Some movie reviews

**Warning – the following will contain spoilers. Do not proceed unless you don’t care about ruining your own viewing experience!!**

I have seen three movies in the last week. I anticipate seeing many more in the weeks to come. There are three things fueling this prognostication.
1) Brenden is offering $5 movies Monday – Thursday, all showings, so it’s actually affordable.
2) It’s awards season and, just as happened last year, my friend Betty is engaged in an effort to see as many of the Oscar (and Golden Globe) nominated movies as possible prior to the ceremonies. And also like last year, I am joining her (at least to an extent) in that pursuit. So far, I’ve seen 10 of the 34 movies that are involved in the Golden Globes.
3) I’m not taking an evening class this semester so I have more free time than I’ve had in the past 6-7 months.

So, first, here is a list of the movies that I have seen that are up for a Golden Globe.
• Black Swan
• Inception
• The Social Network
• Alice in Wonderland
• Red
• Easy A
• The Town
• Despicable Me
• How to Train Your Dragon
• Toy Story 3

So I have two more Best Picture-Drama to see (The Fighter, The King’s Speech), and 3 more Best Picture-Musical/Comedy to see (Burlesque, The Kids Are Alright, The Tourist), as well as numerous other films that made it in other categories. I plan to see The Fighter and The Tourist (and possibly Burlesque) next week. Pretty good!

**Begin (potential) Spoiler section**

The first movie I saw recently was True Grit. This version is supposed to be much closer to the book than was the original movie starring John Wayne. In preparation for seeing the new release, I made a point of watching the original (for the first time!)
I enjoyed the original although of course it seems a bit dated now. But I liked this new version better. Westerns from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s seem to offer a sanitized version of the 1800s. The actors rarely appear to get dirty and never swear for example. I prefer the (theoretically) more accurate representation we get nowadays (but for all I really know, they’re just as romanticized and skewed as films of past decades).

On Tuesday evening, I went to see Black Swan. I didn’t really expect to like this movie; I was only seeing it because it’s on the list. I was surprised to discover that I really did like it! I didn’t know much about the premise or story before going in. And I’m not sure how much others know about what the movie is all about. If I’m NOT worried about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, I’d say that it depicts what mental illness might look like from the perspective of the person suffering it. That the sufferer in this case is a ballerina strikes me as especially true to life. I have known a few ballet dancers and while their experience may not be typical, this movie reminded me quite a lot of what I saw in them. I’ve had one friend opine that the cause of Nina’s mental illness may stem from an overprotective mother. It makes me ponder about possible associations between mental illness and ballet. Do those sufferers gravitate towards ballet? Can ballet push one over the edge? Is there a reciprocal connection? I’ve just known too many dancers who knew that they weren’t supposed to eat anything, who were pushed to punish their bodies for the sake of dancing, who ultimately turned out to have real emotional and/or mental problems. Yep, I am not a fan. But, like I said before, that is what I have witnessed. YMMV.

Finally, last night I went to see Tron: Legacy. One word: Meh. Like with True Grit, I made a point of watching the original TRON recently so I would be all primed for this sequel. I was sort of surprised at how poorly the original held up over the years. As I was watching last night, I found myself wondering if, in 20 years, we will think that these graphics looked cheesy and dated. Right now it looks pretty darn good; except for the CGI Jeff Bridges. I think they should have waited another 5 years to let the technology advance a bit. They still don’t get faces right. Olivia Wilde looked amazing though. All in all, I can’t see that this is a sequel that needed to be made. The premise of the original was pretty thin and this one isn’t much more robust. I still don’t understand why programs are forced to play games. Oh well.

Stay tuned….

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