Monday, July 23, 2012

Celluloid #152

In Theaters

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) Zeitlin - You should see this film first and foremost for the memorable visuals. This is the story of Hushpuppy and her dad who live on an island off the coast of Louisiana. A storm of Katrina-caliber hits, destroying the makeshift life that they had made for themselves. Hushpuppy narrates this film and injects the right amount of child perspective and imagination without things getting anywhere close to being sappy. This film feel so "American" with its history of poor blacks, white trash, Southern Gothic, hard-drinking, firework sensibilities. My only complaint is that the music is too overpowering at times, but otherwise I loved it. 4.5/5

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) Trevorrow - Enjoyable enough movie about three reporters working on a story about a Craigslist ad seeking a partner for time travel. Initially the three think Kenneth might just be a paranoid nut, but as Darius (Aubrey Plaza) gets to know him, it seems as though he just wants to connect to a simpler, happier time, and she begins to fall for him. Then things get a little wacky as they gather supplies for the time machine and try to shake some government officials. 3.5/5

Take This Waltz (2012) Polley - I still love Michelle Williams, but this movie is pretty bad, and it does make me question whether Sarah Polley is a total weirdo. Margot is married to Lou, a chef writing a cookbook about chicken. While on a writing assignment, Margot meets Daniel and the two have instant chemistry. Things get complicated when Margot realizes that Daniel lives right across the street. She struggles with whether she should start an affair, or stay loyal to her loving but bland husband. The characters are all pretty off (the gross babytalk meets gore, all of Daniel's outfits, his job, and his lame art), but mostly what bothered me was the horrible dialogue. People are constantly saying things in this film that no real person would ever say. 2/5

In Home

Domain (2009) Chiha - A young man and his aunt seem uncomfortably close. She is a mathematician and an alcoholic, but seems to enjoy keeping Pierre around as company. He finds her fascinating and original until she makes a desperate move on him despite the fact that he is gay. This film doesn't really do much of anything, but I do appreciate some of the more atmospheric scenes, especially the slow-motion dancing in the nightclub. 3/5

Harakiri (1962) Kobayashi - Poverty-stricken samurais begin turning up asking for a place to commit harakiri, but in reality just want a handout. One house decides to put an end to this behavior by using one such samurai as an example. However, this samurai did not have real blades on his sword, so was forced to disembowel himself with the bamboo replacements. At the time, the lords believe that the lack of blades only proves how much of a weasel and fake this samurai was, and feel justified in their actions. Years later, another samurai shows up at this house making the same request, but before he commits his ritual, he reveals that the first samurai was his son-in-law who just really loved his daughter and needed a doctor for her and their dying baby. 4/5

Party Girl (1995) Von Scherler Mayer - Mary is a total party girl, but needs to start making some real money. Her godmother gives her a position as a library clerk. After criticizing Mary for not being serious enough, Mary pulls an all-nighter learning the Dewey Decimal System (this film is a total love letter to library science), and she becomes a model librarian. There's also a romance with a Lebanese food vendor and plenty of silly dancing. 4/5

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