My Year at the Movies 2011, Part 2
In spite of critics’ complaints about the poor quality of the film output of 2011, Rick and I had no problem finding lots of great movies to see in Seattle last year. I posted about some of them yesterday. Here are the rest.
I’ve seen Roman Holiday a couple of times on television over the years, but it was so much more fun to watch on the big screen with a crowd of like-minded fans. Roman Holiday is the perfect antidote to a princess fixation, should you or someone you know happen to suffer from one. Bored and exhausted by her duties as a princess, the hero of the film runs off for one exciting, wonderful day in Rome. The story is satisfying, the characters are quirky and delightful, and the location filming in 1950s Rome is fascinating. Here’s one of my favorite scenes.
Midnight in Paris was a fun little movie. I’m a sucker for a time travel story. The basic idea is, wouldn’t it be great to meet [insert favorite artist here] in person? I don’t think I’m as interested in meeting famous people as Woody Allen is. I’m content to enjoy their work, I guess. But it’s an entertaining movie.
I was excited when I saw the preview of The Mill and the Cross. It was uncanny how it used sets, costumes, and CGI to bring Bruegel paintings to life and give the film a look unlike any I’d seen before. For a Bruegel fan like me, it was like a game trying to notice all of the places where they snuck details of his paintings into the film. But what if you’re not a Bruegel fan? It would still be extremely interesting visually, but the story itself was a bit opaque and unsatisfying. I’m more familiar with the biblical themes than many viewers, I think, and I still found it hard to follow. Maybe I needed to know more about Dutch history.
Check out the awesome effects, though.
I saw Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle years ago, and it stuck with me. My friends and I started saying oui like Reinette does in the film (weh, with a sort of glottal stop at the end), I recounted the film to friends who’d never seen it, I thought of it whenever I was awake at the moment between night and morning, I looked for it at the library and the video store, but never found it. So as you can imagine, I was very happy to hear that it was going to play at SIFF cinema. I was also worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it as I did when I was in my twenties, or that after all these years of hearing about it, Rick would see it and say, that’s it? But I still enjoyed it very much, and so did Rick. It’s nothing earthshaking, just a little set of four stories about friendship. So sweet and funny.
I always enjoy Aki Kaurismäki’s films, and Le Havre is made in the classic Kaurismäki mold – a story of humble, working class people struggling to do the right thing, shot with the beautiful color, minimal dialogue, and melancholy humor that you expect from his films. Here’s a scene.
I posted last month about Hipsters, a musical about teenage nonconformists in Soviet Russia, but this is a good opportunity to post another musical number from the film. They didn’t skimp on this movie – it’s a real musical with all the fixings, plus its got the special Russian sauce.
And we finished off the year watching The Muppets. When I heard that the music was by Brett McKenzie, I knew I had to see it. Here’s one of the songs, interspersed with film excerpts. Yep, sounds like Brett McKenzie alright. Perfect.
I think we watch a lot of movies. This doesn’t even count the videos we rented.
Did you see any good movies last year?