Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Movie Addict's Confession

I might becoming addicted to movies. This weekend, I've had a cold that has been keeping me on the couch. What do I choose to do during this time? Watch movies. Here's the brief list of films I watched this week:

The Wind that Shakes the Barley - This film won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. It's a slow-paced but very well done film about 1920s Ireland seen through the context of two brothers and their moral struggles. The Irish accents in the film are thick, and the plot is slow-moving, so only watch this if you have a good attention span.

Night of the Living Dead - It's the classic zombie movie from the 60s, with a variety of characters trapped in a farmhouse surrounded by the living dead. I'm not really into horror movies, but I recently had a good conversation with my movie-directing friend Gabe Renfro about the value of horror films in relation to ethics. In our postmodern world where truth and morality fluctuate, horror films open our eyes to ethical issues. It's hard to have no moral standards when a serial killer is after you. (More on this in a later post).

Hellboy - A surprisingly solid comic-book film about a superhero/demon who protects the world from Nazis and other demons. Yes, that sounds bizarre, and I must admit, it is a weird story. But the film has a surprising theme of redemption and hope for the title character.

Funny Games - One of the most disturbing and uncomfortable films I've ever seen. I was intrigued to see this because the director, Michael Haneke, has recently remade this film in its entirety, shot-for-shot, scene-for-scene, only in English instead of German. Read Brett McCracken's post for some more insights.

Girl, Interrupted - An interesting film about mental institutions in the mid-2oth century in the same vein as One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, only with women instead of men. It's a good movie--not a great one--and Angelina Jolie deserves her Oscar for it.

August Rush - A halfway decent film about music and connections. It's a bit too far-fetched for me, and more than a little cheesy. Robin Williams is downright creepy in this film. A similar film that is infinitely better is Once.

Paris, Je T'Aime - Katie and I just watched this, and I have to admit, I like it the more I think about it. It's a conglomeration of 20 smaller vignettes--all different directors, all filmed in Paris--spliced together to create a Parisian movie mosaic. Some of the parts are mediocre; others are moving and beautiful.  All come together to create a striking portrait of the City of Lights. I really loved seeing the differences in the directors' visions of Paris.

I averaged one film per day this week. Next week, back to a normal schedule! I'm not addicted; I can quit any time I want. :)


  1. "Uncle Joel-
    I want you to wrestle me and come to my house. And make sure you have lots of fun and daddy too. Amen."

  2. "Dear Uncle Joel,
    Me and you, when you come to my house, can play legos and we can play with my toys. And Uncle Joel, please wrestle with me and Ivana. Please wrestle my daddy too. (laughing break from the typist)

    Love, Zane"

  3. Zane and Ivana-
    Thank you for your kind words. We can definitely wrestle and play and have lots of fun soon. Not sure if I should wrestle your daddy though, he is too big and strong for me. :)

  4. Gabe Renfro is a director?

    I'm torn when it comes to Hellboy. I hate the story and the characters, but I love the directing.

    I've been wanting to see Paris, Je T'Aime for a super long time. I need to watch it soon.