Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cinephilism

cin-e-phile
n. A film or movie enthusiast

I know some cinephiles. I feel like I am one right now. Marcie and I have watched a variety of films in the last few days. I'll write a brief commentary of each from my perspective. Note that I am in no way seeking to be objective...these are my impressions of these films.


Lady in the Water - Loved it. I found the subtext of this film was better than any of Shayalaman's others. The others may have had more engaging and suspenseful plots, but this one asked what I found to be the deepest questions about the purpose of humanity and how we go about figuring out just what that is. Questions of just how God's plan is enacted are raised, and I love it. Paul Giamatti's character's journey to redemption was heart wrenching. The pacing was good, and to top it all off, it was easily the funniest of Shayalaman's movies. I definitely recommend it.

Madea's Family Reunion - Really liked it/loved it. I liked Diary of a Mad Black Woman, but I didn't love it. I wanted to see Reunion anyway just because Tyler Perry is so stinkin' funny. Well, as it turns out, I found the story of Reunion to be a step up from Diary. The way Perry deals with the reality of domestic abuse, how he unleashes Cicely Tyson to deliver a touching speech (cheesy, but what great content), the presence of the authoritative voice of Maya Angelou and the absolute hilarity of Madea and Joe made this film quite pleasing to watch. Like I said, there's some cheese in this film, but it didn't bother me at all. I thought that overall the acting, plot, and pacing were spot on. I am a fairly gracious filmwatcher, anyway. Tyler Perry and M. Night Shayalaman are both geniuses in their own ways.

The End of the Spear - Loved it. Marcie watched it when I was away at CHIC, and told me that I had to watch it. It was incredible. I felt it was moving a bit slow at the beginning, but it was excellent. It made me feel uneasy at times. I like how the film depicted the women going back into the Waodoni mission field after the slaughter of their husbands without much fanfare. It was an absurd act of obedience to God, but the filmmakers let it speak for itself. I think I would have been tempted to have some intense dialogue portraying the existential angst the women must have been feeling facing the decision to continue on the path their husbands had tread. The redemption scene was even better than the one in Lady in the Water, mostly because I knew it was based on a true story.

Glory Road - Loved it, in an "already seen it, but I don't care" sort of way. I tried not to hold the similarities with Remember the Titans against it, for it was its own film. Besides, it's not the film's fault that it came from the same studio and was drenched with the same 60's music and racial tensions and revolved around a story of young people in athletics, specifically a cinderella story. I thought it was a bit more sloppy than Titans as far as pacing and character development goes. It was definitely a feel good movie, so I wouldn't recommend it if you are a die-hard realist (read: pessimist), but you know what, I take that back. I would recommend it to pessimists because this is based on a true story. Sure, it makes it look like this was all happening in Coach Haskins first year (it was actually his 5th), and there's Hollywood touches that will never bring it too close to reality, but the core is truth. They did win. They beat Pat Riley, unlike the Dallas Mavericks (go Eastern Conference!) and everyone else along the way. If you take it for what it is, you should love it. Perhaps my favorite part of the dvd was being able to watch interviews with the original players in the special features.


Some would say I use the "loved it" 5 star movie ranking far too often. They're probably right. They say it cheapens the ranking because the standard is lowered to that. But to that, I say thank God that Jesus lowered the bar for salvation so that I could even get in. Take that.

I think I'll take a break from movies for a couple days. Maybe not, though. It seems to be the thing to do when your wife is eight months pregnant and it's a million degrees outside. Insert your favorite non-sequitur here ___________.

Thanks and God bless.

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