Archive for January 22nd, 2008

Heath Ledger; 28

January 22, 2008

Heath LedgerSeparating a talent from a person can be difficult. Some of the greatest actors have remained a mystery to the public over the years because you can never pin point with accuracy their true character. In recent years however it’s become a lot easier, if not exactly getting to know movie stars, then finding out about intimate details of their lives – true and otherwise. The influx of information from television, radio, magazines and the internet is almost paralyzing. All of the news reports concerning stars opens up the imagination as to who a person could be. But that’s what it is, postulating. Those that have seen his romantic endeavors on film will wonder why such a sweet individual with everything to lose would do this, those that have followed his dramatic career will see him as a complicated¬† and ultimately lonely individual. It’s all inference.

In an article in the New York Post they describe that the room he was found in was filled with strewn about sleeping pills. A careless and unnecessary detail that plays more with our imagination than states a fact about his death. They are obviously looking for drama, as they also are when they write:

Ledger’s love life earned him as many headlines as his acting career.

This is an incredibly worthless cliche to throw at anyone who was as talented as Ledger. An attractive man working in an industry with other notable attractive women will obviously date some of them, maybe even marry a few. You don’t expect people in relatively similar communities or environments not to. And that’s the problem with reporting today, who cares who he was dating. People date. Save comments like that for the ones that aren’t worth their time on the screen. Since seeing Ledger in A Knight’s Tale, I knew he would be an actor worth watching, and he has been. (more…)

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”: Effective…but Great?

January 22, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

***There are minor spoilers throughout as this turned out to be more of a critique than a review.***

I’ve come to a conclusion over my limited years of movie viewing that there can be a difference, albeit a very abstract one, between a great movie and an effective movie. Both categories share similar qualities which makes it difficult to tell them apart sometimes. They share the skillful touch of a true craftsman, an absorbing musical score, lush visuals and fine performances, but in the end sometimes even the greatest movies lack in their effectiveness and vice versa effective movies aren’t always great ones.

For a great movie to be ineffective, the third act sometimes fizzles away, or it could simply be that certain elements don’t gel so the emotional connection is lost. A great movie might play more to the intellectual side of the viewer, relying on the audience to fill in the banks, consider this years Charlie Wilson’s War or perhaps There Will Be Blood (great movies, but effective only to a point.) On the other hand an effective movie will through the use of certain creative techniques force you to feel what the main character is going through. Sometimes the method used can be tedious, other times overwhelming and many times exhausting, but when done well can envelope you into the mindset of it’s protagonist. Of course when these two elements are combined you have an Oscar winning film…(right?) I would say Zodiac and No Country for Old Men fit into this category.

Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is an incredibly effective film, but I would argue against its true greatness. It follows the life of former Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) between the moment he wakes up from a coma to find that the only part of his body he can move is his left eye (called lock-in syndrome) to the publication of his book which the movie is based on.

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