Brave

Roger Ebert writes on Pixar’s latest film, Brave:

This is a great-looking movie, much enlivened by the inspiration of giving Merida three small brothers, little redheaded triplets. The Scottish Highlands are thrillingly painted in astonishing detail, and some action shows Merida’s archery more than equal in assorted emergencies.

“Brave” has an uplifting message about improving communication between mothers and daughters, although transforming your mom into a bear is a rather extreme first step. Elinor is a good sport, under the circumstances. But Merida is far from being a typical fairy-tale princess.

Being Scottish and a fan of bears (although not quite as much of a fan as the witch in the film) I enjoyed it. It’s worth seeing but nothing about it screams ‘must see in the theaters’. I suspect that this is a great film to watch at home on a rainy day with croisants and hot chocolate instead of candy and popcorn at the theater.

Moonrise Kingdom: Review

Moonrise Kingdom is the best film I’ve seen this year (so far).

And maybe it’s just because I liked it more than his other films, or maybe it’s just that much better than anything else that has been released this year, but I keep thinking about it and the different layers of the story and message and meaning.

The ending is positive, the message is extremely spot on, the jokes are very witty, and the visuals are perfect. So often I wanted to just freeze the frame and stare. The high level of attention to detail makes nearly every scene something I could frame and hang on the wall. Fortunately, the marketing, including the trailer didn’t reveal too much and that helped provide added excitement in seeing the film for the first time. I wasn’t sure how it was going to end until the last scene at the climax of the film.

While the visuals are so good that I would have watched the movie without any sound, the music provides the setting and frame for the film. As the editors write on wikipedia,

A major feature of the film is music by Benjamin Britten, a composer notable for his many works for children’s voices. At the Cannes Film Festival, during the post-screening press conference, Wes Anderson said that Britten’s music “had a huge effect on the whole movie, I think. The movie’s sort of set to it. The play of Noye’s Fludde that is performed in it – my older brother and I were actually in a production of that when I was ten or eleven, and that music is something I’ve always remembered, and made a very strong impression on me. It is the colour of the movie in a way.
The music by Britten used in the film, many of the tracks taken from recordings conducted or supervised by the composer himself, includes The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (Introduction/Theme; Fugue), conducted by Leonard Bernstein; Friday Afternoons (‘Cuckoo’; ‘Old Abram Brown’); Simple Symphony (‘Playful Pizzicato’); Noye’s Fludde (various excerpts, including the processions of animals into and out of the ark, and ‘The spacious firmament on high’); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (‘On the ground, sleep sound’).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MemkzzlQJ6Y?rel=0&w=500&h=281]