Friday, January 13, 2006

Even More Movies

I'm still on an extended movie-viewing junket, and I wanted to record my latest viewings here.
I watched "About A Boy" and wasn't surprised at all that the screenplay author had the main characters mother try to commit suicide and be found in a pool of vomit. I imagine that Peter Hedges found his mother that way more than once. I know that my mother, a nurse fo 43 years, was always rescuing his mother and taking her to the hospital to dry out. Mom also used to rescue Mrs Silverstein down the block, and when Mrs Bolton across the street flipped out (her military husband was a complete jerk and walked out on his family) and started thinking she was psychic and in tune with the planets and whatnot, my mother would go over to their home and make sure her youngest, Krissy, was fed and bathed at least 3 times a week. Mrs Bolton decided to breed dogs at one point and then ran a bunch of puppies over with her car. She then shoved their corpses in the freezer. BRRRR. She neglected her children so shamefully that they lived on raw hot dogs and whatever else they could scrounge from the neighbors. West Des Moines at that time was a wealthy neighborhood, yet I've never lived anywhere where the people were more screwed up as a group. Anyway, Peter was a bit older than me, I think, as he played with my older brother Phil. He's become quite the success story, and I read in an article that his mother finally did kill herself with alcohol.
Anyway, the movie was wonderful in a way that only British movies can be...full of the extremes and eccentricities that make them wonderful fun to watch. I am not a fan of Hugh Grant, but the man can certainly act, and the young boy playing opposite him was, as they say, "Champion!"
I also happened to see a delightful movie called "Songcatcher." It stars the formidable Janet McTeer and the gorgeous Aidan Quinn. It was heartwarming, fascinating and had me wanting to sing along with all the folk songs. I found it odd, however, that the people making this movie felt compelled to add a lesbian secondary storyline to the movie. That was just wierd, and a bit too modern for turn of the century Appalacia.
I also watched a movie about 1930s Liverpool, England, called "Liam" and was stunned at the depth of the drama and the fine work by the actors. A very moving film about being poverty-striken and how easy it is to fall into fascism or communism when you have nowhere else for your shame and outrage. The title character was played by an endearing little lad with a lisp, who was by turns tender, funny and mischevious. There was no happy ending to the movie, and it doesn't clean up all the ugly questions it unleashes. In other words, its disturbing, but in a good way.
I also saw a French movie called "The Widow of Saint-Pierre" whose title is a play on words. There are many widows in Saint-Pierre, a fishing village, but there is also a condemned murderer, and the method they want to use to kill him is a guillotine, which is called a "widow" in this movie. Juliette Binoche is one of those women who will always look luminous in front of a camera. I think cameras just love some people, and her flawless skin and dark eyes seem to rivet the viewer. She is against the death penalty, and convinces her husband, the local captain of the guard, to her point of view, and the two spend a great deal of time trying to rehabilitate the criminal and show the townsfolk what a great guy he is when not drunken and murderous. I won't spoil the ending but its a tense and sad movie that was still a feast to watch. Binoches husband is played by a French actor I've seen before who is just marvelous to watch. He's so empassioned and alert, he also rivets the eyes of the viewer.
I've finally gotten ahold of the movie "Posession" and will be watching that tonight.

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