Monday, May 17, 2010

Celluloid #84

In Theaters

I Am Love (2010) Guadagnino - Annie and I saw this Italian film starring Tilda Swinton as part of our stint with the SF Int'l Film Fest. Basically, the film centers around the trials surrounding a wealthy family, whether that means issues with handing over the business or adult children growing up to get married or forge new identities. Emma (Tilda's character) embarks on an affair with one of her son's friends. Beautifully shot and avoids becoming predictable. My only real complaint is regarding the cheesiness of some of the love scenes, but I am willing to forgive those based on the quality of the rest of the film. 4/5

Wild Grass (2010) Resnais - A disappointment from the man who has directed such beautiful and generally serious films such as Night and Fog and Last Year at Marienbad. This film is just too silly. A man finds a wallet and that sets off a chain of events involving stalking the owner, her becoming obsessed in response, a dentist office, a plane, etc. The film feels a lot like three films mashed into one and that chaos did not pay off for me. 2.5/5

In Home

Charlie Bartlett (2007) Poll - Mediocre film about a young man expelled from private school and forced to attend public school despite his family's wealth. Every one of his previous expulsions has been due to an entrepreneurial spirit and desire for popularity. At the new school, Charlie embarks on a scheme of deceiving his psychiatrists in order to to supply his schoolmates with prescription drugs. Meanwhile, he is also predictably falling in love with the principal's daughter. 3/5

Donnie Darko (2001) Kelly - I'm still not exactly sure why so many people peed their pants over this film. This was my second viewing, far removed from a time when this film was being overly hyped-up. In general, I thought it was an entertaining, and pleasingly bizarre film about an emotionally disturbed teenager coming of age in the late 1980s. It doesn't hurt that the soundtrack is pretty great, Jake Gyllenhaal is easy on the eyes, and there are strange wormholes and alternate realities. I like that many of the elements are left mysterious and unexplained, and makes a good entry into this genre. 3.5/5

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) Babenco - Two prisoners, revolutionary journalist and a male-to-female transgendered person share a cell. Luis passes time by recalling his favorite film to Valentin. Unfortunately, Luis is a mole for authorities trying to get information about a revolutionary cell out of Valentin. A real emotional bond develops between the two, with tension evolving from the threat of betrayal. For my taste, a little melodramatic...3.5/5

Love in the Afternoon (1972) Rohmer - A happily married man encounters a friend from the past. She slowly plots to seduce him and for a while he seems to hang out with her so often and in secret that the sexual affair seems inevitable. However, much like in La Collectioneuse, when it comes to sex, people often don't get their way. 3.5/5

Pixote (1981) Babenco - Pixote is a ten year-old sent off to a juvenile boarding facility in the slums of Brazil. In the detention center, many young men are killed off by those in charge, and their murders are blamed on other boys. It seems like no one makes it to their 18th birthday - the date of release. The film is unflinching in its depiction of drug use, specifically glue-huffing as a means to assuage fear. Interestingly, Babenco includes a trans-gendered character as one of the main protagonists. 4.5/5 

Virgin Suicides (2000) Coppola - Moody debut from Sofia Coppola and one of my favorite movies from college. Set in 1970s suburbia, a group of teenage sisters captivate the imaginations of the neighborhood boys. The girls have to endure a strict upbringing by their parents, particularly their mother, who wants them sheltered as much as possible from the outside world. Heartbreaking and bizarre events  happen, triggered by the suicide of their youngest sister. 4.5/5

No comments: