My Week In Film (1/5 - 1/11)

The Pirate (1948)
(Directed by Vincente Minnelli)

ah, yes! Gene Kelly is a such a pimp. He just struts around the town dazzling all the ladies and being the fucking man. Awesome. Anyway, this was pretty weird. All about fantasies, role-playing and acting. Judy Garland is in love with her vision of Macoco, but not Gold Roger, the motherfucking Pirate King (I should stop watching One Piece), and wants to be whisked away by him. Suddenly, Gene Kelly pops up being a badass and starts circling and eyeing Garland like there's no tomorrow and hypnotizes her and SHAZAM. I think my favorite part is Garland's almost erotic vision of Kelly as Macoco laying siege to the town. Kelly is wearing a fucking bathing suit and he's dancing like there's no tomorrow, everything is on fire and/or exploding and the world is at his feet. The power of fantasies!


Last Year in Marienbad (1961)*
(Directed by Alain Resnais)

This review is already over.

huh? I know why this film didn't really win me over the first time around. I'm kind of a slow reader/watcher. It takes me a few tries to parse things out. It takes me a while to notice things. The first time around all I got caught up on is how hypnotic most of the film was. How it was a high brow piece of Art, you know? I didn't really realize how playful and sort of silly the movie is which to me made it much more approachable. It seems to be a movie about its own creation, its own nature. I really liked how all the actors took statuesque poses and the way that the film basically shatters time and space by having the actors continue their conversations in completely different places with different wardrobes. Did I watch this film last year? Did you? Delphine Seyrig is, of course, hot... which helps :P and the organ score is cool and helps the entire effect. This is a movie that exists to prove that movies like this can be made. I find that pretty cool, I think. It's some sort of object... carefully composed and constructed with no discernible meaning. This object mocks you. Because if you play the game, you will always lose. And, The Shining owes major shit to this film. Yes, it does.

This review is already over.


Old Joy (2006)
(Directed by Kelly Reichardt)

My friend was so right about this.

okay, not really. Although I can see why he didn't like it. It's slow, unassuming and very understated. Bonnie "Prince" Billy and his epic beard are so great in this. He's just a dirty stinky hippie who doesn't realize the friend he's with has long moved on. The acting is kind of rough at spots as is the characterization of these white dudes as DIEHARD LIBERALZ (duh). The cinematography is nice and stuff but most of that doesn't matter. Just the scenery and Yo La Tengo playing in the background is enough for me to recommend this but then you throw sum good ole sexy rubdown stuff into the mix and I'm there. uh, I don't like dogs. uh, i don't like annoying people like this. I kept being reminded of these annoying people I see on campus... disgusting people :(


One Evening After The War (1998)
(Directed by Rithy Panh)

This was good. Maybe even great. It tells the story of some dude who fought in the Cambodian Civil War. Once the conflict ended, he comes back to his town and tries to start over again. This involves burying his gun next to a tree, befriending a small child and laying the mack on a bar girl. Things unfold sort of predictably but I don't hold that against the film mainly because of its hugely appealing characters. The dude at the center, Savannah, is one of thet most likable leads I've encountered in a long time. The girl he falls for is no slouch either. She tells the story several years after it's ended. The pain her face shows is heartbreaking. The framing device is clunky but I think the acting sells it. We follow Savannah as he gets a bike (a sign of upward mobility), as he tries out kickboxing, as he woos the girl (these scenes are so poignant), as he lives. It's old territory, you know but I think this film sold me enough on its story and characters that I don't mind how familiar it felt. I'm finding it hard to talk about this film too much, actually. It seems that all I'm being able to say about this film relates to its story and characters. Nothing much besides those surface level things. Maybe it only has those things to offer. I'm not sure. I don't know. Blah. :'(


Diamonds of the Night (1964)
(Directed by Jan Nemec)

No context. Just running and hunger and dirt. There's unexplained images, pretty awesome use of non-diegetic sound blah blah blah. What I like most about the film is just the main actor. The way his very being indicates this perpetual state of hunger and pain. Watching him feverishly trying to capture water in his mouth while it's raining is heartbreaking. The way he looks at a pair of shoes -- damn. Anyway, the film is told in almost poetic film language. Using only images to tell the story, it eschews dialogue and traditional narrative. There's these great almost "flashes", I hesitate to call them flashbacks, that one of the characters has as he sort of makes associations in his head regarding the things he sees. And there's scenes where alternate scenarios are provided and we're not sure entirely what happens (the ending could be seen in this way as well). Yeah, this was good...


Shotgun (1989)
(Directed by Addison Randall)

Possibly the most incompetent cops on the face of the earth track down some hooker beater. Hilarity ensues. The film opens in Mexico as some lawyer douchebag builds some kind of fortress down there cuz he has $$$. He pontificates about Mexico's status as an inferior country that's full of corruption. "I own this place!!!" Then the action moves to L.A. where Ian Jones, with a beard that's rocking and a long-flowing mane, loses his sister to the gimp. He loses his badge, turns bounty hunter and kicks ass. Uh, loooooooooool.
And that's how a hero is born.


Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
(Directed by Stanley Kubrick)

My flippant, ten-word review of EWS is this - "A comedy of errors where Tom Cruise can't get laid."

lol. Yes! But it's so much more. I remember trying to buy this once on vhs at the young age of 12 cuz I had a crush on Kidman (oh what a boy I was). Of course, back then I bought into the hype of this film being some kind of fuckfest and while there is a bunch of that, I can see now that it's not really about that either. But I'm not really sure what it's about either. There's lots of stuff going on regarding fantasies, constructed realities (hi, skjerva!), Tom Cruise being a dick, Nicole Kidman acting really, really weird, money pwning people, and New York being the city where everyone wants to fuck Tom Cruise. Seriously. After listening to Kidman reveal a fantasy that she once had about a naval officer, Cruise is totally like "zomg but I'm Tom Cruise... how can she???..." and goes out into the night. Suddenly, every single person Cruise meets totally wants him. This one daughter of a patient blurts out she loves him, hotel clerks (male hotel clerks) are totally on him and buying something as simple as a costume turns into a sexual farce involving two Chinese men and an underaged girl? Of course, after that happens, the girl comes on to Cruise, ending the scene. A lot of scenes are like this, sexual situations come up for Cruise who for some reason or other ends up leaving or is like "sari, see the ring?" Each scene builds toward some kind of sexual encounter but it never happens (the 12-year-old me would've hated this movie).

So, Tom Cruise, goes out again into New York. It's Christmas, the lighting is damn garish, making everything feel not only hyperreal but vaguely phantasmagorical (though I'm not sure that's the word I'm looking for). This is so clearly not New York that it becomes sort of weird plane of existence where Tom Cruise's fantasies turn into fetishistic nightmares, frat boys' sole purpose in life is to call you a queer and the only logical solution to a problem is to throw money at it. Jeez. All of this is done is superb flowing takes heightening one's immersion into this decadent and morally bankrupt universe. Aye, aye, aye.

I guess I should talk about the whole mask and cloak stuff now. Simply put, this entire sequence is one of the greatest things I've ever seen. It might have something to do with this really ominous music, coupled with the intensity with which everything plays out. Just why is Tom Cruise here? Why has he gotten all dressed up just to watch a bunch of people in masks fuck!? Kidman shares with him a dream where she has sex with many men and takes part in some kind of giant orgy. Then Tom Cruise puts a mask on (assumes another identity, making the real him not culpable) and tries to, well, you know. But it never works out. And it never gets that far. And for all the deal made about the film's orgy scene, it really isn't that big of a deal. We're led into giant rooms full of naked people and then we leave them again (Marienbad came to mind). These fantasies. How do you deal with them? How do you let others into them? Can you even?



Gran Torino (2008)
(Directed by Clint Eastwood)

hmmm. So, Clint Eastwood is a real man. He talks like one, acts like one, whatever. This Hmong kid. He's just a pussy cuz he likes to garden. But that's a woman's work!!! Oh, no. He gets bullied. Not on Clint's yard he doesn't. Grabs Shotgun. Growls. What a beast! That's what a man does. Hmong family is like "oh no, we r so defenseless. help us, white man!" So the Clint has to step in and defend "minority of choice" cuz they can't do it themselves all the while setting up the major conflict as a giant sacrifice of Christ-like proportions. Nah. No way. And the neighbors don't bat an eye when he calls them all "gooks", "zipperheads", etc ad nauseaum cuz they need his help. Yes, this guy is a nutter. Witness the scene when he tries to teach Thao how guys talk. LOL. Yeah.


Jhon's Movie of the Week is... Last Year in Marienbad

1 comment:

face said...

Just one star short of correct. You know what I mean (not that you're not wrong in tons of other places).