Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is the best movie you've seen lately? And, GIVEAWAY: Tickets to Lebanon.

The film, sillies. Not the country.

(Psst, update. Frank Rivera! You are the ticket winner. Congrats, friend!)

Ok, so. This past summer, I saw a preview for this film right before watching I Am Love. Have you seen that one, by the way?  Tilda Swinton, hot, Italian-speaking, and sultry?  I know.  Tilda Swinton, embodying all of those adjectives. Believe it.

Anyway, when Lebanon flashed on the screen, I felt that awful, anticipatory pang. You know, the kind on television, when the abusive husband is softly touching his wife's face, and you know he's about to hit her.  It's going to hurt - both her, and you, too - but you can't not watch.  You want to be there with her, support her somehow, even though she's fictional, and you can't reach through the screen and still the husband's palm. All you can offer is your sustained gaze, because - while she may not be real - it's these small demonstrations of empathy that, you know, keeps you human.

I've read a few reviews of Lebanon since that preview.  It is about a war, a war that happened the same year I was born.  A 20-year-old gunner inside one of the tanks that first crossed the border into Lebanon, during Israel's invasion, cannot shoot when ordered to, and then, he can.  Actually, he discovers he can kill many people.

The gunner tells his story from the crosshairs of his tank, and that's the view we see as the audience, too.  Three decades later, that gunner grew up and made a movie about what he saw. And that movie is Lebanon.

There is a metamorphosis, first physical, when you lose your sense of taste, you don’t need to eat, you suddenly hear and see everything sharp and clear. When you fall into such an extreme situation, when the basic rules of life are not there, you can’t continue thinking with the logic of normal life.

At the end you don’t fight for your country or your kids, you’re fighting for your life.

Those are quotes the director, Samuel Maoz, gave The New York Times in a story this summer.  It is his very first feature film.

Sometimes I don't think I have the stomach for war films, but then I saw The Hurt Locker. And loved it of course. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien? Only one of my favorite college reads, ever. I think "war films" or "war books" as genres are victims of being washed over in very broad strokes, the subtext being: "dude stuff."

But we both know that's just not true.  Ladies like intelligent war films, too.  Sometimes we are in the mood for The Kids Are Alright, sometimes we can take on Lebanon.

SO! Ladies, and dudes. After a slightly rambling opener, I actually have a pair of tickets to Lebanon to give away. They come courtesy of the Austin Jewish Film Festival, who graciously offered to supply an Austin Eavesdropper reader with passes. It opens at Regal Arbor Cinema on Friday, September 24, and will be showing at 12:20, 2:50, 5:20, 7:50 and 10:15 that day and every day the week following.

To enter, simply leave a comment answering this question: what is the best movie you've seen lately?

I'll pick a winner on Friday, by 11am CT.  Remember to leave your email address so I can notify you, por favor.

PS. I know this film/post has been heavy, but no judging if you loved Sex and the City 2 or something. Hell.  I cued up Despicable Me the other day.


Hipstercrite said...

not hot tub time machine, i can tell you that.
i liked scott pilgrim.
and finally just watched a single man. very beautiful.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

Good to know, Lauren...b/c I wanted to see Hot Tub Time Machine, actually. :)

Also completely fell in love with Scott Pilgrim. Oh Michael Cera. You keep on being irresistible.

Tasha said...


Beth said...

I dug "I'm Still Here." Especially now that I know for sure that it was all a gag. Joaquin Phoenix, you are a genius (also, just in case: he's going to be on Letterman again tonight).

Wolf with Wings said...

Machete! Not only for it's local scenery and fun action; the over-the-top absurdity of it all was simply priceless. I love not reading reviews (just checking for the overall score) and walking into something so surprising.

Hipstercrite said...

HTTM had it's moments, but mostly it was forced and trite. i was super disappointed. john cusack phoned in his appearance. the best part was rob corddry and crispin glover.
scott pilgrim was a lot of fun. i know everyone is hating on cera recently, but he's still adorable.

Frank J. Rivera said...

I saw Mother a few months ago. That's still reigning for 2010. If Hitchcock did an Oedipal film in Korea, this would be it.

I also really liked Exit Through the Gift Shop & Scott Pilgrim.

katherine said...

the most recent movie i saw was eat, pray, love, and while i liked the book, i wasn't really gettin it from the movie.

before that, on one of the many planes i was on this summer, i watched date night. now /that/ was hilarious. i hadn't seen it yet, and it was laugh out loud funny. but, when on a plane, you don't want to be too obnoxious actually laugh out loud because you might disturb those who are sleeping (even though really, screw those guys, i can /never/ sleep on planes). so, i tried to stifle my laugh and end up making a semi-snorting sound instead. :-/

still, it was a funny movie.

Anonymous said...

Too Fast, Too Furious.

Le Tigre said...

I loved Despicable Me. Which was the last movie I saw in theatre...I need to go see movies more often. :-/

Kelly said...

Seconding wolf with wings: MACHETE! it was fun but still had a pretty pointed message. and wtf at roberty deniro stealing GW's accent.

Dad said...

The last movie I saw was "Gone With The Wind"
No, really. Christi and I stumbled into it the other night on the Turner Network. And believe this...CHRISTI HAD NEVER SEEN IT! And when it was over wished she hadn't. She wanted to wash her brain out with soap. Myself I saw "Gone With The Wind" in actual AT-LYE-EN-TAH, JAWJUH at the Lowe's Grand downtown on Peachtree Street when I was stationed there in the Army. It was a 30 year premier with search lights illuminating the night sky and everything. Pretty stupid now that I think of it. But anyhoo, don't pick me for the ticket prize. I can't attend. But if "Lebanon" ever comes to San Antonio I'll go see it. After all, I was a soldier of war, too.

That Chelsea Girl™ said...

Winter's Bone is by far the best movie I have seen recently. Not only did it make me cry like a baby, it was the most realistic portrayal of what methamphetamine is doing to small town America. The acting was phenomenal, and I wouldn't be surprised if Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for an Oscar, etc.
I read The Things They Carried in my high-school English class. Also made me cry like a baby. Whenever I hear the word "culottes", I think of that book.

Trevor said...

"Restrepo" was a fantastic documentary about American soldiers in the Korengal Valley, one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan. It was made by Sebastian Junger, a reporter embedded with the soldiers. He also wrote a book called, "War," about these same soldiers, and which I couldn't put down. He focused on why attracts young men to combat.

I'm very curious about combat.

Liz said...

I also loved "The Things They Carried." Great minds, and all that. :)

Anonymous said...

Up! Have you seen it, Tolly? It is so sweet & marvelous.

Frank J. Rivera said...


Anastasia said...

I just watched Monsters Vs. Aliens. It was so cute. Love insectasoris.

Anonymous said... many good movies. the girl who played with fire, i am love, get low, inception, all brilliant films, good and so-so films included the social network, scott pilgrim v. the world, iron man2, karate kid, exit through the gift shop...and some just weren't worth the film stock it took to make the reel...i'm looking at you a-team. of all of them i would say the best was kick-ass.

ramiro said...
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