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Recent Movies: Gloria; Tim’s Vermeer; Frozen

April 13, 2014

Recent Movies:

Gloria

In Santiago, Chile, the title character is a divorcee in her fifties and has two adult children.  She gets involved with a man in a similar status with mixed results.

“Gloria” is a pleasant film where the audience acts as an observer to the subtleties in the main character’s life.  While this approach is well executed, it leaves out some details about the main characters and how their pasts may have shaped their current destinies.  This information might have made the film richer.

Like many other modern films, this one has sex scenes that seem to act as substitutes for intimacy.  Perhaps, this is how the characters are intended to be but such scenes are no longer as provocative as they once were.  The benchmark set in the Céline/Jesse series (Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight) has set the new standard so high that honesty and character might now be more provocative than close-up sex.

The greatest asset in “Gloria” is Paulina Garcia in the main role.  Her ability to express depth and feeling in the most subtle of facial expressions carries the film all the way through.

Rating (out of four stars):   * * *

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Tim’s Vermeer

The subject of this documentary is Texas-based inventor Tim Jenison who has a strong belief that the masterpiece painting “The Music Lesson” (1663) by Johannes Vermeer was created by using special optics and lenses.  He attempts to recreate the painting with such devices.

Part of this film includes interviews with David Hockney and Philip Steadman, two Englishmen who share Jenison’s belief that Vermeer used special scientific techniques for his paintings rather than just observing models and objects.  Hockney and Steadman refer to arguments they’ve had with art experts regarding science vs. the “purity” of art.

Jenison is a likeable subject for a documentary and his scientific knowledge is very impressive but this film might have been more complete if it included interviews with the art purists.  To discuss art masterpieces strictly from a scientific and technical viewpoint (while avoiding artistic ones) leaves the feeling of incompleteness.  It also leaves a feeling of dullness to those of us viewers with limited knowledge and interest in technology.

Rating:   * *

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Frozen

In the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, this animated Disney musical tells the story of two sister princesses.  One of them has a sometimes uncontrollable power to turn her surroundings into ice and snow.

This is a pleasant movie whose songs and stories are rather good but perhaps not as good as other Disney animated musicals.  This is not meant as a criticism; it’s just that the bar has been set so high by those other films that it’s hard to hit such a high benchmark.

The benchmark is met, however with the fine singing and acting voices.  And it is clearly surpassed in the stunning animation.  The beauty of the Arendelle kingdom as well as the ice palaces and structures created by Princess Elsa fit the true magic that is expected of the Disney empire.  The 3-D effect greatly enhances the experience.

Rating:   * * *

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