Today was full once again…and I’m going to try and keep this “brief.” I saw 5 films – and overall, it was a better day than yesterday.
First off, I saw MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE – starring Elizabeth Olsen (sister to the Olsen twins) & John Hawkes (from WINTER’S BONE). Many people will relate WINTER’S to MARTHA. There’s a similar backwoods tone to the film…and it’s a very human thriller…but that’s it. This film about a girl who has escaped a cult and has difficulty assimilating into traditional “American manners” is at first quietly unsettling and eventually becomes terrifying. Olsen is fantastic, and I’ll be concerned anytime I hear pine cones on my roof.
Next I saw A DANGEROUS METHOD – the new film from David Cronenberg. I liked the trailer. On paper, the film seems ready-made for me – A period piece with high production values, actors I like, interesting subject matter (Jung & Freud), Christopher Hampton as screenwriter…but there was something about the film that didn’t make it work for me. Knightley’s accent was a bit hard to take – but otherwise, her performance was fantastic. I found Cassel a bit hard to take, but Fassbender was wonderful. I just couldn’t find a way into the film – though some are already declaring it a masterpiece.
Next I saw THE KID WITH A BIKE – the new film from the Dardenne Brothers (directors of LORNA’S SILENCE). The most naturalistic narrative I’ve seen so far…and it’s such a simple story that is heartbreaking without really playing moments for tears. This movie is about a boy who is left alone at a group home. He’s certain his father is at home – but it’s evident that his father has left and even sold the boy’s bike. Enter a woman who takes an interest in the boy and agrees to let him stay with her on the weekends. It’s simple. It’s great.
And then there’s THE ARTIST. I saw this at a public screening – the director and lead actor introduced the film…and it’s really, really terrific. Beautifully shot. Great performances. And the story is a hybrid of A STAR IS BORN, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN and SUNSET BOULEVARD…but silent! I’ll let the trailer do the rest.
THE ARTIST got a late start…so I had to leave early. I got up from my seat about 5 minutes before it was over and went to the back of the auditorium. I asked the usher if the other screening (in a theatre upstairs) had started seating yet. She said, “No,” so I asked if I could continue watching from the back. Moments before it ended, I had to get out in order to make it to my screening on time. The usher led me to a back door which wouldn’t interfere with the light of the theatre. Upon opening the door, there she was…just six feet in front of me – being ushered to the elevator for my next screening. Tilda Swinton! One of my favorite actresses of ALL TIME. Absolutely stunning!
I made it to my last screening with just a few minutes to spare, and I got a front row seat. (I’ll upload my pictures sometimes soon.) WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN is based on a famous book about a mother reflecting on how she raised her son – and how it might have led to his violent behavior. It’s edgy, it’s non-linear, and it is somewhat experimental. Directed by Lynne Ramsay, this film is a rough ride. Interestingly, I think the musing are akin to Lars von Trier…but with Ramsay, the product is organic. It feels richer, more honest and less contrived. Swinton is brilliant in this film (as is Ezra Miller), and I’m still thinking about it. I’m so delighted that I got see Swinton in person…EDWARD II, ORLANDO, THE DEEP END, I AM LOVE…I could go on!
Off to bed.