We watched a couple of movies the other night. First up was The Bourne Identity. I had seen it before, although not in hi-def. When Best Buy was offering up a "buy one get one free" and it included the HD-DVD versions of the first two Bourne movies, I snatched them up. I really enjoyed The Bourne Supremacy, even despite the shaky camera work, so I was hoping that the HD-DVD version of the first one would be equally sparkling.
And it was an excellent audio/visual treat. Not quite as frantic as Supremacy, but still really good action movie. The car chases were solid, especially the one through Paris in the mini. It held up very well, and now I really want to go back and re-read the novel.
The second movie was a Netflix rental, something that had been sitting around for a while - the standard DVD movie Once, an indie sensation when it came out in 2006. And what a wonderful movie it really was - a nicely romantic, yet real life feeling movie. There are often no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart and this movie didn't take the easy way out, leaving things messy.
The story is pretty straight forward - "Guy" is a busker on the streets of Dublin, living at home as a "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy", whose girlfriend left him for London. Girl comes up to him and tells him encouraging things about his songs. But despite her own complications, she gets him to a weekend long recording session, where things work out well. And life goes on.
The main actors, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, are both pretty much first time actors and really nailed the parts. Director / writer John Carney caught lightning in a bottle with these two and the movie has a great feel about it. Glen and Markéta are obviously comfortable with themselves and, in one of the commentaries, Carney talked about having old band mate Hansard write some songs of a movie he only had partially sketched out in his head. But the more he thought about it the more it became obvious that Hansard was his actor too, and, serendipitously enough, Hansard had a good friend in Markéta who was both a Czech immigrant and a piano player, exactly what Carney was looking for. And she really nailed the part, being both vulnerable and strong at the same time.
My biggest complaint is that, for some reason, the movie has an R rating (in the US, R is for 18 and over only). I can't even begin to imagine why it would have generated an R. The "f-bomb" is dropped a few times, but that is the only thing that could possibly have done it. There's no sex, no violence, just a great, touching, honest story being told, often in song. I was thinking it would be a good movie for my girls to see, as it also does a great job of showcasing the creative process, as both the Guy and the Girl work on the songs. I think it would help get them more fired up on their piano play. I'm truly baffled as to its rating, other than to agree with the feeling in the ratings documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which said that indie films were graded on a much tougher scale than big budget titles.
But you should see Once. No, it isn't a "chick flick". Just a realistic portrayal of two people and how they can affect the lives of each other.