Posts Tagged ‘Ingmar Bergman’

(500) Days of Summer; or Did Someone Copy and Paste Their Personal Journal?

September 20, 2009
Of course they sell the movie with "happy".

Of course they sell the movie with "happy".

(500) Days of Summer is not the movie to take someone to if you have just started dating them. This is not, as the voice over claims in the first few minutes of the film, a romantic comedy, i.e. a film in which the couple ends up happily ever after. It’s fun, funny, in fact it’s a pure joy to watch. It so eloquently captures the ups and downs of a relationship that isn’t meant to be that it draws out of you every doubt in your mind that you could possibly have with the person sitting next to you. And gives you hope in the potential…for the next one…alas not the one you’re with. Ouch.

Now, if you’re pretty confident in your relationship, or have just gotten out of one, you should then, without a doubt, see this film.

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Intoxicating Lush Hopeless

September 12, 2008
Beautiful imagery permeates this film and plays with stark contrast to the interior emotional sates of the characters.

Beautiful imagery permeates this film and plays in contrast to the interior emotional sates of the characters.

Woody Allen… In Vicky Cristina Barcelona he writes some of the best dialogue he’s written in years. His words roll from the mouths of these beautiful and talented actors and you wonder perhaps, maybe this was improvised, but it wasn’t.

Allen’s dabblings into commitment-phobes, people whose desires and passions are more their worst enemies than inspiration for greatness, has truly been sparked by the passion and romance he may have found in Spain. Unlike his usual still camera work, the camera here wanders in and out of focus and sways gently back and forth sometimes catching the actors’ faces just on the edge of the screen. Watching this film is like having a perpetual buzz from a delicious wine.

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“Margot at the Wedding”

December 9, 2007

Margot at the Wedding

Margot at the Wedding might be a hard pill for some to swallow, for others it will be exactly the type of medicine they are looking for. People expecting and wanting a comedy are going to be sorely disappointed. That isn’t to say we don’t laugh at things that happen, but set ups and punch lines aren’t given. We laugh at the characters, not because they’re embarrassing, but because they act so realistically to the events that surround them. If you take Ingmar Bergman and add a dollop of John Cassavettes you get Noah Baumbach’s newest creation which leaves the overt quirk of The Life Aquatic and the diminishing quirk of The Squid and the Whale behind for something sharper and more bare bones. It’s not so much a character study, though the character at the center of it all, Margot, could certainly use a good slap across the face, but a study of how Margot infects the lives of the people around her. Nicole Kidman is slyly manipulative as Margot, slowly creeping in for the kill, and before the characters’ know it they are buying into her innuendo and hearsay. But she doesn’t play it as evil. Margot is an insecure woman who feeds off those around her. This is the type of role I love to see Kidman tackle. Her persona is a complicated one and when she dives into more Hollywood roles those complex traits become watered down and she becomes a very small presence. In this film she’s as brilliant as any of the greats.

The occasion bringing her into the story is her sister Pauline’s wedding. I’m so happy to see Jeniffer Jason Leigh on the screen again. She’s one of those overlooked actresses who I love and who plays Pauline at once with a now knowing eye about her sister’s ways, but also as someone who wants to see the good in everyone, even her fiancee Malcolm, whose schlubbiness could only be authenticated by Jack Black. We get the idea that the two sisters parted on ill terms and are trying to make up for lost time. Saying desperately that they love each other, and wanting to believe it as they say it. When Pauline talks you understand she means it, she wants it. But what Margot wants it ultimately more complicated. You see, it’s difficult for her to not have something under her thumb. So whether she truly thinks Malcolm is right for her or not isn’t the point. Margot wants to control her sister’s life as she has in the past when we also learn that perhaps she talked Pauline away from another suitor. But Pauline knows that Margot is sick. Margot knows Margot is sick, but in the end that perhaps is an act. She would trade sympathy for love any day.

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“The Personal Ingmar Bergman: an Odyssey” or “It’s Okay to Question”

August 25, 2007

bergman at work

There’s been so much written about Bergman over the past month, it’s unfortunate that I was unable to finish this sooner, but all commentary on films and filmmakers is worthwhile in my eyes, no matter how timely the piece may or may not be.

Part 1

There’s a lot to this, to understand the impact of Ingmar Bergman in my life you first have to understand my life a little bit. My Father was and still is to this day a minister, and my Mother a minister’s wife. And similar to most biblical stories a lot of turmoil followed them and likewise my sister and I as we lugged around the United States looking for a Church that was without inner conflict; hypocrisy and backstabbing. I remember the stories of the apostles as they traveled across the land trying to bring people together with wisdom and love, trying to upend them out of their ways that were there more for convenience of memory than an actual desire to worship. My parents tried to do this by removing the hymnals and using bands, doing staged productions for the Church (both the poor man’s versions of much larger churches). My Father was trying to reach out to a younger generation of kids. He even went so far as to bring in movie clips. But like the congregation and the apostles, my Father was hardly perfect. Perhaps the man who takes upon them the mantle of not only a religious follower, but leader, succumbs to their own worst impulses when they realize they can’t live up to their own expectations. I don’t know. Thankfully his worst impulses pale in comparison to the leadership in the Old Testament, and he’s since outgrown many of them.

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