Thursday, April 23, 2009

Celluloid #42


In Home

Closely Watched Trains (1966) Menzel - One of my all-time favorites, all though I had not seen it in a while. A young man gets a job working at a train depot because it requires the least amount of work/effort. Everything in life seems to come easier to everyone else, particularly when it comes to the ladies. Features a really sexy scene involving stamps...5/5

Cowards Bend the Knee (2003) Maddin - A really bizarre film that combines B-movie themes with 1920s silent film aesthetic and plenty of surreal imagery thrown in for kicks. The basic premise is that a man on a hockey team named Guy Maddin (the director's name) takes his girlfriend to get an abortion. During the procedure he becomes interested in an Asian seductress and his girlfriend dies and remains a ghost for the rest of the film. Hand amputations occur. Affairs, pranks, over-the-top cliches ensue. Weird, fun, hour of my life even if at times it felt like a student film of better production quality. 4/5

Into the Wild (2007) Penn - Recent college graduate, Chris McCandless, decides to set out on his own without money or possessions and without telling his family. He justifies this behavior in a search for "truth" and in rebellion to his economically privileged upbringing. This character on his own would have been enough to annoy me endlessly, but I could have possibly enjoyed a film about his struggles if it wasn't so cheesily done...slow-mo shots, montages, and a horrendous soundtrack by one Eddie Vedder. 2/5

I've Loved You So Long (2008) Claudel - Juliette has just been released from a 15 year stint in prison for killing her own son. Her sister, who was just a teenager when Juliette began her sentence, decides to take her in and reconnect with this person that so much of society writes off as evil. A slow movie that I had no complaints about, but also produced no strong reactions. 3.5/5

Lola (1981) Fassbinder - Part 3 of the "BRD Trilogy" about women in post-war Germany. This time we are introduced to Lola, a singer/prostitute who wants to capture the heart of a new building commissioner in town, and apparently the only person free from corruption. Everyone lives hypocritical double lives, and eventually even Lola's secret life is discovered by the commissioner causing him to struggle with his own sense of morality. 3.5/5

Memories of Murder (2003) Bong - A serial killer strikes every time it rains and a woman is wearing red. The local investigators prefer to bully "confessions" out of their suspects, but also do a lot of foot work on their cases. A specialist is called in from Seoul whose strengths lie in the more scientific/forensic aspects of investigation. The two parties butt heads, but realize that a combination of their styles may be necessary to obtain their killer. From the director of the Host. 4/5

9 comments:

Wessail said...

Closely Watched Trains also had one of the best practical effects explosion and resulting shock wave I've seen, and I've seen my fair share.

Ian Woolcott said...

Into the Wild - A middling life of middling achievements made into a middling book made into a middling movie with a poor to middling soundtrack.

I’ve Loved You So Long, - Speaking of which, why is it that the French are so incapable of matching their films with decent soundtracks? I can think of a couple exceptions, perhaps: La Vie en Rose and Amelie. But I was so distracted by the downright horribleness of the soundtrack for I’ve Loved You So Long that I just wanted to mute it and read the subtitles while playing almost any randomly selected CD from my own personal collection.

Saxon Baird said...

Au contraire, Ian. "Ne le dis a personne" or "Tell No One" from 2007 had an absolutely beautiful soundtrack.

In addition, while the director is American, "Le scaphandre et le papillon" or "Diving Bell and the Butterfly" had a pretty decent soundtrack as well.

Ian Woolcott said...

Touché, Saxon. I'm given to over-generalization, I know.

Roman said...

Sexy, sexy stamps...

and Memories of Murder!!! YES! Also has one of the best "jump kick a dude in the face off of a hill" moments in film.

Roman said...

PS. I really, really liked Brand On The Brain. The narration options on the DVD are really awesome.

Roman said...

Brand UPON the Brain. Sorry.

nora said...

I agree about Into the Wild; the book was incredibly clunky and I found myself loathing McCandless more and more with each flip of the page (the same went for Krakauer, with his chapters of ego-centric Alaskan adventures). A meh book, a meh movie. I did leave both book with a sense of pity for McCandless who seemed ripe for some dastardly combo of a mood and a thought disorder. The movie was just silly.

Yinger Yanger said...

I love your review of Into the Wild. I talked a whole lot of shit on my other blog about that movie but as you know. It's all deleted. BOOO.