Main Tabs


Movie Rental Madness

Yes, I still rent movies.
I like browsing the racks. I was saddened to learn that my video store will not survive past the summer.  Bummer.
So I'm renting like crazy before I migrate to HD downloads or another video store.

The above still is from Sleeping Beauty (2011), an Australian film with erotic intrigued that left me with mixed feelings.  The premise goes like this: Lucy holds multiple part-time jobs and supplements her wages with blow-jobs in bar bathrooms.  An Eyes Wide Shut-ish waitress job attracts her and leads to high-end prostitution job to be an unconscious 'sleeping beauty' to wealthy older men.  All is well up until here for me, but the overwhelming ambiguity of it all, particularly the arm's length the viewer is kept from understanding Lucy, her motivations or back-story, leaves me a bit cold.  Does cold equal lack of empathy/engagement with our character?  Yes? No?! 
Michael Haneke comes to mind here...
See it for yourself and please tell me what you think.

Ok, time to stop scrunching your eyebrows.  Next up is from Being Elmo: A Pupeteer's Journey (2011); this is an easy one to digest.  The film follows the well-documented life of Kevin Clash, who, as a young boy watched Sesame Street when it first went of the air and dreamed of being a pupeteer on that very show.  After years of building his own puppets and developing his skills, Clash meets Muppet builder Kermit Love and the rest is Jim Henson history.

There are many heartwarming moments, of course, but one that stood out for me was Clash at the Muppet workshop (present day) meeting a young girl whose dream was to one day become a puppeteer.  After giving her some helpful tips, they view a large photographic mural featuring the original Sesame Street puppeteers.   The young girl then proceeds to correctly identify the rarely seen performers.  Yup, I was impressed.

As someone who loves the behind the scenes/making of aspect of almost anything related to the arts (yes, even how to crate and transport sculptures interests me), this film was a guaranteed thumbs up for me, pulling  the camera back onto lots of childhood memories.  

From Muppets to...euhhh fun fur?
Bad segue? Ok let's move on.
At some point in my CEGEP years (late 90s-early 00s) my fascination with Peter Gatien was hatched.  An Ontarian with an eye patch due to a hockey accident (!) became New York City's club king overseeing Limelight, Palladium, Tunnel and Club USA in the 80s and 90s.  While I had obviously missed the boat, I read up on whatever I could from the Gatien drug charges to the entwined Micheal Alig murder in clubland.  I thought to myself: "I wish I could make a documentary out of this!"  Well, that never happened, but Gatien's daughter has produced a feature doc chronicling the rise and fall of her father's reign in NYC.

Limelight (2011) is chock full with kitschy filmmaking, amazing stock VHS (?!) footage of inside the clubs, and telling interviews from Gatien himself (with an Anthony Bourdain timbre), Alig (from jail), police commissioners, a private investigator, Moby, and informants among other colourful characters! Get your BPM on!

Oh man, if there's one movie I saw recently that lives up to all the hype, accolades, love, awards, and Oscar nomination, it's Monsieur Lazar (2011).  Based on a one man play by Évelyne de la Chenelière, Monsieur Lazar was written and directed with great restraint by Philippe Falardeau.  Never maudlin, or overly sentimental, the film hits amazing notes on life, death, interpersonal relationships, and education; all set within the walls of the portrayed school.
As a bonus, the DVD has a really great 'making of' dialog with Falardeau and de la Chenelière.  They provide insight to the creation of the play, the adaptation to the screen, the shooting on location and other moments of refinement.  Waaaaay better than a lot of talking heads that exist in most 'making ofs.'  Go see now!

Last one: Melancholia (2011) Lars von Trier.
This is the second time I'm seeing this movie. I still love it. While I usually find von Trier's films painful and manipulative, this one sat very well with me.  The two hour long film deals with reoccurring von Trier themes of depression, miserable women (is that von Trier's empathy or misogyny- you decide) and the end of the world.  Have I enticed you yet? Does it help if I say the film is visually stunning?