To explain the delay in between videos, I have recently been hospitalized (since Tuesday) for a nasty virus I got while in India. Crazy, I know. What I love about running a YouTube channel is that I get flexibility: I post when I want to and I don't have to follow deadlines. But it's been a month since my last video, so I feel a bit frustrated. Hopefully, I can get the next one out in the next week or so. My next video will be called something like "What Makes Long Takes NOT Awesome?" (Maybe something less click-baity and annoying sounding... we'll see).
That's my general channel update for now. Being in the hospital, though, and also having countless hours on planes to and from India has made me watch a lot of movies (mostly ones I've already seen). To name a few:
Spotlight: finally got around to it. It's a very well-told story. It's not preachy in the sense that it just bashes the Catholic church and everything it stands for. It feels as thorough and thought-out as the real-life articles published about the Catholic Church in 2001. I liked how acting didn't necessarily stand out but rather fit seamlessly into the movie. I wasn't thinking, "Wow, Mark Ruffalo is acting very well," I wasn't really thinking about Mark Ruffalo at all, I was engrossed in the character's reactions, not the actor's. Contrast with Leo who did a great job, but it was Leo acting well, not his character acting well. Does that make sense? I hope it does, because I think it's a VERY important distinction that Spotlight understands.
Room: WOW. So gripping. Edge of my seat. First 50 minutes flew by like no other movie this year. I really mean that. The beginning also had a really interesting scene consisting of: how do you explain to a 5-year-old, who has never seen the outside world, that there is an outside world. Maybe that seems easy at first, but it's actually almost impossible. The way the movie deals with something on the borderline philosophical is really cool. Now, I want to read the book now to see how they go further into that idea (I suspect the book will allude more to Plato's Cave, since the child sees everything in the real world from the 2-dimensional TV). The acting was incredible by both leads. I think the kid should have gotten nominated for something. He was young Abigail Breslin good. Really, he was the star of the movie. It's all shot from his point of view. The 3rd act was kind of underwhelming (and I'm hopefully not spoiling because, well, all the previews and plot descriptions revolve around the 3rd act. If so, skip this paragraph). It's about the mother and son coping with being outside of Room. So it goes from a thriller to a family drama/coming of age VERY quickly. There's actually a nice long shot of a hospital, with big open windows giving in lots of light overlooking a sea of buildings (I think it's in the trailer, also, some obvious symbolism there, but a nice touch) and you get that feeling of "oh ok, the action is over, here's where everyone's gonna fight and then figure it out and get over Room hopefully." So personally, I liked the thrilling part, the part where the kid couldn't comprehend leaving and that there was a world outside, the part where I was literally hands in my hair eyes wide open while on the airplane trip to India with everybody staring at me and I didn't care, the part where I was in tears when the mom and son are reunited as the flight attendant is trying to ask me if I wanted my breakfast (I did). The beginning of the movie: 10/10. The third act: 7/10.
Meet The Patels: What you don't know about me is that, while 100% white, my soul is half Indian. I've been to India twice: once three years ago, and then last week where it nearly killed me with a virus, and I STILL love it. I speak a little Hindi, I eat Indian food whenever I can, and I even like Bollywood stuff (3 Idiots: classic). The cultural divide is vast, but I like how, with the differences, the core values are still perfectly in line with America: a strong, big family, successful children, and hard work. So in movies about the conflict between American and Indian values (and there are a handful: Outsourced, The Other End of the Line), there's a non-threatening fun to the conflict, because at the end of the day, everyone is looking for the same thing: one big healthy happy family. In Meet the Patels, Ravi Patel's parents want him to get married. So Ravi must travel around America to search for a woman who must be Indian, but raised in America, but also from a specific region of India, and also single, but also within his age range, but also balanced both in her respect for Indian culture and her upbringing as an American, but also funny, but also nice, but also interested in Ravi, but he is also interested in her. You can see the problem. He must travel hundreds of miles from city to city to go on several dates who meet these specifications, all the while bickering with his parents who keep begging for grandkids in a way only aging parents can. The hilarity comes in the parent-son interactions. "The next time we come to India, it will be with grandchildren" cries out Ravi's dad (they go to India once a year, so that's quite the time crunch!). The story feels familiar because it is familiar. And it's not just a bright comedy. It gets touching when it needs to, and it stays light when it doesn't. And by the end, you're rooting for Ravi, and he doesn't have to be mauled by a bear and have his son murdered by a fellow fur-trapper for you to feel that way.
Thanks for reading. I'm gonna make this available to the public as some sort of pseudo-content while I still recover from my virus. This is very informal, but I hope the reviews were worth the read.
- Point of view shots. The most familiar and subjective shots in cinema? I want to talk specifically about Room, which roots us in the perspective of the kid throughout the movie. Also Silence of the Lambs. That shot where she's in the room with all the male police officers and they stare her (us) down? There's really no better way for to me feel what it's like to be a woman in an all-male room than by that point of view shot. Honestly. And Rear Window because, well, that's the whole movie, and it's so subjective because he's so removed from the scenes that take place across the courtyard.