While Julia and I had planned to enjoy a long weekend outside, the weather didn’t entirely cooperate. So we ended up seeing a couple damn fine movies that I strongly recommend to any and everyone.
Saturday Night — I Am
Saw this at The Wilma in Missoula. Here’s the synopsis:
I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.
I really enjoyed it. What’s interesting is Julia had been talking about a discussion she’d had with her dad, who is a bit of a science geek (admit it, John). He related an article he’d read about studies that have shown that much we know about the brain is wrong, that in many cases it is the body that reacts to something, and sends that message to the brain. Trippy, right? Well, there is a part of this documentary that goes into that concept. It also talks about energy, and how we are all linked in many ways . . . I know that sounds kind of white lighty/woo woo stuff, and it gets a little that way at times, but think about it. How many times have we all been around someone whose mood or attitude affects an entire room full of people? Or how we often, when with someone close to us, will say the exact same thing at the same time (“Get out of my molecules!” is what Julia says to me when that happens). This documentary talks about a lot of that. It is very thought provoking, and I urge everyone to see it. I will note, though, that waiting for DVD is fine; this isn’t some cinematographic epic that is best viewed on the big screen.
I’d be curious to see a documentary told from the perspective of people whose views are 180 degrees removed from Shadyac’s, actually. Not that I think I would be convinced, I’d just be curious.
Sunday Morning — Cave of Forgotten Dreams
For this movie we got up Sunday morning and drove 3 hours to Spokane to see it. The film was filmed in 3D, and we didn’t expect it would show up at one of the theaters in Missoula. If it does, I’ll likely see it again. As Herzog fans, we were pretty motivated to see it. Obviously, as it was a 6 hour round trip for the opportunity! Here’s the synopsis:
Werner Herzog gains exclusive access to film inside the Chauvet caves of southern France, capturing the oldest known pictorial creations of humankind in their astonishing natural setting. He puts 3-D technology to a profound use, taking us back in time over 30,000 years.
In so many ways this movie blew my mind. The artwork that was discovered on these cave walls is unbelievable. Image after image . . . I really can’t put it into words. Most incredible were the hand prints, something that obviously humanizes the images that much more. Watching this movie had a profound effect on me.
As for the 3D, I’m generally not a fan. It works here, though, in the way it captures how the dimensions of the art as it curves around the contours of the rocks enhances the effect. If you can see it in the theaters in 3D, by all means do so!
It’s a Herzog film, so remember there are some quirky bits that will make you wonder what he was thinking, or why parts are even in the film. That is something to love about the man, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.