Movies Make Us Merry

January 12, 2012 by steph

During our time off for the holidays, we had fun running around Oakland and San Francisco, hanging out with friends, drinking some good cocktails and watching films. (What break would be complete without some good movie watching?)

Certified Copy

Our friend, Jeffrey Overstreet , is a wonderful writer and one of the few film reviewers that we would follow blindly into a theater. He had said that Certified Copy was his favorite film of 2010, so we knew that we needed to watch it. We found it on Netflix and were pleasantly surprised that 1) It was available on Instant Play and 2) It stars Juliette Binoche. Who doesn’t love Juliette? 
 
The film is fascinating and confusing, and after we finished it, I wanted to watch it all over again. It is all about love and pain and connection and conversation, but it is also as incredibly suspenseful as a thriller. I think I could watch it several times, and still be as equally captivated and confused.
 
If you have already seen it or are curious to find out more, here is Jeffrey’s much more thorough review.
 

Tree of Life

This film was more of an experience and a process than a movie. Bryan compared it to poetry and I compared it to a dream. It is the kind of film you talk about for hours and think about for days (but not in the terrifying Requim for a Dream type of way). It is about life on both a small and grand scale. How we came to be. How we live. How we hurt. How we love. How we will exit. To say it is touching isn’t really accurate, but to say that it touched me would be true.
 
The acting was brilliant, especially the main boy played by Hunter McCracken. (Bryan and I have agreed to disagree on whether we thought the mom was too angelic/light). The visuals, sound and editing were fantastic.I look forward to watching it again, and will be sure to start it early to leave time for conversation to follow.
 
For more comprehensive thoughts, we hand you over to Jeffrey Overstreet again.
 

Hugo

This is the first movie that made me really like 3-D. I generally find 3-D films annoying and headache inducing, but Scorsese made Hugo more thrilling, beautiful and touching with his use of the technology. The story is sad and heartwarming, fantastical and historical, adventurous and sweet, for children and adults. It is my definition of a perfect holiday movie or a movie I would love to watch when I am sick and in bed (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Amelie, Indiana Jones and Never Ending Story are some of the others on that list). See it while it is still in theaters.
 

Wizard of Oz

We both had seen the Wizard of Oz before, but never as adults and not on the big screen. Of course it is a delightful classic, we loved singing along to every song, and the monkeys still make Bryan scared, but what made it really enjoyable was seeing it at the Paramount Movie Classics. We may talk way too much about how much we love going to the Paramount to watch films, but we will not stop until every person in the Bay Area gets the opportunity to watch classic movies the way they were meant to be seen, on the silver screen. Check out the schedule and be sure to get there early for a great seat. 
 

Urbanized

From the people that brought us Helvetica and Objectified, comes a new design-geek documentary about the city. Urbanized completes the trilogy. We absolutely loved the first two films by Gary Hustwit, but this one we liked. If you have seen the other to films then this is a must see, but I caution you this film is less focused than the previous. It seems that this documentary would have been better in a TV series format on PBS. There simply is too much information to cover and this film is all over the map.
 
It spreads itself a bit thin trying to cover “the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.” What it does well, however is get you excited about living in an urban environment. This film moved us and made us think about our city and some of our favorite European cities. Two of our favorite parts of the film are when the film crew interviews the mayor of Santiago, Chile about public transportation and the story of the brilliant New York City High Line park.

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