Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Celluloid #48

In Home

Ariel (1988) Kaurismaki - A miner witnesses his father's suicide and decides to abandon his job in search for a better life. Immediately, he gets beaten up and robbed of his entire savings. Homeless and jobless, Tasi meets a woman who takes him in. He encounters one of his assailants, attacks them, but is caught and sent to jail. Even though his sentence is less than two years, Tasi plans his escape. 4/5

Devil's Backbone (2002) del Toro - Takes place in an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War. Scandals abound between one of the grown orphans and the mistress of the house, cruelty inflicted upon the boys by the same grown orphan, and not to mention the ghost of a dead boy. Pretty similar to the Orphanage which came out a couple years ago...also featured orphaned children and creepiness. 3.75/5

eXistenZ (1999) Cronenberg - Alegra is the premier game designer for virtual reality-type games that transport people into alternate realities. Someone has been tampering with her latest game, so she has to play with someone in order to discover the problem. The film still features typical Cronenberg fleshy, grotesque weirdness, but the "twist" was utilized too much for me..."Are we still in the game?" I get it. It's difficult to distinguish reality...give the mindfuck a rest. 2.5/5

the Last of Sheila (1973) Ross - Like Clue, but on a yacht! An ensemble cast (including Racquel Welch and a very young Ian MacShane) enact a murder mystery in which they are all guests invited to play a week long game. Everyone has a secret and part of the game is to match each person to their secret. Lots of twists, but done playfully. 4/5

Mean Girls (2004) Waters - Cady has been home schooled in Africa until now, her junior year in high school. She's really pretty and gets invited to hang out with "the Plastics" or most popular girls in school. They are vicious to each other, but Cady doesn't want to be mean. However, the more time she spends with the Plastics, the more she becomes like them. The film is written by Tina Fey, so it's funny, even while spreading a girl power message. I particularly enjoyed the jungle-inspired slow-mo scenes. 4/5

Space is the Place (1974) Coney - Sci-fi/blaxploitation featuring Sun Ra...sounds amazing right? While it was a nice surprise to see Oakland and San Francisco featured prominently in the film (Sun Ra is trying to recruit black people to start a new space colony), I would have liked some more "Space." 3.5/5

Unknown Pleasures (2002) Zhang - Described as a Chinese version of Slacker, but really doesn't have any where near the amount of dialogue you expect with Linklater. Instead, it's clear that China's economy is in the toilet as we follow around two 19 year-olds while they try to find jobs, hang out with their girlfriends, listen to music, or talk about Pulp Fiction. 3/5

1 comment:

Wessail said...

Cronenberg sure loves his vulvic imagery. eXistenZ was one of his worst but Dafoe and Bilbo (Ian Holm) were great.

I want to see Crash (Cronenberg's, not Haggis') but no one seems to carry it.