Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Celluloid #66

In Theatres

An Education (2009) Scherfig - Even on a superficial level, there's plenty to like about this film: the style, the clothes, the cool nightclubs. However, I also found myself relating to Jenny quite a lot...not the whole older man aspect, but her opinions about life. This movie takes place in early 1960s England, years before any semblance of a feminist movement, but you can easily see Jenny as a proto-feminist. On one hand she wants to go to Oxford, and on the other, she wonders whether a degree will do her any real good as a woman. She wants to read what she wants, see art, travel, listen to what she wants, and have fun if she isn't allowed to do anything significant. Peter Sarsgaard is super cute and charming, yet plays the role of a sleazebag perfectly. It's not hard to see how Jenny could become enamored with him as the older man. 4/5

Men Who Stare at Goats (2009) Heslov - Well, I suppose this movie is fun if not instantly forgettable. Ewan McGregor plays a journalist whose marriage has failed so he decides to go to Iraq to prove he's a man and not a complete failure. While in Iraq trying to get a story, he meets Lyn, a former member of a top secret unit of the military focused on New Age influenced-ideas about peace, "remote viewing", and walking through walls. Incredibly silly. 3/5

In Home

Brother From Another Planet (1984) Sayles - A black-skinned alien slave lands in Harlem. He can't speak, but understands when spoken to. He goes through a period of assimilation, but a group of black dudes in a bar take him under their wings, pretty much just because he's black and  seems to need help. When his masters come to take him back, they have to face numerous concerned friends in Harlem. 3.5/5

the Flower of My Secret (1996) Almodovar - A romance novelist gets a job at a newspaper under a pseudonym. Meanwhile she's in love with her husband who's obviously away at war because he doesn't care for her anymore. Typical Almodovar soap opera-inspired stuff, but still completely entertaining and enjoyable. 4/5

the Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) Olmi - A long film about the lives of a group of peasants in Lombardy, Italy circa 1900. The conflicts range from issues surrounding the crops, to what to do about an excess amount of children, to the ritual of courtship. While the film does a great job of showing people taking pleasure from simpler things, it does not come off as saccharine. 4/5

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