Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Celluloid #73



In Theaters

Broken Embraces (2009) Almodovar - A blind man recounts an affair from 14 years ago. He's a screenwriter and former director and the woman is his leading actress. However, she's already the mistress of a wealthy and obsessive man. Ernesto Martel (the rich dude) has recently died and his son, Ernesto Jr., wants to tarnish his father's name. The film has a lot of the usual Almodovar traits - melodrama, bright colors, a homosexual character, Penelope Cruz, etc. and was very enjoyable to watch, even if it did feel pretty middling in the context of his filmography. 4/5

In Home

Baader Meinhof Complex (2008) Edel - In the 1960s, Germans were still reeling from the previous generation's complacency in allowing the reign of Hitler. As a result, the mood seems to be one of hypersensitivity against fascism and politics done in the name of "the people." Baader Meinhof was a leftist extremist group that engaged in terrorism as a form of government protest. This film follows their ten year ordeal, including the trial and death of most original members. 4/5

the Girlfriend Experience (2009) Soderbergh - A personal trainer and a high class call girl are dating. Both jobs target wealthy people who pay for luxury services and the semblance of someone to care about them. The story is told in a nonlinear fashion and there seems to be an overabundance of references to the crappy economy. Interesting, but somehow lacking something. 3/5

Observe and Report (2009) Hill - Extremely dark comedy about Ronnie, a security guard with delusions of grandeur. He wants nothing more than to hook up with the makeup counter girl and become a legitimate cop. He's psychologically unstable and the film gets pretty uncomfortable in several scenes. 3/5

O'Horten (2007) Hamer - Slow-paced Swedish film about a retiring train engineer. Odd visits his mother who used to be a ski jumper and befriends a drunk old man. The whole film is physically a little hard to see because so many scenes are really dark. The moral seems to be cliched business about learning to enjoy one's life. 3.5/5

Revolutionary Road (2008) Mendes - I read the Richard Yates novel a couple years ago, and wasn't totally impressed. I think the story may have been controversial upon its release, but I don't think anyone today seriously harbors nostalgia about the 50s and early 60s. The film contains the same bleakness, but the character of April Wheeler is much less sympathetic than her book persona. I appreciated the aesthetic and lovely colors of the film, even if they did serve to lessen the blow of a huge downward spiral. 3.5/5

Rudo y Cursi (2009) Cuaron - Two brothers get attention from a soccer scout, but he can only manage one to begin with--sparking a hefty sibling rivalry. The brother that gets drafted first doesn't really even want to play soccer and has dreams of becoming a singer. The movie is pretty silly and has way too much voiceover narration, but it does avoid getting too cheesy and opting for a feel-good ending. 3.5/5

5 comments:

Ian Woolcott said...

...I don't think anyone today seriously harbors nostalgia about the 50s and early 60s...

MadMen? I do with my office had an open liquor cabinet.

Ian Woolcott said...

Um, "with" should read "wish." I'm slurring my words because I brought my own liquor into the office today.

raridan said...

I don't think Mad Men portrays the 1960s in a particularly positive light...everyone is bored, engaged in affairs, harboring secret identities, and generally pretty unhappy. If anything, I think that show also serves to poke holes in "good ol' days" nostalgia as well...which is why I love it.

Ian Woolcott said...

I suppose you're right. I was thinking more of aesthetic nostalgia.

raridan said...

In that case, I totally agree with you...I love their outfits and how they make smoking and drinking look so cool...