This blog post was inspired by the film "Everything is Illuminated" which I'll talk about some more below. All of the movies you'll find here have had an emotional impact on me, beyond what the average movie does. Almost every movie ever made can put me in some kind of mood, almost every movie ever made can jerk around my emotions a bit. But these movies, I thought stood out.
These movies caused me to reflect on myself. These were movies that made me rethink what I thought I'd already known, and reassess who I am. Because of these movies, I feel like I've become a better person, a more understanding person, a more loving person. It's difficult for me to word well, but these are films that really got to me.
There may be spoilers in the following. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Moulin Rouge! (2001) - Baz Luhrmann
Those of you who saw this movie know it's crazy. A lot of the cinematographic choices made are insane, and outside of what we'd consider normal. Past the flashy camera work, the bright colour palette, the narcoleptic Argentinian, the midget playwright, and the absinthe hallucinations, you'll find the movie slow in to a measured and passionate love story.
Everything about the film is flamboyant. Everything is in your face and out of control. Christian, the writer, is a relatively tame and grounded character. And while the rest of the cast buckles down from madness to complete the world's first bohemian play, Christan descends in to the insanity of love, jealousy, and hatred. The love between he and Satine, the courtesan claimed by the Duke, pulls him further in to the underworld of the Moulin Rouge.
The movie really made me rethink what love was. A big theme here is whether love is something that is real, or something we have for protection. Should someone marry for the security and money the other can offer, or should they marry for who the person is. Even when the world is offered to Satine by the Duke, she goes for Christian. It's a message that's been done over and over, but was executed perfectly through the acting, music, and writing. The feeling of love and loss has never hit me as hard as it had in the closing scene of this film. I fully recommend it, even if you don't consider yourself one for love stories.
Everything is Illuminated (2005) - Liev Schreiber
The film adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel, Everything is Illuminated is the story of a Jewish American come to Ukraine to find a piece of his Grandfather's past. Played by Elijah Wood, Jonathan collects pieces of the life of his ancestors. Whether it be false teeth or a bag of dirt, he takes them and mounts them on a wall with a photo of the relative to which it belongs.
This film begins with an almost whimsical air. Jonathan hires Alex, an American culture obsessed Ukrainian complete with a red jump suit, and his "blind" Grandfather to help him find Augustine, the woman that helped his grand father escape the holocaust. The movie takes a dark turn about half way through when we begin to discover more history behind Alex's grandfather and the inevitable end to this journey.
I really began to think about history after this movie. Alex comments in voice over at the end that we wear histories "inside out". What we experienced, and what our ancestors taught us, is who are on a daily basis. Everyone and everything we come across can leave some kind of imprint on this. People who are with you for a long time can affect who you are. It made me begin to think who'd left their mark on my "inside out" history. The people who made me who I am today, and the people before them who made them who they are. It's a topic that you could dig in to for hours, looking through photo albums and talking to your parents. This movie explored the nostalgic sadness of this idea very well.
Requiem for a Dream (2000) - Darren Aronofsky
Another cinematographic masterpiece, Requiem for a Dream covers the life of four drug addicts. Harry, his girlfriend Marion, his friend Tyrone, and his mother, Sara. Harry, Tyrone, and Marion are heroin addicts. Selling Sara's things for another fix. Sara, a widow who spends her time at home watching television, receives a phone call informing her that she'll be on a game show. Because of this, she begins to lose weight through diet pills so she'll fit in to her husband's favourite dress. By doing so she becomes overwhelmingly addicted to the pills.
Nothing about this movie is uplifting. The characters all start out bad and progress to worse. Harry, Marion, and Tyrone become heroin dealers, and all end up in a personal hell. When drugs become limited, Marion turns to prostitution for her fixes. Harry and Tyrone leave to start over, but the worsening state of Harry's arm from unsanitary injections takes them to a hospital where they're arrested. Harry loses an arm, and Tyrone is jailed with prejudice guards. Sara is eventually driven insane, and taken to a mental hospital where she undergoes shock therapy. No happy ending.
The movie conveys bad emotions across the board. Pain, disgust, and sorrow are the staples of this story, and they damn well get them across. I felt physically ill throughout the film, and sad for days after. Close ups of injections, people drawing needles full of drugs, liquids flowing through veins, and pupils dilating create the montage for drug use. It's a grimy, and dirty sequence that'll give you shivers whenever someone shoots up. It's the kind of worst case scenario movie that pushes you to stay away from that fate. It made me think of the kind of things that people with drug problems have to deal with, and all the people that have it worse off that I do. It's certainly a sobering movie, and if nothing else should give you a kick in the pants to better yourself. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
That's it for this blog. It was a rather serious one, so perhaps next time I'll post one in the vein of movies that impressed me, or movies that made me laugh. I've been considering writing something about "Despicable Me" for a while now. Something fun could certainly come from that. Regardless, I'd like to thank you for reading, those that did. I hope you'll check out some of these movies if you haven't seen them. It's certainly worth it.
Is whispering nothing? Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting noses? Kissing with inside lip? stopping the career Of laughing with a sigh?--a note infallible Of breaking honesty--horsing foot on foot? Skulking in corners? wishing clocks more swift? Hours, minutes? noon, midnight? and all eyes Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs only, That would unseen be wicked? is this nothing? Why, then the world and all that's in't is nothing; The covering sky is nothing; Bohemia nothing; My wife is nothing; nor nothing have these nothings, If this be nothing.
All You Need is Kill - Hiroshi Sakurazaka - Science Fiction / War - $11 - 196 Pages
Keiji Kirya, is a fresh out of training soldier. Fodder in the war between humanity, and an alien race known to the humans as Mimics. We pick up with Keiji, scared to death in the midst of a battle with the aforementioned Mimics. After he cowers in a pit for a little while, he proceeds to get smacked around by one of the hulking Mimics. His battle suit, or "Jacket", out of battery and out of power, Keiji continues to get bitch slapped across the battle-field for a brief while. Rita Vrataski, the Full Metal Bitch comes to his rescue. The most famous Mimic killer in the world, Rita proceeds to protect Keiji's dying corpse from the Mimics. Her heroism inspires him to stand up and kill one last Mimic with his dying breath.
Keiji then wakes up the day before the battle he died in, setting the time loops in motion.
The book is paced strongly. You could fall in to a lot of holes when writing about the same day over and over again, but it was handled much better than I expected. Hiroshi throws in a lot of nice touches to constantly remind you that the date almost never changes, even though events are playing out differently every time. Beyond that the book is simply well written. It keeps everything within the possibility of the world it creates, and everything is tied up neatly at the end.
If I have any problem with the story, it's exposition. The book clocks in at 196 pages, meaning things happen quick. I felt like some of the background information was rushed and cliché ridden. As strong as the characters were, I think a few more pages could have made a huge difference. There's certainly some potential missed there, especially seeing as the rest of the book was so well done.
But really, that's about it for my criticisms. I might as well start to wrap it up. The action, the dialog, the story arc, and the twists are all fantastic. It's a cheap book, and totally worth the $11 to buy it. It's an excellent book from cover to cover, and totally holds it's own against some of the much larger and pricey novels I've read. I definitely recommend it, and I must give my thanks to KaosAngel for recommending it to me. It was a fantastic read, and I'm now looking forward to reading Hiroshi's next book, which I happen to have sitting next to me. So stay tuned for a review of that.
Also, I know this is pretty short, so if I missed something you'd like to know just ask. :)
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Daniel finished memorization at 11:36 PM, EST. We'll have this full story and more to-morrow at 11.
It's been a while since I've updated you folks on my gaming habits. Primarily because it's been a while since I've indulged my fantasies. But here we are! I've played a little bit of games, and below I'll be typing words on them. If you aren't a fan of me, or you aren't a fan of words about games, consider this your most humble warning to turn back now.
Little Big Planet
Surprisingly enough, I just really got in to this game. I was recently hanging out with some friends, and we had the time of our lives with the three-player co-op. It's absolutely absurd and fantastic. Watching Mozart, Ghengis Kahn, and a Zombie hang on to each others feet as they twhirl around on a high-speed wheel is a special kind of fun. A fun that touches your soul in a warm way. A way only Stephen Fry's voice can.
The platforming is really solid, the creation stuff is excellent, and the fun level is off the "hook". I'm slightly ashamed that I've only just gotten in to this now, I feel like I could have been having all this fun so much earlier. Such is life. It has gotten me all the more excited for Modnation Racers, however. A game that looks like it can offer a very similar level of absurdity and creation fun.
God of War III
I like to watch the gore fly as much as the next guy, but as of my current position in God of War III, I'm just frustrated. I've grown impatient with the combat. As stellar and satisfying it can be, I'm struggling through some fights on the normal difficulty. Chances are I'm just bad, and should maybe bump it down to easy. However, as a game that could really just be mashed through until this point, it seems unfair to suddenly demand skills it didn't teach.
Another problem seems to be my lack of health and magic. The upgrades needed to get more often require you to go out of your way to get them, which is just not good design. As it stands it's very easy to take me down, as I've only procured enough Merlin Testicles for one health upgrade. Same goes for magic, I can only cast a few spells because I didn't go off the beaten path to find three of Satan's discarded hang-nails.
So as it stands I'm stuck, and too frustrated to turn back on my system. I'll get around to it eventually, because despite it all, I am having fun with the game. The combat feels great when it's working, and the story has been good enough to keep me in at. As someone coming in to the series at three, I wish there was a little more introduction to both the mechanics and the story, but it wasn't too much of a hindrance. Once I picked it up things started to flow.
I'd like to get back to this one soon and finish it up, I think I'm pretty close to the end anyways. Also fuck you sudden inverted flight controls. Kratos is not an airplane.
Closing it all up, I've been having some mixed time gaming recently. There's a copy of Dragon Age lying around that's begging for my attention, and I'd love to dive in to that and give it a go. Otherwise I'll be wasting my life away on these forums. Completing quests, watching videos, and patrolling these wretched forums. Thanks for reading, Giant Bomb.