Movies, movies, movies

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THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, 1985. ©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

 

By Caitlin Kelly

Three in a day.

No big deal!

Yesterday, another gray, rainy day here, meant movie day. We are incredibly lucky to have an art house theater — a former vaudeville theater from the 1920s — renovated and a 15-minute drive north of us, offering an amazing array of documentaries, series, events and features. Annual membership is $85 and tickets are $10 (only $8 two years ago.)

Some weeks I’m there several times.

I also watch on TV and streaming.

I don’t watch horror or kids’ films. Not much into animation — but recently re-watched the 2003 animated stunner Triplets of Belleville — which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature (and lost to Finding Nemo.)

I enjoy foreign films — and have raved here before about some of them, like Capernaum.

 

I love movies!

 

My father made documentaries and feature films for a living so this is a world I grew up in and knew and respected. I didn’t want to make them myself, too in awe of the tremendous skills and the huge teams needed: greensman, Foley artist, ADR, grips, gaffers, make-up and hair and costumes.

Not to mention the cinematographers and directors.

 

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LOVE!

 

I find film utterly immersive, a dream state, and when I write, try to use similar ideas — tight close-ups, establishing shots, scenes and dialogue.

I love being in a theater (a quiet one!) with some popcorn, ready to disappear once more.

Here are the three films I saw yesterday:

 

63Up

In 1964, a Canadian film-maker named Paul Almond made a film about 14 British children, meant to show how class affects them. It became a series,with fresh interviews every seven years, and offers a sometimes sad, sometimes moving look at how we age and change — or don’t. The 14, typical of Britain then perhaps, includes only one black boy and all the rest are white.

One man suffers mental illness and homelessness. Several marry and divorce. Almost all have children and grand-children. I hope it continues and is well worth a look.

 

Knives Out

A who-dun-it filmed in an astonishing mansion, with a rapacious family fighting over their inheritance from their mystery-author father, played by Canadian actor Christopher Plummer. Daniel Craig, best known for playing James Bond, here plays a southern detective, with a weird drawl. It’s an amusing film, but too long and not one I would see again.

 

The Favourite

 

This really is one of my favo(u)rite films so I watched it on TV for maybe the third or fourth time.

Set during the reign of Queen Anne, who suffered the unimaginable loss of 17 children, it’s the devilish tale of a scheming fallen aristocrat, Abigail Masham, up against brilliant, witty Sarah, Lady Marlborough. As the Queen, Olivia Colman is stunning — and won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2018 for it.

Set in early 18th-century England, it’s a feast of gorgeous cinematography (with a lot of fish-eye lenses, adding visual distortion to the emotional weirdness), music, costume, sets and make-up. Nicholas Hoult is Lord Harley, and deliciously awful.

It’s a moving, sad, gorgeous tale of power and attraction, of love and flattery, of how easily a weak, ill Queen rejected her best ally and friend for a sneaky underminer.

And based on historical fact!

36 thoughts on “Movies, movies, movies

  1. I’ve heard good things about Knives Out, so I may consider seeing it in the future.
    I go to the movies quite often, usually during a film’s opening weekend, and have since college. Even when I didn’t have a car and didn’t live near a movie theater, I”d get out of the house an hour early, in freezing weather, just to catch the two buses and get to the movie theater on time.
    Not surprising, considering how little I went to the movies when I was young. My mom hates movie theaters, so she wouldn’t take us, and my dad, while willing, could only do it a couple times a year because of his schedule (as a congregational rabbi, Saturdays aren’t an option, and Sundays usually had Sunday school, among other things). Unfortunately, since I had two younger sisters 5.5-7 years younger than me, if we did go to the movies, it was for kids films that I felt too old for. It sucked going to school or to youth group or whatever and hear my friends talk about Paranormal Activity or Iron Man and I’d be like, “Um…I saw that new Pixar film. It was cute, I guess.”
    Thus, why I go to the movies so often. And I can’t see myself changing my ways anytime soon.

    1. I hardly went to the movies either when I was growing up. So, now, when people find out that I haven’t seen modern classics like Toy Story, they look at me as though I’ve just landed from another planet. This happened the other day with a colleague — “no, I haven’t seen Toy Story, or Star Wars or any of the Avengers movies”, *cue their expression of disbelief*. I’m feeling under peer pressure to catch up!

      1. I found out last year that my dad hadn’t seen Die Hard, even though it’s been out nearly thirty years. Cue tons of online disbelief, and then he finally watched it! He found it very violent, but liked it anyway.

      2. Not my thing…I love older films and just was never a huge TV watcher. I did love (!) a show back in the 80s about a newspaper and (!?) thought my newspaper work would be like that. Joke’s on me!

        I have become much more addicted to TV of late, thanks to streaming (not network shows usually) and HBO. Loved (scary) The Fall and The Alienist and Fleabag and now enjoying His Dark Materials on HBO.

      3. Me neither, I tend to prefer films to TV shows. I watch more shows on Netflix and Amazon prime now than I used to, though. Have you seen The Marvelous Mrs Maisel? The third season was just released. I don’t think it’s as good as the first two, but I’m still enjoying it.

        Ohh, I’ve heard so much about Fleabag and I want to see it. Yet another to add to my long list…

      4. I am a total outlier. I loathe Mrs. Maisel and her over-caffeinated life! I find the whole thing so weird….she gets to live free in her parents’ huge apartment (really?) and where are her kids? ugggggghhhhhhh.

        Fleabag is amazing. Our local indie film theater replayed her original National Theatre one woman show that was the origin for the series. Whew. Brilliant.

      5. Ah, yes it isn’t very realistic but, for me, that’s part of its charm. I just love the costumes and sets.

        The NT Fleabag show was playing in my city too, but I wasn’t able to go. I wonder if there is a recorded screening available.

      6. Same – there are so many great classics to watch.

        It annoys me when people are judgmental about what ‘popular culture’ movies I have or haven’t seen. It would be boring if we were all the same!

        Thanks for the recommendation. Children of Paradise looks like a great movie.

    2. Interesting!

      I was not allowed to watch TV at boarding school (ages 8-13) so my hunger for movies may have been driven by this. My mother and I would see as many as 3 a day during Xmas holidays.

      To me, few things are as luxurious as sitting in a large, clean, quiet theater awaiting the opening moments. Still!

  2. I still haven’t seen The Favourite. It’s on my list!

    63Up sounds fascinating.

    I enjoy international cinema too, especially movies in Spanish. I thought Roma was excellent, such a powerful film.

    A friend recommended Mustang to me. It’s a Turkish film about five sisters who are growing up in a culture dominated by religion, where women’s voices are suppressed. I highly recommend it.

    A few weeks ago, I watched For Sama, a documentary made by a 26-year-old Syrian journalist during the siege of Aleppo. Devastating but a must-watch.

    1. I still haven’t seen Roma — and have been to Mexico many times. That reminds me to look for it!

      I’ve heard good things about the Syrian film as well. Thanks!

      I think you’d love The Favourite. All 3 lead actresses are simply fantastic.

  3. I love movies too! Documentary movies are fascinating – and the series that started as 7 Up and is now 63 Up is a favourite. So interesting to watch those changing lives and the changes in society around them. There’s a heatwave predicted for Australia this week, and my air-conditioning has broken down, so I’m going to head to a cool movie theatre near home this afternoon for some respite as we head into the Christmas quiet period for freelancers!

  4. I remember the doc series, though have never seen one of them. what an amazing social project. I also saw ‘knives out’ this weekend, and while I enjoyed it, and love a good murder mystery, I have to agree that it was longer than it needed to be. I’ve yet to see ;’the favorite’ and it’s on my list for my winter break viewing. like you, I’ve always loved films, and continue to find watching them an amazing experience of discovery. (I agree about the Michael Clayton ending you mentioned in the above comments)

    1. I think you will love The Favourite…it’s so deeply odd. One of the elements I really like is the “music” at some points is just a strange, repeated note on a violin, sort of scratchy. It really rewards close viewing as the dialogue is so witty and Colman, Weisz and Stone make an amazing trio.

      The women’s costumes are weird –mostly black and white and made of synthetic materials (out of the period), which (I think) was done to save money. The maids wear denim, also unlikely for the period but striking.

  5. I am looking forward to the last “Up” film from Apted. I binge-watched most of it around 6 years ago . . . wait, must have been 7 years ago!

    I used to cut class at art school to hang out at the Quad Theater in the early 70s. I lived for movies, even once wrote a fan letter to Theoni Aldredge to ask how I could intern as a costume designer with her. (She asked me to draw some Gibson-esque sketches for the one she was working on at the time, with Diane Keaton. I did as suggested, but didn’t hear back, and was too shy to follow up. I know I nailed it, too!) I became a a fashion illustrator.

    Anyhow, I still love films, and now we have a restored theater here in Beacon where I can see first-runs that interest me and skip the kiddie-family fare. Recently saw “Judy,” looking forward to “Uncut Gems,” for a (hopeful) feel of that old NYC I miss. And they show “oldies” too—yep, “When Harry Met Sally” is an oldie. Boy did that make me feel old!

    And a favorite from a year or so ago, “The Phantom Thread” — seems like something you’d love too. Have you seen it?

  6. These superhero films that are such block busters at the box office don’t really appeal to me.

    By the way, I stumbled on a book review at the Toronto Star https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2019/12/10/five-new-books-in-which-feminist-voices-rise-up.html and there was a review of a book “Inside Broadside: A Decade of Feminist Journalism, edited by Philinda Masters with the Broadside Collective”. I was wondering if you named your blog after the magazine.

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