Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I see movies.

Watched two movies recently that I wanted to spout off about.

The first one was Up, the computer-animated feature that won all sorts of awards when it was released back in 2009. Carl Fredricksen (voiced perfectly by Ed Asner) is heartbroken over the loss of his wife, Ellie. The last holdout in a city block destined for high-rise office buildings, Carl is ousted from his home. Rather than turn over the house where he and his late wife enjoyed many years together, Carl ties thousands of helium balloons to the structure and lifts off for a grand adventure. Unbeknownst to Carl, however, over-eager scout Russell (Jordan Nagai) is trapped on the porch of the floating building. Begrudgingly, Carl teams up with Russell for a hair-raising, heart-warming caper through South America.

I loved this movie. LOVED. I laughed. I cried. I was completely charmed.

I'm not sure that very young children would understand many parts of the movie. Integral to Carl's character is the loss of his wife, which may make for some difficult explanations. However, the movie offers touching comment on love, loss and the true spirit of adventure.

This movie is sooooo worth seeing.

The second film I watched was Sunshine Cleaning, starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin. Rose (Adams) is a young, single mother who works as a maid to keep body and soul together for herself and her son Oscar. But after Oscar gets kicked out of yet another public school, Rose finds herself in need of some quick cash to send him to a private academy.

Via the cop she's having an affair with, Rose finds out about biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up, a service that promises to bring in considerably more money than standard cleaning. She drafts her lay-about sister, Norah (Blunt), into helping her, and the two are on their way.

In many ways, this movie is about how the characters metamorphose to deal with the troubles in their lives. Each character grows throughout the film, and some of the scenes in which they exhibit that growth are beautiful to watch. By the end of the movie, Rose is a business owner who has found some self-confidence. Her father (Arkin), who hatches one crazy business scheme after another, is putting his money into something he believes in. Norah did less growing up, but Blunt performed so many of her scenes with such total credibility that I can hardly fault her.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie, though it's definitely not as accessible to audiences as Up.

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