At the Movies: Style Meets Substance
I’m (justly) considered to be a pretty harsh judge of movies and I’ve often wondered what it is I’m looking for in films that satiates me. It’s not that I believe a movie has to be cinematically exquisite (although that’s nice) or brain-bustingly enigmatic (eh, overrated), or by a lauded director and buzzed about in the film festival circuit. After seeing a few really great films recently and being tremendously excited about a few upcoming ones, I have realized it’s something very simple, yet extremely vague that I’m searching for to consider a movie truly great. I just want to be moved. I want to connect emotionally. Because of my love of visual art, and cinema is absolutely an art form, I gravitate towards the same thing in a film that I would in a work of art within a museum; commitment to a particular vision. There can be so many different kind of visions, but movies that have their own style, as well as compelling subject matter, are the ones that get me every time. Here are a couple movies that have moved me recently, and a few that I cannot wait to see this summer when they open in theaters!
Jane Eyre (now playing)
This moody, perfectly acted film based on the book by Charlotte Bronte is totally flawless and insanely beautiful to look at. Michael Fassbender is totally my new crush.
The Cave of Forgotten Dreams (now playing)
Werner Herzog. 3D. What else needs to be said?
Bill Cunningham New York (now playing)
This movie touches on so much more than the successful career of New York Times street style photographer, Bill Cunningham. I was moved to tears several times during this appropriately lovely portrait of an earnest, endearing, simple man.
Beginners (opens June 3)
Graphic designer/”Beautiful Loser”/video director Mike Mills’ sophomore feature (he also directed 2005’s Thumbsucker) is an autobiographical story about the last 5 years of his father’s life after losing his wife and coming out of the closet. In a larger sense, the movie looks at love and not being afraid of it in life’s brevity. I cannot wait for this one! Ps I love Melanie Laurent….so gorgeous.
The Future (opens July 29)
Mills’ (see above) wife Miranda July might be my greatest inspiration since I first discovered her movie Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) and then grabbed anything else she worked on that I could get my hands on (ie: her collection of short stories No one belongs here more than you and interactive project Learning To Love You More). I know some people will be turned off by the fact that this movie about the pressures of living up to your imagined potential is narrated by an animatronic cat voiced by July herself, but it’s all the more reason I’m saying “Yes please!” There’s about a 1% I won’t love this movie.