My 2007 Summer Movies – Part 3
Let me wrap up this series before summer ends. Coz although fall doesn’t officially start until September 23rd, we’ve been experiencing cold temperatures here in Winnipeg for the last couple of weeks. We’ve been wearing our sweaters and warm jackets and the leaves have started to turn colours. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be writing about the movies that I have seen. You might still see a movie post here and there. Only, they won’t be titled My 2007 Summer Movies.🙂
The story is set in the 1990s during the Civil War in Sierra Leone and it centers around this rare pink diamond that Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou), a fisherman, found while he was captured by the rebels and was forced to work in the diamond fields. While he is in prison, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a smuggler, learns that Solomon has hidden this stone. Later on they join in a quest to recover the diamond with Danny promising Solomon that he’d help find his son who has been captured by the rebels. With the help of Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connely ), the American journalist, they trekked through rebel territory.
I don’t usually watch action films but this one stars Leo. And you guessed it right. A Leo fan here. I watched him the very first time he appeared in the hit show Growing Pains and I just fell in love with him. I thought I’d check out this movie because he was nominated for an Oscar and lost to Forest Whitaker. I mentioned this in my comment on Wil’s post The Last King of Scotland, and there were a couple of people who reacted on my comment. Anyway, it’s all good. :) We all have our reasons for wanting to watch certain actors and films. And from Wil’s description of the disturbing scenes in Scotland, I don’t think that I’ll be watching it. Sorry, Wil.
Blood Diamond also portrays how the children are trained to be soldiers and kill people, even their family. I was deeply touched by that scene when Dia, Solomon’s son, has the gun pointed at his father and Solomon tries to talk to him telling him he is a good boy and that he loves soccer and school and he is sorry that these men made him do bad things and that his mother and sister are waiting for him back home. And that he loves him. And tears are falling on their cheeks. Ah, it’s so heartbreaking.
I think both Leo and Djimon gave very good and intense performances in this film. I also like the way it ended.
My favourite quote (And I’m sorry if I offend anybody with this):
“Well, off the record, I want to get kissed before I get f*cked.”
Don’t we all? :) And you expect to hear that line from a woman. But it was Leo who said that, in his South African accent.
This is a cunning cat-and-mouse game between the accused (Anthony Hopkins) who confesses to killing his wife and a young prosecutor (Ryan Gosling) who cannot find the evidence. I love dramatic thrillers like this. It keeps you guessing as the story unfolds. Yes, Sir Anthony is a remarkable actor, but I couldn’t take my eyes off Ryan Gosling. I think he’s a fine actor, too.
Ted Crawford: My dick has evidence.
Judge Robinson: Excuse me?
Ted Crawford: My dick… my private investigator. I call him Dick.
What a gripping performance from Ryan Gosling! He plays a teacher at an all-black inner-city school who is trying to kick his habit of smoking coke. But unlike his ex-girlfriend who is already clean and who recently paid him a visit, he’s not quite there yet. He’s still struggling with his addiction. Apparently, the title, Half Nelson, is a wrestling move where you are caught in an uncomfortable position. And that is indeed what happened in one of my favourite scenes. Ryan’s character, Mr. Dunn, is in the girls’ locker room (he coaches the girl’s basketball team too) when Drey, one of his 13-year-old students, catches him sitting on the toilet, all sweaty and high from cocaine. I love that expression on Ryan’s face and also that of the girl’s (Shareeka Epps). She seemed afraid and confused. Because what do you do when you catch your teacher like that, eh? In that scene, he asks her to help him get up, to stay for just a minute and give him water. Because of this secret between them, they form a special bond. He would give him a ride home after school or basketball practice, making sure she gets home safely. And she is worried when he doesn’t show up at school the next day. Knowing that he must have been smoking pot, she goes to his house, making sure that he is all right and picking up after himself. I love Ryan. I first noticed him in The Notebook.
Change moves in spirals, not circles. For example, the sun goes up and then it goes down. But every time that happens, what do you get? You get a new day. You get a new one. When you breathe, you inhale and you exhale, but every single time that you do that you’re a little bit different than the one before. We’re always changing. And it’s important to know that there are some changes you can’t control and that there are others you can.
Kale (Shia LeBeouf) has recently lost his father to a car accident and he has become withdrawn and troubled. When his Spanish teacher insults him in class and mentions his father, he loses it and he punches him in the face. Since he is under 18, he is sentenced to house arrest instead of going to jail. He has to wear an ankle bracelet, ala Martha Stewart.
To kill his boredom while being stuck in the house, he starts watching his neighbours through his binoculars and video camera. He suspects that one of his neighbours might be the serial killer that is all over the news. But is he really?
Boy, that Shia LeBeouf is hot, huh? He has grown up a lot since the Disney movie Holes. And boy, can he kiss? His girlfriend Ashley (Sarah Roemer) is hot too. I can’t wait to see Shia in the new Indiana Jones movie.
This film is based on the personal memoirs of young Augusten Burroughs (Joseph Cross). His father (Alec Baldwin) is an alcoholic and his mother (Annette Bening) is cuckoo. She has a bipolar disorder. She has been trying to get her poems published in the New York Times and other leading newspapers but she keeps getting rejection letters. When she and her husband divorced, she leaves the 14-year old Augusten to live with her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, and his eccentric family. The doctor has three adopted children. All of them were adopted from his previous patients. There’s Hope (Gwyneth Paltrow). Augusten writes in his journal that she is Dr. Finch’s favourite daughter, because Dr. Finch would tell her, “Hope… You are, by far, my favorite daughter.” And he’d say this in front of the other daughter, Natalie (Evan Rachel Wood). Natalie wants to go to college but can’t because the doctor has spent her money and he is in trouble with the IRS. And then there’s Neil Bookman, the schizophrenic son, who is living by himself and from whom Augusten has found love. Yes, they are both gay.
Augusten writes about his painful childhood with such humour. It reminds me of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes. If only Angela’s Ashes (the movie) were done in this kind of perspective, I wonder how it would have turned out. When I was reading McCourt’s book, I found myself laughing a lot. But the movie was depressing to watch and didn’t engage me that much. But then, that’s just me. I think the movie was received quite well.
Running with Scissors also reminds me of The Royal Tenenbaums, which also stars Gwyneth as an eccentric daughter too. By the way, I just saw Evan Rachel Wood on Oprah. She’s also grown up a lot since the hit ABC show Once and Again. She is in this new movie Across the Universe, a musical featuring all Beatles song. I think I’d like to watch that on the big screen.
I enjoyed watching Running with Scissors. And I think the actors were also great.
My favourite quotes:
Where would we be without our painful childhoods?
I want rules… and boundaries… because… what I’ve learned is that… without them… all life is… is a series of surprises.
Warning: Spoilers in the comments section
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