Movie Round-Up

The Science of Sleep (2006)

A young man named Stephane lives in his dreams, vividly animated in the film and produced from a cardboard tv studio that represents his dreaming mind.  In waking life, he’s drawn to France from his native Mexico on a promise from his mother of a good job, which proves to be false.  Stephane meets and falls in love with his neighbor Stephanie and they have a long, awkward courtship.  I like this film visually as the dreams are very clever, but the story just didn’t click with me.  It appears the filmmakers are trying too hard to make connections between dreams and life and it just doesn’t work out.  This movie gets a comme si comme sa from me.

Harold and Maude (1971)

Harold is a teenager who for fun fakes suicides and attends the funerals of strangers.  Maude is a septuagenarian free spirit and reckless driver, and seemingly the only person who can understand Harold.  They meet and fall in love for a whirlwind romance but not really in any way you’d expect.  This movie is wonderfully quirky and funny.  It also felt somewhat timeless as if it were made now and not 35-years ago, yet I can’t imagine anyone making a film like this today.

Desk Set (1957)

Katherine Hepburn plays a smart and sassy reference librarian for a television network.  Spencer Tracy is the computer engineer installing the computer that may replace her.  I’ve seen gaggles of Hepburn films before but this is the first time I’ve managed to see one with Tracy. The things I learned from this movie: 1.  People have been trying to replace librarians with computers for at least 50 years.  2. Librarians always win.  3.  Office Christmas parties were MUCH more fun in the 1950’s.  4. Spencer Tracy is really funny.    Not in the movie, but worth knowing is that Hepburn’s sister Peg was a librarian for decades at a Connecticut library.

Stranger than Fiction (2006)

This is the sweet story of Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), an IRS agent leading a mundane life who suddenly hears the narration of a novel in his head.  Worse, this story of his life foreshadows his imminent death.  Not finding help from a psychiatrist, Harold gets help from a literary critic (Dustin Hoffman) before eventually finding the author of the book (Emma Thompson).  Harold also finds live with an anti-establishment baker (played by the always easy on the eyes Maggie Gyllenhaal).  Ferrel does a pretty good job as a leading man especially when he has to share the screen with a pair of legendary actors in supporting roles.

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview an ambitious oil prospector in the California of the early 1900’s who over the course of the film descends falls into the grip of greed and misanthropy.  He appears to be principled early on but perhaps events in the film just draw out his true self.  Most heartbreaking is his treatment of his adopted son H.W. (Dillon Freasier) who I’m certain he once truly loved, but eventually will mock and abandon him.  Apart from excellent acting, this film is rather stunning in it’s cinematography and insane musical score.  There are a lot of scenes where there’s drama simply in stillness and quietness.  The final scene is a bit over the top though.

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