michael eventually goes back to work and Susan learns to love her sisters’ family (instead of just being jealous of them).
“…and if there had been anybody left to see them, then they would look like normal lovers, caressing each others’ faces, bodies close together, eyes closed, oblivious to the world around them…”
With the impending loss of sight, our lovers’ realize how important love and being with those you love is. So they reunite as the darkness closes in.
Yes, that is Trainspotting’s Ewen Bremner (Spud)!
In addition to love overcoming the worst we are also repeatedly presented with the idea that life goes on and humans learn to adapt. This is often shown to great effect at the restaurant that Michael works at. For instance, when people lose their sense of smell (which is tied to taste) the chefs decide that they must increase the spiciness of the dishes to really give the customers flavor. Later as taste goes dining out is more about texture and feeling special as you spend time with a loved one and are waited on.
Perfect Sense is most definitely not an easy film to watch. In fact, you may cry. However, it’s incredibly touching, interesting and innovative. It is a must watch!
Take This Waltz has definitely been lauded as many things, most of these adjectives sound positive and sexy: sultry, hot, steamy. You rarely see adultery or cheating in the headline. It may be a sign of our times or just that most reviewers want to focus on the positive in the case of this film.
However it is a difficult film to watch. Particularly if you believe that cheating is the worst thing anyone can do (as do I) or you are a huge Seth Rogen fan (as am I). This is despite the fact that I am predisposed to be a fan of anything by Sarah Polley (who wrote and directed the film).
Unlike many independent films, after making the festival rounds and being picked up for distribution, Take This Waltz is currently available to watch by most anyone with an internet connection, thanks to the wonders of Video on Demand.
Take This Waltz centers on Margot (Michelle Williams). She is a sometimes writer and supposedly happy housewife to Lou (Seth Rogen). The film opens with Margot on a puff piece writing assignment, though we never get to see her work again during the film. While on assignment and during her return trip home she meets an intriguing man named Daniel (Luke Kirby). They make a connection with each other and then find out that they now live across the street from one another.
Margot mainly seems like a bored, horny housewife. Though the film makes takes great pains to show that Lou’s family has integrated her into theirs with welcoming arms, Lou himself is inattentive. During the film she has to mention how embarrassing it is to try to seduce your husband and he just doesn’t get it. This, to me, is probably the most intriguing part of the film. Margot obviously has some type of anxiety disorder. She isn’t just shy. You rarely see this projected on screen. So in the beginning this makes it very easy to become endeared to Margot, even though you know what’s coming.
During the course of the film Margot tries to get her hubby’s attention but he is constantly working on recipes for his cookbook because he takes his writing seriously. Despite the fact that they have silly couple rituals that they perform to stay in touch he never seems to understand Margot.
“but I found out how that worked and you weren’t all that interested in me being gentle”
This should make it easy for us to understand her gradual seduction by wannabe artist, but actual rickshaw driver Daniel but he sometimes insults her, which I do not find at all attractive. There is a very steamy scene in the film in which they discuss what they would do if they got together. He seduces her so totally with words that it’s like reading a romance novel aloud, it’s incredibly hot.
During the film you don’t really know for the longest time whether or not she will actually cheat on her husband which makes for an awkward, yet suspenseful watch. I do not believe in spoilers so I won’t tell you if they get together. You need to go watch it instead.
It should also be noted that Sarah Silverman gives a stand out performance as Rogen’s sister, Geraldine, a recovering alcoholic. However she so completely steals the scenes that she is in that you wonder if she should just have her own film until you later realize that they are using her alcoholism as a metaphor and plot point for Margot.
On the other hand you have Rogen’s performance. While he isn’t given that much to do during the bulk of the film there is a very dramatic part that feels improvised and lacking. I find it very difficult to critique him in that way but it doesn’t reach the depth that he’s shown in other dramas such as 50/50 and Funny People.
During the flick Margot changes, becoming more free, this is most likely why Williams herself likens it to a coming of age movie. I would recommend watching this movie once just because it’s so different from other films out there but I won’t be adding it to my collection.
This post is for the current LAMB Movie of the Month: The Shape of Things. I’m not always crazy about the writer/director of this film, Neil Labute’s, work but I’m big fan of this flick. While the story is, of course integral to that, it’s actually the amazing acting by Rachel Weisz and Paul Rudd that initially drew me to (and continues to draw me back to) this disturbing film.
“You could be a sadist for all I know” “Stop sweet talking me.”
Aside from Rudd and Weisz there are really only 2 other main characters, a yuppie couple played by Frederick Weller and Gretchen Moll. Weller looks like he’d fit right into a Whit Stillman movie, making the viewer (or at least this viewer) instantly hate him. Moll is interminably boring in this flick. Pre The Notorious Bettie Page I never saw a spark in her. Afterward she not only captured Bettie’s spirit but later tackled comedies, leading me to become a fan. However at this time, she was supposed to be the next big thing despite being as exciting as plain toast.
Neil LaBute originally wrote the The Shape of Things as a play. The cast who later went on to star in the flick originated the roles in the play two years prior to the filming of it. Probably my only real beef with the film is that the cast play college characters and only Moll was actually around college age during filming. However though the film is set at a college that isn’t really the point so it’s not that big of a deal.
“See I’m totally different, I think everyone should see themselves doing it and their friends should see it too.”
The film centers on Adam (Paul Rudd). He’s a shy student and museum guard. It’s always assumed that a shy character should be drawn out so initially someone would probably think that when an anarchist artist named Evelyn (Weisz) starts flirting with him that this would only lead to good things. I can’t even explain how much more attractive this type of woman is to the faux manic pixies of our current pop culture landscape.
In reality Evelyn is continuously altering Adam, mostly by using sex and flattery as tools of manipulation. Some of the things that she gets him to change about himself are his weight, fashion sense and haircut.
“What? Did she give you a haircut and a blowjob and now you’re her puppy?”-Phillip
His friends, in particular Phillip (Weller), call him out on this fairly quickly. However Phillip is a dick. Phillip is engaged to Jenny (Gretchen Moll). The fact is that Phillip is the type of guy who nabbed Jenny because he knew that Adam was interested in her. It’s basically impossible to see what Jenny sees in Phillip aside from his dominance (she often seems to disappear into the background in his presence).
While Jenny does compliment and end up hitting on Rudd (“You’re like this totally hot guy now”), in part due to his makeover and most likely also due to both of them being taken, she actually goes into the subject more thoroughly with Weisz. Weisz seems to want to change the subject when Jenny questions her. However what is truly scary about the film is that what Jenny says is true, people often are in actual relationships with other people and they think that person should just change for them. I’m the complete opposite type of person so I’ve never really understood that. To paraphrase Jenny, “Cosmo says if you change one thing you could have the perfect man. Well Phillip has about six of those one things”.
The cruelest part of Weisz’s makeover is cutting him off from his friends after both of them have indiscretions with the other couple.
“…from the scorned girl’s handbook.”
The big reveal is that Weisz has being using Rudd as her experiment or “human sculpture” for her thesis project. She is a huge fan of performance art and takes great pride in her unveiling.
"Tell me how cute this is then? Fuck you, you heartless cunt!"
It’s definitely Weisz that steals this movie. She is so strong and interesting to watch. When you rewatch the film it’s definitely easier to see her character a bit more. While she may smile, flirt and act interested in Adam, the only times that she truly seems emotional is when she is either espousing or arguing about art. Art is her life.
The Shape of Things is definitely a must watch, but it’s not an easy watch and not for everyone.
This post is for the 2012 Queer Film Blogathon. This is also the first entry in hopefully what will become a recurring topic, my all time favorite movies.
“An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them.”-Oscar Wilde
(I first heard this quote in the film)
I thought about just writing a movie review of the film but that seemed impossible. It’s not like I’ve only seen this film once or even a dozen times. There is no way that I could count how many times I’ve seen it and it means so much to me. There was a time (I call in 11th grade) that was particularly bad so I chose one favorite movie every month and watched it every day because it somehow helped me. One of those was Velvet Goldmine. In fact, it would only be slightly dramatic to say that this film helped keep me alive in high school. I say this because for me high school was like prison, which is when the VHS was first released.
Well Velvet Goldmine is an amazing movie. The fact is that it pulls from so many amazing sources that once my fascination with the movie was in full swing I was able (via newsgroups, totally showing my age) to find out about all of influences that went into the movie. Many of these were by my now favorite writer, Oscar Wilde. Yes, I bought a paperback copy of the collected works of Oscar Wilde, fell for his words and carried it with me for the remainder of high school, rereading whatever was my fancy that day. This was quite lucky for me as when we did get to a play by Oscar Wilde in one of my academic English classes the teacher skipped the entire section it was in and when I asked why I was told that the teacher didn’t enjoy “those writers”.
What else did Velvet Goldmine introduce me to? Well of course, the magic of glam rock. You don’t know how many times listening to David Bowie and Iggy Pop have gotten me through a tough time.
It could be said that I love the film so much because it introduced me to so many wonderful artists, because it helped teach me that I am not the only woman who gets turned on by guy/guy action (or slash if you like fanfic, and yes, I did used to read my fair share), that sexuality is fluid or the theory that I was ostracized so I felt that I fit right in with these characters. Yes, one year I dressed as a glam rock star for Halloween (in high school, I know). This means that I wore shiny pants and a fairly ugly orange and yellow striped sweater with huge boots and no one knew what I was.
The fact is that it’s simply an amazing movie. Years later I would visit New York City and become even more impressed when I picked up Velvet Goldmine creator Christine Vachon’s Shooting to Kill at the now defunct Biography Bookshop and found out how little money it was produced on and despite that fact it looks amazing.
So finally let’s forget about me and talk about this aFUCKINGmazing movie! Velvet Goldmine is basically an homage to the Iggy Pop/David Bowie/Mick Jagger bisexual glam rock days. In the film a former fan but now writer gets to track down all of the people involved in the superstar, BRIAN SLADE‘s, life. What happened to him everyone wants to know? He went out on top. He faked his own death. Did he really die or who is he now? This is basically about how Bowie later distanced himself from his Ziggy Stardust past and went mainstream with Let’s Dance in the ’80s.
I don’t feel the need to tell you about the entire film because you need to experience it.
Instead here are some beautiful screencaps from a movie that saved and influenced my life many times over. Right click and then choose “view image” for the full sized photos which you can use as amazing backgrounds for your computers.