Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Celluloid #74

In Home

Batman (1989) Burton - The students I work with often have nothing to do at lunch, and stranded on Treasure Island, there's little in the way of entertainment for them. Out of kindness, and self-serving interests, I've started a little "cinephile club" for them. Each month we are going to pick a theme, director, genre, etc. and watch films during lunch on that subject...this month is Tim Burton. I vaguely remember seeing this as a kid, but certainly did not remember the Prince soundtrack. Burton's version is totally gaggy compared to the newer Christian Bale vehicles, but interestingly, both versions involve chemicals causing widespread panic amongst Gotham's citizens. 3.5/5

Bring It On (2000) Reed - The cheerleading movie that spawned all other cheerleading movies, not to mention a rash of snarky teen films. The plot centers around two Southern California teams; one is white/suburban, the other black/urban. For years, the white team has been stealing routines from East Compton, however, Torrance is the new captain, and she wants to make things right. Admittedly this movie is totally ridiculous, but it makes me laugh and I like that the students and characters aren't really being made fun of. 3.5/5

Following (1999) Nolan - Bill likes to follow people around. Not for any malicious gain, but out of a compelling sense of curiosity. One day a con man realizes that Bill is following him, but instead of getting angry, he suggests that they team up to break into peoples' homes. At first I thought this film was being a little too nonlinear clever, but I warmed up to it, and even enjoyed the use of typical noir tropes. 4/5

Head-On (2004) Akin - A middle-aged suicidal man and equally self-destructive young woman meet at a clinic. They are both German citizens of Turkish descent, and upon initial contact, the woman suggests that they marry. All she wants is a sham marriage to appease her parents while maintaining the freedom to sleep around as she wishes. Cahit is a bit of a loser, but he feels pity enough towards her to agree to the arrangement. Their instability is what makes this love story so engrossing, and one of the best films that I have seen in quite a while. 5/5

Otto; or, Up With Dead People (2008) LaBruce - So we've all seen a ton of zombie movies, but I doubt many have seen a zombie movie like this...these zombies are gay, and this film is out of control. The music and sound is enough to make you feel crazy, but after many scenes of watching the undead eat roadkill, you are confronted with the wound-fucking scene. My goodness! This film pokes fun at arthouse cinema, yet still seems to have some sort of message about homosexual persecution, but that's all a little hazy...3.5/5

Sleep Dealer (2008) Rivera - This Mexican sci-fi film closely resembles Cronenberg's eXistenZ, down to the fusing of flesh and machinery via nodes that one can plug into. However, while Cronenberg's film centers around video games and virtual reality, this film uses the technology to enable workers in remote places to become part of the global economy. People can also sell off their memories. In the end, I'm not completely sure what is going seems as though Rivera was really excited about this concept, but didn't know what to do with it. 3.5/5

Somers Town (2008) Meadows - Ultimately a disappointing follow-up to Meadows' last film This is England. A very simplistic story about a runaway who takes the train to London and gets mugged almost immediately. He befriends another teenage boy that has immigrated from Poland with his father. The two have a big crush on a woman who works at a cafe and engage in various shenanigans around town. 3/5

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