Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Celluloid #46

In Theaters

Il Divo (2008) Sorrentino - This film is a crash course in Italian politics of the last several decades. The parenthetical title is "The Spectacular Life of Giulio Andreotti" and this prime minister is a very interesting person. He explains himself as a person who dabbles in evil (corruption, mafia ties) for the greater good of the country. In his eyes, lovers of truth are only asking for disunity and problems. Despite his wrongdoings, Andreotti still appears to possess a lot of charm, wit, and intelligence. The rock song soundtrack heightens what is already a very stylish film, but one that could have used a plot line...instead it feels like a bunch of clips about random events during his twenty years in office. 3.5/5

WOMEN ON THE VERGE DOUBLE FEATURE: Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1971) Schatzberg & Play It As It Lays (1972) Perry

The first selection featured a very crazy Faye Dunaway, and if you like Mz. Dunaway, you will be pleased that you pretty much get to see her on screen constantly. She starts out as a high fashion model who bones a number of dudes that she really doesn't care about, her career peaks and she stops being the "it" girl, and becomes suicidal. Lacking in any subtlety, we must see "Lou" screaming and writhing about in an insane asylum at least five times. Schatzberg also decided to do some pretty amateur pseudo-arty things with the camera, namely a variety of out of focus shots and silly extreme close-ups. Lastly, this film feels much longer than the 110 minutes it really is.. (3/5)

However, Play It.. doesn't even have Faye Dunaway or her outfits, but instead has Tuesday Weld and her bad hair and perhaps even less subtlety than the first film. Maria is a small time actress with a director husband. She is fed up with Hollywood and the facades it puts forth. In the course of the film she gets a divorce, has an abortion, and watches her friend commit suicide. As a book, I thought this wasn't bad, but I think Didion is actually a pretty decent writer...this is just a crappy movie with an infuriating parting shot. (1.5/5)

In Home

Brand Upon the Brain (2006) Maddin - A bunch of orphans live on an island where their brains are being drained of youth-giving "nectar." This is a Guy Maddin film where silent movie aesthetic once again meets B-movie themes. This time around there is teenage lesbian love and crazy science experiments, but while it sounds really silly, this film is the right mixture of beautiful and weird. Also, Isabella Rossellini narrates! 4.5/5

In the Soup (1992) Rockwell -Aldolfo (Steve Buscemi) has written a 500 page script. Joe (Seymour Cassell) wants to help him make his movie. Joe has some pretty wild schemes to get money and meanwhile Aldolfo has a thing for his neighbor. Really stupid, cliched ending. 2.5/5

Lilya 4-Ever (2002) Moodysson - Lilya's mom leaves for America with her boyfriend, abandoning teenage Lilya whose own aunt even takes advantage of her. This takes place in the former Soviet Union where everyone seems like they are suffering economically, taking desperate measures to make money. Lilya is left with little option other than to prostitute herself. There is glimmer of hope when she meets a nice boy who promises to take her to Sweden, but that hope is soon dashed away. 4/5

Open Hearts (2002) Bier - A couple gets engaged, then the boyfriend gets paralyzed in a car accident. A doctor (who is also the husband of the woman who was driving the car) tries to console the girlfriend, and the two start having an affair. While the characters don't often do what you would hope, they are extremely human. This film is part of the Dogme 95 series. 4/5

She's Gotta Have It (1986) Lee - Spike Lee's debut film exceeded the expectations I had for it. While the cover art always features cheesy neon flair, this film is actually black and white and not much of a comedy. Nola is seeing three men who each know about the others, but each still wants to be her only lover. She seems to be looking for something or figuring herself out. The acting is a little weird at times, especially during the monologue scenes. 4/5

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) Park - Ryu's sister needs a kidney. After a failed attempt at acquiring one on the black market, he and his girlfriend decide to kidnap a girl for ransom...Needless to say, the kidnapping does not go off as planned, jump starting a devastating sequence of events. 4/5

1 comment:

Roman said...

you need to hear the other narration tracks on Brand Upon the Brain. Crispin Glover's live narration is pretty fucking great.