I am not a Woody Allen guy at all, but Midnight in Paris is hardly a Woody Allen film.
Its a film for every person who’s ever been disillusioned with the present, and wondered how much better life would have been ‘back then’ – ‘then’ standing in for any time period in the past that strikes one’s fancy. For Gil Prenders, Hollywood screenwriter and self-proclaimed hack , the time to be in is the 1920’s. In Paris of the twenties, to be precise, where the likes of Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald and TS Eliot discussed poetry in bars and soirees; Picasso, Matisse and Dali were starting off on their careers, and Cole Porter serenaded the city of lights and the colorful inhabitants in its nightclubs. Prenders, played by Owen Wilson, floats the idea of settling down in Paris for good. But his all-American fiancee Inez (Amy Adams) and her moneybag parents have different ideas. ‘Cheap is cheap’, sniggers his future mother-in-law at his choice of jewellery and his reluctance to spend upwards of 20 thousand dollars on a set of antique armchairs, while Inez chooses to go dancing with a bunch of friends rather than humor Gil and his fanciful romanticization of Paris. As Gil wanders through the streets of Paris, the clock strikes midnight, and … stuff happens. Go watch.
Oh, and this is probably the only film where I’ve liked Owen Wilson as an actor. And the supporting case – Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni in a surprising cameo. If you like literature and film and the idea of walking in the rain in Paris, this movie is for you.
The opening sequence to the film is a beautiful piece by Sidney Bechet, that I’ve been listening in a loop since.
Incendies was Canada’s official entry to the Oscar this year, and it’s a darn shame that the film did not win. It’s definitely the most hard-hitting film I’ve seen since 2005 – no, I am not saying which one. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, based on a play (which apparently runs 4 hours), this film would have totally gone under my radar had I not seen the trailer at Laemmle while watching 13 Assassins a few weeks ago.
The premise is this – twin children, son and daughter. Their mother dies and leaves them individual letters in her will. The son has to deliver a letter to their brother(who they never knew existed), and the daughter has to deliver one to their father(who was presumed dead in a war). This takes both of them on a journey to their mother’s roots in the Middle-east, and a lot of revelations. The story is told in a brilliant non-linear style involving the mother’s life in the past interspersed with the siblings’ journey in the present, and all of it winds down to a terrific, searing climax. Unbelievably good.
The film begins with Radiohead’s ‘You and Whose Army’, originally used in Kingdom of Heaven.
Seriously, fuck Super 8, X-men and all that stuff playing in the theaters right now. They’ll play on cable TV later, and you could watch them even with ad-breaks. Go watch these two movies. One’s a downer, the other leaves with you a dazed smile. Both of them are awesome.