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City Hall (1996)
Excellent movie that gets better the more you watch it (spoilers)
I've seen this movie about 6 times now. And each time I view it, I'm more impressed by the story and the acting. Its like watching a train wreck being set in motion. Its subtle in its approach, but very effective in reaching its goal.
Spoilers-> At the center of the story is a very nice dichotomy. On the one hand we have Deputy major, Eddy Calhoun (Cusack) unknowingly tearing at the old boys network that forms the hart of major of New York's Administration and on the other hand we have the mob boss Zappati who's deliberately trying to maintain the status quo through all means necessary. This situation nicely culminates in the end when Zappati orders Alselmo to make it easy on himself by killing himself and Calhoun ordering Pappas to do the same, politically speaking.
The movie also contains some really great one-liners such as (a personal weakness of mine): - You don't sum up a man's life in one moment - The only thing new in this world is the history you don't know
All in all, a great movie that deserves a much higher rating.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Birds are not meant to be kept in a cage
This an intelligent movie about a family that has lived in a sedated state of mind for many years. The patriarch of the Tenenbaum family defines it as: maintaining status quo. We slowly witness how each family member and their trusted family friend slowly leave their metaphorical cage and start spreading their wings. The movie is accompanied by a terrific score and is subtle in its approach to the interpersonal relations between the family members. This is necessary since the story consists of several different sub-stories related to each family member. This allows the viewer to understand what each family member is experiencing.
Old man Tenenbaum starts out as a man who wants nothing more than to be a part of the Tenenbaum family (as strange as that me sound). He goes about doing this by treating his kids as adults and he is only able to establish somewhat of an affectionate relationship with Richie, the future tennis player. This has a profound effect on each family member and as we discover, they choose not to act on their feelings of frustration, love and fear but rather maintain an unhealthy status quo.
Twenty years later we see what has become of the family. The outside world has labelled them a 'highly gifted family' and fails to see them for who they really are. Namely regular people who happen to be gifted in certain area's of their lives.
During the course of the movie we witness how each family member slowly leaves his/her cage and confronts their fears and frustrations.
Enjoy the liberalization of the Tenenbaum birds!
Donnie Darko (2001)
Time travelling and destiny
This a great movie about time traveling and destiny. In the movie we follow Donnie Darko during, what he believes to be, the last few days of the existence of the world. During these days he is accompanied by a rabbit he tells him how to spend his last days on earth.
This movie really is about how Donnie beliefs he should spend his last few days on earth. In reality the rabbit is Donnie. The rabbit is the vessel that Donnie chooses to travel back in time. He does this to teach himself to travel in time. This skill will allow him to fulfill his destiny. That is, to find his soul-mate and reaffirm the relationship with his mother. See, if one can travel in time, then it does not matter when one acquires this skill, because you can travel in time. Donnie uses this irregularity of time traveling to fulfill his destiny.
Donnie dies due to an airplane engine falling on his house. Nobody seems to know where the engine comes from, but in reality the engine also comes from the future. In the last few minutes we see his mother and little sister in an airplane that experiences turbulence of some sort. Most viewers think that the airplane is a vessel that allows them to travel in time. But this is not the case. We do not this in the movie, but in reality his mother (and probably his little sister as well) dies in an airplane crash in the future. This is why she is not upset that Donny has died. She understands that he has fulfilled his destiny in life.
The rabbit steers Donnie during his last few days in his life. The rabbit is Donnie himself. God has allowed Donnie to go back in time and extent his life in order to let destiny prevail. 'Grandma Death' knows how to time travel. In reality she has died as well. Donnie's English teacher and his Physics teacher are being used by the rabbit to help Donnie to learn how to travel in time. These teachers are not dead, the simply contain valuable information that can help Donny.
Everybody dies alone.