A couple of movie notes today.
:: Sometimes I'll watch a film I remember positively from many years ago, and discover that my earlier feelings weren't quite warranted; other times I'll find that I didn't appreciate the film enough way back when. A case-in-point of the latter is From Here to Eternity, which I watched back when I was a senior in high school but have not seen since. I remember it being a terribly gritty and moving film, and my memories are pretty much accurate. I love the way all of the lives depicted in that film come together at the end, even if the people living them don't all know each other and never have a scene together. The Deborah Kerr character, for instance, is deeply affected in the end by the actions of Montgomery Clift's Robert E. Lee Prewitt, whose actions are shaped by Frank Sinatra's Maggio...and all of them are affected by Burt Lancaster, et cetera. There isn't a false note in that movie, and I love the grim sense of futility at the end, and of waste, when all of the struggles and character-dramas in the film are rendered moot by the events of December 7, 1941. I haven't seen too many WWII films, so I don't have a very large sample on which to base this, but this is still my favorite film of that war.
:: I knew I'd love Castle In the Sky. No other reaction was even possible. I can't conceive of not liking one of Hayao Miyazaki's films. So, I'm sure it's totally anticlimactic for me to report that yes, I loved it. It's the most straight-forward of Miyazaki's films, with less of the ambiguity between good and evil that so marks his later efforts like Princess Mononoke, but sometimes it's just fun to watch a pure, nasty villain at work who needs no other reason for being bad than that he is bad. And the visuals? My God, I'd love to see this movie on a big screen someday. Those airships are absolutely stunning in their invention, and if I say that Miyazaki has the same gift for visual worldbuilding that George Lucas has, I mean that as a high compliment. Miyazaki doesn't just create worlds that seem real, he creates worlds that I want to live in. I'd love to go to the city in Kiki's Delivery Service; I'd love to visit the forests and mountains of Princess Mononoke; and I'd be moved to tears if I could see the caverns and the airships of Castle in the Sky. And if I saw Laputa itself? I'd surely never stop weeping.
:: One cautionary note for parents of small children: when you get to the point where your kid is no longer afraid of the bathtub, and you want to keep it that way, don't let her stay in the room while you watch Titanic. Just trust me on this one, OK?