Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Film Fest, Final Installation

Where were we?

Ah yes, we were in the great and glorious Garde Theater, for the final weekend of the fabulous New London Winter Film Festival,
2013 style . . .

Searching for Sugar Man
People have been talking about this movie the last few months, not only because it won the Oscar for Best Documentary, but because of the clip on 60 Minutes in October, which introduced Rodriguez to the world -- well, introduced Rodriguez to those who watch 60 Minutes, who then introduced Rodriguez to the rest of us. The peeps were very excited to see this movie.

And oh, what a lovely movie it was.

Rodriguez is impossible not to love. He's like The Superhero of Kindness. A Detroit musician living in poverty who didn't know that in South Africa he was more popular than the Beatles? Who, 40 years later, finally made some money then promptly gave it away? Rodriguez gives new meaning to the word Humble.

Humble, kind, cool, hip, lyrics about race and struggle in Detroit in the 60s that weirdly and perfectly echoed South Africans' struggle against Apartheid years later. South Africans, who say Rodriguez' music was the soundtrack of their youth, felt the lyrics were written specifically for them. And really, they sort of were.

I loved it. I loved the detective story of finding Rodriguez, I loved his daughters, I loved Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, but mostly I loved Rodriguez. I love Rodriguez. He's my personal Superhero of Kindness.

The Impossible
We saw this preview so many times during the Film Fest that Mistah felt like he'd seen the movie already, and opted out. Too bad, too, because he missed a pretty good one.

The problem with seeing the preview that many times is not only do you think you know what happens in the movie (and to be fair to Mistah, you sort of do), but you also feel like you already have a firm grip on the characters.

I found Naomi Watts' character Maria surprisingly tough and sarcastic and strong -- she was great, and deserved her Oscar nomination. And boy oh boy did she look like death-warmed-over. Katie and I agreed that there's nothing more annoying than a critically ill character sporting lip gloss.

Ewan McGregor was good (apologies to his incredible performance in Trainspotting, but he will always live in my heart as Christian from Moulin Rouge). The three boys were quite spectacular (hmmmm, three brothers waxed adorable in Moonrise Kingdom, too. A new trend?) And except for the repeated tight close-ups of Naomi Watts' wretched face, and the over-reaching, over-loud violins during a poignant reunion moment -- we get it, we feel it, we do not need violin strings banging on our heads during it, Mr. Music Score Man -- it was a good movie.

And way better than the preview.

Les Misérables
Okay, here's what happened. I had every intention of going to the movie. I mean, I'd seen the preview 74 times -- before every other movie that played at the Film Festival. Okay, ten times. So although I've never read Victor Hugo's novel, I've never seen the show on stage, and I've never heard the soundtrack, I was *ready* to jump into the lives of Jean Valjean and Fantine and Cosette and whichever character that kid Eddie plays (I just love that there's a young actor named Eddie; I wish there were more Eddies in the world). I know that preview by heart and I was so excited to finally join the party and enter into the world that is Les Miz.

And then Sunday dawned a gorgeous day.

We've had a cold snowy winter around these parts, as you may or may not have heard, and both Saturday and Sunday afternoons were deck days . . . and I just couldn't do it. I could not leave my deck and go inside a dark -- albeit glorious and grand -- theater. I texted Jennie to that effect and she replied, "Even if there's vino waiting for you there?"* I replied, "Um, there's vino here too."

*(Yes, the Garde sells beer and wine. Of course it does. Do you think the good people of New London would go to the movies if beer and wine weren't available?)

So, instead of going into a dark -- albeit grand and glorious -- theater, Mistah and basked on our deck. In the sunshine.
With vino . . .

. . . of the sparking kind.

And that's it. The fabulous New London Winter Film Festival is over, except for one last movie, in a few weeks, on April 4:

We'll be there.

Unless it's a nice day on the deck.


unmitigated me said...

Did you know that Rodriguez is touring? We have tickets to see him in May, and I can't wait! Also, Amour is incredibly sad. Beautifully done, but really sad.

Pat said...

Searching for Sugarman was one amazing movie and story.
He is in Indio in April, Beth...but I am away.

Beth said...

Wow, go see Sugarman, that would be cool! I liked that movie a lot. He is certainly one *Humble* dude, Ellie. I loved that his one daughter is now a South African resident. I loved the vistas of South Africa. I love the music.

I liked Les Mis too. But I like that you skipped it better, Ellie. Deck time is essential. As is bubbly wine.

Loved ALL of your reviews!

And I aspire to drink beer in the Garde Theater one day;)