Saturday, April 9, 2011

Flims Viewed (March 2011)

Beetlejuice remains a cultural touchstone of my formative years. The film, about newlydeads "living" in a pictureesque New England town invaded by both the spirit world and the rich and jaded from the big city, still holds up. It was interesting to watch the film as an adult. The character of Beetlejuice is a lot more lecherous than I remember, for example, and I never really thought of the film in terms of it being a narrative about the co-opting of (literally) underground artists and gentrification. Thanks to the Gunky's Basement crew for putting another great screening together.

Putty Hill has been mentioned here before, and I stand by my original observations. Truly wonderful and challenging new American underground filmmaking. As of this weekend, the film is still playing at the Charles theater.

The Adjustment Bureau was an odd, half-realized kettle of fish. A man discovers that the world is controlled by a celestial bureaucracy. He falls in love with a woman and goes against this organization. Too mild, too safe, and a waste of some great potential in terms of premise and acting talent. Too bad.

Hot Rod was recommended to me by one of my students, a freshman in high school. I found it amusing and wound up laughing out loud twice. A young man tries to prove his worth to his stepfather by jumping on a motorcycle over a great distance. Andy Samburg is talented and I am excited for when he can pull off in a feature what he does so well in his digital shorts.

Gentleman Broncos, savaged by critics, is, in my opinion, a fine Jared Hess film. It was oddly scatological and too quirky at times, sure, but I think I "got it." It boils down, perhaps, to this question: Have you ever been a nerdy little dude bullied and snookered by older nerds when spending your afternoon in the comics shop? If so, this film's premise will make perfect sense to you.

Drive Angry 3D was absolutely ridiculous, a mash-up of all the "good parts" of a certain specimen of ultraviolet foulmouthed action film. Nicholas Cage plays a character back from hell (yes that's right... actual, literal hell) seeking vengeance on the man who murdered his daughter. This is the kind of "grindhouse" film I wish Quentin Tarantino could manage to make. The film also has the dubious distinction of having the lowest-grossing opening of a 3D film ever widley released in theaters in the United States. Thanks to "the guys" for tagging along!

Tamara Drewe was great. A modern riff on Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd, the film, based on a newspaper strip turned graphic novel, follows the romantic misadventures of the title character after her return to the English countryside of her origin. A refreshing film from a female author's perspective expertly brought to the screen by Stephen Frears, a director whose work I enjoy. Another "one week wonder" I missed at the Charles.

Enter the Void was a hard slog of an arthouse movie, a film meant to transport that would up mostly being just vexing to this viewer. By the end, I felt like I had had a tolerable time, but director Gaspar Noe appeared trapped in his own drug trip. Admittedly, a fun film to watch with a friend who works in film production. The phrase "bad boy provocateur" was exchanged quite a bit in our protracted conversation as the film digitally spooled out before us.

Futurama: Bender's Big Score counts, technically, as a film, right? I enjoy television programs, but I choose not to talk of them here. If you enjoy television programs, you may want to check out this great new blog I just found out about, Rabbit Ears. I am big fan of the author!

Get Low lived up to my fears, a movie just not for me, really. Bill Murray was great (of course). A hermit faces up to his troubled past as he prepares to die. Inspired by a true story, uplifting and touching, so you know I didn't like it that much. Sorry, gang.

The Charles
The Rotunda
The Senator
The Landmark Harbor East
Video Americain/ Suburban Multilpex
Netflix Instant/ Netflix DVD
(Please note: All releases are linked to their pages on the Netflix website)
Total: 10 features (4 in theaters)