Thursday, December 10, 2009

Celluloid #70

In Home

the Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and Her Lover (1989) Greenaway - This has to be Greenaway's most controversial film. It takes place primarily in a restaurant where a pompous (and perhaps inadequate) thief, his wife, and his cronies dine nearly every night. The wife begins an affair with another patron. Outrageous revenges ensue. Some argue that the disgusting nature of this film is supposed to represent the excesses of capitalism or politics of Thatcherite England, but even if you don't want to read that in, the aesthetics are amazing and the film nothing short of memorable. 4.5/5

Greenaway: the Shorts (1969-78) Greenaway - Greenaway's early short films are detail-oriented and somehow scientific feeling, even though they include many pastoral scenes. One is about a bunch of maps given to an ornithologist, another about windows. Then there's the one about water and another about a phone call. A couple of the films are narrated in this proper English voice but the cadence becomes totally spastic. 4/5

Helter Skelter (1976) Gries - A made-for-TV movie about the Manson Family murders in 1969. Charles Manson believed himself to be Jesus Christ and attracted runaways and outcasts - mainly women. The quality of the film is pretty average, sometimes cheesy, but the story is so bizarro and compelling that it was able to hold my attention for the entire three hours. 3.5/5

Idiocracy (2006) Judge - A stupid film about stupid people. The premise that the world might becomes stupider because the upper class is reproducing at a much smaller rate than lower classes was intriguing to me. However, that means you are actually watching the stupidest people ever for an hour and a half. Jokes about damage to balls, replacing water with sports drinks, and grunting gets old after a while. 1.5/5

Opposite of Sex (1998) Roos - Christina Ricci plays a 16 year old terror who runs away from home to hit up her wealthy, gay half-brother and promptly seduces his boyfriend to cover up a pre-existing pregnancy. The film is totally snarky with a bratty voiceover narration and frequent breaking of the fourth wall. Surprisingly, I found the self-reflexivity enjoyable and only occasionally cheesy. 3.5/5

the Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2006) Fiennes - Zizek philosophizes about the "magic" and "reality" of films. His thesis seems to be that "we need the excuse of a fiction to show what we really are." He focuses on clips from Hitchcock, David Lynch, and Charlie Chaplin to back up his argument, meanwhile dissecting form, motifs, and our emotional attachment to images we only believe conditionally. 4/5

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