Monday, March 30, 2009

saw two more movies over the weekend, Signs and Contact. both of which we own, and have seen before. Signs simply hits me. its atmosphere is claustrophobic and scary. visually it is gratifying. it is not a flashy exercise, it just feels well filmed. Mel Gibson is pretty well tainted at this point, it is hard to forget all the weirdness attached to him now. I am, that is to say, leery of him, even films that appeared before he weirded out. despite this prejudice in which I find myself, he comes across well. the cast is really good. a pall hangs over Gibson and family. Gibson's wife died before the action of the movie. the older child is a morose boy, the younger a quirky girl. and there is Gibson's brother, played by Joachim Phoenix. the relationship of these 4 is funny, human, and convincing. so I have named many of the positives in the film. Gibson's denial of God because his wife died, and his ultimate renovation, is too pat. art is interesting when it doesn't explain. the movie is basically Childhood's End meets Dawn of the Dead meets War of the World's. the freshness of the humour, the compelling atmosphere, and the realness of the relationship of the 4 of them, as family members and as actors, is what distinguishes this movie. I have seen it 3 times and still enter it wide eyed. Contact has a similar underlying wistfulness as Signs. Jodie Foster is ambitious researcher who lost her father at a young age. like in Twister, as it happens. that loss informs her actions thru out. the SETI project is a big I don't know for me. collateral discoveries and advancements aside, I wonder if it is getting very far. it is in the movie but... well anyway, Jodie has a 2001 moment, which is upbeat in that odd heroic way of Carl Sagan. Tom Skerritt and James Woods are nefarious in a pat way, but that doesn't matter. the focus is on Foster's trip, if I can please use that word. which brings me to Foster herself. she is a good actor, very intelligent yet lively, but even when she is giddy, there is a coolness about her. we're not used to smart actors, I mean really smart ones. Hollywood is full of knuckleheads so it must be hard for her. anyway, Foster brings forth that preternatural faith in science that Sagan brought.
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