Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

ORPHANS OF THE STORM (1921)
This one gets complicated, but here goes. Louise is born to aristocratic parents in 18th Century France, but because she's blind, they abandon her. She gets taken in by a peasant family and is raised as their natural daughter side by side with their own baby, Henriette. Now grown, Henriette (Lillian Gish) takes Louise (Dorothy Gish) to Paris in the hopes of finding a cure for her blindness. This is just before the French Revolution, and tensions are rising. Henriette promises never to leave Louise or get married until Louise has her vision, but the two are separated through some pretty vile circumstances (Henriette is literally abducted to be a plaything for aristocrats, and Louise is forced to help a woman with a Tom Selleck style mustache beg for food and money). The two try to find one another, but are always kept apart by the evils of the day; writer-director DW Griffith (using this film to comment on the rise of Bolshevism by showing the outcome of the French Revolution as, of course, not democracy but the Reign of Terror) weaves in the historical stories of Danton and Robespierre, and takes care to show the complexities involved: not all aristocrats are tyrants, and not all revolutionaries are altruistic. The finale is pure melodrama, but the film's earned it by that point. These two girls go through hell to get where they end up. I actually enjoyed this--the final screen pairing of the Gish sisters and Griffith's last major commercial success--much more than either Birth of a Nation or Intolerance. **** (One note: the Wikipedia and IMDb both list this movie as being 150 minutes long, but I swear the version I watched on TCM ran closer to 165...)

THE INCREDIBLE HULK: A XXX PORN PARODY (2011)
This movie is actually longer than Orphans of the Storm! It's 252 minutes! A porno that's over four hours long? Well, I guess you get your money's worth. But you know, I liked this. It parodies the late 70s TV series, so there are a lot of silly wigs (Peter North's is truly hilarious), but it's funny how exact a parody it really is. (They even do the changing-the-car-tire-in-the-rain transformation scene.) The main cast kind of nails the tone, and Lee Stone is very Ferrigno as the Hulk. I especially adored the lovely, winsome Lily LaBeau as Dr. Elaina Marks, and not just for her body. Some of it is that unintentionally hilarious pornography, though; apparently oral sex with the Hulk will leave your tongue green! ***

THE AVENGERS XXX: A PORN PARODY (2012)
Now this one is only 105 minutes and it just feels tedious. Not fun at all. And this is the pitfall of making porn for geeks like me: I just keep wondering why it's a different Hulk and how he got into the future... I guess The Incredible Hulk and The Avengers XXX (and Spider-Man XXX--Xander Corvus and Brooklyn Lee reprise their roles as Spider-Man and Black Widow here) don't take place in the same universe. The sex scenes aren't so hot, and they're hilarious in an unintended way: all of that rubber and leather and vinyl shuffling around in those silly costumes is funny as hell. I thought Chyna looked good as She-Hulk, though. But I've been having that fantasy for 11 years now, and it didn't live up, especially since the guy playing Thor (Brendon Miller) doesn't have anywhere near the hammer I picture when I fantasize about Chris Hemsworth... and I do. Boring. **

No comments: