Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Celluloid #12

In Home

Brick (2005) Johnson - While I liked the premise for this movie, I could easily see how it could be off-putting for other viewers. The concept is basically a old-fashioned detective-mystery story set in a present day high school. The "PI" character is played by a loner kid, Brendan, who is trying to figure out why his ex-girlfriend got murdered. None of the actors look like they could be high school students, and the dialogue is much more sophisticated than any 16 year olds'. In reality, the only aspect that seems to translate from an actual high school is the interplay and exclusivity of cliques. That being said, if one can accept the obvious stylization, I think this is a pretty entertaining film. 4/5

Hoop Dreams (1994) James - Siskel and Ebert could not stop raving about this film when it came out, to the point where Ebert named it as the best film of the 1990s (film...not even documentary) and their outcry over its exclusion from the Oscars that year actually caused the Academy to change some of their policies. While I don't believe Siskel & Ebert (or Roeper) should be trusted, it really is an amazing documentary about two high school students from southside Chicago who dream of making it to the NBA. We meet them in 9th grade when they are chosen to attend a prestigious private school, and follow them until graduation. I'm really not that into basketball, but this film also addresses the intersection of race and class in America as exemplified by the struggles that each of these families have to endure. Fathers that aren't around, welfare, slinging crack, trying to get their own education, living without electricity at times, etc. The documentary is 3 hours long, but I promise by the end, you find yourself wanting to follow them even longer. 5/5

If....(1968) Anderson - Part of the "angry young man" phenomenon in Britain, If... is a satirical story about the private school system. By the end, it's very clear that the film is tackling more than just school, but attacking the whole notion of nationalism and tradition. It was the late 60s and England was experiencing their counterculture too...4/5

Le samourai (1967) Melville - A really cool French gangster film. Jef Costello is hired to murder a nightclub owner and spends the remainder of the film evading police. Costello (played by Alain Delon) is such a great anti-hero with impeccable fashion sense. 4.5/5

O Lucky Man! (1973) Anderson - Another Lindsay Anderson film this week, once again starring Malcolm McDowell. This film begins with a young coffee salesman who is quickly promoted and becomes ever increasingly enamored with power, money, and sexual exploitation. Here, we have another satire, this time beating us over the head with the problems associated with capitalism, which is fine, but 3 hours worth!..not fine. Also, interspersed with cheesy Kinks/Beatlesque songs. 2.5/5

In News

*Shane Meadows, director of This Is England, has a new film coming out soon called Somers Town. The young boy from This is England (Thomas Turgoose) will be starring again

* I don't know how far along this is, but Edward Norton is directing and starring in the film adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn about a detective with Tourette's

* In the realm of animation, an Israeli film in the vein of Persepolis, is making the festival circuit called Waltz With Bashir


Saxon said...

yeah, the trailer for Somers Town makes it look somewhat like a feel-good film but this isn't the case with the reviews I've read. Meadows didn't write this one but it still looks like he added much of his own touch to the story that will make it worthwhile. I'm excited...wont be as "cool" as This Is England but I bet its good.

Roman said...

I don't want to sound like a dick, but Brick really wasn't supposed to be a believable movie.

and Le Samourai is awesome.You should check out Red Sun, if you like cheesy spaghetti westerns... Charles Bronson as um, Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune as Yojimbo AND Alain Delon as a villain who's (a) always in black and (b) is named Gauche.

raridan said...

You aren't being dick...I gave Brick 4/5 (so I liked it) on the basis that it was a stylish update on a classic noir premise, not for believability...which obviously wasn't the goal of the film. I was merely pointing out that this isn't a "high school" movie the way that it could construed in its description.

Roman said...