Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Celluloid #39

In Home

Cornbread, Earl, and Me (1974) Manduke - This film is only really notable for being the film debut of a really young Laurence Fishburne. While it features a blaxploitation-inspired soundtrack, this is really an urban melodrama. Cornbread is the local hero...great at basketball, stays out of gang trouble, teaches the younger kids, encourages his parents, and loves orange pop! Unfortunately, he is accidentally gunned down by the police, devastating the community. For the following hour we are left to see the coping strategies of the remaining characters, and a drawn out courtroom scene. While I appreciate the sentiment of the film, I couldn't completely swallow the complete lack of any subtlety and dialogue that often crosses over into complete cheesiness. 3/5

Reprise (2008) Trier - Two lifelong friends both want to become published authors. They are in their early 20s and their friendship is tested when Phillip has a nervous breakdown. Erik's first novel gets bad reviews and he suffers general insecurities, but his writing idol gives him praise that encourages him to keep writing. Mostly this is a Norwegian coming-of-age story dealing with growing up, relationships, and mental health. The film is really pretty, stark, and quiet-feeling...lots of black, white, and grey. It's also pretty hip--a fun scene at a party involves everyone dancing to Le Tigre's "Deceptacon." 4/5

Return to Oz (1985) Murch - Apparently the pinnacle of "creepy kid movies," Return to Oz starts off with Aunt Em getting tired of Dorothy talking about Oz to the point that she takes her to a doctor to receive electroshock therapy. Once we enter Oz, there are the Wheelers (weird long-appendaged clown people with wheels for hands and feet), Tic Toc (a stout metal man who needs frequent winding), Jack (pretty much the exact precursor of Jack in Nightmare Before Christmas), a moose head on a flying couch, a queen with 31 removable heads, and a really irritating talking chicken who thinks it's really clever. As an adult, the bad acting offsets any potential for scariness, but nonetheless a campy, odd little movie with some enjoyable old school special effects. 3.5/5


Ian Woolcott said...

You've managed to resurrect some old and deeply buried memories with your Return to Oz bit. I'm either going to have to rent it and watch it again tonight or else curl up in a fetal position and sing songs to myself until it all goes away.

On your review, by the way, my wife and I watched Even Dwarfs Started Small. My wife, believe it or not, fell asleep. I was utterly mesmerized.

raridan said...

I'm glad you are picking out the most absurd films...hope you have emerged from the fetal position...

Pete said...

i know a ton of people who have nightmares about the WHEELERS!