too much of a …. thing

Can you ever watch too many movies?

…TV?

…youtube?

Most decidedly yes. 

Well, that’s been my recent experience. 

Can anyone relate?

good news for serious film lovers…..!

I was imdbing after I heard of the death of director and writer Anthony Minghella (all they were talking about on the radio was his film The English Patient, which I never saw – I was too young when it originally came out and mum was all like “No its too scary for you, you’re too young to see it”. Perhaps at ten years she was right about her daughter, but I’ve sure showed her!I’m getting side tracked…Oh yeah, so after hearing 774 talking about about this fab writer/director and only this one film referenced, which I haven’t seen, but still knowing vaguely the name ‘Anthony Minghella’ I headed over to my trusty source in all things movie! As well as discovering he directed some other gold in Cold MountainBreaking and Entering and The Talented Mr. Ripley (In only really liked the first of these – too much Jude Law…possibly) I found this project, listed as filming entitled New York, I Love You    aka New York, je t’aime. (Ahhhhhhh!!!! My heart quickened and I got all excited).I just thought you’d like to know.Directors on this project, similar to Paris, je t’aime, are many and include Mira Nair, the aforementioned Minghella, Brett Ratner and Scarlett Johansson !!Other than that the list of directors is somewhat less impressive than its Parisian counterpart, but I still can’t wait!!!! 

Long time no post!

Hey readers of gold stars. My apologies for not posting here for a while. You may realise there are two possible reasons for an absence of movie reviews/rants here: 1 – Jess hasn’t seen any movies since August Rush and therefore has nothing to say, or 2 – Jess has seen movies but for one reason or another hasn’t had the time to post, or she’s just been super lazy. Well, let me assure you its the latter. I’ve been a bit lazy, its uni going back, its wedding videos, its …. my not being a total computer geek (that would explain the strange format of this post – help …anyone – the wordpress had gone funny on me).  ANYWAY over the next days you’ll be getting some posts on the movies I have seen:Rendition Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street  Run Fatboy Run  Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man Definitely, Maybe  Death Defying Acts Science des réves, La  (The Science of Sleep So look forward to your comments when I eventually get my act together! 

Valentines Day Films

heartAs a happily single girl I kind of see Valentines Day much the same way other “happily single” people see it…as a farce.

Talk to my now un-single friends and they’ll tell you how the day has special meaning. But if you’re un-single for long enough it becomes a farce again. Case in point: Asked dad what he was going to give mum (his wife for almost 28 years) for valentines day and he replied “That’s Sunday, isn’t it?”.

I was checking some emails and I stumbled upon what yahoo’s idea is of perfect valentines day movie fair. Furthermore they had a list of what were the worst valentines day (ie: anti-valentines) movies. Needless to say I was a little disappointed with the lists.

in the “Valentines Day Scrooge’s un-romantic Movie Guide” we have:

Closer – haven’t seen it…yet. Been thinking about it but yeah, also heard that its pretty full-on crude.
The Break-Up – well dah! I think the title would suggest that this film is not one to pick up to what with your honey unless you wanted to tell them something… Actually the film isn’t really un-romantic at all. In fact I give it gold stars for trying to hit some version of reality. Nice ending too – as expected but not saccharine.
unromanticFatal Attraction – haven’t seen it, and its from that era of decidedly bad American cinema so it is likely to remain unseen by me. If you liked it let me know! – Also the title doesn’t exactly scream “For richer or poorer” (more “Til Death” but we won’t go there).
The Shape of Things – haven’t seen it, although with Paul Rudd in it I may have to put it on my list of things to see.
Single White Female – Hey that’s me! – I already don’t like it. And haven’t seen it. The sequels called Single White Female 2: The Psycho.
The Opposite of Sex – haven’t seen it. Feel free to comment, infact DO comment if you think anything about any of these films.
Waiting to Exhale – haven’t seen it. Four women of a certain age sitting together laughing – I suppose you can guess why this is unromantic (looks like an African American version of First Wives Club).
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – What tha? Now, while this film isn’t your conventional love story it is definitely a love story – and the best kind of all – quirky, uncool, and unconventional. This is SO going on my romantic list. (I will review this film soon and to spoil the surprise its getting 4.75 Gold Stars).
Alexandra’s Project – never heard of it. Which is rather strange for me. Maybe its before my time. Looks Australian and therefore probably crap.

Now for Yahoo’s Romantic Fodder:
The Notebook – I could actually vomit- but then I’d get gunk all over the mac I’m wanting to sell. Well atleast it did bring two fine actors together and now they’re engaged…WHOOPS……Damn it! -I’ll have to buy a new keyboard.
Pretty Woman – how is this romantic? The acting alone-
Casablanca – as much as I love this super old school classic, its more an German (albeit Nazi) war propaganda film.
Music and Lyrics – I can’t write too much or I’ll vomit all over the-
The Holiday – Hooray for Hollywood! At last a relatively good and smart and well written rom com with the lovely Kate Winslet!
blah blahSleepless in Seattle – My mouth tastes all like salty and icky I’m starting to feel hungry but %$&%*&(* oh there I go again…I should really have a sick bag with me when I think about drivel like this.
The Lake House – okay, I must sadly and shamefully admit I kinda liked this one – no good excuses so I think I might just have to vomit on myself.
Pride and Prejudice (Wright version) – yes it is the Wright version and the right version! – As previously mentioned (a few times) on Gold stars I love this adaption. And when I get around to do a review on it you’ll see I have all the excuses in the world as to why this is worthy of your time (but maybe not on Valentines Day).
An Affair To Remember – Ooooh just the thought of the aging Cary Grant in this old classic and I’m gagging again. Haven’t seen it, although with a title like that, unless you’re up to what you shouldn’t be this valentines day I’d stay away from this one – although its a film from the era where gay meant happy so its probably safe. Then again I doubt my newlywed friends Bec and Geoff would hire out a film entitled A Gay Affair To Remember – no matter how innocent the content would be.

Well, whatever you’re doing tonight……I forgot what is supposed to come next.

more on Good vs Evil Versus Good vs Bad PART 3/3

tick of approvalI always watch for the Dove Foundation’s seal of approval, http://www.dove.org. A few I’ve enjoyed recently were ‘The Ultimate Gift’ and ‘Amazing Grace’. The last dove movie I saw at the theater was ‘National Treasure:Book of Secrets’. It was great and I recommend it!” – Jennifer. Sweetie, I’ve never heard of dove.org!? Maybe because I’m an Aussie….in Australia. I’ll be sure to check it out though. But letting any organisation (or anyone) prescribe you a selection of morally appropriate films and therefore guiding your every silver screen “choice” seems too binding. God gave you a mind, you can investigate for yourself. (Possibly too harsh – but I don’t want to apply too much self-censorship here). I do have to agree that Michael Apted’s Amazing Grace is a good film – great ingredients and great method (it would seem I like this metaphor). But National Treasure 2…come on! The script was woeful, Nicolas Cage deserves the sack, filled with an endless barrage of American patriotism and sentimentality and self-“dignification”. The only redemptive element was the lovely Helen Mirren.

Bethany commented “I’ve started using PluggedIn alot more lately…as I’ve read more reviews in the last few months I realized how little I usually analyze what I watch…PluggedIn has got me thinking more objectively and looking deeper into what my eyes see and my ears hear.” Well, if plugged in helped Bethany think more critically and analytically than she did before that is a great to hear… and it can’t be as bad as I like to go on about. The only thing I will mention is I find it hard to see how plugged in helped her think more objectively. Though it does help you disassociate what you feel (emotions films can bring up) and what you know (as a Christian what is morally right and wrong).

A friend of mine has just started a blog on movie reviews, she’ll take a Christian and a knowledgeable movie understanding and gives pointers on who she would see each film with. I find it actually more helpful for me than Plugged in, which I think sometimes borders on the extreme.

She blogs at http://www.goldstars.wordpress.com” – Bec. At last some good ol’ common sense! – far from it. Thanks Bec!

shoot em upI think “Rambo” would be a good date movie. It has a pretty clever plot mixed in with some wholesome action.” – Adam D. Wide eyed stunned silence, anyone else hear alarm bells?

Jorden: “I tend to use pluggedin to make sure nothings too objectionable before I go see a movie. But …Sometimes it’s too easy to sit back and just enjoy what your watching, and forget to analyze the movie.” Jorden! Welcome to the world of a film reviewer/student! (I haven’t been able to “just enjoy” a movie in about 4 years.) Enjoyment is a key element of cinema (that’s why the film industry is such a profitable one) but it should be only one reason of many to watch films. Sometimes film should be seen not because they are particularly ‘enjoyable’ for the audience but because they are informative, eye opening, challenging, inspiring, technically brilliant, masterfully acted etc etc. If I only ever watched films that are enjoyable I would have missed out on some of the greatest films (in my opinion – more on my favourites in another post). Even though I feel film is a big part of my future I couldn’t justify watching as many films as I do if I was just watching them for enjoyment. I’m sure God might find better things for me to do.
That being said, my mum only likes watching films that will be enjoyable – meaning average ingredients and even more average method (he he, she doesn’t read gold stars so I can have a sly dig).

Thanks for reading my ranting! And as always, please leave your comments, I reckon we’re all keen to hear your views too…

more on Good vs Evil Versus Good vs Bad PART 2/3

posterThough I will be careful not to indulge in the “Will Ferrel and Vince Vaughn” comedies (which I sincerely can’t stand), I don’t mind when the film’s more questionable attributes are a reflection of what I come across every day. Especially if the story as a whole does not condone those specific actions.” –Christina. I like Christina’s comment here; to start with she’s identified that Will Ferrel and Vince Vaughn comedies should be avoided (although for other reasons) – which is true, they are mostly really badly made and just atrocious. But I find puzzling her use of the word “indulge”…
On her final point, though, I find comfort – a Focus on the Family subscriber refusing to read in black and white.

Eugene had this to say “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy, think about such things.” When you have this in mind, the movies out in the theaters today fall well short of what God desires for us to fill our minds with.” Hmm… So much to pull apart from this comment (Please do the same in whatever way you wish.) I know exactly what he means, in my early teen years I was a bit of a puritan Christian (you might suppose I am rebelling against that now) but what in this clapper boardworld is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? God alone is praiseworthy and we live in a fallen world where the most we can do is think about the things that contain elements of these attributes of perfection. I can find of elements of good and excellent things in all the movies I see, even the ones that don’t condemn wrong behaviour. Don’t hear me wrong – I’m not saying I like to go see films with suss content just coz I justify it by looking at its aesthetic qualities and digging for any hint of goodness in it.
But a film is more than (to use Heather’s metaphor) its ingredients. As Christians I think we are called to affirm truth wherever we see it (nodd to my pastor who I stole that off). There should always a place boundaries – for me they are drawn at extreme levels of “inappropriate” content and anything heading quickly towards porn. But we live in a sinful/evil world and I think God would call us to find what is lovely and beautiful in the world he gave us and I hope I’m not stretching this too much to say the same should go for movies.

Soon I think I’ll do a post on dissenting films with some great elements.

JJ said “Whether you’re looking strictly at the content, or the overall context and meaning of the film…folks are going to have different opinions on them. That’s to be expected and appreciated I think… I give [Heather] credit for checking ahead of time, rather than blindly going and then complaining about a film’s content…which I just don’t get.” I like JJ’s point. And sometimes I think the things I can say can come off a bit disrespectful and not appreciative of other people’s opinions. This is far from my intention. If you are a bit worried about the film you’re wanting to see I think it could be worth “checking ahead of time” especially if you’re going to complain about the film’s content afterwards as JJ points out, but in my opinion (I stress my opinion) Plugged In goes too far. That’s partly why GOLD STARS exists.

A list of sins in the movie…good description. I like it 🙂” -Grays. I will not dignify….

Tomorrow’s part 3.

As always, please leave your comments, I reckon we’re all keen to hear your views too…

more on Good vs Evil Versus Good vs Bad PART 1/3

jesus ipod After reading this post that bec let us all know about in a comment from a previous post I thought it would be good to open up a similar dialogue here if people are interested in discussing the considerations of the morality of the movies.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the post and ensuing comments:

chef hatAs they like to say over at the Food Network, great food starts with great ingredients. Neither of these films looked like they were made of anything resembling quality” said Heather Koerner (author of the post) after reading the “sins in the movie listed right before [her] eyes” over at plugged in.

It seems that Koerner is having trouble distinguishing between Good vs Evil and Good vs Bad. Not knowing what the movies were she was referring to doesn’t help confirm or deny this theory of mine but it sounds akin to views held by movie reviewers (Christian or not) – and that is, if they don’t like (what they read of) a film, whether it be because it offended their moral compass or just wasn’t their taste they deem it a bad film.

This is not at all what makes a film bad. A film is inherently bad if its made badly!

She seems to be getting onto the right track with this: “Maybe [the films] were artfully directed or cleverly written or brilliantly acted — but I didn’t think that I really cared to see someone flambe’ a rotten banana“. Or maybe not.

I think I understand her metaphor here. If the ingredients of the film are the story elements – language used, violence, sexual content etc and the method is how these ingredients are brought to audiences (“artfully directed or cleverly written or brilliantly acted“) then, indulge me with this metaphor:

stirring It is possible to take the same set of ingredients and make a good cake and a bad cake depending on the method.

Put another way, the story elements etc have limited to no bearing on whether or not the film is going to be good. You may have enjoyed the film, it may have been morally comforting but it could have been a stinker of a film. Because the method is what makes the film.

Before you respond to this metaphor – I don’t 100% agree with it. I’m just using the method the writer put forward to prove my (*cough*) dissenting point.

Tomorrow’s part 2.

As always, please leave your comments, I reckon we’re all keen to hear your views too…