Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Celluloid #36

In Theatres

Gomorra (2008) Garrone - A deliberately paced film about the Camorra--a Naples-based mafia clan. This movie was so tense that I became anxious whenever people went outside or were alone inside, fearing that they would be the next victim. Sad and depressing intertwining stories about the inability to escape existing cycles. We see children become indoctrinated, professionals being stripped of their livelihoods, and the deaths of cocky young men. Naples is portrayed as an empty concrete jungle complete with environmental degradation. 4/5

In Home

Half Nelson (2006) Fleck - A middle school teacher has a crack addiction. One of his students discovers his secret and decides to befriend him. The student has an older brother in jail and his friends (drug dealers) look out for her and her mom. Ryan Gosling is pretty attractive, but that still doesn't make up for the inappropriate and fairly unbelievable relationship...perhaps meant to emphasize that we are all human, but I couldn't totally buy it. Oh, and someone working on this movie really likes Broken Social Scene...3.5/5

JCVD (2008) El Mechri - Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a version of himself in this meta-action/comedy (I don't know, make up your own genre). Jean-Claude is taken hostage during a bank robbery and the real criminals make him talk on the phone, to make it seem like he staged the robbery. There is a really weird monologue scene where Van Damme runs the spectrum of emotions, poking fun at his reputation as a bad actor. Overall this film takes a comedic perspective on action films and has-beens, but it's rarely ever as funny or clever as it probably wanted. That being said, the alternate/fake ending is pretty incredible. 3.5/5

the Meaning of Life (1983) Jones - I haven't seen much Monty Python, but this film definitely had its moments. The gluttony scene is disgusting, John Cleese giving his students a demonstration of marital sex, and my favorite...the "every sperm is sacred" skit with hundreds of dirty Catholic children. Ridiculous and irreverent as one would expect. 4/5

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