Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Close’

2009 documentary ‘Home’ depicts a planet on the brink of enormous change

August 17, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 17, 2015

Home, the visually stunning 2009 documentary film directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is partly a biography of the planet Earth, partly a history of the human species and partly an environmental manifesto.

According to its promotional material, the movie was shot in 120 locations in 54 nations. The images, fittingly, seem to cover every environment on the planet, from arid desert to lush jungle to frozen landscape to artificial archipelago. At one moment narrator Glenn Close is discussing a city filled with skyscrapers; the next, seemingly, focus has shifted to a plain covered by nigh-identical suburban homes and the network of asphalt roads that serve the cars these communities require. Or perhaps we’re exploring the antithesis of these places — poverty-stricken urban sectors where electricity, food and clean drinking water are luxuries, not givens.

But more on that in a minute. Another thing that’s striking about Home is the movie’s varying time scales. The movie begins by describing events in terms of thousands of millennia. The age of the Earth, for instance, is about 4.5 billion years. The first organisms began appearing a few hundred million years after that.

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Funny? Meh. Fun? Yeah!!! (In which I explain why you should probably have seen ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ already.)

September 4, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 4, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy, the most recent release from the Marvel Comics movie empire, is a fun, light-hearted science-fiction action-adventure film that you probably should have seen several weeks ago if you have any interest in that type of thing.

The movie’s protagonist is the wise-cracking, bubble-gum-chewing Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). In a brief prologue set in the 1980s, Peter is abducted from Earth by an alien group known as the Ravagers moments after the death of his mother. This isn’t quite as shocking to Quill as it might have been to the ordinary middle school student, since his mother had always told him that his father was an extraterrestrial.

Roughly two decades later, we find Quill visiting an abandoned alien city, where he combines advanced technology and 1970s aesthetics. On his way to recovering a mysterious orb, Quill dances to a portable tape cassette playing one of numerous vintage songs featured in the movie.

With the job nearly accomplished, Quill (or Star-Lord, as he sometimes calls himself) is accosted by some second-tier alien villains whose names I did not catch. (I thought of them as Chief Henchman and the Expendables; all are employed by a notorious religious fanatic named Ronan the Accuser.) The human uses skill, daring, clever gadgets and luck to make his escape, but his troubles are only beginning.

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