Monday, January 16, 2012

MONDAY MOVIES ~ Midnight in Paris & Another Earth

A couple of reasonably up-to-date movies, rented as counterpoint to our usual out-of- date junk-store acquisitions.

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Woody Allen was writer and director, though this time with no starring part. This movie won him the Best Screenplay award at yesterday's Golden Globes shindig. At last - something we've actually seen got an award! The film was also nominated in two or three other categories from memory - Best Film, Best Male Actor in a Comedy or Musical (Owen Wilson) among them.

I like Woody Allen's work, wrote a post about his movie corroboration with Diane Keaton and their natal charts a while ago - that post is HERE.

Midnight in Paris is the most straightforwardly accessible of any Allen movie I've seen, yet it still has a quirky twist and, as always, good music.

Set in Paris, as the title hints, with all of the goodies of the movie happening at and after midnight. A group from the USA are on vacation in Paris. Gil, one of the group, played by Owen Wilson, is a Hollywood screenwriter whose dream is to write a good novel. He appears to be on a completely different wavelength from his fiancée played by Rachel McAdams, her parents and her friends. Gil wanders off alone, one midnight, and inadvertently enters....what....a time-warp? Suspension of disbelief and willingness to go where Woody Allen beckons is necessary.

On Gil's many midnight ventures he discovers that time has slipped back to the 1920s. He finds himself among and embraced by some of the luminaries of his favourite era: Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates!) Picasso, Dali, Man Ray, and others.

I'll not give away more of the plot, which isn't at all complex, easily predictable - the fun is in the predicting.

The whole premise reminded me of the style of some of Thorne Smith's books. Wonder if Woody Allen had been reading one when the idea came to him? I've always loved Thorne Smith's daffy novels - he was the subject of one of my first blog topics in 2006: See HERE.

Midnight in Paris is a thoroughly enjoyable bit of fun - well worth the rental fee! Highly recommended.

Another Earth (2011)

An indie movie, its premiere was at the Sundance Festival 2011. Sort of sci-fi, sort of allegory, sort of metaphor - I guess.

There are no "big names" in this film. The two leads, Brit Marling and William Mapother were unknown to me, but turn in excellent performances.

As the story begins a young woman celebrating acceptance into an Institute of Technology is driving without due care, looking at a "new" planet in the sky, kills a mother and child, and leaves the child's father in a coma. She is imprisoned for several years. On release, still filled with remorse, unwilling to carry on with the kind of career she had chosen before the accident, she takes a job as janitor, so as to work with her hands rather than her head.

To say much more would give away the plotline, which would be a pity. This is a fairly new DVD and a passing reader might wish to rent it.

The "other Earth" part of the story offers another incidence where suspension of disbelief comes in handy. The fact that writer/producer Mike Cahill doesn't address the science of the other Earth-like planet, sitting so close to our Earth , yet causing no disturbance, indicates that the story's premise is meant to be taken mainly as metaphorical/allegorical.

In Wikipedia's Production Notes (do not read Wiki's page if you wish to avoid plot details) we are told:
The idea behind Another Earth first developed out of director Mike Cahill and actress Brit Marling speculating as to what it would be like were one to encounter one's own self. In order to explore the possibility on a large scale, they devised the concept of a duplicate Earth. The visual representation of the duplicate planet was deliberately made to evoke the Moon, as Cahill was deeply inspired by the 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing.
Another movie worth renting!


anyjazz said...

Two movies that certainly earn a spot in an evening’s entertainment schedule. I thought Midnight in Paris must have been Thorne Smith inspired also. Another Earth took a big leap into suspended belief for its premise. Hard to accept at first, it becomes easier as one realizes the story is not about the other earth, but about self examination.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~ You were the first person I'd met (since having been introduced to the books of Thorne Smith myself back in the late 1950s) who had even heard of this author, let alone read any of his books.....must have been fate eh? ;-)

Wisewebwoman said...

Loved Midnight and curious about Another Earth so will watch for it.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes, do - I think you'll enjoy.