Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Celluloid #33

In Theatres

Donkey Punch (2008) Blackburn - What can I say? It's February and the movie choices in the theater are growing slim, and John and I wanted to watch a trashy film. This one qualifies, but the actual "donkey punch" itself happens pretty early in the movie followed by gory scenes of Boy vs. Girl violence. I thought it was hilarious that out of the 15 or so people in the theater, with the exception of me, John, and two other dudes, everyone in the audience was a middle-aged male sitting by themselves (I was the only girl at all)...I think they may have expected a different kind of movie. I wouldn't necessarily recommend that anyone seek this film out, but if you enjoy Japanese-style gore thrillers (all though this film is British) this one is not without merits...it's pretty-looking and has a decent soundtrack. 3.5/5

In Home

the Burmese Harp (1956) Ichikawa - A Japanese troop is stationed in Burma near the end of WW2. They are aware that Japan has been heavily bombed and seem a little relieved when they are ordered to surrender. Another troop, also stationed in Burma, refuses to throw up the white flag, so a soldier from the original unit is sent to convince them to stop as they are more valuable to rebuild their country alive than to pointlessly continue fighting. That soldier becomes a monk and decides to wander Burma, burying the dead. A really beautiful film that is obviously anti-war without being preachy, instead proclaiming that as humans "our work is to ease suffering in the world." 4.5/5

Casablanca (1943) Curtiz - So I finally got around to seeing this classic...it's romantic, but not in a way that makes me groan or want to puke. During WW2, many Europeans made their way to Morocco to obtain exit visas to escape to America. Bogart plays "Rick", an American that owns a bar when the love of his life reemerges with her husband who are one of those who need visas. 4/5
Dazed and Confused (1993) Linklater - It's the last day of school in 1976. There's some hazing of incoming freshmen, but also the befriending of them. It's a small town, so there's plenty of driving around, drinking, smoking weed, and rock music. Pretty silly, but an interesting look at a day of rituals and transformations. Also, because it's a Linklater film we get the requisite characters with "deep" monologues or dialectical conversations. 3.5/5

Match Point (2006) Allen - A former tennis pro of a poor Irish background, finds himself among the upper classes of London. He marries the daughter of a wealthy businessman, but secretly has a passionate affair with her brother's fiance. She becomes pregnant and wants him to leave his wife. Chris feels trapped and has to juggle a variety of lies. A Hitchcock-style thriller where you can't help but root for people to do bad things. 4/5

WALL-E (2008) Stanton - In the near future, Earth will be full of garbage to the point that humans will abandon the planet to live in a spaceship. WALL-E is a little robot whose job it is to compact and stack blocks of trash. Eve is another robot sent from the humans to detect the presence of organic life. WALL-E falls in love with Eve and returns with her to the ship. A cute selfless love story and apt environmental tale for the youngsters. 4/5


Saxon said...

A few suggestions for theater films:

Did you see Waltz with Bashir, yet? Its good, overrated but still worth your 8 bucks.

Check out Gommorah. I dont know if it will get released in SF but its basically about the mob in Naples. Only completely unromanticized. Based on a book that this undercover cop wrote who after writing it had to leave Italy and is living in secrecy. I guess its like the antithesis to mafia movies like Godfather. Just like total realism.

Third, keep your eyes out for a film called "Hunger"(no, sorry, not the book by Knutsen). It got good reviews after making the festival rounds -albeit it was also touted as being highly controversial. Basically tells the true story of Irish Republican Armymen who went on a no-cleanse, hunger strike while in prison. Not only did they not eat but they didn't bathe. Apparently, there is a scene when a prisoner covers his entire cell in feces. yeah...intense.

raridan said...

Yeah. Hunger and Gomorra are both on my list of things to see...they just aren't playing anywhere in the bay yet to my knowledge

The New said...


You've got some great bite-sized film reviews on your site. Ever consider creating a page or list in the sidebar with links to each film reviewed?

Match Point is one of Allen's best later films. If it's been a while, refresh your memory and watch Crimes and Misdemeanors again. C&M and Match Point both have the same basic plot, but the divergences in treatment are fascinating.

Have you seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona yet?

~ Ian at New Psalmanazar

nora said...

I enjoyed 'Gomorra' immensely. Played at PIFF, as did 'Hunger', which, in a rare instance of accessing foresight I bought advanced tickets for. Unfortunately, my foray into fore-sightedness was for nought, as I (the working class hero I never longer to be) stayed late amongst the teens whilst sicksick. Too sick to head downtown to a movie at 8 I went to bed at a tragic nine p.m. shivering and sweating til the alarm woke me and Dodobean at 630.
I am going to check out 'Karamazovs' which is Czech's submission for a foreign Oscar and looks amusing and 'Nightwatching' an interesting looking Peter Greenaway film. There is a movie by Agnes Varda which I will likely see, "The Beaches of Agnes" and I bought advanced tix for 'Katyn' the Wadja film. I was too late for Revanche (boo). But managed to just barely eek in to "Baader Meinhof", which was fine, long, and a little Oliver Stoneish for my taste, but educational and entertaining enough. Nothing like super sexy German revolutionaries. Fuck modeling, blow some shit up...

Saxon Baird said...

Nora, I am so happy I am coming back to Portland to hang out with you and Jon so you can say "fuck modeling, lets blow some shit up to me in person"