Dearest readers, I am fully aware that I have had nothing to offer you but radio static over the past few months.
You see, it’s mostly my fault. Sometime shortly after the Oscars, I find myself wandering aimlessly without any films to be excited about. Sure, I can look towards the next year, but it’s very difficult to discern what may turn out to be good. And on another note, hype seems to situate itself on the shoulders of big blockbusters – the Captain America‘s and the Cowboys and Aliens of the world, not the good stuff that must find a charitable (and loud) voice around festival time. The truth is that there’s just not much to talk about in the off season, and when I’m not enthusiastic about something, it’s just not worth writing about. This is mostly my fault, but it’s also the fault of every studio that releases their movies in this way (but that is a rant I have delved into before and will spare you from at this time).
So what is there to catch up on? I have seen a few films so far this year. Some were quite good, some were quite bad, one was very good, and some were very bad – like when a friend and I decided on a whim to catch Red Riding Hood. I spent another impulsive evening watching Water for Elephants. I saw many things that were very middle-of-the road for me – entertaining enough to warrant an afternoon in the a/c (Super 8, X-Men: First Class, and Bridesmaids). I also saw the one big blockbuster I was really anticipating (mostly nostalgia for the books), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which turned out to be much better than expected, with a formidable turn by Ralph Fiennes (who doesn’t really get to show his worth in the series until this film).
Another film I had been waiting YEARS to see is Tree of Life, which Terrence Malick finally released after what seemed like a decade in the cutting room. Like so many of Malick’s fans, I have mixed feelings about the whole production, but they are mostly positive feelings. Focusing on the central narrative of a 1950s Texan family helps, as all the other stuff feels disassociated. To see this film in mid-May, at the very least, offered something unique and unexpected.
Fresh out of a successful run at the Cannes film festival last May, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris drew me into the theater twice this summer. If you want further thoughts on that, you could scroll down and read my review of the film.
And then, just when I needed to see something to get me excited about movies again, I found Beginners a few weeks ago at the local arthouse theater in Cambridge. Christopher Plummer takes on the role of a gay man coming out in his 70s following the death of his devoted yet complacent wife. This beautiful story is told from the perspective of his son, played by Ewan McGregor, who grapples with the sudden change in his father’s life. I saw Beginners back in August and I have not seen anything else since.
It’s been a slow summer with a few pleasant surprises mixed in there. Needless to say, I am ready to forge on to another great year for movies. It really has only just begun, as festivals are in full swing, and the good stuff is on its way.
Unknown Critics may start to look a little different. I’m planning to start reviewing again, and often. Some of my friends have graciously offered to contribute, and I hope that you’ll find their voices as insightful as I do. A new Black Swan or The Social Network is right around the corner, and I can’t wait to relish in what the season has to offer.