THIS IS A GREAT MOVIE WEEK – JUNO, THE GITS AND KITE RUNNER
Those from the Denver Film Society that chose “Juno” as Big Night film for this year’s film festival hit the bull’s eye. I had the pleasure of seeing “Juno” a few days before is premiered in Denver last month, and after seeing it the second time I can still stay it is one of, if not THE favorite movie of mine for this year. This may sound like a bandwagon opinion by the end of this weekend, after the movie opens this Friday, but that is irrelevant. It is praise well deserved, and it isn’t often the films, excellent films, get their due.
It sounds like “Juno” will be the exception, since people who have seen it have spoken plenty, which of course, has built up the proverbial buzz. Many are making comparisons to “Little Miss Sunshine,” but that movie didn’t pop into my mind as I left the theater. In fact, no other film came to mind as a comparison, I only knew that all of my friends had to see it.
Jason Rietman appeared that night of the premier, and it was clear just how deep his profession of direction extends. As he stood on the red carpet with the hired Dancing Elk track team for the round of camera flashes, he instructed the young gents to begin looking in the direction of the left and slowly pan to the right, giving all photographer their shot in one full swoop. It was clear how Reitman was the only director to take the reigns of this movie as he stood on the stage, and using his sharp sense of humor, he introduced his latest work with a sarcastic tone, reminding the audience that yes, his last movie was on smoking, this film is about teenage pregnancy and his next comedy will more than likely be about abortion. And the audience laughed.
I supposed that’s what makes this movie so unique. People are talking about much of the same things as I did—the acting and the script—and rightly so. But now that I’ve had some time to think about the film a bit more, it not only took a slightly taboo topic and turned inside out and upside down, where it is in the end about family and all its dysfunctional and endearing qualities.
This week Starz presents a documentary that screened at SXSW earlier this year, “The Gits,” by director Kerri O’Kane. The filmmaker, with the help of her extended family of friends connected with the close and extended family of Mia Zapata, the frontwomen who was brutally murdered 14 years ago in Seattle. For music fans of The Gits this is a must-see and screens at the Starz Doc-Night this Thursday, December 13.
An excellent book that I just finished, which has been taken to the screen and opens this Friday, is “Kite Runner,” a film about two boys that grow up together in Kabul, together like brothers but separated by class. Directed by Marc Forester (“Finding Neverland”), the film brings to light the fighting that took place between the Pashtuns (Sunni Muslims) and the Hazara (Shia Muslims) between 1992 and 1996, something that didn’t hear much about during that time but what has become a common news feed regarding stories on Iraq. It also takes us into the story behind the Russian invasion of their country, the escape many Afghans made, and the eventual rule of the Taliban.
Interviewed by San Jose’s Mercury News (www.mercurynews.com/books/ci_7690612?nclick_check=1), best-selling author Khaled Hosseini (who lives in San Jose as well) remarks on the reaction by the Society of Afghan Professionals in Fremont about the film’s presentation of life as it was in their homeland during that time. “What’s interesting to me is that they weren’t very vocal at all when these factions that were essentially formed along ethnic lines were murdering civilians in Kabul, destroying the city, and dumping hundreds of rockets on Kabul every day.”
News of the movie’s release reached those that were also not too keen about its content, and at the end of November, the three young actors that played the lead roles in the film had to travel to the safety of the United Arab Emirates until further notice.
View the “Kite Runner” trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Ivdc76nAY