My favourite films of 2014, Part 2

2 01 2015

8. Ida

Deceptively simple, there is more to Ida than it appears. The past is difficult to bear, but we can forget that it still affects those living in the present, and even for future generations (kind of like Cloud Atlas‘s MO). Pawel Pawlikowski’s greatest triumph in this is the slow burn; by using silence, which leaves you to interpret how characters are truly feeling by their expressions, live sound, and long takes that further add to the film’s realism — and pain.

7. Two Days, One Night

Two-thousand fourteen was the year of Marion Cotillard. She is amazing in this film as well as the unjustly under-promoted The Immigrant (which has quite lovely cinematography). Here, Cotillard plays a young mother who sets out to try and convince her co-workers not to take a bonus so that she can keep her job, a premise that is already rife with conflict and huge obstacles. How do you convince someone to give up money? I don’t know if I could do it, let alone do it well. What I also enjoy a lot about this film is that rather than be just a movie about a character facing person after person, Cotillard’s Sandra struggles with her own personal and mental issues throughout. But is she really fit to work again? you might be asking yourself as she pops more pills. Then again, you just can’t help root for the underdog, and one struggling over and over again.

6. Citizenfour

Ok, I will admit it. I only vaguely knew who Edward Snowden was before watching the trailer for this film. I had heard his name, for sure, but I can be pretty disconnected from world news sometimes (I only found out yesterday about AirAsia… to my mom’s astonishment). But you don’t really need to know who Snowden is before watching this. You get to know him (to an extent) but more importantly, what he stands for.

I love that Laura Poitras was able to craft a documentary into a taut, lite-thriller. She knows how to make a great documentary, I’ll give her that. I had never heard of Poitras prior to this film, but her technique is quite masterful. And not only that, but I got so paranoid after watching this film and believing the government is watching my every electronic move, that as soon as I got home, I researched ways to keep my computer anonymous. It will have that effect on you.

5. Force Majeure

I’ve had an idea to open a little movie theatre/cafe establishment for a while. Sometimes, I like to create imaginary programs of films that would go well together. After watching Force Majeure, I thought this film and Gone Girl would be a fun double feature for Valentine’s Day (if you haven’t seen Force Majeure yet, chances are that you’ve seen Gone Girl and know that I’m being ironic).

Masculinity and patriarchy is questioned. Families hinge on separation. Trust and loyalty are doubted. And it is so exciting and entertaining to watch as everything unfolds surprisingly naturally. I love, in particular, the two lead performances (Johannes Kunkhe and Lisa Loven Kongsli) and how, much like the performances in Ida, they keep their true feelings bottled up. It’s unnerving, but it does make you wonder: what would I do?

Stay tuned for the top four favourite films tomorrow!


The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

6 07 2014

Took me nearly nine weeks to get through this one. The first third was the biggest challenge as not a whole lot happens and the language takes a lot of getting used to. Mitchell is certainly an interesting writer, and clearly language and research are more important to him than story or characters. Still, I did enjoy the last two thirds, and I’m glad to have read this one. I do prefer Cloud Atlas though.

Can you tell I endured a strenuous bootcamp class yesterday?


Cloud Atlas Redux

29 04 2013

Watched it again tonight because I’ve been thinking about the film a lot recently. When it finished, I cried.

What a beautiful notion — not being able to be with someone you love in one era but perhaps in another life, you might. That strongly resonated with me. It made me think of the one I will always love and how we might not be able to be together in this life, but in another time, in another place…

I wish he would watch this movie. I wish I could make him see. I wish this so hard.

Obsessing is not good

25 10 2012

I have never been quite obsessive about many things.  But for some reason, I’ve been watching endless interviews with Tom Twyker and the Wachowskis for Cloud Atlas.  I don’t know why I am so obsessive either, which is partly bothering me.  For example, I have been checking its rating on imdb every few hours, trying to see if it is going up or down, which is pretty useless because it’s not even released yet (although almost 3000 users have voted so far).  I have been listening constantly to the soundtrack — or rather, the few pieces available on youtube.  Today, I saw someone reading the novel and I wanted to ambush her and talk about the notion of reincarnation, destiny, fate, and all these big ideas and to start a philosophical conversation, but alas.

In other news, I’ve started reading Watership Down, which is fantastic so far.  Maybe I’ll start obsessing about that soon.

“Outro” — M83

22 10 2012

And while I’m going crazy about Cloud Atlas, here’s one of the most moving pieces of art I have ever heard (and featured in the trailer for Cloud Atlas).

(The images in the video are from Melancholia, which I have yet to see).  Just listen and enjoy…

Cloud Atlas

21 10 2012

Saw Cloud Atlas today.  Thought it was really entertaining, even with its long runtime, but as a film, I was a bit dubious.  I`ve got just over a hundred pages left in the novel, I did feel like the novel was more philosophical and spiritual, whereas the film is much more action-oriented.  At first, I was a little disappointed that the film just didn`t feel as powerful as it could have been (I tried my best to distance it from the source material and to view it as a movie in its own right, which I believe is the appropriate thing to do when reviewing and enjoying an adapted film).

But the more I thought about the film, the more deeply it resonated with me.  It`s such a human film, and that`s all it is.  It`s an ode to humanity — to it`s greatness and it`s faults.  When I came home, I just felt like being close to someone, and I felt really emotional, but I couldn`t quite place it.

Sure, the film isn`t perfect, but it`s well worth a watch.  If it doesn`t make you feel something, then I guess you`re not human.

Cloud Atlas comes out in theatres this Friday, October 26th.