I've been asked this year to be one of the judges for a local film festival. For the last week or so, I've been wading through twenty-some entries, enjoying the variety in genre, style, and even talent. There's something almost fun and campy about the below-average homemade films... And, of course, it's a pleasure to be impressed by the shorts that are really well done. An unexpected camera angle, an actor that has obvious talent, a script that makes me think...
Anyway, immersing myself in the nuts and bolts of filmmaking has made me consider some of the movies I've seen recently. We settle for some really crappy "art" don't we? I'd say that Aaron and I only come across a movie that we'd consider great once in a blue moon. The rest are just a way to kill a couple hours on a weekend night.
In the hope that one of these movies might save you from a ho-hum viewing experience, here are a few movies that we've really enjoyed in the last year.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
I know, we're way behind the times, but we just watched this movie. I loved it. I knew I would. It's a beautiful story, beautifully told. A must-see if you haven't already.
This British film had us in stitches. The comedy is dark but handled with grace and a light touch. We especially loved the amazing Biblical truths hidden in plain sight. It's rated R for a reason, and it might not be everyone's cup of tea (nice British allusion there, don't you think?) but we adored it.
Yeah, I know, it's Star Trek. Aaron hates alien/space/sci-fi stuff, but we both loved this movie. It's action-packed, but it... wait for it... has a story. Unbelievable, I know. We were also blown away by the camera angles, the special effects, the atmosphere of the whole film. Lots of fun.
The Dark Knight
Should have watched this one in the theater. Instead, we rented it nearly a year after it released in DVD format. We were completely blown away. Amazing movie. Raw and angry and dark, but ultimately about good and truth and beauty. Okay, that's a huge oversimplification. Just watch the movie.
Julie & Julia
Such a fun movie. Lighthearted, sweet, and entertaining, but with underlying themes of identity, fulfillment, hope, and ambition. We really, really enjoyed it. And then were disappointed the very next day when we heard of Julie's new book, Cleaving, that's all about her extramarital affair due to the success of her Julia Child blog. Boo. But the movie is still good.