I wanted to make a few comments about some recent films I’ve seen. I never seem to really go into depth about these things, but I am such a film junkie. I figured I should try to make recommendations, make an attempt to express, and give my .02. I have to go through an awful lot of mediocre/shitty films to get to the good stuff, but when it’s good, it’s oh so sweet.
I recently saw Margot at the Wedding (Noah Baumbach) and it was quite a great film. I LOVE films like these. Noah Baumbach also wrote and directed one of the greatest films ever called The Squid and the Whale (2005). I liked that one even more, but his new one hits it on many of the same levels with perhaps a little less tension than I like. Regardless, it is amazingly acted. Nicole Kidman does such a good job, as she always does. Jennifer Jason Leigh (Baumbach’s wife) is also great and plays super well with Kidman. As sisters, they do a few stellar dysfunctional performances together. I identified in how they loved each other, and hated each other. Really, under the face to face niceties, bad mouthing each other the moment other was absent… it’s was so true to life love.
Maybe my favorite acting + writing was between Kidman’s character and her teenage son, played by Zane Pais. We get to watch how the future damage is done for this kid, as his mother (who has Borderline Personality) scrutinizes nearly every move he makes, which in turn is obviously the result of her careful training since she is the archetype.
Jack Black is also in this movie, and I LOVE Jack Black. He is an excellent actor. Funny, yes, but he’s also great at the subtleties too. Brilliant, in fact. That’s not easy to do. He manages to be likable despite his relationship and occupational flaws. I don’t mean to compare the 2 movies so much, I like the differences a lot actually. Baumbach makes everyone in this film more likable than his last. If anyone is the villain in this, it’s Kidman, but she managed to play on my heart strings because of her beauty inside and out.
Another movie (on DVD) that was so incredibly awesome that it changed my life, was Danielson: A Family Movie (Or, Make a Joyful Noise Here), 2006 J.L. Aronson’s debut film about Daniel Smith’s band, which consists of his family and friends. I’d never thought I’d say this, but this documentary about creativity within the Christian faith inspired me more than most movies ever would. It’s the individuality that does it for me. This film is art all the way. As an eccentric musician and visual artist, I bow to him for his brilliance and courage. If you thought there wasn’t anything original left in the world, you need to see this film. Along the way Daniel mentors singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, and while very different musically, is just as beautiful. I’ve never seen such a great combination of music, animation, vision, and soul like this before. Additionally, the stage “act” is just flippin outrageous. You might think it’s ironic, but it’s just barely. This is for real visionary stuff like nothing you’ve seen or heard before.
The last time I was that inspired (in a completely different way) from a film was when I saw Tarnation.