INCEPTION & MICMACS

Okay I have had a double-header of movie magic this week with these two  very different films.  If you’re just looking for a great time out of the heat in some cool darkness, well a movie double-header might be just the thing–if you can find a blockbuster like Inception and a French delight like Micmacs in the same part of your town’s universe.  I have the good fortune to have access to the wonderful Tivoli Cinema in the Westport section of Kansas City. The Tivoli is one of the few non drink/eat establishments still in Westport–much to our dismay–but it is THERE and it offers wonderful film feasts all the time. It also allows you to bring your own food and drink into the show. Incredible, isn’t it? And for the price of your ticket stub you can get a coffee drink of your choice and size half price at the Broadway Cafe–the ONLY INDEPENDENT COFFEE SHOP to KICK  a Starbucks off its block! OH YEAH! But hey, it’s easy to be loyal to a coffee shop with a far superior product and owners than Starbucks can dream of being. But I digress. Back to the films.  Okay, if you love the French film Amelie then I need say no more about Micmacs. But I will anyway.  At the very top of  my “I so love this” list is the night-time cinematography. OH it is beautiful! Delicate, intricate, detailed and laced with humor. I have not found rooftops so profoundly engaging since the HorseMan on the Roof.  The cast is wonderfully quirky and engaging.  Yes, there is a love story, but it’s not the driving force of the storyline. The plot–well–the plot is about those at the very bottom of the economic social order taking on those at the very top–the suppliers of land mines and weapons to the world. Basically scavengers take on the powers of death and destruction–in the most unexpectedly delightful way.  As far as I’m concerned anyway.  Now–what a dream that is and dreams are the main course here today for INCEPTION is all about the power of dreams and ideas. Yes, the power of ideas. Don’t forget that. It’s very very important.  In this film the conscious mind strives to enter the subconscious and take control for all sorts of reasons. Not the least of which is corporate espionage. HMM. Then one man wants to plant an idea for changing someone else’s life and the fun begins.  You can get all the incidentals from the movie sites and standard reviewers.  You can have all the fun of the special effects and action and miss all the wonderful ideas the film offers for exploration. It even has somethings to offer in that love  story department.  Its one ‘flaw’ is that the plot requires the use of sedatives for entering the required dream states. Now, as anyone who has explored meditation knows — who needs a sedative? No drugs required. But that might have been viewed as too tough a sell to western audiences unfamiliar with the power of meditation to do more than relieve stress in a world overflowing with anxiety. Still, it’s a wonderfully creative film about the creative power of minds and ideas–the power of dreaming new things –and old.  

 http://www.sonyclassics.com/micmacs/

http://inceptionmovie.warnerbros.com/

 http://www.tivolikc.com/

http://www.broadwaycafeandroastery.com/

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/amelie/

Evil is a big red movie box!

Okay I’ve been resisting this impulse for weeks now but I’m giving into it wholeheartedly because all I see is red red red movie rental boxes everywhere and my loathing of them and what they represent has increased to the level of “Sledge-Hammer Now!” I’m not adverse to an appearance of Thor with his hammer at all–hint, hint (we do so adore the Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul…ah Dougie, your imaginative wit is sorely missed). Why do I abhore these vending machines of cheap fast flick fixes? For starters you can’t have a conversation with them. Nope. No one is ever going to discover some deliciously quirky flim like Wristcutters via a big red rental box.  Big red boxes are just big red boxes–they do not view movies. They only ‘spew’ forth movies at the behest of a plastic card inserted into their mechanical guts. Big red boxes are incapable of sharing their delight of the visual imagery of a huge lotus pond in Tears of the Black Tiger. Big red boxes do not engage in debates about Michael Clayton being just another lawyer movie or not (I argue most definitely NOT becausse there’s no escaping the mental context of Tom Wilkinson’s incredible line, “I am Shiva the god of death!” and everything that concept entails in the film.)  Anyone at a loss for why I consider the big red boxes lurking everywhere as Evil? If so–then try it this way: they’re one more mark of the devil incarnate in philistine mentality. And before anyone gets any ideas about taking moi to task over the word ‘philistine’ as a result of confusing it with an ethnic group–do so please, pretty please with raspberries on top–google the definition of the word before posting any hate mail or ye shall be soundly smoted–yes, I’m going with ‘smoted’ rather than smitten for you grammatical purists–and I will because I can and I can because this is ‘my’ blog post.  Now, without any further self repression I offer some films to the sad soul of the blogger who couldn’t stand watching another real downer.   I’ve gone about this list of the moment with the thought in mind of supporting the argrument of what the red box cannot and will not do for anyone. So, here are some films that probably will not be featured on the facings of said incarnations of evil(furthermore, they give the color ‘red’ a bad reputation). In no particular order:

Run Lola Run–and Franke Potente as Lola does just that three ways to a screaming climax.

28 Days Later–there are worse thngs than zombies to run from–as this film conveys when it turns into an entirely different sort of horror genre about midway.

The Killing Fields–Do tell if this kills your appetite for war movies after viewing. It certainly did squash mine for years. True story of Din Pran’s struggle to survive.

Billy Elliot–Let’s dance away from the dark side for a moment, shall we?

Off the Map–Hmm…This lifestyle might offer suggestions for everyone feeling the economic squeeze.

Black Robe–1634, Hurons, Quebec, Jesuits, need I say more?

The Commitments–Oh yes, indeed, the Irish have SOUL.

Amelie–And the French have Audrey Tautou who can beat the acting the pants off anyone at will when she’s at the top of her game–which is quite ofen. She’s got quality control under her belt.

Joyeux Noel—Something else from the French–1914 Christmas trench war–and not just the obvious battleground as the Irish priest discovers much to his dismay.

Kontroll–Another aspect of control–Hungarian style. Oh  yeah, subways as hell? purgatory? redemption grounds? Totally cool.

Smoke Signals–Storytelling, storytelling, and more storytelling–and a young Adam Beach does listen listen listen to his friend’s stories as they road trip in search of some anwers.

Edge of America–A true story for the basketball fans among you.  Wes Studi is the magic working mechanic in this Utah setting.

Strictly Ballroom–The movie one critic deemed much much better than Moulin Rouge. Dancing on the wrong side of the tracks in the land down under.

The Milagro Beanfield War–Because we do so love magical realism–and Joe  Mondragon is so damn ‘cute’ even when dodging bullets.

Mongol–More epic history–Genghis Khan falls in love and what a love story it is. View on the largest screen availabe to you because the scenery is KILLER Beautiful and a character in its own right.

Brotherhood of the Wolf–“Wildly Entertaining!” The only movie screening I’ve attended where the entire audience stood up cheering and clapping at the end. I kid not.

The Host–Do NOT watch this dubbed the first time because it destroys the sound atmosphere. Go with the subtitles–you can read this therefore you sure as hell can read subtitles.  The BEST monster movie ever–well so far. I mean who knows what these folks might dish up next! 

Zero Effect–Quirky, quirky, quirky for fans of Bill Pullman (as this film shows the man really can act, he’s got more than a pretty face), detective mysteries, and eccentricity.

Night Watch–Ah the eternal battle between good and evil, light and dark, Russian style. Break out the vodka!

Bagdad Cafe–Magic in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Jack Palance as an artist, imagine that.

The Year of Living Dangerously–That actress from Alien and the Lethal Weapon guy before both of those lesser films.

Serenity—Because I can watch it, and the Firefly series, again and again and again and it NEVER gets old! True delights of dialogue, performance, substance, and fun and on and on and on.

Lastly, for now, Beyond Rangoon–for the acting of Patricia Arquette, Frances McDormand, Spalding Gray–John Steele’s photography–and for Burma and the ongoing insanity of Aung San Suu Kyi’s situation as the elected leader currently on trial for the apparent idiocy of an American man.

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