Movie post #8

For those late to the game, I took recommendations from folks about what movies I should watch while recuperating from illness. I’m pleased to report that in the last week, especially the last few days, I’ve felt considerably better and I’m extremely excited about that. I’m watching fewer movies now, but I’ve kept recommendations in my queue. I’ll try to catch up on these movie reviews.

The Blues Brothers: Two Chicago musicians try to get their band back together and avoid getting arrested. I hadn’t seen this in ages. Time to watch it again. I love the music and the dancing. I especially love Ray Charles and “Shake a Tailfeather” is one of my favorite parts. Also, I like watching police cars smash together into giant pileups. Shannon tells me that the Chicago PD was upgrading their whole fleet right when the movie was filmed, so the studio was able to buy hundreds of cop cars for a very low price. If I could buy hundreds of cop cars, I’d go out into the desert and build Cophenge with them.

The Illusionist: A Victorian stage magician loves a woman he’s forbidden to see. Okay, everyone. I have reviewed many movies. I had never heard of this one before. This is one of the best damn movies I’ve seen in ages. Absolutely stellar. I can’t believe this wasn’t more widely known (or maybe I missed hearing about it?) Anyway, the acting is superb, the setting is authentic, the magic is gorgeous, and the ending has to be seen to be believed. Go check the summary on Netflix and then add this to your queue.

Without a Clue: In an alternate version of the stories, Sherlock Holmes is a total ninny and John Watson is the brains behind the whole thing. This is the very first movie I watched, but I forgot to list it. It’s one of Shannon’s, so we own it. Definitely fun to see Holmes bumbling around and Watson saving his butt (but never getting any credit, of course.) It was fun, but not my sort of thing. I did get some good laughs though.

Ten Canoes: Australian aboriginals tell stories within stories about their lives. At first, I was very confused. I don’t speak enough Yolngu Matha to understand. Actually, I speak no Yolngu Matha at all, I’m sorry to report, although I have some rusty skills with German and Russian buried in my brain. Anyway, once we figured out how to get the subtitles up, the movie got a lot better. (I have no idea why the normal subtitle button didn’t work.) This film really grew on me. The narrative structure was not what I’m used to from American/Western films, and it was disorienting but really cool. In fact, I want to watch this again sometime. With subtitles.

Princess Tutu: An anime series about a dancer trying to save her prince from forces of evil. This series is great for people who like ballerinas, princesses, fairy tales, ducks, and being on drugs or feeling like they’re on drugs. All of which apply to me. This rocks! It’s got some great metafiction devices, and I really like the way that no one is strictly good or evil–the characters are all shades of gray, and form and break alliances with each other depending on what they’re trying to do. And there’s this weird ballet teacher who’s a large gray cat and he keeps threatening to marry the girls when they don’t obey him. Marriage appears to be the ultimate weapon of social obedience in this world. Anyway, I’m not usually into anime, but I really like this series. I’ve got a bunch more to watch.

The Muppet Show – Milton Berle, Rich Little: I saw a lot of Muppet Show as a kid, but these episodes didn’t seem familiar. I do think Rich Little isn’t nearly as good as Kevin Spacey when it comes to impressions.

Antonia’s Line: A mother and daughter start a new life in post-WWII Holland. This was lovely. A multi-generational saga of women building a quiet, loving, feminist/matriarchal community in a small village. We get to meet all the women born into the family, or adopted into it, and the men they love and share their home with. Be warned that there is some violence, primarily a rape scene and subsequent violence to the rapist. The movie was so good that it didn’t bother me too much, but take note. Highly recommended. I’m still thinking about this one.

More movies to come.

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