Films Watched: March 2013

Here is what I watched in March.

Bringing Up Baby (dir. Howard Hawkes, 1938)

Bringing Up Baby

I wonder… How many times will I watch Bringing Up Baby this year?  Continue reading “Films Watched: March 2013”

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What I Learned From Super 8

Packed theater? Check. Retro flashbacks? Check. Special effects? Check. Funny, clever dialogue? Check. Massive Spielberg nostalgia? Quadruple check. Best movie of the summer? Definitely.

In Super 8, which grossed $37 million this weekend, a practically unknown cast of kids carries the J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi flashback flick. It is easily the most entertaining, fun movie I have seen in ages. That didn’t stop me from having some ridiculous thoughts as I watched Super 8. Here they are:

Continue reading “What I Learned From Super 8

Review: Somewhere (2010)

Somewhere is bookended by “Love Like a Sunset Part I” and “Love Like a Sunset Part II,” two songs by the French band Phoenix. I recognized the songs immediately. When I want to think about nothing, I listen to Phoenix. In a movie about an actor amidst an existential crisis, I found the music selection fitting.

The actor is Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a Hollywood star who finds little purpose in his life. He lives at the Chataeu Marmont in Los Angeles, aimlessly driving his Ferrari, drinking, and sleeping with various women. His only real commitments are to promoting his latest movie. When his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) stays with him for an unexpected, extended visit, he slowly begins to find purpose in his life.

This is director Sofia Coppola’s fourth feature. Themes such as boredom, seclusion, and identity, seen in her earlier films, are revisited in Somewhere. Its slow pacing, stemming from long takes and minimal editing, is a suggestion that the audience should just watch what unfolds on the screen. It is about the banality of life and the experience of being alive. There is also an interesting commentary on Hollywood culture and how that culture is separated from the “real world” at work here. Coming from Coppola, a director who grew up in Hollywood and based the film on some her childhood experiences (she stops short of calling it an autobiographical film), this commentary is all the more intriguing. Just what is Coppola trying to tell us about the movie industry? How banal and unrealistic it all is – a fact we all know but choose to ignore.

Not much happens in Somewhere yet everything happens all at once. Johnny starts off as a womanizing Hollywood rising star. He’s disconnected from the real world. All he cares about is drinking, aimlessly driving his sports car, and sleeping around. Slowly, as Cleo’s presence in his life increases, he becomes a responsible parent. Still, the film reaches few, if any, conclusions. A logical assumption would be that Johnny is going turn his life around for Cleo, but who knows if that will really happen.

There is just Johnny Marco, an actor who doesn’t really know how to act in his real life. And there is just Cleo, who despite the precocious front is just an 11-year-old girl who wants a family.

Watch Out World: The Fanning Sisters Are Taking Over

Beware of this child.

Dakota Fanning is a very cute child star with a boat load of talent. There is no denying that. Just look at the above picture.

Well yesterday when I saw Babel, I said to myself, “Wow, that little girl looks really familiar.” When the credits rolled, I was proven correct. “I knew that was Dakota Fanning’s younger sister!” I thought. Meet Elle Fanning, the less creepy younger sister of Dakota.

Elle’s early roles have mostly been the younger version of her sister in I Am Sam, Taken, and Charlotte’s Web. To her credit, she’s acted on her own in Babel, The Door in the Floor, and Because of Winn Dixie.

Dakota, as we all know, has quite the filmography, having already appeared with Sean Penn, Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, and Robert DeNiro before the age 12.

I’ve come to the conclusion that unless Dakota and Elle Fanning fall into the deep abyss of child stars gone bad, they will achieve world domination. (Though they could never top the Olsen Twins.) If you don’t believe me, just look at how Dakota accepts her one of many awards.