Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Celluloid #102

In Theaters

Black Swan (2010) Aronofsky - Similar in theme to the Wrestler in that a performer undergoes intense pressure to the point of their undoing. Nina is finally given the starring role in Swan Lake after years with the ballet company, but the director still questions her ability to play to the "Black Swan" side of the role because she comes across as pure and frigid. Nina embarks on a huge descent into madness that involves hurting herself and seeing an evil version of her face on other people. The role, her mother, and her sacrifices all seem to have led to this point. Shot in an interesting if nauseating way and full of psychological and sometimes graphic the point that my friend actually passed out during the film! I could have done without some of the CGI, but overall I was so into this film and its campy elements. 4.5/5

127 Hours (2010) Boyle - True story about Aron Ralston, a hiker/canyoneer who has an accident where he slips into a crevice and his arm gets pinned. He's stuck for five days, and in that time he fantasizes about his past, worries about water, and in general goes a little nutty. The whole time I was just waiting for him to cut his arm off; a graphic scene, but not worth the lead-up. Pseudo-inspirational and ultimately lacking something that I couldn't quite pinpoint. Now, I've really enjoyed Boyle in the past, but this movie and even Slumdog Millionaire with their music video aesthetics leaves me nostalgic for the days of dead babies and less happy endings. 2.5/5

Tiny Furniture (2010) Dunham - Aura has just graduated college and moved home with her talented artist mother and gifted teenage sister. She lets a guy stay at her place while her family is out of town, but they never have sex. She gets a job as a hostess and ends up unprotected fucking one the chefs in a pipe in the street. Basically, she's having a hard time as the tagline says. I like that Aura has a normal, somewhat flabby body which she feels confident flaunting and that she seems really genuine if somewhat privileged. Her story isn't anything new, but totally relatable and you can't help but feel for her even when she's fucking up. 3.5/5

White Material (2010) Denis - Madame Vial is a French National living in some unnamed African country. She and her family run a failing coffee plantation. When the country's political situation gets tense, the French are expected and generally evacuate, but Mme. Vial refuses to leave and wants to harvest the coffee one last time despite the danger. Her lazy adult son is attacked by some local kids and shortly after he begins to lose his mind. People who were once friendly become violent, but it is difficult to sympathize with the French, no matter if they were born there or not. Their colonization contributed to the strife in the first place. In any case, the film is beautiful and interesting for its conflicts. 4/5

In Home 

A Man and a Woman (1966) Lelouch - Two people have children who go to the same school. By chance, Jean gives the woman a ride, and it turns out that both of them have deceased spouses. Her husband was a stuntman that got killed in an accident. Jean test drives cars and his wife committed suicide after he got in a terrible accident himself. This French film may be the epitome of an artsy foreign romance. 3.5/5

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