Plus, for reasons that I am still trying to figure out, the blog has apparently lost a couple of my reviews, and since the films "A Summer in Genoa," and "Dark Matter," are of minimal importance, I'm simply going to give a star ratings to those films instead of trying to rewrite the review, which obviously isn't saved anywhere or I would've typed it in or cut and paste it in. Hopefully, this is a one-time thing, and I apologize for it. The blog is acting strange today, I can't explain it, but this is happening.
Also, as everybody already knows, we lost Steve Jobs this week, and I think everybody, including the film and entertainment industry is still mourning his lost. Like Edison before him, Jobs's influence is far-reaching and the film industry, which Edison invented, is no exception. From watching movies on ipads and iphones (Although I don't recommend it), to completely changing the way movies are edited with Final Cut Pro, the industry standard for film editing now, and frankly having used the software, it's mind-boggling to me how we used to edit films before it. That alone changed modern cinema, and let's not forget Pixar Animation Studios. Jobs has had a hand in all three "Toy Story"'s, "Monsters, Inc.," "Cars," "Ratatouille," "The Incredibles," "Wall-E," "A Bug's Life," not to mention their Award-winning shorts that basically created CGI-animation. Arguably Steve Jobs, has done more to change the way films are made than anybody in the last 25 years, and let's face it, this is a minor accomplishment for the guy, slightly above making Super Bowl commercials the huge event that they are now, which he also did. This is a colossal of a man that we lost this week and the fact that he was only 56..., it's scary to think, what else he could've come up. He will be missed, his presence on this planet, is long-lasting and far-reaching, and the entertainment industry is no exception.
Looking up Korean director Chang-Done Lee on imdb.com, after seeing his film, "Poetry," I wasn't at all surprised to learn that he started his career off as a novelist, and later transitioned into filmmaking. His film "Poetry," follows Mija (Jeong-hie Yun), a 60-year old grandmother, who watches her teenage grandson, and is slowly but surely beginning to deal with the effects of Alzheimer's. She has a few routines, and often cooks and even takes care of an elderly neighbor, but she finds that her life is lacking, and she enrolls in a poetry class at one of those adult education centers. The grandson seems distant, and the only times they seem to have any real moments between them is when she can coax reluctantly into games of badminton. At the same time, a local girl is found in the river. She's been raped, multiple times, and eventually killed. Mija's grandson is one of the rapists, along with numerous other kids, all of whom must come from rich families, because the parents have come together to offer payment to the girl's family, Mija included has to pay her share. Now, what I've told you so far are details of the story, but the real is not these details, its in the mood of the film. The film is slow-moving, but it's a mood piece, poetic. Constantly drifting in on certain details as Mija, even when she has the knowledge of her diagnosis, doesn't seem to change her routine that much. It's hard sometimes to tell what she is thinking, or if she's thinking, and yet, she continually goes to this poetry class every week, where she meets new friends and acquaintances and writes. She is the center of this movie, and this is an amazing performance by Jeong-hiu Yun. It's a perfectly subtle performance, of somebody who is beginning to slowly wither away, but still has enough of her mind to contemplate and strategize the situation(s) around her. This is a beautiful movie, worthy of it's title, and I wouldn't be shocked at all if Jeong-hiu Yun sneaks into a few Best Actress categories come award season, it's one of the best performances of the year.
OUTSIDE THE LAW (aka HORS-LA-LOI) (2010) Director: Rachid Bouchareb
A SMALL ACT (2010) Director: Jennifer Arnold
The documentary "A Small Act," tells an interesting, and then kinda loses it way a bit by telling another not-as-interesting story, and that's understandable to a point. The movie starts by telling the story of Chris Mburu a young Kenyan who was lucky enough to be sponsored through this Swedish woman named Hilda Back who he previously never met. (You know, like one of those Sally Struthers commercials where they ask to sponsor African children for so-and-so cents a/day) She sent $15 a month which went to his education. He got amazing grades, and eventually graduated from Harvard and now works as an anti-discriminate expert for the UN, helps investigate such crimes as genocide. He also started a foundation to have fellow Kenyan start sponsoring and funding students in his own country so they can get an education. In Kenya, recently, they made primary education free, but high ed classes cost money, and most can't afford it. He named the foundation after Hilde Back, who we find is an 80+-years old, former Holocaust who never had children, but taught elementary school for over 50 years. These are two very interesting characters, and while much of the movie focuses on the children who are trying to pass a test to qualify for the funding is heartbraking, in a "Waiting for Superman," kinda way, I kinda preferred that the movie stayed focused on Back and Mburu. That's not a criticism, there's so many details of the film and story, that I can see how documentarian Jennifer Arnold could get distracted and want to tell all of these aspects of this story, but it kinda dragged the movie down a bit for me. It's still an amazing documentary and a very powerful reminder of just how much powerful one person's small act can change lives.
RICKY (2009) Director: Francois Ozon