His Dark Materials
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Dont Look Back is an absolutely incredible time capsule of a moment in the life of one of the most influential musicians of all time. Yes, I'm a huge Dylan fan, but I don't think you need to be to enjoy this documentary. This elevates concert film to an art film. To see such raw footage of the genius that is Bob Dylan in process truly felt like a gift. A portrait of an artist as a young man you can see him almost visibly thrashing at the boundaries of the music industry and greater society of the time. He won't fit in whichever box you want to put him in and he never will. You can feel the walls he broke down when you recoil at the journalists ask ridiculous, dated questions. Watching his candid interactions with friends, contemporaries, strangers, journalists, fans, and even himself is incredible and beautifully raw and real. Considering this was obviously shot on the fly, the cinematography is often breathtaking. The scene in the car after the first sold out show at The Royal Albert Hall, where Dylan is aware and contemplating the enormity of the world he is entering and how much "the times they are a changin'" is amazing. The fact that Pennebaker was able to capture that moment in music history feels priceless.
This definitely makes me want to skip my high school reunion. The characters are vapid, gross, cruel (one ridicules her thin "friend" who is suffering from hunger during her 500 calorie diet for being ugly and without willpower) losers who are stuck in the glories of high school. Nothing Christmasy about this other than some decorations and cringeworthy songs.
This is one of the better made for television Christmas movies I've seen, it has some clever dialogue, good acting (especially Kathleen Rose Perkins as angel Daphne). That being said the main character, Lindsey Gort's Sarah is not a nice person (note: that's not the intention, I think she's supposed to be charming): she's vain, superficial, a workaholic, and seems only to help others to get something out of it. The purpose of the movie is hoping she's capable of one giving act (allowing the man who's heart she broke get on with his life with someone he loves - how generous) which ultimately keep her from rotting in purgatory for eternity.
The problem is the entire story is further ruined by the ending. Watch it, but you'll want to pretend it never happened.
So Dear Santa has some aspects that are above average (for a made for television movie - let's not get crazy!): the little girl is actually sweet and a decent actress, the leads have more chemistry than most of these films, and there is a nice touch of Christmas magic.... BUT I'm really bothered by the fact that the story pits two women against each other over a man "prize" (when he isn't particularly romantic or sweet to either of them). Crystal is pushed by her parents to find her passion and purpose, but all she finds is a guy. That is not a purpose. I hate that this is "wholesome family entertainment" when these are the myths taught to young women and men. Plus there's all the stereotypical characters and why even act like it's set in New York. Plus the inconsistent snow is kind of hilarious - Derrek has a plowing job but is driving around and there's no snow on the ground... interesting.
Maybe would have been three stars if I'd turned my brain off better.
This feels like a 90 minute advert for Kay Jewellers.
With less plot.