As my last entry pointed out, summertime is the one time of year that I’m willing to silence my inner critic and just accept movies, good or bad, on their own terms and be extraordinarily forgiving of their faults. Emphasis on the word extraordinarily.
Into to this frame of mind comes “Ginger Snaps,” a typical low-grade horror flick with a few inspired moments.
I’ll admit it readers, lately I’ve been neglecting my blog, mainly because, thanks to my co-worker Jim, I’ve become a “Lost” fan, and have spent the last month or so watching ever episode I could (and also because of some blog problems).
But, now the “Lost” weekends and the fourth season are complete, and I’m ready to get back to the movies.
This week’s offering is Gregg Araki’s “Mysterious Skin.”
What the hell was I thinking?
That was my main thought after I finished watching “Bus 174″ at approximately 5:30 a.m. (a bit past my normal bedtime). On a whim, I decided to watch a documentary about a hostage situation in Brazil, which is also about the larger class divide in that country, before I went to bed. Again, what the hell was I thinking?
In the 1970s, Argentina entered “The Dirty War” phase of its history; from 1976-1983 (roughly), the junta government arrested, tortured and disappeared (what a terrifying verb) thousands of citizens to quell descent among the populace (Source: Wikipedia; let’s hope this one is correct).
“The Official Story,” Luis Puenzo’s 1985 film that won a Best Foreign Language Oscar, picks up at the tail end of the war, in 1983, just as the power structure began to crumble. But wisely, Puenzo and fellow screenwriter Ada Bortnik chose to focus on someone on the periphery.
Meet Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay), the protagonist of Tony Richardson’s “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” (1962); he’s the runner in the title, and as he puts it, he comes from a long line of runners, people who continually run away from their problems. And well, Colin’s no exception; he’s been sent to a progressive prison colony after getting arrested for theft.
“George Washington,” written and directed by David Gordon Green in 2000, is the story of a group of friends in small, depressed Smalltown, U.S.A. They play near railroad tracks, in abandoned buildings, and pick up stray animals as pets. They’re happy enough, but only because they are right at the point before they realize their lives aren’t going anywhere.
In the beginning, the focus shifts between the characters, but for the most part, is divided between two friends; Buddy (Curtis Cotton III), who is unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend, Nasia (Candace Evanofski), in the opening scene, and George (Donald Holden), a soulful boy with a soft head that prevents him being a kid with full abandon (and who is also the object of Nasia’s affections).
” ‘Eraserhead’ was easier to follow than this movie.”
– Crow, “Mystery Science Theater 3000: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank”
The above quote is from my favorite episode of MST3K, a geek’s dream of a show. And after finally viewing “Eraserhead,” David Lynch’s 1977 directorial debut, I have to agree.
Human evil, what a phrase. The Holocaust is the prime example of evil, of just how far we humans can go, and will go, to destroy each other. But what happens to the ones left from the battle, the ones who stared at human evil daily?
“The Pawnbroker,” directed by Sidney Lumet, stars Rod Steiger as a Holocaust survivor, Sol Nazerman, who runs a pawn shop in Harlem. Day in and day out, he gives pittances for the treasures of others, is surly with his assistant/student Ortiz (Jaime Sanchez) and has empty sex with the widow, Tessie (Marketa Kimbrell), of a friend simply to pass the time.
“On The Town,” the 1949 musical starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, is a charmer, an aggressive charmer. It’s filled with so much good cheer and wink-filled fun that you’ll walk away with a toothache.
The plot is simple enough; Gabey (Kelly), Chip (Sinatra) and Ozzie (Jules Munshin), three of the greenest sailors to ever grace the silver screen, are on leave for 24 hours in the Big Apple. It’s the first trip for all three, and they all have different ideas of how to spend their day in paradise.
Timelessness is something of a rare quality in movies; some movies shoot for it but end up being generic, lacking any sort of identity. Others, like “Blow Up” or “Midnight Cowboy” are so fixed in the decade of their birth that to outsiders, they can seem irredeemably dated.
“Killer of Sheep,” a 1977 film by Charles Burnett that has just made it to DVD, is a film that could be set at any time and still be heartbreaking and poignant.