By Graylin Porter of YepIndeed
I just finished watching Drake Doremus’ breakout film of this year, Like Crazy. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and I can most definitely see why. I’m not quite sure if I loved this movie as much as I did because it is truly worth such praise, or if I am simply in love with the subject matter and its shameless pandering to hopelessly romantic hipsters like me.
It is the relatively uninteresting story of Anna, played brilliantly by fresh-faced Felicity Jones, and Jacob, played by Anton Yelchin. Yelchin is cute as a button, save for a brief bit involving some unfortunate facial hair. The film chronicles their long distance love affair between Los Angeles and London. Anna is a young Brit who overstays her visa, thus banned from reentering the U.S., and that’s about it as far as plot is concerned. However, what makes Like Crazy so crazy good is its frighteningly realistic depiction of a long-distance relationship in these days of texting, e-mailing, etc. I have found myself in this situation before (I married my husband for a visa, so this film hits home for many other reasons) and Yelchin gets it just right. In one such scene, he dances with his girlfriend in a bar while simultaneously texting with Anna back in the UK—it strikes a chord by focusing on these little interactions throughout our daily lives that pack such an emotional punch.
While I was slightly dissatisfied with the conclusion of this film, I don’t hesitate in recommending it. It is a continuation of other indie romances such as Garden State, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, (500) Days of Summer and Once, meaning it is beautifully shot, expertly acted and full of unnecessary angst.
See more of Graylin Porter’s work on her website, YepIndeed.
By Zena Wozniak
Martha Marcy May Marlene. It’s not just the title that’s hard to say. It’s a movie that’s hard to say anything about after seeing, creepy in the quietest and most patient way possible. The film follows Elizabeth Olsen in her premiere role as Martha, a young woman who runs away from the religious cult she has been living with for the past two years.
Is cult really the right word, though? True, there are obvious ill abuses of power, references to a mysterious “cleansing” and even sexual abuse, but between the soft summer lighting and laid back college-aged characters who tramp around in serene meadows wearing cut-off shorts and plaid shirts, it often appears more like an Urban Outfitters catalogue than anything else.
The idea is that Martha escapes from the commune (let’s call it that for now) and seeks refuge with her older sister, Lucy (played by Sarah Paulson). If Martha comes from an Urban Outfitters catalogue, Lucy is straight from a J. Crew one. She and her husband rent an oversized lakeside vacation home, throw fancy catered parties and have sex in the missionary position. It’s the epitome of the WASP dream and yet nothing is summer-lit about it.
“Don’t be rude,” Lucy scolds Martha in the middle of a heated argument about their past, beckoning her inside for what promises to be an awkwardly posed family dinner. In another scene, Ted can’t explain to Martha why they’re trying to have a baby or if he’s even sure he wants one. Despite all their societal accomplishments, the atmosphere surrounding the clean-cut couple remains cold and rehearsed.
So it is that what should be an escape for Martha becomes an uncomfortable internal struggle over what the “right” way to live is. The film, of course, raises more questions about this dilemma than it answers. We jump back and forth from Martha’s stark reunion with her sister to memories of the shared living space in the country, memories that move from tender and loving to violent and hostile, but are at least all very much alive. Not as much can be said for Lucy’s prim and sensible existence, leaving us with the big question yet again, which is the greater sin: a communal life, or a conventional one?
By Sarah Jorgensen
When is the last time you saw a movie that haunted you?
Before I saw Tree of Life, I couldn’t name a single one in recent memory. This is a movie that moved me off center and made me think really hard about my place in the world, and these thoughts have continued to plague me days later.
Tree of Life, the most recent release by famed and mysterious director Terrance Malick, is not the type of movie you should actively watch. Instead, I advise you to simply absorb it and let it happen to you and think about it later. You may land up thinking about your childhood, religion or something totally different – this is a movie that has a meaning defined by the viewer.
Without revealing too much, the movie revolves around a family living in the 1950s. While the entire cast is strong, Brad Pitt truly stands out as the family’s tough-love patriarch. The three child actors were fantastic, too, and captured the magic of childhood in their close moments together.
Go to see Tree of Life as soon as you can and simply let it happen to you.
By Kaitlin Perry
I’ve always been a fan of J.J. Abrams’ work. I’ve seen every single episode of Lost, was entranced by Cloverfield and was lucky enough to interview him when Star Trek was about to hit theaters. When I heard that Super 8 was coming out, and that Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams were both involved in its production, I knew that I’d be spending yet another $11.50 that I don’t have to see this bound-to-be-incredible action movie on the big screen.
Super 8 is a film about some 1970s kids that witness a horrible train derailing whilst filming a movie for a local film contest. After the Air Force starts to take control over their town’s well being post-disaster, things start to get a little weird, and people (and their electrical appliances) start disappearing on a regular basis.
The plot concerns itself with conspiracy theories, friendship, loyalty, monsters, magnetism and, of course, love, thus guaranteeing a theater experience that’s worth the money (hello $7 popcorn). Much like Midnight in Paris, Super 8 is everything a movie-theater movie of its kind should be. It combines intense action with perfectly-timed comedy, provides believable relationships that make viewers truly care about the characters’ survival and, obviously, has amazing special effects.
P.S. Stay for the credits.
Super 8 – official trailer from stmc on Vimeo.
By Kaitlin Perry
In a moment of weakness, I neglected to remember that I have very few dollars to dedicate to fun, exciting things and I decided to spend my night off in the dark depths of a movie theater. My film of choice? Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen.
Though I assume nothing when I set out to see a Woody Allen film, I do automatically assume that any film with Owen Wilson in it will be worthwhile, and I also automatically assume that any film with Rachel McAdams in it will be pleasantly romantic. As usual, my assumptions made an ass out of nobody, and Midnight was the best movie-theater movie I’ve seen in a LONG time.
The film concerns itself with the idealistic nature of writers, the overwhelming power of Paris and the misconceptions people have regarding the here and now. Many of us long for simpler times, especially those of us who feel our lives have been tainted by the expectations of society and those closest to us. For Wilson’s character, Gil, the urge to live in the past becomes too real to ignore, and he spends his nights in Paris not with his soon-to-be wife Inez, but with… Shoot! The twist is too sweet to cheat you out of, thus you’ll simply have to take my word for it: the film is wonderfully intelligent, witty, funny, romantic and appropriate for any age group, whether you’re a recent college grad or a grandmother of 16 much-too-technologically-advanced children.
The trailer is as cute as the movie poster, and thankfully gives away nothing: