Monday, July 30, 2007

"21 Grams"

USA Release: December 23, 2003
Starring: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Benecio Del Toro
Directed by Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu

You can catch this movie all through the month of August on Encore, Encore Drama and Encore Love and in September on Starz Edge. If you don’t get either of these channels I highly recommend you subscribe – fast – or run right out and rent 21 Grams. How I missed this film in 2003/2004 I just don’t know but if, like me, you missed it, too, you’ve just gotta remedy that. And if you did catch it back in 2003/2004 now would be a great time to revisit it.

Fantastic directing, beautiful editing and exceptional performances by Penn, Watts and Del Toro are just the tip of this film’s iceberg, all of which earned the film over 50 Award nominations, including 2 Oscar nominations, and 20 wins. It just goes to show you, once again, that the best movies are not the ones you hear the most about.

The story is riveting. Touching on the realities of life for transplant patients and their families, families of accident victims, and those who are responsible for accidental deaths, it gives us an inside look at the affect these issues have on personal lives and the value people place on their own lives and the lives of others.

“How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams... at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?”

These are the last lines of the film, delivered by Sean Penn in the role of Paul Rivers. The events leading to these lines are offered in non-linear format, presenting pieces of the story for the viewer to puzzle together. Yes, folks, this movie actually requires you to think. What a concept. And yet, the viewer is not hopelessly lost in this format. There is a readily discernable pattern to the puzzle pieces, a pattern which becomes clearer as events unfold. As I said, the directing and editing were wonderful.

I’d like to point you to a comment on, Esotercat's Riveting Review of "21 Grams". In part, she states, “The ‘plot’ almost seems inconsequential. The film is about the depth of human feeling in our brief interplay between living and dying. It's about damnation and redemption, revenge and forgiveness, surrender and salvation. It offers no explanations. It merely illustrates the human experience in a trenchant manner that makes us aware that every minute of every day is a precarious drama that we look upon more lightly than we should. The dramatic cortex is the human heart-lost, gained, tormented, anguished and confused. The metaphorical context is the fleeting nature of each heart's temporal beat and our desperately valiant struggle to flesh out our mortal hearts' desires.”

For me, Esotercat has said it all, and so much more beautifully than I ever could. I hope you’ll hop over and read her full review and I hope you’ll make it your new mission in life to see this film. It’s an experience that, while it may not change your life, may make you see it in a whole new way. Or not…....what the heck, it’s a great movie experience, even if it doesn’t change your life.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Willow is At It Again

I’ve been having lots of fun writing about Gary Oldman movies over on The Willow Does Gary Oldman and have gotten requests to write about a couple of Indy films that will be coming out in the next few months so I decided to put up this second blog for everyone else’s movies. As I may have said before, there’s Gary Oldman and then there’s everyone else.

Seriously though, there are so many films being made these days that only get a limited release or are released straight to DVD and these movies don’t always get the attention they deserve. True, lots of them are real stinkers and it’s hard, sometimes, to tell the stinkers from the good ones. Many of the people I talk to tell me they just don’t bother much with movies that they have heard little about because they’ve been burned so often when renting or buying movies that turn out to be a waste of time and money. On the other hand, I have discovered some real gems that should have gotten more attention and definitely deserve a bigger audience.

These are the movies that I’ll be writing about, for the most part. I’ll be steering you away from the stinkers that I find and giving you a heads up on the pretty good, the very good and the Gotta See ‘Em films that have gotten only a limited release or been sent straight to DVD.

And any of you familiar with The Willow or with Pussy Willow will know that I just can’t resist giving my opinion…..on occasion…..ahem… I’ll probably be spouting off about a few blockbusters and full releases, as well. Sometimes I just can’t stop myself.

Of course, I loooove a good discussion; so, feel free to add your own comments and opinions, whether you agree with me or not. Hey, if I loved it and you hated, let us all know. I’m the first to admit that my tastes can be a tad off the norm. And if I didn’t like it and you loved it, heck, I’ll watch it again and see what I missed. It’s happened before. As a matter of fact, I think I owe an apology to Jeff Bridges for some disparaging remarks I made about “The Big Lebowski.” Yes, Sassys, you can expect a full (well maybe not full) retraction, very soon.

I also keep in touch with a few other bloggers who, from time to time, come up with a review or opinion that is just too good to keep to myself. Manodogs, “over to The Rundown,” comes up with some great reviews and I’ll definitely be passing some of his articles along to you, as well as any other little gems I find.

I hope you’ll keep me in mind when you’re deciding what to watch on your next movie night. Maybe I’ll be able to help you find some new favorites or inspire you to revisit some old ones.