Tag Archives: Emily Blunt

85-88 of 366: Edge of Tomorrow; Brief Encounter; Paris, Texas; Frankenstein

This is hard. Like Bob Harris singing More Than This in Lost in Translation while trying to process his feelings for Charlotte-hard.

For the sake of catching up on my movies today I decided to (try to) not spend so much time writing/obsessing about each one in individual blog posts.

I watched four movies today and challenged myself to only write short paragraphs about each one so I can get back on track to watching one per day. Soon I will be back to my regularly scheduled programming of pouring over each blog I write, (although this format is pretty tempting to continue), but for now here’s a summary of today’s cinematic adventures:

85 of 366: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

edgeThink of Edge of Tomorrow as an action version of Groundhog Day where the  characters have the ability to relive moments in time and therefore predict the future. The film is another display of Emily Blunt’s versatility as an actress as she completely owns a role as an action hero one minute and the next can star in a dramatic or comedic film (Your Sister’s Sister or The Five Year Engagement.) I enjoyed Tom Cruise’s performance as Major William Cage, who transforms from a man of power to kind of a bumbling idiot and back again as the world faces a devastating attack by aliens. Blunt plays Rita, (aka the Angel of Verdun), a soldier trained to end the war who was formerly afflicted by the same “power” Cage has to relive each day in order to ultimately outsmart the alien enemy. As Cage and Rita’s characters, and their relationship, build throughout the film and there is an equal combination of wit, solid special effects with a unique time travel/science fiction story at its core.

86 of 366: Brief Encounter (1945)

briefI thought Brief Encounter, based on what happens when characters meet for a moment in time only to never connect again and a one-act play by Noel Coward, was a good follow up to Edge of Tomorrow. In that film there is always uncertainty whether Rita and William will live or die and continue to save the world together, while in Brief Encounter director David Lean explores the romantic connection between Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) and Dr. Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard) after they meet at a restaurant in New York outside the train station. Both are married but also quickly fall in love and meet in the city for a few weeks, having lunch and going to the movies. Lean had to expand upon Coward’s one-act play, Still Life, but the film still felt very much like a stage production with Laura’s narration and the classical score. It’s also known to have inspired many similar stories or the style of similar films and I did notice common themes and dialogue between it and one of my guilty-pleasure favorites, You’ve Got Mail. It is never to the point of imitating what Lean and Coward created, but rather is surely one of many tributes to a classic romantic film and accomplishment in cinematic history.

“It all started on an ordinary day at the most ordinary place in the world,” Laura Jesson. 

87 of 366: Paris, Texas (1984)

parisParis, Texas, is a telling road movie in three parts that defines the relationship between two brothers, a father and son and husband and wife. After disappearing for four years, Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) resurfaces wandering in the desert in Texas. His brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) picks him up and they drive to Los Angeles together to reunite Travis with his son, Hunter. Starting with Walt and Travis’s trip, the characters learn about each other as a result of the missing presence of Travis in their lives the last four years.

Paris, Texas is a beautiful visual display of Texas and Los Angeles and Winders and cinematographer Robby Muller also tell the story using the camera to show each character’s point of view. The film brings to mind the theme of nostalgia as Winders and writers Sam Shepard and L.M. Kit Carson explore the family dynamic of the Hendersons and a man trying to rebuild his life.

“The dust has come to stay … you may stay or pass on through, or whatever.”

88 of 366: Frankenstein (1931)

frankensteinI really wanted to make it through five movies today, but there can be too much of a good thing — even my favorite thing. It was a rare nice day in Minneapolis so I wanted to fit in a walk outside and of course I spent more time than I planned for on my blog. Frankenstein, however, did make for a perfect conclusion to my catch-up day because it’s only a little longer than an hour and known as one of the classic horror films of all time that’s been on my list to watch. I would say it is more unsettling and suspenseful that scary but, taking into account its release in 1931, Frankenstein is certainly a cinematic accomplishment of the era and all time.

One of the most unsettling scenes was the father carrying his daughter’s lifeless body, at the hands of the monster (Boris Karloff), through the village streets toward the end the film; while the first sight of him close up and his dead eyes also carries a bit of fear factor.

I wonder what audiences originally thought of the film in the 1930s; but I do think it holds up in the horror genre and as an adaptation of a novel — something that is done perhaps too much in current times.

I wish there was a quote from the monster himself to end this with, instead I will resort to my standby from John Hodgman.

“That is all.”

 

 

77 of 366: Your Sister’s Sister

Hey hey, happy Flashback Friday. Is that a thing or just for people who missed celebrating Throwback Thursday?

sistersIn any case, here is an old picture of my sister Carla and I from Spring of 1982 at our old house on Springdale Court.

I am also celebrating Flashback Friday by going back to movie 77 of my quest to watch 366 this year, Your Sister’s Sister.

I am hurting a bit by not writing about the film after I saw it. Even though I take notes, my feelings about a film is hard to express days later.

sisterssister
imdb.com

What has continued to be on my mind about it, however, is the ending. There was one moment when I thought it was going to end and then one more short scene after that took it away from a predictable conclusion to the story.

I enjoyed the film up until that point anyway but the last addition to the plot was effective to conclude a story focused on character development, family relationships, love and loss.

There are only three main characters in the film, written and directed by Lynn Shelton, Iris and Hannah, who are sisters, and Jack.

Jack (Mark Duplass) is Iris’s (Emily Blunt) best friend and Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is her sister.

Jack, at the suggestion of Iris, decides to spend some time alone at her family’s cabin after his brother dies.

Hannah has the same plan, going to the cabin after a tough break up, leaving the two lost souls together in a time when they planned to be alone.

They have a drunken night together only to be visited the next day by Iris, who decides to go check on Jack, and possibly express her romantic feelings for him.

Each character went to the cabin for their own reasons, but they end up discovering as much about themselves as they do about their dynamic together with a good share of challenges along the way.

Having only three characters presented a solid platform for focusing on the individuals as much as their relationships together as their feelings and life decisions were tested in a concentrated environment.

I feel like I’m being a little vague here but there were some surprises in Your Sister’s Sister, in addition to the ending, that took the well-written and developed film to a more mysterious level open to interpretation by the viewer.

With that, here’s a quote for today from a randomly-selected page in Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses.

“We shall see what fate has in store for us, won’t we?

I thought you didn’t believe in fate.

She waved her hand. It’s not so much that I don’t believe in it. I don’t subscribed to its nomination. If fate is the law then is fate also subject to the law? At some point we cannot escape naming responsibility. It’s in our nature. Sometimes I think we are all like that myopic coiner at his press, taking the blind slugs one by one from the tray, all of us bent so jealously at our work, determined that not even chaos be outside of our own making.”

 

 

 

 

63 of 366: Sicario

 

sicario
imdb.com

Every once and a while a movie comes along with a style and performances that make you lose sight of the fact you are watching something created on screen through special effects, makeup, acting, etc.

Sicario is that way nearly from the beginning as FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is thrust into fighting against the Mexican drug cartel as well as her superiors who are supposedly in that same fight with the same purpose.

Macer, after a FBI task force mission at a drug house with hostages in Arizona does not go entirely as planned, is recruited to put her tactical skills toward combating the drug cartel as long as she technically volunteers to do it.

She does so after much coaxing from Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and is soon in the midst of what could be a corrupt plan to stop the top drug lord in Mexico by, ultimately, any means necessary.

Graver and another agent Alejandro, played by Benecio Del Toro, are the force behind that plan while Macer tries to do her job and protect people.

The story is often told from Macer’s point of view in a literary sense as her character develops on screen as well as through the use of style points and cinematography to show the viewer what she is experiencing.

Director Denis Villeneuve keeps the camera at bay from the characters’ actions and conversations in other scenes, including one of the first times that Macer confronts Graver after one of their early missions.

In between the action of shoot-outs at the Mexican border and in Juarez, the center of what is happening in Sicario is focused on morals, right vs. wrong and power and who has enough of those combined to be in full control.

Alejandro’s character certainly comes into play there as he borders between Macer’s biggest defender on the surface to being her biggest enemy. He is always there, but is it for protection of a fellow agent or other reasons?

Villeneuve and writer Taylor Sheridan keep just enough mystery there until the very end when Macer is faced with the truth and a decision that brings trust, morals and revenge all into play.

I get chills just thinking about the final scenes in Sicario and how effectively the individual character dynamics are mixed with the larger themes of corruption and crime in the film.

The three stars of the film, Blunt, Brolin and Del Toro, are fantastic and contribute to the sense that their physical and moral struggles are real rather than a cinematic story.

It’s a film I wish I could watch again this year, but I know there is no time for that. At least I have other titles from Villeneuve to watch, including Enemy and the upcoming Story of Your Life with my girl Amy Adams. Sicario will hook you on Villeneuve’s style of film making and creative choices as well as Emily Blunt’s versatility as an actress who  can take on any role without flaw. (Check out Looper and The Adjustment Bureau if you haven’t seen those.)

To end this with a quote, which I am going to get back into doing, I turned to the final page of my signed copy of That Is All by John Hodgman.

He writes, “And thank you for your kind attention, all the way to the end. All I can say is THANK YOU. That is all.”