Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Celluloid #124

In Theaters

Project Nim (2011) Marsh - Normally, I wouldn't have all that much interest in a documentary about a monkey, but this one is by James Marsh, the man who brought you the tear-jerking Man on Wire. This film is nowhere near as great, but still a worthwhile time. It starts in the early 1970s, when Nim Chimpsky is taken away from his biological mother and sent to live with a rich hippie family in Manhattan. Initially, he is raised much like a child and is taught sign language in order to communicate. After several years, this linguistics experiment is determined to be a failure, namely because Nim's internal chimp behaviors keep coming to the surface; the last straw being when he bites the cheek off of one of the teachers. He is sent back to the research facility that he was born in. Despite the tragedy (the scientists should have either never taken him, or committed to keep him in some sort of domestic human environment), this is really a movie about human nature. So many people in this film hook up, and some people even emerge as saviors. 4/5

Tabloid (2011) Morris - A really entertaining look at a huge character. Joyce McKinney started her path to fame through beauty pageants, but becomes notorious for a plot she carried out to "rescue" her boyfriend from the Mormons by kidnapping him for a 3-day sex binge. He's actually in England for his mission, but the "truth" of what exactly went down is never revealed. During her tabloid fame, Joyce goes through a period of exile and costumes after a stint in jail. There are also salacious pictures that emerge, further tarnishing her reputation. AND if the first brush with fame wasn't enough, Joyce gets another 15 minutes decades later when she has her dog cloned. Totally engrossing. 4/5

In Home

Just One of the Guys (1985) Gottlieb - Terry feels she is being cheated out of a journalism internship because she is a girl. To prove her point, she transfers to another school (for a week?) and present herself as a boy. She quickly falls in love with another boy that she befriends and tries to help get a date to prom. Terry finds herself lying to her new friend, and also to her preppy boyfriend, and realizing that maybe her snub had nothing to do with her gender. 3/5

Pink Flamingos (1972) Waters - Classic John Waters - at its core, this is a story about two warring factions competing for the title of "filthiest person alive." Divine's family lives in a trailer where her son engages in sexual acts often incorporating animals, and her mother hangs out in a playpen forever eating eggs. Connie and Ray believe they are the filthiest because they run a "baby farm" where they kidnap ladies, have their servant impregnate them, and get the babies adopted by lesbian couples. Gross and outrageous, but would you expect anything different? 3.5/5

Road House (1989) Herrington - Dalton is a renowned "cooler" known for getting bars into shape, but also rumored to have killed a man. He gets hired to perform his services for a rowdy bar, and after so many jokes about how people thought "he would have been bigger", he finally starts cleaning things up. Unfortunately, he also quickly makes enemies by firing some key staff and ultimately pissing off the wealthy man who has the entire town under his thumb. It doesn't help that Dalton also falls for that guy's ex. Lots of fighting, fires, explosions. It was kinda nice to see a fun action film for a change. 3.5/5

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