Thursday, January 12, 2012

Movies of 2011 in Short Review

Midnight in Paris -- This funny little film that is written and directed by Woody Allen starts off much like "Manhattan." This time we get Paris with its beautiful buildings and canals, and its streets sparkling with rain. Our protagonist is not Allen but Owen Wilson playing the part of Gil a screenwriter who longs to be a novelist. This dream is criticized by his fiancée who needs to be kept in a certain lifestyle that dreamers can't afford. One night a magical thing happens at midnight and Gil is taken to the 1920's. A time he has always fantasized about. Night after night he meets all the Lost Generations stars Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Even Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. As Gil spends his days with upper class Americans his nights are filled with the who's who of the Jazz Age. Will he decide to stay in the 1920's or go back to the present and make his life in the "here and now" all that he longs for.

Melancholia -- This strange story written and directed by Lars Von Trier, is typical of most of his films. It is dark and disturbing, it builds slowly in many directions and ends with a bang. This is how he brings the general public, who spend their lives in the real world, into his mind fulled with the twist and turns of this awkward genius. In this film Kirsten Dunst is a depressive bride that has everything and still seems to be a discontent. Bring into play that a planet from the far riches of space is coming to swing passed earth and you get a story line that is all Von Trier. Charlotte Gainsbourg plays another stellar part for the director as the sister that worries that this might be the end.

A Dangerous Method -- In most Cronenberg films there is an underlining characteristic of sexual Deviance. So its about time he made a film that comes right out and says "'aren't we all sexual deviants?" How does one make a film about sex and the human condection? Well, just go back into history. like the "Kinsey" film about the life of Alfred Kinsey, Cronenberg has chosen science to portray how we all think about sex. This film goes back to examine Dr.Sigmund Freud's "Talking Cure." Young Psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) uses Freud's (Viggo Mortensen) method on a young Jewish women who has history of sexual abuse, played by Keira Knightley. Knightley seems to shine in any period piece and this is no exception. Fassbender is not in her shadow in this film, but is right there next to her showing intelligence and poise. When this women is sent to the asylum she becomes the heart of the Jung/Freud relationship. This film makes one feel like dusting off some old books to study Freud and the human condection in depth.

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