Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Celluloid #38

In Home

Alphaville (1965) Godard - This beautiful sci-fi noir was the inspiration for Blade Runner. A man from the "Outlands" comes to Alphaville. He lives in the past (because he takes pictures?) and kills a bunch of people (or lifelike robots) for unexplained reasons. Lemmy Caution is the ultimate hardboiled detective throwback. Women have numbers tatooed (referencing the Holocaust?) and say "I'm very well, thank you so very much" without any prompting. Alphaville is also a love story between Lemmy Caution and the lovely Anna Karina's character, emphasizing a need for nostalgia, emotion, and individuality in the face of sterility. 4.5/5

Chinese Roulette (1977) Fassbinder - A weirdo crippled teenage girl plots to have both of her parents and their lovers end up at a getaway mansion, and then shows up herself with her even weirder mute governess. As a group, they all play a game called "Chinese Roulette" where each person on one team has to answer random questions posed by the other team. Starts off basic enough, but morphs into hostile territory. 4/5

the Cyclist (1987) Makmalbaf - A short, simple, and sad film about an Afghani immigrant whose wife is dying, and in order to pay for her medical bills he agrees to participate in a circus. To make money he has to ride a bicycle in circles for a week straight...no sleeping, very little eating, and an awkward setup for using the bathroom. This film came out before Iranian film started getting more notice in the 90s, but uses some interesting camera shots. 4/5

Fistful of Dollars (1964) Leone - Classic spaghetti Western based on Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. However, Yojimbo was a much easier film to understand what/why events were happening. Clint Eastwood ultimately makes a cooler protagonist, precisely because he talks less and comes across as a mysterious loner. The plot is still that two sides of town are feuding while a new gunslinger comes to town and plays each side for a profit. On it's own, this film isn't bad at all, but I probably would have liked it better had I not already seen Yojimbo and its sequel Sanjuro. 3.5/5

Life of Brian (1979) Jones - More Monty Python--Born just around the corner from Jesus, Brian develops his own religious following, but it's the last thing he wants. Totally irreverent, poking fun at customs during that time in history as well as people's tendencies to look for a leader. All of this leads up to a finale of a group of criminals on their crosses, singing a little song called "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." 4/5

Malcolm X (1992) Lee - A fairly well-done biopic that covers the material in Alex Haley's book. Malcolm Little was a young gangster with a conk and a white woman who undergoes a massive transformation while in jail. A follower of the Nation of Islam sparks his interest until he converts and later becomes the visible face of the movement. Malcolm X's life is undoubtedly interesting and I suppose deserves to be captured on film, I just don't like how biopics always include cheesy elements like the extended voice over narration towards the end. Angela Bassett also stars and I would dare to say that she looks even more attractive now than she did in this film 17 years ago. 4/5

1 comment:

Wessail said...

They have a Where The Wild Things Are trailer now: http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2009/03/where-the-wild-things-are-trailer

Looks creepy and amazing and Jonzey.

Love the blog