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Reel Time with Middlest: “A” Movie”. “Amélie”

31 May
File:Amelie poster.jpg

Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Year 2001. Rating R. Length 122 Minutes.

Amélie [Original Title: Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain] is a wonderful little movie. I am not 100% confident on who or what introduced me to this film, but I am going to assume that it was introduced to me by my host sisters while visiting L’Angers my senior year of high school. This logic makes sense, as the film is French and during high school I did not know anyone who would introduce me to a film that would require English subtitles. Oddly enough, the other “A” film I was considering [American History X] was also introduced to me by my host sisters. Those girls really know how to pick out Meghan-approved movies!

Picture this: modern day Monmartre, France. Amélie was played by the adorable Audrey Tatou [the lead actress in “The DaVinci Code”].

Amélie as a little girl was painfully isolated and lonely. Her mother died at a young age and her father withdrew himself from the joys in life. This isolation caused Amélie to develop a whimsical imagination to ward off her loneliness. For most of the film, Amélie was a 23 year old introverted waitress who found pleasure in changing people’s lives for the better.

Amélie discovered joy in helping others shortly after Princess Diana’s death. The shock of the death caused Amelie to drop a bottle top, which rolled into the wall, dislodging a tile. The hole in the wall encased a metal box with trinkets from the 1950s. Yadda, yadda, yadda…Amelie discovered who the box belonged to and anonymously gave the box back. She overheard the owner refer the unknown person as his guardian angel. At that point Amelie promised herself to devote her life to bring happiness onto others.

The next scene was one of my personal favorites. Here’s a video of Amélie helping a blind man cross the street. The perfect example of ways Amélie brought happiness onto others:

Another facet of the movie was Amélie’s relationship with her neighbor Mr. Dufayel, who spent most of the movie working on an unfinished painting. His focus was on finishing a mystery girl who was drinking a glass of water. Amélie spent a lot of time with Mr. Dufayel and many discussions were based off of figuring out the missing pieces to this girl. These discussions progressed and eventually Amélie was forced to examine her own life and try to break away from her shyness.

And, of course, Amélie had a love interest. To prevent me from wrecking the cuteness of the movie, I’ll just show you a video.

With album in tow, Amélie now had to return the photo album to the quirky collector, Nino Quincampoix. Amélie eventually returned the book anonymously. She also anonymously expressed interest to Nino, but always shied away from an actual face-to-face meetup with him. And thus began a boy-chases-girl race in Paris.

Now the review shall stop there, for I do not want to give away the endings to the movie. There are, however, a few more things I’d like to add about the movie overall.

  • I think it was interesting that throughout the movie it was evident that the director/writer/whomever had a distaste for people’s reactions to Princess Di’s death. There were many scenes where Amélie or other characters got “annoyed” by people’s obsession with P.Di’s death. It makes me curious on what it was like to be in Europe in ’97 and the years following. Would I have been a babbling slob or would I be the one rolling my eyes at others?
  • The film was beautifully crafted. The scenes were colorful and bright. The music…outstanding! I am tempted to purchase (or Dropbox *hint hint*) the soundtrack. Yes, the language was in French, but the DVD offers both English and Spanish subtitles. I felt like reading the subtitles did not deter me from missing any of the visuals in each scene. Then again, I’m biased as I love movies with subtitles.
  • One of my favorite, quirky characteristics of the movie was that as each character was introduced, the audience got a taste of who they were by their likes and dislikes. It was a fun and clever way to get to know the characters. The likes and dislikes were mostly irrelevant to the movie (save Amélie’s likes and dislikes), which surprisingly still made it fun and interesting. Bonus: the video also introduces Mr. Dufayel better than I can explain him!
  • And last but not least, Amélie sought little revenges to people she had distaste for – and rightfully so. Here’s an example of her sweet little revenge on her neighbor as a child.

Ah, yes. My favorite “A” movie to-date. Still not convinced you should seeAmélie? Well, here’s a trailer that may sway your nay to a yay.

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Middlest

Reel Time with Middlest: Numbered Film

8 May

Director Marc Webb. Year 2009. Rating. PG-13. Length 95 Minutes.

“This is a story of boy meets girl. The boy, Tom Hansen of Margate, New Jersey, grew up believing that he’d never truly be happy until the day he met the one. This belief stemmed from early exposure to sad British pop music and a total mis-reading of the movie ‘The Graduate’. The girl, Summer Finn of Shinnecock, Michigan, did not share this belief. Since the disintegration of her parent’s marriage she’d only love two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing. Tom meets Summer on January 8th. He knows almost immediately she is who he has been searching for. This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.”


Sigh. This movie is just so good. It’s funny, quirky, awkward, sad, creative – which makes it totally loveable. I like how in the introduction [quoted above] the narrator informs the audience that this is, indeed, a boy-meets-girl story, but it is not a love story. Then blasts Regina Spektor, who makes my heart sing every time I hear her.

The title of the film indicates a vague idea of what the movie is about: 500 days of the relationship between Summer Finn [Zooey Deschanel] and Tom Hansen [Joseph Gordon-Levitt].

One of my favorite things about the movie is that the story is not told in chronological order, but the way the movie is edited saves the audience from getting confused. The intro to each scene indicates which day the relationship is on and the viewer can anticipate the affect of the scene that lies ahead based on the coloring of the intro and the health of the tree that is illustrated. The movie toggles scenes in a way that you see the relationship progress and decompensate almost simultaneously, which is a unique way to portray the story.

Another thing I love about this story is that I adore both of the main characters, Summer and Tom. To me, there is no “bad guy” in the movie – which is a common theme in romantic comedies; there’s almost always someone who is douchey and not worth the other person’s time. But in this flick, both characters are written with a very honest and humanistic quality to them. Very likeable people can relate to either Tom or Summer. Personally I relate to Summer more than Tom, but there are plenty of Tom moments that make me point at the T.V., wink, and say, “Yeah, Tom…You are totally relate-able right now.”

And then there were the “SO TRUE” moments in the film. You know, the moments in a movie, tv show, or a book that makes you shout “that’s so freakin’ true…!” as you stomp your feet in excitement because the moment is so fucking relate-able?! No? Party of one? Ok. Well, a prime example that my sister and I always gush over is how “so freakin’ true” the Expectations VS. Reality scene is in the movie.  In this particular story it’s related to love, but it applies to many facets of expectations in life. Job interviews, how well your writing is perceived, sending out applications, planned night outs, anticipating a concert, first dates etc. Things don’t always work out the way you want to. Or reverse: Expectations are low and reality is the ultimate high! You know what I’m saying. Anyway, the film highlighted that which always makes me smirk, nod, and state, “this is so freakin’ true.”

And then there’s my ultimate favorite scene in the entire movie. It occurs quite early in the film and it’s so awesome  my words will never do it justice. Ah, yes the expectation bar is set high – but will the reality meet the expectation? Ha! See what I did there?! Another example of expectations vs reality. Sigh. Just click on this link and hopefully you’ll fall in love with it, too. 🙂

So, ladies and gents – there ya have it. (500) Days of Summer is the highlighted numbered film in the “Reel Time with Middlest” blog series. If you’re in the Milwaukee area and ever want to watch it with me, please let me know. It’s a flick I can watch over and over again and not get [too] sick of it.

And if you’re a sucker and are not convinced that this movie is awesomely reely good, then watch the preview below.

Fin.

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Middlest

Reel Time with Middlest

1 May

I love movies. “Attend an Independent Film Festival” and “Watch All ‘Best Picture’ Nominees Before the Oscars” are on my “List O’ Things To Do After I Graduate” list. I do not attend the theatre very often because it’s a rip-off, but Netflix and Blockbuster 5 for $20 deals have treated me well in giving me a film fix when needed.

Although I adore reading, I like when my imagination can take a break from a story. And who doesn’t love the excitement from reading a book before the movie adaptation comes out? Seeing how my imagination differs from the movie is an awesome experience. And yes, the movie isn’t going to cover the book in its entirety – and that’s what I love about movies! It’s a different perception to a story I’m already familiar with. If I wanted to experience the same story twice, then I’ll just read the book again. CTFD, book-to-movie adaptation haters. Anyway, my preferred genres: documentaries, independent, romance, suspense, action, period pieces, and classic/oldies.

There are times I get made fun of for not watching a lot of flicks that are deemed “must-sees” and “so funny & incredible”. Welp, you probably haven’t seen a lot of movies that I consider fantastic. Although, my blank stares when someone asks if I’ve seen a specific movie tends to be…well, very embarrassing at times. Anyway, I would consider many of my movie choices as quirky, off-stream, and very loveable. Don’t get me wrong, I love popular films – and there will be plenty of those listed. And since I love lists and organization, they will be in alphabetical order. Oh, yes. So organized. And if you read my latest posting, you know I enjoy life in the slow lane – so this blog series will probably last a reel long time. Ha. Reel. Still can’t resist overusing that wordplay.

And the only way to eat popcorn is homemade. I don’t know what society was thinking when they deemed throwing kernels, salt [and pepper if you’re a Glitz&Blitz Twin], and oil in a popcorn maker was less convenient than burning popcorn in the microwave. But to each their own, just keep your non-perishable popcorn to yo’self Mr. Redenbacher.

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Middlest