Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Me Catching Up on Movies! French Lesbians! HIV-Positive Rodeo Artists! Robert Redford! Time-Traveling Brits!

Megan and I freezing outside the Manor Theater.  We were 'Blue' and not the 'Warmest'

I was wondering how I was going to review all the flicks I saw this weekend.  Should I make separate reviews them, or just throw them all in one compilation post?  I opted for the latter.  My fiance was in town for the majority of November, and in order to maximize our time together around his med school rotation, I had to abandon my beloved movies for a few weeks.  I have a LOT of catching up to do.  This past weekend I saw Blue is the Warmest Color, Dallas Buyers Club, About Time and All is Lost.  Let's dive in, shall we?

I'm sure you've heard about Blue is the Warmest Color in some respect.  I always joke that it's the three hour French lesbian drama the world has been waiting for.  Yes, my descriptions are cheap and lame.  The movie features some great acting.

Adele (newcomer Adele Exarchopoulos) is your typical French teen (because you know I'm the expert on that) dealing with liking boys and hanging out with her friends.  I need to take a moment to comment on how effing gorgeous Adele is.  She's got this ridiculous mop of hat/rat's nest on the top of her head and these plump lips that give her face the notion that she's scared or nervous.  Even though Adele begins a relationship with a boy named Thomas, she can't get a blue-haired girl out of her head.

The blue-haired girl is Emma (Lea Seydoux), an aspiring artist.  They embark on sexual relationship that blossoms into something more serious.  As Emma's career takes off, Adele becomes an elementary school teacher, and we are invited to see them share their lives together.  What happens in their everyday relationship isn't revelatory.  I don't think it's trying to be.  I have heard the complaint that the fights that Adele and Emma get into involve things we have seen in movies and television before--a very true statement.  I've seen the same conflicts done better in other things, but it feels very lived in and relatable.  I think the controversy surrounding the sex scenes are making some people think that this is such a groundbreaking film when its strength lies in how common it is.  No matter that language or the sexuality of the character.

I loved Exarchopoulos and Seydoux.  Seydoux looks different in everything she does, and I was surprised to see pictures of her from Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (I knew she was in it, but I still didn't recognize her).  She has a strong presence to her, so it's not wonder that Adele falls for her.  Exarchopoulos carries the entire thing really convincingly.  She has a soft face that allows tears to fall very easily.  I thought the sex scenes were incredibly graphic (hello, NC-17!!!) to the point where I wasn't turned off by them, but I thought they were too repetitive.  No scissoring shall be left on the cutting room floor!!!  No sir!  

The only complaint I have about it is the director's unabashed love of Adele's ass.  It felt like it was in every--single--shot.  I mean, it's a very nice ass, don't get me wrong.  Even when she is walking away from the camera, she pulls her pants up by the belt loops just in case you forgot to look at her ass.  Ass ass ass!!!  There was an obsessive quality to how he shot Adele sometimes that felt a bit...creepy?  I don't want that to get in the way of how I feel about Blue.  The acting and chemistry between the leads is great.  

The trailers for About Time wore me down.  I saw that effing trailer before every kind of movie you could possibly imagine.  Dramas, comedies, foreign films.  This sheer presence of this time traveling romance was coming at me from all angles.  Rachel McAdams can do no wrong, so naturally I had to give in.  My God is this movie charming.

Domhall Gleeson (yes, you're right; he's the son of Brendan) plays Tim, a shy lawyer who isn't very lucky with the ladies.  His father, Bill Nighy, informs him that the men in their family have always had the ability to travel in time.  The straightforwardness of it just adds to the charm.  Get the explanation of how to do it out of the way!  The characters even admit that they don't fully understand how or why it works, but they aren't going to dwell on it.  This might be the first movie concerning time travel to do so.  This is a movie about what you really do with time travel and how it can be used to make you happier.  

Tim does go through a few scenarios where he makes situations less embarrassing, but it all kicks in when he meets Mary, played by McAdams.  I finally realized that she has great chemistry with anyone.  Ryan Gosling (although he makes it easier for everyone as well), Channing Tatum, Patrick Wilson.  Hell, even Noomi Rapace from Passion.  You know, in the ten minutes of Passion that I watched before turning it off.  She makes it so...easy.  She and Gleeson are SOOOOOO charming and adorable and fun to watch.  

In fact, all the actors are fun to watch and be around.  That's the thing about Richard Curtis' films.  You love the characters (Notting Hill or Love Actually) from his films.  Sure, there are a few subplots that I thought dragged the movie down (Tim showing his sister to go for the nice guy), but it charmed the pants off of me.  Not even going to apologize for it.  

Dallas Buyers Club is anchored by two really great performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.  

McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, an electrician in Dallas in 1985 who learns that he is HIV positive.  At this time, the only drug available to treat HIV was AZT.  Woodroof, a homophobe and womanizer, soon discovers that the only treatment for his illness actually damages the body more than repairs it.  After doing some research, he learns that there are treatments in available in other countries, but they are not FDA approved.  He begins smuggling them into the country and selling them to people that need it.  Instead of selling the drugs outright, he creates the Dallas Buyers Club where people pay for memberships that provide a large amount of medication.  

McConaughey is unapologetic as Woodroof, and that's one of my favorite things about it.  There is no scene where he realizes that being a homophobe is wrong.  It doesn't force the character arc down your throat.  Leto plays Rayon, a transgendered patient who is also HIV-positive.  Rayon, like Woodroof, is unapologetic in how he lives his life.  MConaughey and Leto might be my favorite duo of the year.  The chemistry between is them is great no matter the circumstances of the scene.  

I feel like this movie surprised me.  I thought I knew how it was going to play out, and I was wrong.  When scenes began, I thought I could see the outline in front of me, and, as Dallas progressed, the outline disappeared.

One of the most discouraging things about seeing a lauded film is not getting what all the hype is about.  

All is Lost is one of the best reviewed films of the year.  Directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), Lost stars Robert Redford and Robert Redford only as a man lost at sea in the Indian Ocean.  You can just hear the buttholes of all the Academy members tightening all at once, right?

I just...I didn't...I wasn't engaged for the entire film, and maybe that says more about me than it does about the work.  Robert Redford fixing a hole on the side of the boat.  Robert Redford lounging below deck.  Robert Redford preparing for an imminent storm.  Robert Redford eating beans from a can.  

I would have rather seen one of the greatest actors of all time act opposite someone.  I wanted to see some give and take (not including his incredible acting opposite the water or the unknown), and, ultimately, it didn't work for me.  

I loved the last few moments.  Does that count?  The ending was my favorite part when it was left of to the viewer to decide his fate.  But everything before it?  No, thank you.  


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