Sunday, February 26, 2012

Celluloid #143

In Home

the Arbor (2011) Barnard - Experimental documentary about the playwright Andrea Dunbar. She grew up in England's version of the projects and had her first play published at the age of 15. All of her plays were based on autobiography and observations from the neighborhood. Her life was sad and full of poverty. She struggled with alcoholism and mothered three children, each with a different father, none of which she took particularly good care of. This movie is unique for the interview style where actors lip synch the actual recorded interviews of friends and family. Sounds like it could be gimmicky, but actually works quite well in this story. 4.5/5

Dirty Harry (1971) Siegel - Harry Callahan is a San Francisco cop trying to stop the Scorpio Killer. This movie is stylish and totally effective as an over-the-top action flicks where we get to see crazy criminals get what's coming to them . There's also a laughable conservative undercurrent, especially obvious when Harry manages to catch Scorpio, only to have him released because he did not follow proper protocol. I think we are supposed to be outraged by liberal concern for due process and civil any case, while my politics weren't swayed, I was completely into this. 4/5

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Ray - Classic teenage derelict film, but surprisingly tame. (It's possible that I'm just not calibrating correctly for 1955). Jim is new in town and doesn't have any friends. He drinks some and gets into fights primarily as a form of rebellion against his wealthy parents. He has a crush on the neighbor girl, but her boyfriend is a douchebag and Jim gets into a knife fight with him. Unable to finish their fight, they decide to meet up later for a game of chicken, which ends disastrously for the douche. The girl seems to get over things remarkably fast, and the next thing you know, she's telling Jim she loves him. Pretty silly, but important in the history of "teen" films. 3.5/5

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