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i’m in love with movies. [five things 1.9.12]

This five things is movies I’ve seen lately that I think you should see, too. I haven’t had much chance to write lately, but I wanted all of my friends out there in the internets to have some recommendations from me. Here are movies that have a whole-hearted seal of approval because they enchanted, inspired, moved, and entertained me recently.

1. The Adventures of Tintin

This is the best adventure film I’ve seen in years. I loved every second of it. The motion-capture pushed past the uncanny valley and into truly compelling, beautiful visuals, with great performances by the actors being captured. If you’re in the mood for a detective adventure, skip Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and go see this instead.

Granted, there was a speech in the movie that felt like it was written in response to a conversation I had with Emily four or five days earlier, making the film deeply personal, but I was enjoying the hell out of it long before then.

I can’t believe that fucking Chipmunks 3 is making tons of money while this is floundering and failing. This is why we can’t have nice things America, this is why we can’t have nice things.

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2. Another Earth

A new planet appears in the sky on the same night that a young girl makes a life-shattering mistake. The rest of the film carries on from there in a slow, emotionally suspenseful film that kept me on the edge of my seat far more than thrillers and horror movies do.

I always think it’s funny when people praise some piece of SciFi, most often Battlestar Galactica, by saying “It’s not like most SciFi, it’s more about people and politics and life than anything else.” Those people clearly know absolutely nothing about real SciFi. Classic (read ‘good’) Science Fiction is always using aliens, or robots, or spaceships to talk about something else. Asimov, Bradbury, Dick, Vonnegut, etc. etc. etc. It’s always about people, relationships, politics, the human condition. This film is a story that uses the big, exciting premise that another earth appears in our sky to tell a small, painfully human story about a girl who just wants another chance.   


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3. The Secret of Kells

This movie is available on Netflix Instant, so most of you can watch it whenever you want. Please do. It’s a remarkably beautiful movie. The animation, which is rooted entirely in the aesthetic of Celtic spirituality and mythology, is reason enough to watch the film. Every frame is carefully crafted to illuminate a story which is itself about illumination.

It’s a wonderful film, which at times is dark and tragic. Yet, it has to be, because it is a story of the power of beauty, art, and faith to be a light in the darkness. This film genuinely was a light in my darkness over these last few weeks. I’m pretty sure it became another of my ‘once a year-ish’ movies.

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4. The Artist

Sweet Lord. This film is pure, unadulterated cinematic joy. Almost entirely silent, and when it isn’t silent it is very intentionally and carefully done. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus is: “A crowd-pleasing tribute to the magic of silent cinema, The Artist is a clever, joyous film with delightful performances and visual style to spare.” I couldn’t agree more.

I was already in love with Jean Dujardin from his turn as OSS 117, but this seals the deal. If I ever meet him I will kiss him right on his french lips. That’s right folks, you read it here first. I want to kiss Jean Dujardin on the mouth. And Bernice Bejo, who was also delightful in the OSS 117 film Cairo: Nest of Spies, isn’t too shabby either… wee-ow!

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5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The other films on the list were inspiring. This was just well-crafted bad-assery. It was simply flat out cool. I wasn’t as big a fan of the books as many, but watching this film I think I got it and felt what I’d been missing. For many, I think this story connected because deep down we wish there were violent champions for the weak against the villains and monsters.

Rooney Mara was absolutely electric.

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dead space.

In the lightning fast world of video games, this one is old (2008), but it was new to me.

I’ve never really played games from the horror genre, but if Dead Space is any indication, I’ll be adding more to my Gamefly queue post-haste. The game was full of tense, creepy fun.

The game’s story isn’t anything groundbreaking. You are Isaac Clarke, your wife Nicole is on a space station which seems to be having communication difficulties, as it’s been radio silent for some time. You arrive at the space station, which is running a mining expedition on the planet below, as part of a team that has been sent in to fix whatever is wrong. You crash land on your way in, rendering you unable to leave, and obviously, you arrive to discover that everything has gone to shit. Soon you are being attacked by dead humans who have been converted into horrible monsters by some alien life-form. You need to survive, find Nicole, and discover a way to get off the ship. Pretty straightforward sci-fi horror.

The gameplay itself is a dark, gruesome, atmospheric romp through the limbs of disfigured, reanimated corpses. Like most horror video games, you are constantly running low on ammo, and asshole bad guys are constantly jumping out of the vents they travel through (as a lovely homage to the Alien franchise). Thus, your poor Isaac is constantly on edge, desperately trying to make it to the next waypoint before running out of ammo and health and find yourself completely screwed. Talk about PTSD.

Along the way, you get kinesis and stasis (the ability to slow enemies down temporarily) powers. At times, using kinesis to send a well aimed gas tank at an enemy is the only way to survive when your ammo runs out.

Again, none of these features is anything new. Yet, there is something to be said for taking pre-existing parts and putting them together in an enjoyable way. I know I was probably one of the last gamers in the world to play this one, but if you haven’t tried it out yet, you definitely should.

I can’t wait for the sequel in January!

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