Water for Elephants

I have two things to admit – the first, that I was wrong about there not being fantastic movies out right now; the second, that I love that I was wrong.  Yesterday I sat in the theatre and watched “Water for Elephants” with Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz, and had the kind of experience that makes me believe that great movies are still possible.  The movie is based on a book by Sara Gruen (if you are thinking that it has already found a home on my Kindle, you would be correct – ordered it yesterday), and stars Robert Pattinson as a young man who, through a series of unfortunate events, finds his way to the Benzini Brothers Circus in 1931.  Christoph Waltz plays the ringmaster, and Reese Witherspoon is his wife and the star attraction of the circus.  Christoph Waltz played the vicious Colonel Landa in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” (and if you haven’t seen that, I have to recommend it as well; another one of my favorite Tarantino movies), and he plays a variation on that character here; still a monster, but in “Water for Elephants” he does exhibit some sympathetic qualities at one point, as he strives to make the circus a success. Reese Witherspoon does an incredible job as the woman who is torn between survival in the circus and her attraction to Robert Pattinson.  And let me say this about Robert Pattinson – he’s young, and not as experienced as the other two actors in this film, and at times it shows, but the awkwardness is forgiveable, in my opinion. He did make me forget about vampires as I was watching him here, and I think that’s the mark of a talented actor who will do interesting things as he matures, given the right scripts.

“Water for Elephants” reminded me of old school Hollywood, and by that I mean that the camera work was perfect, and not tricky (I only know this because I wasn’t sitting in the theatre thinking of the ways that different scenes should have been filmed, or that the camera should be still, and not wiggle-waggle like the cameraman was filming while on defective ice skates), and the narrative was coherent; so many times in the movie theatre, I’m wrenched away from my willing suspension of disbelief, because I can almost hear a big KA-CHUNK! as the storyline changes tracks, and ultimately goes right off the rails. That didn’t happen here – I was never bored, or irritated, or disappointed in spending yet another two hours and twelve bucks on a film that wasn’t worth the time or the money.  “Water for Elephants” is enchanting; Hal Holbrook even does a supporting role here, and is excellent, as usual. It’s marketed as a love story, but is much more – I think you should go see it today, unless you’re reading this and saying, “Julie! It’s Easter, and I have to hide eggs and eat chocolate,” in which case you should definitely see it as soon as possible. Have a glorious Easter, all!

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Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and true love

American film directors Robert Rodriguez and Q...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m watching “From Dusk till Dawn” – the opening credits are rolling out over the Blasters singing “Dark Night.”  Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney play brothers on the run after robbing a bank; they set a liquor store clerk on fire before they shoot him, and take several hostages, all in the first hour. I don’t want to give away too much more if you haven’t seen the movie – just this: Cheech Marin, Salma Hayek, and vampires. And Tom Savini, who is not only an actor, but a makeup and special effects artist, and who has a special part (pun intended) in the movie. One of my very favorites, directed by Robert Rodriguez, for so many reasons – it’s steeped in delicious crazy, for starters. Looking for vampires? Give these bloodsuckers a try; they’re not pretty, and they revel in evil.  Just the movie to wrap up the  year, and make me all warm inside — and take a peek at George Clooney with a tribal tattoo:

It’s the last week of the year.  I don’t have much to say about this year right now, especially when George Clooney is ramming a wooden stake through Quentin Tarantino’s heart, since that’s the only way to kill a vampire (which he has turned into), and Juliette Lewis is tripping over body parts. As you might guess from this post, during the holidays, when I’m being told that I have to be sentimental, I actively resist it, except when it feels like the right time.  So I will tell you this – I am always surprised at the kindness of people, and this year, I have been showered with extraordinary kindnesses beyond measure.  For this, I will always be grateful; my friends are my superheroes, no kidding- not only for what they mean to me, but for what they do every day in their lives. And I think that if we were ever on the run from vampires, they would make sure that I got away safely, and like Harvey Keitel in the movie, they would make me promise to kill them if they turned into vampires. How could there be better friends than these?

My New Year’s wish for you is that you have such friends; oh, and that you refrain from making any New Year’s resolutions.  Maybe New Year’s intentions; much less disappointment, because you’re not breaking anything, and you can still intend to do (or not do) whatever it is that you are going to do (or not do) all year long.  Gotta go; Fred Williamson just showed up as a super-repulsive vampire and Harvey Keitel has to deal with him – ewwww!!