Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Celluloid #112

In Theaters

Heartbeats (2011) Dolan - Super stylish and hipstery take on love and obsession. Two friends - Marie in her 50s-style vintage and Audrey Hepburn updo and gay Francis with his James Dean-inspired haircut and loud pants both lust after the same guy. Nicolas flirts equally with both of them in a way that can be easily construed as being friends. Francis and Marie compete with and undermine each other until a physical fight actually breaks out. I loved the attitude of this film - mean-spirited, neurotic, and totally exaggerated. My only complaint is that the boom mics kept getting in the shot and were quite distracting. 4.5/5

the Taqwacores (2011) Zahra - An interesting premise: a scene of Muslim punks, all dealing with feeling like outcasts from both communities and balancing seemingly contradictory ideologies. Based on a fictional novel presenting punk as a unifying force, but this novel has managed to inspire a real-life scene. Despite the promising subject, the movie is awkward and clumsy due to bad acting and preachy or forced dialogue. Rule #1 in movies: Show Don't Tell. Plus, our protagonist is a hopeless outsider that never makes any real strides in development. 2.5/5

In Home

Carnival of Souls (1962) Harvey - A strange cult movie where a girl somehow survives a crazy car accident then proceeds to become the church organist for a local town. Her neighbor pursues her relentlessly, and even though he's a creep, she hangs with him sometimes because she is scared of the dead-looking dude that randomly pops up. The highlight is the abandoned pavilion where dead couples waltz, and when the girl goes into a "devilish" trance and starts playing crazy music on the organ. 3.5/5

Destiny (1921) Lang - A woman makes a deal with the Grim Reaper that if she can save a life, he will bring her fiance back to life. Three times she tries and either fails or cannot bring herself to sacrifice the life of a baby. Bizarri, bleak, gothic, romantic ending redeems an admittedly confusing story. 3/5

Frenzy (1972) Hitchcock - Hitchcock is known for creepy and stylish thrillers - this film doesn't particularly deliver on either of those qualities. Instead, this is a pretty typical serial killer story where the main character is innocent but his buddy goes around strangling ladies. Few gaggy parts and overall very easy and entertaining to watch. However, I don't see this as very original or memorable. 3.5/5

One-Eyed Jacks (1961) Brando - Rio and Dad used to be bank-robbing buddies until Dad betrays Rio, leaving him stranded in a job gone wrong. After Rio serves five torturous years in prison, he goes looking for revenge on Dad. Dad is now the sheriff of a coastal California town. Married and with a lovely stepdaughter that Rio promptly seduces. For a western, pretty typical, but Rio plays such an extreme antihero (he's so despicable! why does Luisa or anyone ever do anything nice for him?) that it's hard to root for anyone. 3/5

Single White Female (1992) Schroeder - Well done entertaining thriller. Allie and her boyfriend break up because he's a cheater. In order to not give up her rent-controlled apartment, she searches for a female roommate. Hedy moves in and almost immediately becomes possessive and a little off. Her craziness soon gets out of control and at least one person dies as a result. There are some lesbian moments and so many shots of Jennifer Jason Leigh's boobs! (and none of Bridget Fonda's!) Sleazy and over-the-top, but still creepy and engrossing. 4/5

No comments: