My Summer of Love

Pawel Pawlikowski’s “My Summer of Love” opens with a girl alone in a room, drawing her love’s face on a wall; it’s a crude drawing, but for her, it’s a way to be with her love across the walls that separate them.

Back at the beginning of the story, we meet that girl, Mona (Nathalie Press), who has already given up on surprise and joy and just goes through the motions of life. Along comes Tamsin (Emily Blunt), a mysterious rich girl and “a bad influence” home for the summer after getting suspended from school. They bond over wine and petty vengeances, and they spend days on end together because, in their valley, there’s not much else to do.

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A Night at Smogdance

After a 40 mile drive to Claremont, I find myself back in film class, in an auditorium with desks in the seats, a large screen that feels small, and 170 other people all sharing the same experience.

Yes that’s right readers; I’m at the 10th anniversary of Smogdance. It’s the second night of the three-day festival filled with 12 shorts of varying lengths and quality. I’m armed with my notebook and my contraband water and ready for action. Shorts, dazzle me!

Some initial thoughts:

*Sitting in the third row under a small screen – please no one sit in front of me (people did, but there was quite a crowd).

*What’s this mystery short that’s on the ballot but not in the program?

*Why isn’t the show starting on time?

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Oscar Bets

Yeah, it’s awards season, and the granddaddy of award nominations came out on Tuesday; the Oscars are just over a month away, so let’s not waste time in predicting the winners (of the main categories anyway). And since I haven’t seen the majority of the nominated films, most of this is blind speculation, but since that’s half the fun of Oscar night, let’s get started.

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Terms of Endearment

Everyone daughter has mother issues.

Yeah, I said it. And being a daughter, I can verify that; we want our mother’s approval just as much as we don’t want to be like them, and in the process of pulling away, we discover that we are just like them. We can hope for the best, but we’ll never be all they want; if we’re lucky, they’ll love us anyway.

James Brooks’s “Terms of Endearment” is a rare movie that explores the rich complexities of mother/daughter relationships that doesn’t vilify one at the expense of the other.

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Lenny

Another day, another biopic.

In many ways, biopics are all alike; an interesting figure’s life, failures and triumphs all, is paraded on screen for two hours or so; usually the lead actor or actress is given the chance to shine and is more often than not rewarded for his or her efforts. At the same time, the movie is more or less a checklist of important moments in a famous person’s life and the ‘bigger picture’ of the life is lost. Sure, we can’t really know a person, or what they’re thinking, or their motivations, but biopics try anyway and more often than not, they fail.

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Japanese Story

Meet an original odd couple…

Sandy Edwards (Toni Collette) is a geologist and a co-director of a software company always on the lookout for new clients; she’s close with mother, works too much, but also enjoys the great outdoors of her native Australia and tennis (when she can find the time for it).

Hiromitsu Tachibana (Gotaro Tsunashima) is a Japanese businessman, a stranger in a strange land, who arrives in the Outback for a tour of the wonders of the desert and to feel, for the first time in his life, alone in the world.

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Another Top Ten list

Yes, it’s that time again; critics everywhere shift through the movies of the past 12 months and give you a quick list of their favorites.

And, hey, I’m no exception. I missed most of the Oscar-bait movies that came out this year, but nevertheless, here’s my year in film in alphabetical order, just to keep things fair.

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