Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Celluloid #32

In Theatres

Revanche (2008) Spielmann - A few weeks ago, John and I went to see this movie as a part of the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival that was screening at the Castro Theatre. This played on "Austrian night" and also happens to now be in the running for Best Foreign Film in the Academy Awards. Anyway, this is undoubtedly an Austrian film in its style, themes, intensity, and always counted on disturbing factor. A man and his girlfriend decide to rob a bank and flee to the countryside, but the getaway is botched and the girl is shot by a cop. The man stays at his grandfather's farm where he plots his revenge on the cop. The story could have easily become very absurd and even soap opera-like, but instead remains memorable and well-done. I am curious to check out Spielmann's filmography. 4.5/5

Wendy and Lucy (2008) Reichardt - I haven't seen Into the Wild but this film is lazily labelled as the feminine version. A young woman is on her way to Alaska with only her backpack, her dog, and her car. Unfortunately, when she reaches Oregon, everything that could go wrong pretty much does. A minimal plot, but rather an interesting representation of a lot of young women...strong, independent, yet vulnerable. I also enjoyed recognizing the setting of Lombard, Columbia, and Highway 30 in far north Portland. 4/5

In Home

Beckett on Film (2003) various - Four discs of filmic representations of 19 of Beckett's plays. A different director and set of actors tackles each one. Unfortunately, I tried on multiple occasions to get through these, but so many are shot really stagnant, boring, and flat that they served as a reliable sedative...and I can often sit through some really slow stuff. 2.5/5

Dreamgirls (2006) Condon - Oh man. So, I am in the middle of a ten day fast/cleanse right now...the same one that Beyonce went on to prepare for her role in this movie. John and I figured that we should probably just stay at home this past weekend to conserve energy and distract ourselves from our hunger so we picked up a bunch of movies. The library had slim pickings, and this film did seem apt given our state, even though I pretty much can't stand musicals as a genre. Anyway, it's a musical fictional retelling of the story of Diana Ross ("Deena" played by Beyonce) and the Supremes (or "the Dreams"). It's really polished, some of the songs are pretty bad, and it goes without saying...pretty cheesy, however, I didn't hate it (but maybe that's just the hunger hallucinations speaking) 2.5/5

Even Dwarves Started Small (1971) Herzog - Easily the strangest Herzog film I have seen to date (and that's saying a lot), but also a prime example of Herzog's quote of a need for "adequate images." Very little discernable plot --an entire cast of little people, some of which seem to be staging revolt against some sort of mental institution by laughing and throwing things. Basically, bizarre scene after bizarre scene, including a processional subtituting a monkey for Jesus and an amazing ghostriding sequence. 4/5

Fishing With John (1992) Lurie - Not a film, but released with Criterion, John Lurie parodies cable access fishing shows. For each show he takes a special guest with him to a different location to fish. The cast of characters includes: Jim Jarmusch, Tom Waits, Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe, and Dennis Hopper. Waits, Dafoe, and Hopper provide the most interesting conversations and Tom Waits even puts a fish in his pants! 4/5

Thank You For Smoking (2006) Reitman - A lobbyist for the tobacco company has to juggle the role of his job, the attacks from an anti-smoking senator, and the relationship with his son. Morality, talk of freedom, and satire abound. Reitman employs that style where there is a lot of narration and freeze frames, and I found the film overall likable, but tiring after some time. 3/5

Year of the Dog (2006) White - A lonely woman's dog dies from accidental poisoning which jumpstarts her downward spiral. Her love life is hopeless, she becomes a vegan, gets really obsessed with PETA, and finally becomes really crazy. This movie flails quite a bit and for a while seems like a film where the community or support network is going to pull together to help an individual out, but then takes a weird turn somewhere. Her actions wouldn't seem out of place for an early twenty-something, but for a character her age she'd have to be incredibly selfish and naive. Sure to be quite forgettable. 3/5


Saxon said...

Dude! Cleanses are so bad for you! I've been reading all about that shit. No good.

In other news, I met Beyonce last week.

nora said...

Geesh Saxon... way to casual name-drop. Hmmmpf. Not that I'm jealous, no no. Not that I've watched her sing "At Last" to Barack and Michelle dozens of times. No, that wouldn't be me. And I certainly haven't watched the "Put a Ring on It" video close to one hundred times, working secretly to perfect the dance sequence that begins at around 1:30 seconds into the video. No, that's not it at all.

Roman said...

I've had "Single Ladies" stuck in my head for three days.