The calendar says it’s April. Spring? What Spring??
Hope it’s much sunnier where you are as it’s quite wet and gloomy here. In fact, looking at the 10-days forecast is quite depressing, full of rain/snow mix with temps barely making it out of 50 degrees! 😦
In any case, I didn’t make it to the theaters this weekend. As you know, I’d never go see Evil Dead 2 even if someone paid me! So here are what I saw this weekend:
The Secret of Kells (2009)
For some reason this Irish-French-Belgian animated feature eluded me, even though it was one of the Best Animated Feature nominees in 2010. It definitely deserves such kudos!
Set in the eighth century, this film is a fictionalized account of the creation of the Book of Kells, the illustrated manuscript of the four Gospels. The story follows 12-year-old Brendan (voice of Evan McGuire) as he battles Vikings and confronts an ancient serpent god on a mission to locate a legendary crystal and complete the mythical Book of Kells.
A rare spiritually-tinged animated feature that’s rich in Celtic mythology and folklore. It’s so beautifully-crafted and instantly involving that within seconds I was whisked away into Brendan’s world. I love the flat look of the hand-drawn animation, somehow it adds to its ethereal quality. After having seen the more slick animated features with all the bells and whistles, it’s actually refreshing to see the simplicity of this feature, it’s just mesmerizing and beautiful to behold. Some of the drawings are as intricate as churches’ stained glass windows, which is appropriate given the subject matter.
Brendan lives a sheltered life, forbidden by his uncle, Abbot Cellach (voiced by Brendan Gleeson) to go outside the gateway. But when he secretly sneaks into the forest to look for gall nuts to make ink, that’s when his adventure begins. There he meets Aisling (pronounced like Ashley), a fairy of sort who’s able to take many forms. She’s ever so cute and bewitching, and their friendship is sweet and lovely. The story at times descend into surreal, even abstract form, and though I don’t always understand the details of what’s happening, I still enjoyed the ride. The Celtic music has a transcendental quality about it, especially the Aisling song “You must go where I cannot…” composed by Bruno Coulais.
There are some tense and perhaps even terrifying moments that might scare off the very young ones though, the black and red color schemes during the attack scenes conveys the darkness of the moment. I love that this film is not just beautiful to look at but it also speaks about an inspiring message of devotion, bravery, sacrifice and forgiveness. If you’re in the mood for a charming animated feature hat carries a deeper meaning than what’s typically offered in this genre, definitely give this one a shot. It’s available on Netflix Streaming too!
4.5 out of 5 reels
Since Sunday was Russell Crowe’s birthday, I thought it was time for another Gladiator re-watch.
I’m still as enamored by this film as I did the first time I saw it over a decade ago. I’ve written all kinds of posts on this, including this essay on how this film launched thousands of imitation (part of the Movies that made going to the movies suck blog-a-thon). But even with countless Gladiator wanna-be out there, there is still nothing quite like the story of the wronged Roman General Maximus.
There are sooo many memorable scenes in this film, and certainly the one where Maximus revealed his identity to Commodus rates high up there. It stands as one of those scenes I could watch over and over again. But upon my nth re-watch, this scene after Maximus survived a particularly gruesome game with the tigers that’s been *arranged* specifically by Commodus is down-right heart-wrenching.
Time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end… your Highness.
Crowe’s expression as he uttered the line, his voice almost crumbling as he used every bit of willpower from ripping Commodus apart… it moved me to tears every time.
Well, what did you see this weekend? Anything good?