Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Celluloid #81

In Theaters

Mother (2010) Bong - This mother will do anything to protect her idiot son. Their relationship is already inappropriately close and he is basically the focus of her entire life. When the son is accused of murdering a local girl, Mom heads up her own investigation. I love the dancing scenes and Bong Joon-ho's characteristically awesome visual style. 4.5/5

A Prophet (2010) Audiard - Malik is sentenced to six years in prison. Without any friends or family, he finds himself in a predicament when the Corsicans force him into doing a favor for them. Malik is constantly straddling the fence between the Arabs (his own ethnicity) and the Corsicans who provide him with protection. Gritty, often bloody. 4/5

In Home

Fitzcarraldo (1982) Herzog - Klaus Kinski plays a crazy idealist who has a dream of building an opera house in the middle of the Amazon. This film is remarkable in that it took four years to film and the famous scene of a steamboat being pulled over a mountain does not involve special effects, but actual hard work on the part of the locals and Herzog's film crew. As far as Herzog's crazy jungle movies go, I would always opt for Aguirre, Wrath of God, but I am super interested in watching the documentary about the making of this film called Burden of Dreams. 4/5

Good Hair (2009) Stilson - Chris Rock hosts and narrates this documentary about the black hair industry. He interviews celebrities, barbers and barbershop dudes, scientists, and platform hairstylist performers about relaxers, weaves, and black womens' hair in general. Rock also travels to India where the most desirable hair comes from. This documentary is very entertaining, much in part to the platform show, but also just because it is really funny and informative. 4/5

Heart of Glass (1976) Herzog - The legend surrounding this film is that most of the actors were hypnotized for the duration of the shoot. Whether that is true or not, the film does have a strange trance-like tone. The setting is a small Bavarian town, famous for its ruby-colored glass. When the keeper of how to make the glass dies, the town experiences a variety of odd happenings. One man babbles about prophesies (perhaps pertaining to future events in Germany) and there are some really cool scenes of glassblowing. The whole thing is capped off with an epilogue that is difficult to explain or interpret (involving people on the beach and birds and the killing of an imaginary bear). 4/5

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) Resnais - A couple in bed discuss the horrors of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He is Japanese, but did not witness the tragedy firsthand. She is white/French and has her own baggage from suffering through France's occupation as  young woman. Very artsy. 3.5/5

Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1998) Herzog - This is the documentary about Dieter Dengler, a guy who just wanted to be a pilot and got shot down early in his enlisted tour of Vietnam. Dieter is a charismatic eccentric, much in line with the characters that Herzog is attracted to. The film is strange because Herzog basically forces Dieter to reenact his time as a POW--probably the most traumatic time in his life. 3.5/5

Motorcycle Diaries (2004) Salles - A buddy roadtrip movie about Che Guevara and his friend Alberto--years before his infamy as a revolutionary, and this film remains mostly apolitical with small hints to his ideologies. This is the Che who still goes by Ernesto and is a semester away from becoming a doctor. The film is full of beautiful landscapes from around South America. This is my second time viewing this film, and while I was largely dismissive the first time, this time I found the scenes of the leper colony quite touching. 3.5/5

Raising Victor Vargas (2002) Sollett - An indie film about a Dominican family living in New York. Victor sees himself as a ladies' man, but his reputation is damaged when word gets out that he slept with a fat girl. Judy is the neighborhood hottie, tired of guys hitting on/harassing her. Victor pursues Judy and she agrees to let him hang around to keep the other guys at bay. Meanwhile Victor and his siblings have to appease their grandmother before she kicks Victor out of the house. 4/5

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