Saturday, February 3, 2007

Jason watches "Italienetz" and "Letters From Iwo Jima"

So I've now seen every best picture oscar nominee.

But first, "Italienetz", aka "The Italian". I knew nothing about this movie going in. In fact, I was at work (on Saturday, of all days), was done with what I came in for, and wanted to go to the movies. "Letters From Iwo Jima" didn't start for 2 hours, and "Italienetz" filled that time perfectly. And, as a bonus, it turned out to be fantastic. It's a Russian movie, about an orphanage wear 6-year old Vanya has just been adopted by a rich Italian couple (and so, until it's finalized and he moves away with them, he's called "The Italian" by the rest of the boys in the orphanage). Everyone in the orphanage dreams of being adopted by a nice family. Before Vanya gets adopted, his friend Kolyan has that luck, too. However, a couple of days later, Kolyan's birth mother shows up wanting him back. She's turned away, but it gets Vanya thinking about his real mother, and what if she shows up? So instead of being happy to live with the Italians, he starts looking for information about his real mother, and eventually runs away to look for her. It's a wonderful, bittersweet story with surprising sadness as well as comedy. And a great job by the child actor Kolya Spiridonov as Vanya.

And then I saw "Letters From Iwo Jima". As I've mentioned before, I was hoping some theater would play this as a double feature with "Flags of Our Fathers", but alas, no such luck. And I'd be hard pressed to watch the DVD of "Flags of Our Fathers" (which comes out this Tuesday) and see "Letters From Iwo Jima" before Indiefest, so this was my best chance to see it. I can't wait to see the same battle from the American side. Anyway, "Letters From Iwo Jima" was fantastic, especially Ken Watanabe. In keeping with my custom, I won't say too much more about it, as I don't think I'd be able to say anything that the critics haven't already said.

Okay, that is all. Hopefully I'll be able to see "Little Children" and/or "Venus" and/or "Volver" around the Super Bowl tomorrow.


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