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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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Movie Reviews: Pina, Well-Digger’s Daughter, etc.

Posted by gck Thursday, March 29, 2012

Germany, 2011
Genre: Documentary
Watched: in theater, Cinerama (3D)
Rating: **** (out of 5)

After seeing previews for this film at SIFF many, many times, I finally got to see it at Cinerama, which was a perfect venue for it. I am still not sold on the 3D – it really strains my eyes more than I’d like – but it wasn’t as distracting in this one as in other movies I’ve seen. This was a gorgeous tribute to Pina Bausch and her gorgeous choreography and a beautiful exhibition of dance in general. “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost,” Pina says. By combining shots of her famous dance works with dance shots filmed around the German city of Wuppertal (including scenes in an elevated tram!), it brings dance from the stage to real life. But really, words aren’t enough to describe it, this is a movie to be seen and not just talked about. The soundtrack is also excellent, and the main song keeps getting stuck in my head.

John Carter
USA, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Action
Watched: in theater, Pacific Science Center (IMAX 3D)
Rating: **1/2 (out of 5)

I don’t think this film is really worth reviewing. I saw it because I had free IMAX tickets, and when I said, “The Lorax,” the guy somehow heard, “John Carter.” It’s a pretty cheesy fantasy action movie that feels really old school content-wise, which makes sense, considering that it’s based on books from the early twentieth century. Special effects are modern, but whatever. He’s a bad boy who’s really good at fighting and ends up on Mars, aka “Barsoom.” She’s a hot, scantily clad princess who also happens to be really awesome at science AND fighting. Guess what happens!!! I give one point for holding my attention for 132 minutes (!!), one point because my brothers and were saying “Jump, Virginia!” for the rest of the weekend, and half a point because I did actually like the ending. I’m sure there will be some people who will enjoy this movie, but it’s not for me.

The Well-Digger’s Daughter
(also: La Fille Du Puisatier)
France, 2011
Genre: Romantic comedy, drama
Watched: in theater, SIFF
Rating: **** (out of 5)

SIFF does mini-festivals throughout the year, generally in celebration of films from specific countries. I usually miss them completely. I almost missed this one – I didn’t see the announcement for Rendez-Vous with French Cinema until pretty close to the date. I was already going to be in the neighborhood on Sunday for a ballet, and the film right after it looked like something that was both well-reviewed and something I’d enjoy, I went for it. And I wasn’t disappointed! It’s a beautiful remake of an old 1940’s French movie by the same name, and I’m sad because the old version doesn’t seem to be easily available through Netflix and Scarecrow Video only has it on VHS. It’s a sad but ultimately sweet tale of a naïve country girl who quickly falls in love with a son from a rich family and finds out that she is pregnant after he has left to go to war. I think I’m so jaded now from these arthouse films that I was certain things were going to end tragically, and there were a few scene breaks in the second half where I thought things might end abruptly. Maybe it’s time to go back to chick flicks for awhile! Patricia, the well-digger’s daughter, looks beautiful in her suffering. But my favorite character is her father, who struggles when the principles he was raised with clash with the happiness of his daughters. Of course, love ultimately triumphs in the end.

It was also a fun when I realized at the end that it was filmed in places I had visited a few years ago – St-Remy-de-Provence, Les Baux, Paradou. I recognized the Alpilles during the movie, and the beauty of the region definitely shone. My French-speaking friend loved the way they spoke French, but I don’t understand well enough to recognize an accent.


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