The Pursuit of Happyness
A very inspiring and well-made script, refined with great casting and acting makes a movie great. People should flock to see this if they want a tear-jerker.
Now this is quite an amazing story. Though I feel the movie was trying hard to become an art film with all the excess scene and symbolic devices shots.
Basically The Banquet revolves around the treacheries/trickeries of the leading lady. It really hearkens the days of vile court officials and poisonous alliances. And even with the politicking there is the recurring idea of love which just makes the movie brilliant. And of course the accurate and exquisite portrayal of the life and times of the Chinese court!!! Excellent!
The crafting of the characters are excellent, from the innocent servant to the haughty empress! Brilliant work! And the ending was exquisite! After that well-delivered speech, her death was just so unexpected and that made for a great coup d' grace ending!
Zhang Zi Yi kinda has this scary smile/look doesn't she? When she smiles with her teeth out...
House of Flying Daggers
Erm... Nothing much to see here. Not much emphasis on the relevance of the House of Flying Daggers... The movie centers on a love triangle, with lots of fighting in between! The knife-throwing scenes are just well um... off. Great fight scenes though! But anyway there are strong themes of love, duty, and fanaticism involves here. Great plot twists but all in all a very weak script makes for a meh movie.
Little Miss Sunshine
I was laughing from the start of this movie. This is sheer genius. The exposition at the dinner table was just golden. After hearing those exchanges you KNOW it's going to be a brilliant movie.
Seriously it's an excellent laugh trip even without reading into the script for deeper subtexts. And the script! Masterfully written! When the father said "good luck" I was already applauding the movie! And the daughter was just exceptional in the stock character of a curious and innocent child. Her exchanges with the Miss America was it? about ice cream really emphasizes how children view consequences and role models. From the start of the film one could already see that the themes of beauty and judgment would be running all through-out the movie. As the father's program is further explained the definitions of winners and losers are in themselves words of brilliant script writers.
The whole "life is a beauty pageant" was a recurring concept throughout the movie. The brother who committed suicide kept saying that he was America's number 1 scholar as a sign that he still clings to his laurels. To the father, winning and losing is the beauty pageant. To the grandfather, the beauty pageant is his family. To the mother...well holding things together I guess but I think I have to watch the movie again to see her tie into this concept. The son explained the whole concept! To the daughter the apparent physical beauty pageant is there.
The scenes of the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant were quite disturbing as those little girls were literally dolled up. The skanky clothing and routines? Or over-rouged and sprayed hair? The clothes? They all stand in contrast to our heroine who goes about the pageant as bluntly as a stone. But that is our culture as the son says. Everything is a fucking beauty pageant. Has our lives been transformed to hold a judgmental image culture? The whole porn star routine, though tagged as inappropriate for the conventional talents and shows, further illustrates the message that everything in life that we do is judged by other. Conventions and traditions are held sacred and those that seek to break the status quo aren't given any dinero for their time. This is quite a serious implication but I do mean, in the context of the story since the girl didn't know what she was doing, that people are being processed and compacted to meet expectations. Beauty pageants are homogenizing each and every single event in our lives.
The ending can bring its viewers to tears because the scenes were just so damn funny. As the family joins in the porn star dancing, they illustrate the defiance they have with those who dare step on people's dreams. And with their display of rather funny choreography they have solidified their positions as family. No judgments, no beauty pageant. To each his own niche in the family on the verge of breaking down.