Finding the Light

A young man finding his way

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Three Movies
The King's Speech.

Ah, wide angle lenses. Aren't they beautiful? They do things to a room, be it keep everything in focus or exaggerate the center of the frame. Honestly, they usually just make everything feel huge and epic. And so here is a little story, made epic by both the way it has been photographed and by the performances within it. Colin Firth is amazing in showing an interesting man, not a man of interesting circumstances. King George VI is suddenly someone I want to learn more about, and not just about his stammer. But about how a man can see the difference between what is expected of you, what you want, and what you can become. This is a little movie, in that it tells a story about a specific time and place and a specific problem. But it is told so well, that it is captivating to watch, and leaves you feeling so satisfied.

The Black Swan.

This is quite a work. A metaphor about female sexuality? A parable of what ladies go through as they pass from girl to woman? About how art is the most destructive way to seek perfection? About the way people, especially women, are controlled by both other people and by society's impossible expectations - how they must be pure and fragile, but able to be menacing and powerful?

This movie is anchored by Natalie Portman's performance, but there is also the masterful work of Darren Aronofsky in keeping all the pieces, all the themes, all the ideas moving in a riveting manner. The ballet sequences are the best i've seen since The Red Shoes (and it's hard not to compare the two films), the city stuff feels wonderfully familiar and edgy, the relationships (Nina and Lily, Nina and her mother, Nina and Tomas, Nina and herself) are all so rich and no one in the film gives a bad performance somehow - Winona Ryder is all brittle and poignant, Barbara Hershey is well...Barbara Hershey and an incredibly compelling stage mom at that - notice how the character interacts with no one but her daughter and yet seems to hang everywhere. Vincent Cassel makes a thankless role into one filled with the good type of questions, and Mila Kunis - oh goodness does she have "it."

Everything goes at full a movie about pressure, ballet and self-awareness. Oh, and it's incredibly sexy, in that psychological peel back the bedcovers way that we like in our films. Oh, and Natalie Portman is the best female actress in her generation. There. I said it.

Tron: Legacy

Oh so pretty. And with a rocking soundtrack. And a great mess of ideas. A mess of one, not a mix of one. A mix would imply a recipe, and this film feels more like it was thrown together. Well, the non-design portions - everything that has design in the name (art design, set design, sound design, costume design, graphic design) is brilliant, but the script? Not so much. All i need to ask is the fate/point of Dillinger's son - the man with the answers who never shows up again. Although not like the huge plot holes in movies like "The Big Sleep", it also doesn't charm it's way out of including characters that don't need to exist and/or robbing other characters of their plot-arc moments. There is clearly much more to the movie than what we see - who is Dillinger's son calling in the first act when he stops the computer from crashing - if Quorra is who we learn she is, then who are the guys in that bar who clearly share her goal, what was Clu's "private initiative" mentioned by others, and my main question - what will Sam do if he takes over his dad's company.

These are questions that should have been answered or should never have been asked; i'd guess a product of a script that went through many alterations and may have lacked fine-tuning - there really is no need for the Sam-foil character in the beginning...unless there is more that we didn't see.


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