movies flowing again

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i've actually managed to go through some of my netflix queue.

i watched the last part of wishing stairs. the previous copy i'd had months ago kept pausing and stopping. if you don't recall, it's an asian horror film. it's set at an all-female private magnet school. the story is, there are these stairs that have a certain number of steps, but if you count them going up and you count an extra final step then you can make a wish and it'll come true. it's sort of a mix of a story about ambition, friendship, betrayal -- and the unknown power and methods of spiritual forces. i didn't think it was all that great. asian film in general seems to employ what i see as overacting...kind of making things cartoonish, a caricature of the most important aspect(s) of someone's personality or actions/reactions. watching the extras on the dvd actually made me appreciate the film more, but i still didn't think it was great. of course, i didn't watch it from the beginning and it'd been months since i'd seen the first part so that may have made it more difficult for me to appreciate.

i also watched the corporation. it's a documentary about the history of the corporation. how it came to exist, how it came to be what it is today. i'm no fan of corporate culture, and i think the idea of a corporation being treated as a "person" by our legal system is pretty stupid. but in the extras the creators seemed to want to pitch it as if they tried hard to be impartial and give corporations a chance to state their position -- but it's pretty obvious from the editing, timing, topics, etc. that there is an agenda and an opinion. i thought some of the conversations in the extras were better stated and had more meat than the film itself, but the film does make some interesting observations and provides some good information about the history of the concept of the corporation.

next up is annie hall. i don't think i'd ever even seen parts of this movie. i've never been much of a fan of woody allen, and don't recall ever being around people much who were. or at least who shared it with me. although i know there are people who are huge fans of his films out there. the only one i ever liked much is one i saw part of on tv and don't even know the name of. oddly, it seems like i should like woody allen. i could easily see how people could compare some aspects of my general worldview or personality with what he portrays on the screen. as far as annie hall specifically, there were some things i like about it but overall i was just okay with it. i still have a tendency to compare movie relationships to my experiences with tamara, so that always puts an interesting spin on things.

then we have paper clips. this is a documentary about a school in rural tennessee. the administration decided they wanted to do a program to give the rural, almost completely white, conservative, christian kids exposure to different culture and life experience. they decided to cover the holocaust and nazi germany. when brainstorming for an idea for a project, they decided to collect paper clips for each of the jews killed by the nazis. the project started off slowly, but they got in the news and things snowballed. the documentary does a wonderful job of both giving information about the holocaust and how it affected people, and also how this project took over the school and affected the kids, the teachers, and the community, as well as the participation of people who found out about the project. i really suggest taking the time to watch it.

i also watched my bodyguard. it's a film from 1980 that tells the story of a kid who moves from private school into a public school and finds out he's supposed to pay protection money to the school bully. he thinks not, and ends up hiring an outsider kid everyone is scared of (adam baldwin..."animal mother" in full metal jacket) to be his bodyguard, by doing so giving all the kids power and hope, befriending the outsider in the process, and everyone learns something about themselves and life in the end. the movie was...eh. the best part was seeing a very young matt dillon play the bully. the main character's loopy grandmother was played by the lady who played maude in harold and maude. it makes me wonder if she got typecast, because it's pretty much the same role. george wendt (norm!) also has a very small one scene job. who else...oh yeah, a young joan cusack plays the awkward high school girl.

and finally we have rock school. this is a documentary about paul green's rock school in philadelphia. basically, paul created a school to teach kids how to play and perform rock music. the documentary follows him and a number of his students, while also building toward the public performances they are working toward. i don't think the documentary was great, but it was interesting and sometimes funny. paul comes across as an interesting guy, as far as his perspective of himself, the kids, and the world. i liked will o'connor and his personality and takes on things. and watching c.j. play guitar as well as he did at that age was an experience.

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Paper clips sounds neat. I'm adding it to my Netflix Queue.

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