Any how. I'm back in Maryland now, plugging away at my part time job and making plans to be busy almost the entirety of February. Think I may do a general how I'm doing post soon, but for now I'll just get on to finishing up my reviews.
Imagine those disenchantment with the suburbs flicks oh so popular in America (e.g. American Beauty), except about a socialist commune and based in Sweden. That pretty much gives a feel for the movie. Nothing spectacular, but it is enjoyable, and a neat change of pace from my perspective. Although if there are as many Swedish, disenchantment with wacky liberalism flicks as there are American disenchantment with the 'burbs flicks, then this is nothing special really.
Oh, and it's filmed in a Scandinavian style that I learned about in my World Film class, but don't remember the name of nor feel like looking up. But it's sort of a realism thing that makes the films look more like home movies and have a bit of yellow/brownish tone. I personally prefer my films in the more conventional standard American style, I like'm to be pretty. I suppose that's bourgeoisie of me, but so be it. :P
Karmen Gai: 4
Neat African version of Karmen. I don't think Opera is going to turn out to be the genre for me, even if the western version music is more appealing to me than the Africanized version. However, the visuals are lush and it does a great job of knowing that it's a movie and not a stage production. Opera fans should probably check this one out.
West Side Story: 5
This was the original 1961 production shown again on the big screen. Rita Moreno (who played the Anita/nurse character) spoke before the film and dished a fair amount of gossip and back story, fun stuff. Amusingly enough, IMDB says if you like this film, we also recommend, you guessed it, Gangs of New York. I'd already been wondering what West Side Story would look like if it had been directed by Martin Scorsese instead. Unfortunately while the concept is potentially amusing, no great gags are jumping to mind, so I'll move on.
IMO West Side Story is a better musical than Chicago, hands down, although I think this movie also did a slightly better job of adapting a musical to the big screen. Admittedly, much of it is done on study lots that look like really big, really nice, musical sets, but some bits, such as the opening sequence, transcend that.
Although, I should mention this was the first time I've seen West Side Story, and if the Rita Moreno bit hadn't prepared me, I'd have been a bit shocked by how nasty the Jets' (white gang) treatment of the Sharks' got, at least in dialogue and a later scene that actually doesn't involve killing. Not to say it isn't accurate or even appropriate given the subject manner, but not really what I expect from a musical. This isn't a critique so much as a comment on my viewing experience.
I need to get the soundtrack, can't get the America number out of my head. Extremely catchy really, I knew it long before I'd seen the movie or even knew most of the lyrics. The lyrics are good, although at this point I'm mostly just singing to myself, da da d-da da America (with the das on key of course)
Gigantic, a Tale of Two Johns: 5
In case the title doesn't give it away, this is a documentary on TMBG. Coming out in theaters this May. It was a consistently interesting production that was well arranged. The documentary didn't really have a particular style in my mind, it just took the best of a wide ranged of interview material, mixed in some stage performances, clever use of celebrity fans, and accessional wacky bit to have a great overall product. Any one who finds TMBG to be interesting will probably enjoy this, even if he or she, like me, is not a major fan.
This was the movie they were showing on Amtrak on the way home, it was free and not actually physically painful to watch, but I mostly used it as background noise for doing programming stuff and to kill time after dark when there was no more scenery to see. The permits actually had some potential, but was only actually exploited a few times. Jackie Chan really should be able to find better movies.