Wednesday, July 16, 2008

FILLMORE DISCOS 6

Happily, this time there are at least a couple of gems amongst this new batch of FaceBook reviews.

Craig (*)
no-budget Danish movie (in English, bizarrely) about the adventures of a decided oddball named Craig who has his medication taken away - not without a certain downbeat underground charm if you can ignore the atrocious acting on display - unfortunately I couldn't

Redbelt (**)
this typically (and needlessly) convoluted film by David Mamet is a treat thanks to Chiwetel Ejiofor's compelling performance as the reticent jiu-jitsu master; that said, I wouldn't rate it any higher than
Rocky 6

WALL-E (*****)
WALL-E will melt the hardest heart: it's an extraordinary visual feast whose marvellous warmth shines through every scene; while at times paying tribute to 2001, Star Wars, and Blade Runner, overall it's a better sci-fi film than any of them with its understated satire, ingeniously sparse script, inventive soundtrack, and best of all, sweetness without sickliness; a cinematic masterpiece

The Notorious Bettie Page (**)
what a movie about your life would be like if it was your mum directing it -
respectful, vague, and (most disappointingly of all) utterly devoid of sexuality - this should have been a sexy celebration of 50s glamour and SM fetish; instead it's a bland biopic hiding a deeper prurience

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (***)
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (**)

mindless dumb humour it might be, yet hard to dislike on account of its relentless irreverence

Heavy Petting (*)
I love animals and I also like a good romcom but it feels like you've been neutered after having to sit through this pile of doggie doodoos

Trapped Ashes (*)
5 'cult' directors, 5 weird tales, zero end product - deeply unsatisfying, clumsily put together, and not worthy of further comment

Pan's Labyrinth (****)
undeniably a great film; ironically, I found the fairy tale element much more engaging and believable than the rather comicbook real-life good guys and bad guys

Insanitarium (*)
with a bit more imagination this might have been quite good but, as things are, it's suffocated by its relentlessly implausible silliness

Titicut Follies (*****)
one of the greatest (and most disturbing) documentaries ever made

8 comments:

SYpHA_69 said...

I've had "Pan's Labyrinth" in my DVD collection for months now, but have yet to watch it. How odd. "Wall-E" I've been meaning to see, it seems like almost everyone I know who has seen it has enjoyed it.

"Bettie Page" was certainly a let-down, especially in light of the director's first two films, "I Shot Andy Warhol" and "American Psycho" (even though the latter left out a lot of the book's best parts).

Thomas Bey William Bailey said...

The Notorious Bettie Page (**)
what a movie about your life would be like if it was your mum directing it - respectful, vague, and (most disappointingly of all) utterly devoid of sexuality
-

For another recent example of this phenomenon you mention, I 'recommend' the moralistic, glorified after-school-special based around Edie Sedgwick, "Factory Girl"...

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (***)
Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (**)
mindless dumb humour it might be, yet hard to dislike on account of its relentless irreverence


I agree, but why the superior rating for the 'Guantanamo' sequel?

When the original H+K was released here, it was something of a coup for inverting the 'workaholic Asian student' stereotype and portraying them as stoner ne'er-do-wells...maybe my attachment to the 1st movie is purely sentimental, though, since I have many memories of leaving Chicago's Empty Bottle at 2a.m. and realizing that the artfully terrible White Castle 'slider' hamburger was the only nearby food option in town. That anyone could be obsessed with such food, as the protagonists were in the movie, was a worthy gag in and of itself.

Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto Del Fauno) (****)
undeniably a great film; ironically, I found the fairy tale element much more engaging and believable than the rather comicbook real-life good guys and bad guys


Definitely in agreement with this assessment- for one uniform fetishizing lady friend of mine, the cartoonish Franco lieutenant was the highlight of the film though...

John McAndrew said...

WB, I'm interested to see what you thought of The Mist. Have you seen it yet? Personally it's one of my favourite films of the year but there does seem to be a definite love/hate relationship with it.

William Bennett said...

john, just checked and I did review it a while back on FB in just two words ('beyond silly') and gave it one star... oops! what were the aspects that you found appealing?

thomas, I found the H+K sequel's targets were a bit braver than the more obviously-directed ones featured in the original; also as much as I see White Castle as a, shall we say, unique Midwest institution, the film is an outrageous monument to product placement; the H+K franchise is unlikely to pause for breath one would now imagine...

Walter Peck said...

On the subject of excellent docs, I recently watched When The Levees Broke, including the bonus 5th Act and I can't praise it enough

I don't think I've ever been so angry (or upset) when watching a film in my life. In fact one other time does come to mind, I can't remember the name, but there was a programme on channel 4 a few years back about drug companies that was just as shocking.

I don't know if it would be possible to track down with so little information, but it's worth seeing. I may actually have it on VHS back at my parents somewhere.

William Bennett said...

totally agree with you, walter

reviewed here:
http://williambennett.blogspot.com/2007/05/documentaries.html

John McAndrew said...

Haha, thought you'd either love or hate The Mist! At the screening I went to I overheard a few people decrying it as one of the worst films they'd ever seen. Me? I barely knew anything about it beforehand, saw it on a whim with some friends and whilst it started off a bit weak the film won me over as the film progressed, culminating in that ending which was refreshing. I thought it was an fine study in societal collapse and desparation with some nice direction, acting and pacing. Especially admired the lack of music to carry emotions (bar the end). Some dumb sfx at points (although good for Stephen king!) but on the other hand some good suspense. Only realised Darabont had directed it when the credits rolled - perhaps I would have thought differently had I known before? Anyway, I'll stick to my opinion until I watch the film again, but I really did enjoy it. Oh well, to each his own!

I do however hope that we are agreed on the opinion that The Happening was utter rubbish - although saying that I did "enjoy" that on a so-bad-it's-hilarious level...

Alex said...

It warms my heart that you loved WALL-E so much... and Ghost World, but that was a while ago. Do you have any interest in the new Batman movie?