Colleen Friesen – Traveling Light

thoughts on travel, writing, books and films

Films February 10, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning – brilliant, quirky and why do I love, love Alan Arkin so much? He nailed the grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine and he does it again as the sort of loser dad (who nevertheless gets so much of it right) in this one.

The Band’s Visit – Egyptian Police band lands in the wrong Israeli town for their concert. Incredible interactions and tender moments. Loved this film.

The Wrestler – brilliant and sad and tragic.

Ballast –  absolute Mississippi Delta must-see

Lilja4Ever –  You’ll need a debriefing group after. Huge impact.

Four Minutes – saw on DVD, beautiful and evocative.

Julia – American movie I saw in Paris in Mar 08. I’m trying to find it on DVD. Brilliant show about an alcoholic and her redemption through kidnapping…really. Tilda Swinton is the bomb.

Like Water for Chocolate – classic. First time I saw a film that was better than the book.

Slum Dog Millionare – hasn’t everyone seen this by now? Fantastic.

Gran Torino – felt a bit overacted there Clint, but drew me in anyway. Methinks the ‘Jesus’ pose on the lawn was a tad overwrought.

The Lucky Ones – Timothy Robbins always nails it. Three American soldiers on leave from Iraq, random meeting and end up on road trip. Quirky dialogue, great story.

The Secret Life of Bees – like a big fat Hallmark card come to life, but even though I felt manipulated by the cheesy clean sets and the platitudes, yep, I cried.

Doubt – Meryl back on her game. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – can he do no wrong? Dream team acting. Meryl’s last scene didn’t get me like I hoped it would, but a minor flaw in a good show.

My Date with Drew – this was much funnier than I would have expected. A heartwarming, without resorting to Hallmarkness, tale of almost-requited love. Quite delightful.

Shark vs the Eagle – a brilliantly quirky and heartwarming Kiwi tale. Loved the characters, loved it all.

Julia – Tilda Swinton is fascinating in this story of an alcoholic who takes self-sabotage to harrowing new lows. I saw this in Paris a couple of years ago, but never saw it released in the mainstream in North America. But it finally reached our local Sid’s Vids and we watched it again. The tension is rather unbearable. Two thumbs up.

Julie & Julia – I had a screaming urge to eat pounds of butter after this show. It was a fun glimpse into two lives and the impact we have on each other. No huge emotional payoff but an evening well spent. Just wish someone would have showed up with a plate of creme brule while we were watching…

Departures – Amazing poignant Japanese film. The rituals of death begin to inform and transform novice undertaker.

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