Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Nibiru Day: 7 Word Weekend

New Movie Releases Reviewed in 7 Words Each

The Odd Life of Timothy Green: Sprayed him with vinegar, now he's dead.

The Expendables 2 Proposed Tagline: Now even more throw awayable.

ParaNorman - Aw, zombie horror... You know, for kids.

Sparkle - Because I'm classy, no jokes about sequels. 

Robot & Frank (limited) - Robots and Frank Langella, I'm completely sold.

Of the lot, I really do want to see Robot & Frank. I've heard a lot of good things about it. And with the world possibly ending soon, I figure it's best to pick and choose what I use my time for.

What's that? You say you've never heard of Nibiru? Let me enlighten you. Nibiru is a planet or sun that's been headed for us for sometime, apparently hidden by our sun. Those who say they've seen it, or have the pictures/videos, have put today, August 17th as the day it's supposed to begin passing close to us. Somewhere within the next couple months it should get very close. Not so close that it engulfs us, or burns us up or what have you (fingers crossed). In honor of such an auspicious occasion, I thought I would write up a quick review of Melancholia. I did watch it some months back though, so do bear with me.

There were two films about worlds colliding last year, out about the same time. Another Earth was about a duplicate earth crashing into ours. I'd heard  a lot of bad things about it, but decided to try it anyway. The reason you're not getting a review of that one, is that I fell asleep about 20 minutes in. So while I can't speak to the rest of it, that's rarely a good sign. Melancholia on the other hand kept me rapt the entire length.

Say what you will about Lars von Trier as a person or a filmmaker -he's certainly a polarizing figure- one thing is for sure, the man knows how to create a gorgeous movie. Melancholia is a little like painting on a canvas of film. The movie is one gorgeous shot after another. Broken into two parts, each focusing on a different sister, it manages to tell a whole story while still feeling almost like two separate films. Like a lot of recent science fiction films have done of late, the sci-fi serves more for a backdrop, rather than the point of the story, allowing the characters lives to be the main focus.  

In the first part, Kirsten Dunst is Justine, a woman on her wedding day, trying to wear a smile to hide the lack of joy she finds in life. Her sister, Claire, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg (who steals every scene she's in), is an uptight commanding woman. The wedding and subsequent party is paid for by Claire and her husband. After an opening that illustrates the destruction of the earth to come, that aspect is pretty quiet through the first half of the movie, mostly setting it up for the second part. 

When the second half does come, the perspective shifts away from Justine and and more to Claire. When we see things from her side, it's a much different world that's in view. Motivations and actions from the first half have a different slant. It's subtle changes to the characters, that speaks well to the break in the middle. In Claire's story, the focus also really shifts gears into how these characters relate to the possibility that an encroaching planet -named Melancholia- might collide with earth. Some, like Claire's husband (Kiefer Sutherland), are excited and welcoming the planet, locked in their belief the planet will miss earth. Despite the beginning of the film, you can't help but get caught up in the characters hope for a miss, so that life will go on.

The atmosphere of the film is haunting from start to finish. It doesn't ever quite let you relax, and leaves you with an uneasy feeling even after you've finished. I did think it has some places where the film drags, and the opening sequence I could see being a bit to artsy for some impatient viewers. And I will say that while yes it is beautifully shot, at some places it tips over the other way into almost perfume commercial quality. Overall though, it's a fantastic, and unsettling piece. 

Now if it happens for real in the next few months, I might have a different view on the film. Such quotes as "hate it" or "waste of time" or "abomination on film" might be found within.

So what are your plans this weekend? Want to stop the world and melt with the rest of us?


  1. I am so darn behind on movies! There's a couple of these that I'll add to my list. I thought that once I retired, I always stay caught up, the opposite is true...

  2. C'mon Nibiru, show me what you got! :p

    I want to see ParaNorman so badlly.

  3. Wow, Melancholia sounds like a great movie. Gotta see it, and thanks.

  4. I don't think I'd even heard of melancholia, but now I may have to look for it.

    Also, I had to look up sparkle to get the joke - and I had a good chuckle.


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