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Monday, January 27, 2014

What I've watched so far.

So far, 2014 has started off on a very good foot for me. I hope it has also for you! It's only been 20something days since the new year and I spent the majority of those days going ahead and watching many, many movies. Mid-January right after my mid-terms, I had this long five day weekend. What's something to do better than seeing sunshine? Having a long movie marathon. 

"The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it's as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”
― Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures

Movies are such an integral part to life. They give you brain food! I love putting myself in the character's place and thinking about how or why I would react to such things happening in the film. Not only is the art aspect completely beautiful, but the technical aspect of it all is just completely jaw dropping. This is why I admire my best friend Tiffanie so much for being a film major, I know one day she'll have her name on an Academy Award. 

Those five days at home were spent watching these wonderful movies. 

1. Amelie

Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain or The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain is probably one of the most underrated films I've ever seen. Nominated for five Academy Awards and being the recipient of Best Film at the European Film Awards, Amelie tells the tale of Amelie Poulain, a shy waitress in modern day Paris who after the death of Princess Diana, decides to change the lives of around her for the better, while struggling with her own personal isolation.
Amelie, played by the gorgeous Audrey Tatou, is one movie character that in my opinion, is so iconic. One of the scenes that stood out to me was when her personality was described. "Instead, Amelie cultivates a taste in small pleasures. Dripping her hand into sacks of grain. Cracking Crème brûlée with a teaspoon. And skipping stones in St. Martin's canal."

The French film is filmed in such a gorgeous way. The camera angles are in a constant fluid motion that goes back and forth first person, to third. What makes me love this film even more is that sometimes, Amelie breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the audience, giving the movie a personal touch. 

Mathieu Kassovitz, who plays photographer Nino Quincampoix, on the hunt for Amelie.

The colour red is a huge factor in this film. Throughout the movie, everyone is filmed into an almost sepia-yellowish tone, and certain colours are accented throughout. Red, being Amelie's colour. 

If you have the time, I do suggest watching this wonderful, wonderful movie. 

2. I Saw The Devil 

Complete change of genre for this one! I am a huge fan of Korean cinema, and anything with Lee Byung Hun and Choi Min Sik is a must-see. 

I Saw The Devil or Angmareul boatda, is a classic revenge and hack-and-slash film. Lee Byung Hun plays Soo Hyun, a husband whom will go all out in regards to avenging his gruesomely murdered pregnant wife. Soo Hyun is a secret service agent for the National Intelligence Service and fully uses his connections to find the culprit. 

Choi Min-sik of Old Boy fame, comes back after a self imposed exile in Korean cinema as sadistic and villainous serial killer, Kyung Chul. A race against time is played when the two go head to head. 

Personally, I thought this movie was an absolute different genre. It had me at the edge of my seat and for the majority of the time, I was biting down on my pillow at all the gore going on. One scene in particular had me looking away, in which Kyung Chul lures a man into giving him a taxi ride, needless to say, only one survived that night. 

If you're up for a thriller that'll keep you guessing what happens next, I do highly recommend these. 

3. Stuck in Love 
Stuck in Love is an American independent romantic comedy film that features an ensemble cast. The stories all obviously revolve around "love" but the overlying theme of family is heavily present. This fantastic film revolves around the lives and love lives of the Borgen family. 
Greg Kinnear plays Neil, a successful novelist who is still in love with Jennifer Connelly's character, Erica. Neil is still hungover the fact that Erica had left him for a younger man and yearns that one day, she will return to him and their family. Nat Wolff of Naked Brother's Band fame plays Rusty, Neil and Erica's youngest son who is only starting to find love. Kristen Bell plays Tricia, a young twentysomething who serves as comic relief; she is Neil's booty call and often gives him advice on how to mend midlife crisis.
Lily Collins (who I worship because she is so beautiful and I love everything about her) plays Samantha, Erica and Neil's eldest daughter, and Rusty's older sister. Samantha is a newly published author, following in her father's footsteps. Due to the divorce, she has no love left for her mother, often shunning her and shutting her out of her life. Samantha loves bad boys and doesn't do romance, but things change when she meets Lou, played by Logan Lerman. 
Though this movie is centric on love, it's theme of family as a whole is clearly evident.  The musical selection in this movie is also phenomenal. 

I found myself awe-ing a ton during this movie, quite a fan of the witty dialogue exchanged between Samantha and Lou. 

4. The House

Another Korean film up here! As much as I love live action movies, I am a sucker for animation. The House, a 2011 Korean animated movie, further proves that animation can do so much. In my opinion, The House, or Jib, is mainly visual eye candy rather than a story to take in. I was completely in love with how it was animated, it was something I'd imagine one would see in the late 80s on Nickelodeon. 
The House, tells the story of young woman who is an after school tutor moving into a lesser than posh area to make ends meet. She calls the place ghetto, and severely hates where she is, up until she realizes that the spirits of the buildings around her, make things a lot less complicated. 
The animation is combined with real life elements, shown by the screen captures above. The House was something beautiful in the most simple of ways.

5. Penelope
I am literally kicking myself because I had no idea this movie existed until as of recent. Christina Ricci was my childhood crush for gods sake! 

Tiffanie and I were actually talking about this movie and how it is so underrated and it deserves to be recognized more! Penelope is a modern fairy tale. It tells the story of how way back in their family tree, a man fell in love with the servant girl, yet with their social differences, was forced to lie about their relationship. The disgruntled maid threw herself off a cliff, and with that came the apparent rage of her mother, the town witch. The town witch placed a curse on the Wilhern family and that their first born daughter would have the face of a pig and that the only way to reverse the curse was to have "one of their own" love them. Years pass and all Wilhern's have boys, that is until Penelope is born. 

Catherine O'Hara plays Penelope's mother, caring but at the same time extremely over bearing. She sets up massive blind dates with many suitors in order to break 25 year old Penelope's curse. 

What I completely love about this movie is the fact that they make it apparent that flaws on a person do not reflect their character. Penelope having a face of a pig doesn't reveal that she is a smart, caring, and lovely girl. My gosh this was a great movie. 

James McAvoy plays Max Campion, a down on his luck gambler who is hired by private investigators to reveal Penelope. Little did he know, he'd care for her. Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame plays the private eye hell bent on exposing Penelope. Rounding out the cast is Reese Witherspoon, who plays Penelope's best friend and guide to the real world, not to mention she drives a damn awesome Vespa. It's got wings! 

These movies have made a profound impact in these 20something days. Though I did intend for them to be background noise, I didn't realize how amazing these movies would be. If I were you, I would go ahead and watch them. 

What movies have you watched recently?

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