Monday, June 27, 2011

The Big Picture(s)

We did something we hardly ever do this weekend.  We went to the movies.  I'd go often if it were totally up to me, but my husband isn't a big movie goer, and over 30 years of marriage, I'd say we average one movie theater trip a year.  When our kids were little we went more often (after all this was before VCR's and DVD's and Netflix!) to watch the latest Disney flick, mostly.  So it was a pleasant to surprise to get him to agree to go!
He was interested in seeing Bad Teacher, but good friends of ours had seen in it the night before and told us not to waste our money.  I therefore got to see what I wanted to see - Super 8.  We both really enjoyed  it.  It's a monster movie of sorts - think E.T. meets Jaws meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind meets Lost.  It's 1979 and a group of middle school friends in Ohio are making a super 8 movie to enter into a film festival.  As they are filming they witness a horrific train wreck caused when their science teacher purposely crashes his truck into the train.  His dying words tell them not to speak of what they've seen. As the Air Force takes over the investigation into the wreck, mysterious things begin to happen in their town. Of course, the teens decide to investigate.  I enjoyed the paean to all of Spielberg's movies and the movie was quite predictable, but what really stuck out for me was the innocence of the movie.  The teen actors got the nuances of friendship right, and as a middle school teacher, I recognized my students in their portrayals.   It was pure entertainment - not the best movie I've ever seen, but a very enjoyable rainy Saturday afternoon.

The second movie I watched was completely different. Using my Netflix subscription I watched The Black Swan.  Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman)  has just landed a career-making role as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake.  She struggles to interpret the role of the Black Swan and as the pressure mounts, she falls victim to paranoia and delusion.  It's a really creepy movie, and there were scenes that I watched through my fingers. (I don't take blood and mutilation well!).  At the same time, it was very powerful.  Barbara Hershey was compelling as the ultimate stage mother, and I liked the way the ballet storyline and Nina's descent into despair paralleled.  I can't say I liked the movie, but it was a terrific movie, nonetheless.  I can see why it won Academy Awards.

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