Saturday, June 12, 2010

Celluloid #86

In Theaters

Holy Rollers (2010) Asch - After being rejected as a potential husband in an arranged marriage, Sam accidentally gets into smuggling ecstasy via his shady neighbor. Sam is a orthodox Jew living in the Hasidic  neighborhood in Brooklyn. Even though this film is based on a true story, for some reason I expected it to fall a little more on the dark comedy side. Instead, this is actually a pretty serious film about a young man struggling with tradition and the culture outside, faith, and the desire to be a man who can support himself. 3.75/5

Please Give (2010) Holofcener - Essentially a film about rich, white New Yorkers having a neurotic time. The main problems are rooted in guilt and privilege. This sounds like something I might hate, but in actuality, I thought this film was well-done and I appreciated that it stayed away from cheesiness and epiphanies. Alex and Kate run a vintage furniture store populated by the former belongings of dead people. They are also waiting for their old lady neighbor to die so that they can expand their apartment. The granddaughters  of the lady develop relationships of varying degrees with Alex, Kate, and their daughter. In addition, Holofcener depicts bodies in such a bleak and unglamorous way. 3.5/5

In Home

Gates of Heaven (1978) Morris - Documentary about pet cemeteries and the people who open them, and the crazy pet owners that make use of them. The interviews with the pet owners depict obsessed people, but also often delves into tangential areas. A lot of time is spent with one family in Northern California who own one of these cemeteries. They are so quintessentially Californian with their self-help and positive thinking, recording music, and developing new religions. An interesting glimpse into the late 1970s. 4/5

the Gleaners and I (2000) Varda - Another documentary about "gleaning", a tradition akin to dumpster-diving or foraging. Varda also inserts herself often into the film with her musings about aging. At times, the film feels a little amateurish and I was annoyed with the street punks she interviews, but other than that a film that I was surprised that I got so sucked into. 3.5/5

Summer Hours (2008) Assayas - An old woman brings her three grown children together to discuss plans after her death. Two of the children live overseas, so she has the foresight to know that the estate will likely be sold. The house is full of art and artist-created furniture. Most of the film deals with how art is perceived, especially on the market, and how siblings deal with the loss of the one person who really holds them together. 4/5

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