Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Celluloid #40

In Theatres

Tokyo! (2008) Gondry, Carax, Bong - Triptych film presenting three outsider takes on the city of Tokyo. Interior Design is Gondry's entry and also my favorite of the three. A girl and her artist boyfriend move to the city, but things don't go very smoothly and she begins to feel under appreciated and undergoes a transformation that is visually interesting and sympathetic. I didn't completely understand what was going on in the second short, Merde. A man emerges from the sewer and begins wreaking havoc. He speaks gibberish and only eats flowers and cash. A comment on capitalism? terrorism? a modern day Godzilla? Your guess is as good as mine. Regardless, parts stretch on much too long and interest begins to wane after the first third. Lastly, Joon-ho Bong (the Host) offers up Shaking Tokyo, a look at the hikikomori (people who never leave their homes) and develops a love story that was a little sappy, but one that I was willing to enjoy. 4/5

In Home

Ballad of a Soldier (1959) Chukrai - A Russian film that utilizes innovative cinematography for the time and includes some very interesting shots and beautiful close-ups. A 19 year-old soldier gets a leave to go home for a few days, is asked by his comrades to run errands for them, and meets a girl along the way. Overall our hero is without faults or any ambiguity...I think a little greyness could have eased the quaint feeling. 3.5/5

Burn After Reading (2008) Coen - A decent offering from the Coen Brothers, that I think gets shit on a little too harshly, but would benefit from tapered expectations. My main issue was that the plot felt like a "non-plot", or some problem invented just to be sorted out in the course of the film. Enjoyable, if over-the-top performances from the all star cast, especially if you can handle Malkovich yelling all of his lines. Funny enough and worth a rental. 3.5/5

Leolo (1992) Lauzon - Kinda like Amelie, but male, French-Canadian, and dark, instead of female, straight up French, and whimsical. There's still the abundance of saturated greens and reds and overactive imaginations. However, Leolo's world is one of shit, obesity, fear, puberty, and constant masturbation. It's a little sad/disturbing, but provides some genuine laughs as well. 4/5

Wanted (2008) Bekmambetov - I thoroughly enjoyed Nightwatch for its visual style consisting of ridiculous effects (Timur loves his slow-mo), gratuitous violence, and silly action. Wanted delivers more of that, and I totally could have gone along with it all...if James McAvoy would stop talking! I don't mind him as an actor, but the dialogue made me a little crazy. 3/5


nora said...

I was OBSESSED with the hikkikomorri a few summers ago!! I love culturally specific pathology! But then, who doesn't?

raridan said...

I remember. I thought of you when watching that segment...

nora said...

I did not enjoy this movie... despite interest in hikkikomorri. I was bored to tears by Merde. The first one was fine enough and the hikkiko short was meh, okay. zzzzz