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Old December 16 2010, 03:57 AM   #845
stj
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Just finished Triage, which I got from Netflix. Colin Farrell and Christopher Lee. The story hinges on notions of catharsis as cure, and shrink as wise priest, but Farrell's and Lee's performance help sell it. The movie is notably humane and it takes an unflinching look at war, entirely free of glamorization. Which is quite rare these days. Highly recommended.

Two notable films I've seen which got no press were Agora and The Oxford Murders. Both are highly recommended.

Agora, starring Rachel Weisz, is a spectacular historical epic about the murder of Alexandrian mathematician, astronomer and philosopher Hypatia. It is loaded with contemporary resonances about religious fanaticism. But these resonances are honest and humane, instead of comforting prejudices in disguise.

There are fanciful elements added to the sparse historical record about Hypatia, allowing romantic attachments to Hypatia to play a major role. In addition, Hypatia is portrayed as realizing, too late to publish alas, that planetary orbits are elliptical which would justify Aristarchus's heliocentric model. These melodramatic notions permit a small-scale "human" story, redolent of comforting cliche, leading the viewer into this extraordinarily rich recreation of another time.

In addition to CGI Alexandria, there are pullbacks to views from space. These function not just as exemplars of the expansive ideas and interests of the (some) of the protagonists. They also punctuate the plot with our modern perspective. This movie was, if I recall, cowritten by Alejandro Almenabar, who also wrote and directed The Others, a dandy ghost movie.

The Oxford Murders, starring Elijah Wood and John Hurt, also had a Spanish pedigree. Cowritten by Alex de Iglesia and a fellow named Guerricaechevarria from a Guillermo Martinez novel, this is in many ways a science fiction murder mystery. The science in this case would be a branch of math/philosophy called logical sequences. It is hard to describe anything about the plot, but it is both cleverly twisted, philosophically and thematically pointed, and humanly emotional. The performances are excellent. Poor old Elijah Wood will apparently toil in the wilds of excellent performances, as leads in obscure indies or minor supporting roles in Hollywood movies, for the rest of his life. He's quite good, but is far too short and too typecast to become a star I expect. Hurt is another of those superb actors who just aren't well known to most people. It is nice that he got a leading role again, even if it's an indie.
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Last edited by stj; December 16 2010 at 03:19 PM.
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