Here’s what we’ve been watching.
Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) d. Frank Oz. With the kids. Solid and sweet with great cameos. A worthy follow up to the original, which Muppets in Space was not. I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming muppet film.
Nausicaa (1984) d. Hayao Miyazaki. With the kids. The first full-length film he directed, and one of his best. Based on his own series of graphic novels, this is one of the rare instances when the film betters the book, which was too long and repetitive. The story benefits from the compression to film, while color, motion, and voices bring the story to new levels. A princess in an ecologically destroyed future has to battle bad guys, giant robots, killer spores and rampaging insects. She’s cute, smart, tough, and compassionate. Now THIS is a princess.
Bridesmaids (2011) Again. On a date night with my husband. Because I love it. LOVE IT. Bawdy and at times brilliant.
Easy A (2010) The charming Emma Stone is a high school nobody who gains notoriety by pretending to sleep with gays and geeks. She gets noticed, they stop getting beaten up. It’s supposed to be win/win, but of course, then there would be no conflict. An homage to the John Hughes movies of the 80’s, brought up to date with social media and hardware. Funny, with a few nice surprises.
Black Swan (2010) d. Darren Aronofsky. What I hated about this film was it’s hatefulness. That’s not circular, even if it sounds like it. Yes, the film is interesting to look at, Portman can act, and the story is involving. But it’s bleak, hopeless, and says only cruel things about people and the world. As with his previous directorial effort, The Wrestler, I felt icky during and after watching this. I’m done with this director.
Edited to Add: Another thing that didn’t help me like the movie was how strongly it reminded me of an episode of Fantasy Island from my childhood. Annette Funicello played a nice-girl ventriloquist, whose sassy dummy seemed to be taking over her life. The dummy came to life in the form of sexy Maren Jensen (Athena on the original Battlestar Galactica) and they had a struggle to the death at the end to see which part of Annette’s personality would survive. I may be the only person who remembers this episode, but nonetheless, it was more than a little distracting to see many of the details in Black Swan.
Out of Sight (1998) d. Steven Soderbergh. Restored my faith in film making. I don’t care if you don’t like Jennifer Lopez. She’s great in this: strong, smart, sexy and just fun to watch. The non-chronological story, the chemistry with her and Clooney, the amazing work by supporting actors like Albert Brooks, Don Cheadle, and the hilarious Steve Zahn, the assured direction combine to make a great movie. Enjoyable and well-crafted, I concur with Dan Kois at Slate that this is a movie for the ages.