Once again, I’ve seen way too many movies this week so I have mini reviews here for Eraserhead, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Imposter,and Silver Linings Playbook.
Like my last Quick Takes post, click on the film title for its trailer and enjoy!
photo courtesy: spectrumculture.com
I’m familiar with David Lynch via his hit show Twin Peaks and his acclaimed surrealist noir flicks, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive.
However, none of those things prepared me for his surreal horror film, Eraserhead, which is his first full length motion picture.
I honestly don’t know what to make out of this black and white oddity because it relies so much on visuals and incredible sound effects to set the mood with minimal dialogue.
In it, Jack Nance plays a man who experiences several hallucinations after he is left to care for his deformed child. The lack of narrative doesn’t provide any cohesiveness, but God, what a freaky film.
Aided with what I assume are practical effects and its already mentioned sound effects, the film is a real headscratcher, but boy does it get under your skin.
Availability: Hulu Plus, iTunes and streaming on Amazon
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)
photo courtesy: www.filmschoolrejects.com
I have a confession to make: I love bad movies.
Bad movies are my ultimate guilty pleasure; these are movies that so many people worked so hard on, but you can’t tell when you watch the end result. These are movies that are so laughable, so wrong, so terrible to look at it, and yet, somehow I’m amazed that someone thought it was a good idea to get a particular bad movie greenlit.
It’s the reason why I love movies like Troll 2, The Room and The Happening (go ahead, judge me).
So, based on all the reviews I was reading for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, I was expecting a craptacular masterpiece of epic proportions that would fill me with such dirty joy while watching it.
So imagine my disappointment when the movie didn’t turn out like that.
Now, Witch Hunters, in which the titular fairy tales characters grow up to be bounty hunters that go all over all the world to kill witches, isn’t exactly a good movie, but it’s not a bad movie either. However, there’s just something so blandly conventional about the whole affair that doesn’t make it particularly memorable.
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton have an ok chemistry as the brother and sister team (even if there’s a scene or two that’s creepy and reeks of incest) but their roles don’t really allow them to have fun with each other.
Thankfully, there are a few genuinely over-the-top hilarious onscreen violence that makes up for it. And Famke Janssen, as the movie’s villainous grand witch, is the movie’s highlight and is clearly having a blast in her role.
Overall, stay away if you’re looking for a guilty pleasure movie. However it’s not a bad thing to watch if you’re bored, since the movie presents some harmless fun that won’t make you feel sorry about yourself either. Just don’t watch it in 3D. Oh, and half of the footage shown in the TV ads are either shown during the credits or not at all.
Availability: Now playing in theaters
The Imposter (2012)
photo courtesy: collider.com
In this truc-crime documentary that plays like a stylish noir mystery, we learn of how, in 1994, 13 year-old San Antonian Nicholas Barclay disappeared without a trace.
A few years later, 23-year-old con artist Frédéric Bourdin took his identity, claiming that he was kidnapped as part of a sex ring, successfully duping several governments and Barclay’s own family. The documentary, composed mainly of interviews mainly from Bourdin and Barclay’s family members as well as dramatic reenactments, examines how he was able to get away with it.
What’s amazing about this movie is how, despite the fact that Bourdin did something that’s shockingly despicable, he’s comes across as so lovable in these interviews.
The film also asks, why did the Barclays, who after meeting this obviously European man who spoke with a thick french accent at 23 and looked so different than their long lost son, find it so easy to believe Bourdain’s lie?
Were they that desperate to be reunited with their son? Or were they hiding something? And why does the the testimony become so unreliable as the film goes along?
The Imposter is a gripping and unforgettable experience where, as the story behind the lie develops, Nicholas Barclay becomes irrelevant.
Extra kudos for having one of the best closing lines in a film in recent memory.
Availability: Now available on DVD, Amazon instant video and iTunes
photo courtesy: blogs.indiewire.com
A lot of people are writing of Silver Linings Playbook as a generic romantic comedy that’s tonally uneven (often switching from comedic, to depressing to romantic, to bittersweet) and I can understand why. This is a flawed film, but dammit I loved it!
Silver Linings Playbook might be my favorite of this year’s Best Picture nominees (I’ve yet to see Amour) and it features a fierce energy that makes it hard not to like.
Now, just to be clear, the film isn’t breaking any ground here. Silver Linings is a crowd-pleaser with an adequate script that’s elevated by a cast (led by an Oscar worthy Bradley Cooper and a feisty Jennifer Lawrence) that appears to be having a great time together.
In the film, we are introduced to Bradley Cooper as Pat, fresh off an eight month stint at a mental hospital following a breakdown due to his wife’s infidelity. As he tries to get his life together for his wife (he’s deluded into thinking that she’s waiting for him) he meets Tiffany, a young widow/recovering sex addict, and a bunch of meet cute stuff happens between them.
Sure, the end result can be accused of being messy and awkward, but the film is filled of so much honest intention and naive optimism that makes a joyous filmgoing experience.
It’s as if the novel the film was based on was meant to be a rough draft while the movie is a much more polished final product as writer and director David O. Russell freely removes several of the elements that were so clunky in the novel (Pat believing that his life is a film produced by God) and adds several stuff that makes the film better (Pat’s father is a caring man who’s afraid for his son whereas in the novel he was an uncarring a-hole).
Sure, maybe the film is extremely corny, but I don’t care! When a film is packed with as much heart as this movie features, plus some great supporting work from Robert DeNiro as Pat’s father and some hyper kinetic camerawork and editing that’s as frantic as it’s characters, I couldn’t stop smiling while watching this movie!
Add a climactic dance number, I only had one thing on my mind afterwards: Not since Pitch Perfect have I seen a movie with such infectious joy.
Availability: Now playing in theaters
So, what movies did you recently see? Any agreements or disagreements with anything I posted? Sound off below! And don’t forget follow me on twitter!