Sunday, November 20, 2011

Celluloid #134

In Theaters

Into the Abyss (2011) Herzog - In Herzog's latest documentary, he explores capital punishment. He interviews Michael James Perry, his accomplice Jason, their families, the families of the victims, and other residents in the town of Conroe, TX. It's 8 days before Michael's scheduled execution. While the topic seems full of interesting angles, I found myself often thinking of Errol Morris and wishing that he was at the helm instead. Herzog comes off as out of touch with the poor, uneducated people in the town. At times he puts words in their mouths, and they very clearly do not understand him. While I often enjoy Herzog's bizarre monologues and his presence in his documentaries, there simply weren't enough Herzogian moments that worked. The main thing that comes across in this film is that it is awful to to live in the middle of nowhere without work, education, or anything to do...leaving poverty and generations in prison. 2.5/5

Le Havre (2011) Kaurismaki - Charming film full of old people and immigrants. Marcel befriends a young escaped African immigrant. Idrissa stays with Marcel who feeds and shelters him, and also investigates how to get Idrissa to his mother in London. Meanwhile, Marcel's wife Arletty is diagnosed with terminal cancer, but keep the information from Marcel for fear of him not being able to cope with her impending death. Feels like a colorful contemporary fairy tale. 4/5

Melancholia (2011) Von Trier - It's the end of the world. A planet named Melancholia has been hiding behind the sun, but now it is set on a collision course with Earth. Meanwhile, Justine is getting married, but also suffering from debilitating depression. Her sister Claire is also a person prone to anxiety, but feels obligated to let Justine stay with her family while trying to get better. This movie is bookended by some really interestingly strange/beautiful images. At times it seems a little reminiscent of Tree of Life. This film is also unique in its portrayal of depression (and equation with the melodramatic ceasing of existence). Fascinating that Justine only finds relief when basking in the glow of the fatal planet. 4/5

In Home

Candyman (1992) Rose - The Candyman is an urban legend where if you say his name five times in the mirror, you summon him to life. At that point he will slice people in half with his hook. Helen is studying urban legends for her thesis and gets entangled with the myth's version at Cabrini Green Projects. She starts seeing the Candyman herself, but gets framed for a murder while she was blacked out. After being arrested, she has to be locked up because everyone believes her to be crazy, yet she still keeps seeing him and knows she is responsible for summoning him. 3.5/5