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It's obvious I don't go to movies much…
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I rarely do movie recaps, because I hardly ever go to the movies, but here are a few films I saw this year and what I have to say about them. In no particular order.
The Artist—I wanted to see a silent film just to say I saw a silent film. And this wasn't an actual “silent” film. I knew that. But I wanted to see it in a theater. The plot was so-so: established movie start helps starlet get started. Then the talkies come in, and established movie star can't make it. He falls on hard times, and the former starlet is now a star, and helps the established dude out. It was sort of refreshing to see a woman bail out a man, but the best thing about this movie was the dog. The scene where there's actual sound was rather shocking to the actor who was the lead, and sort of pounded down how much noise (or the lack of it) affects us, but I didn't think it was that great of a movie.
Take Shelter—I've been going to Cinema Center for a long time, and I could honestly say I'd never seen a bad film there—until this year. It started with The Artist and continued with Take Shelter. The psychological element attracted me—guy has bad dreams about an impending disaster, but thinks he's going nuts. The fact that his mom was committed several years ago doesn't help. He finally is so spooked, he “borrows” equipment from work to make a sort of bomb shelter, but the boss finds out and he gets canned. Not cool, since his family struggles financially and his daughter is deaf. Health insurance issues, etc. This movie moved at a glacial pace, and despite winning a couple of Saturn awards (one for best writing, which I'll never understand) this was a colossal waste of money. It doesn't help that Michael Shannon, who played the lead, looks like a younger version of Richard Kiel but without the weird teeth he sported in the James Bond films.
My Man Godfrey—Dead local gal Carole Lombard stars in a movie about hard times that is charming and couldn't possibly take place today. Godfrey is down and out, but takes a job with a crazy family. Hijinks ensue, and Godfrey manages to save the ditzy family from financial ruin, starts a nightclub that provides his former dump mates with jobs and shelter, and despite an attempt to frame him, rises above that as well. If the story were told today, Godfrey would be a down and out crack dealer, and during the scene where Cornelia tries to frame him, he'd just shoot the bitch, take the necklace, pawn it and buy enough cocaine to become a successful drug dealer. And as for helping out his other down and out friends, he wouldn't. Compassion went out during the Great Depression. However, this is a fun movie that shows that when life hands you lemons, or crazy people, you rise above it and triumph.
The Hunger Games—This movie makes up for all of the lousy science fiction I've watched in my ENTIRE LIFE. There are no improbable characters in this movie, no ridiculous enemies, no half-human creatures, no half-naked bimbos, no super heroes. Just the good, old fashioned realistic possibility that government can control people with food, create a contest that pits kids against kids, and by the way, participation is mandatory. A scenario like The Hunger Games could happen. That's why this movie is scarier and more effective than 99 percent of science fiction out there. Great writing, a great plot, and the right casting made this movie consumed me so much I saw this in the theater six times. SIX TIMES! And yes, I just might be one of those crazy fan girls at the midnight opening of Catching Fire a year from now. I'm not sure if I should wear my Katniss opening ceremony costume or go as pre-Hunger Games hunting Katniss. I pity people who don't understand why this movie was so compelling. I guess they will continue to believe in the goodness of the government, and encourage their kids to sign up for the military, and, um...well, I hope the odds are ever in their favor.