Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A few short ones

The Promotion is in limited release right now -- I was lucky enough to catch it, and can't recommend enough that you do the same. Seann William Scott plays Doug Stauber, an all-around nice, normal guy who is an assistant manager at a Chicago grocery store. He works hard, busts his ass, and has a wife with whom he's hoping to buy a house and start a real life with. Doug is finally in line for a promotion to manager at a store that's opening up across town. Enter Richard Wellner (John C. Reilly), a manager from a Canadian sister store who is up for the job as well. Richard is a good guy as well, with a kid and a wife and a troubled Canadian past. Both men need this job in order for their lives to get out of their respective ruts, so, they begin competing more and more ruthlessly. This film, more than probably any other I've ever seen, shows what happens when good people do bad things. There are moral consequences, but they're both hilarious and not overdone. Doug and Richard are completely people we all know; their flaws are both very funny and very sad. The second half of the film, especially the scene where Richard tapdances to unliscensed 80s rock on a motivational tape. You have to see it to understand. Do see it. Extra fun fact: the movie was filmed very near the apartment in Chicago where i lived for 6 months!


Beware: Children at Play would have been just another mediocre-to-bad-yet-enjoyable Troma film if not for its plot. It's probably the only B-horror movie of all time to have a main plot point be based on the plot of a classic of English-language literature. Yes, this film is about a gang on children who are kidnapped (sort of) from a small Bible-thumping town and are taking revenge on the adults, but these kids are also abducted and kept in line through the Beowulf myth. Seriously. The main evil child, Glenn Randall, has fashioned himself as Grendel to a group of outcasts who have turned into cannibals. Is this all too ridiculous to believe? It almost is, but the incredible weirdness of the plot makes it a little smarter than your average bad movie, and more worth checking out.


A feminist classic? Maybe. Interesting to watch? Definitely, up to a point. I'll explain the film like this: once, a friend compared herself and I to Czech and French New Waves. She has adventures, can talk/write at length about almost anything, and has a sometimes bizarre or surreal sense of humor. I like to brood, smoke, and talk about how bad I feel. She's the Czech New Wave, and I'm the French. Czech filmmaker Vera Chytilova's movie doesn't make much sense, but it's not supposed to. Two girls named Marie (although I could have sworn one was named Julie?) decide to be bad, because society is bad. So they go on dates with old men, march around looking for attention, and finally trash a banquet hall (with a food fight that made me a little squeamish). They're both incredibly gorgeous (with amazing clothes, if that matters to anyone but me), and Chytilova's direction can be really remarkable, especially when she experiments with colors. But other times, I got the feeling it was surreal to be surreal, with no real point or redeeming value. This is grating. The film should be seen by those who are interested in the progression of global feminism in film, but don't expect, uh, a plot. Or characters. Or any traditional moviemaking techniques.


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