Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Celluloid #51

In Theaters

Moon (2009) Jones - Moon is a "space madness" movie that starts off seeming like a potentially derivative hybrid of 2001 and Solaris, but instead recognizes that viewers will likely be familiar with those films and toys with the audience's pre-conceived notions. It's hard to talk about this film without giving things away, so I will just say this: It's David Bowie's son's debut feature film. I enjoyed the low-budget aesthetic (as opposed to shiny looks/CGI expected of modern sci-fi). I thought Sam Rockwell was enjoyable as the nearly sole actor. I also got in an argument with a strange older lady in Berkeley, who acted like she was confused about certain aspects and wanted to ask a question, but when said questions were answered, she countered with nonsensical data and had to be told that she must not have been paying attention...Irregardless, I liked the film a lot upon exiting the theater, and perhaps even increasingly in the days that have passed. 4.5/5

In Home

All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) Iwai - One teenager is obsessed with a pop star named "Lily." Her music is a bit dark and strange and her fans communicate using Internet message boards and chat rooms. This film follows a class of students from middle school to their first year in high school. Each student has a screen name and uses the message boards. They are changing and becoming more rebellious; shoplifting and jumping each other. I got bored with the Internet gimmick after a while and the story also had problems keeping my interest. 3/5

Baran (2001) Majidi - Iranian film about workers at a construction site; namely focusing on Latif and Rahmat. Latif is 17 and Iranian. Rahmat is also young, but Afghani and considered an illegal worker, and thus gets paid a lower wage, has to travel far distances just to reach work, and has zero job security. Latif makes several mistakes in his job to the point of demotion. His position is given to Rahmat. At first, Latif is furious, but when he learns that Rahmat is actually a female in disguise, trying to support her family, he begins feeling extremely sympathetic. 3.5/5

Man Bites Dog (1992) Poelvoorde - A satirical Belgian mockumentary about a serial murderer. He goes around killing senselessly while his film crew captures everything. At first the crew is merely witness to these crimes, but as time passes they become increasingly involved. The film plays with ideas of violence and how the media perpetuates it. 3.5/5

Paris is Burning (1990) Livingston - Famous documentary about the tight-knit gay scene in Harlem. The scene revolves around "Balls" where individuals do a version of walking the runway in a variety of categories ranging from drag queens to dressing like business executives to "realness" (being able to pass as straight). This particular scene is also famous for the dance battles involving "vogueing." The documentary is fairly short and quite engrossing. 4/5


Ian Woolcott said...

When not completely distracted by how much Sam Rockwell looks exactly like my sister's soon-to-be-ex-husband, I really enjoyed his performance. A classic old-school sci-fi. I had hoped for something like this from Danny Boyle's 'Sunshine.' 'Moon' was the better of the two for sure.

Saxon Baird said...

4.5 seems a bit excessive. It got to the point too quickly and then didn't know what do to so it just riffed off its conclusion for about 45 minutes. This wasn't necessarily a flaw but it did get a bit repetitive and unfocused for a bit.

That being said, before this film, I dont think I ever thought a robot with a sad face and Kevin Spacey's voice would make me cry. Sheesh.

Finally, there isnt much to say about this but didnt you find it weird that this is essentially a story about a lonely spaceman and that the film was done by David Bowie's son? I mean so much of Bowie's early work is about this very subject. I dunno...I thought it was a strange and amusing aspect that really has very little to do with the context of the film.