Thursday, April 10, 2008


When I saw this film, I vowed never to have kids even if they are as cute and lovable as Anton Ganzelius. I probably would have chucked him out the window before he could say Super Trooper. Anyway, My Life As A Dog started a series of depressing films which pretty much occupied me during my recent days off. At the end of the day, I was sobbing like hell. Filmed in Sweden in 1985, it won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film in 1987. I like it for its sensitivity, its succint capturing of life in rural Sweden and of the pained existence of its characters. I like the way how Ingemar, the main character, philosophizes things by comparing his own existence with that of several others' - it's almost like schadenfreude but without the happiness (which in that case isn't schadenfreude, nitwit!) but he does it to alleviate his own condition, to affirm that his life is better than others'. At the very least, better than Laika, the poor dog sent by the Soviets into space aboard Sputnik 2. My Life As A Dog has a very simple plot but had enough drama to send you howling to the moon.

Roger Ebert describes this film as one of 1993's best. I agree. Map of the Human Heart is a heavy drama with lost of soft spots (I call them "Awww... moments" for the lack of a better term). I think that the characters were so much better as children than they were adults during which they seemed to have lost the magic altogether. Jason Scot Lee, who played the adult Avik, doesn't register well on camera. At the very least, his face doesn't lend itself to many expressions. He looks like a seal taken out of water. Robert Joamie, as the young Avik, was more likable, more expressive. John Cusack, who was unusually handome here, is wasted as he did practically nothing in the film. Besides, what is is about people who wouldn't fight for their love when they're still able and then later lead lives of misery and regret? Life shouldn't be this complicated. Anyway, the film is still very romantic, however, and is suggested viewing fare for those whose relationships need things like war or famine for affirmation.
From Australia comes this powerful drama of a woman (Cate Blanchett) who wants to change her life and get away from her checkered past. The problem, however, is that circumstances just won't let her. Her bank loan just wouldn't get approved, her former boyfriend returned home to work supposedly as a stockbroker (but later turned out to be a drug dealer instead and has involved her brother), and her father - a former soccer star - is experiencing terrible withdrawal symptoms from years of drug use. It's terribly depressing. It's not helping that there's a general sense of - what else? - helplessness. This film pretty much stresses that every one should be given a second chance.
Based on the book by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl is a look into the depressing world of Henry VIII's court where the aim to produce a male heir was as desperate as families' dreams of hitting the jackpot by whoring their daughters to the king. Of course this is a coarse way of putting it, but if I had a gun I would have shot the stupid Duke of Norfolk to death. Anyway, just like other movies on royalty, this film also serves to show the precariousness of one's position in court, how one may be favored today and disgraced the next. The seeming contest to get appointed is something that still exists in our current settings most especially in our own little democratic space. Despite the fact that the film actually deviated from actual historical events, it's a good movie to show to people jockeying for positions in government. Oh, we might as well show them the ax afterwards. Natalie Portman shines as Anne Boleyn while Scarlett Johansson is perfect for the role of the hapless Mary Boleyn. Watch out for winning one-liners from Mrs. Boleyn and of course, Reina Catalina (Queen Catherine; Katharine) herself. I was told this flopped in the States but who gives a fig. I hope they film all the rest of Philippa's books. And as a side note, please work on the accents this time.

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