Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Film Week

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

CAIRO STATION (1958)
Excellent, gripping Egyptian film about a lame young man who sells newspapers in a train station. He's obsessed with a beautiful cold drink vendor (the stunning Hind Rostom). She's engaged and selling drinks illegally; he's fallen in love with her boisterous, carefree spirit, and is desperate to take her away. Her fiance is a luggage porter attempting to unionize his co-workers. There's a lot of tension at this train station, and that tension comes to a head in the most desperate way. A masterful film that I'd never even heard of before last week. ****

TRAFFIC IN SOULS (1913)
Melodramatic film about white slave trafficking. Meant to be a shocker, but other than its desire to expose a very real problem, it's not that involving. ***

GHOUL FRIEND (2013)
DOG SHOW (2013)
A couple more new Mickey Mouse shorts, one featuring a zombie Goofy. As always, ****. These are wonderful.

LOS OLVIDADOS (1950)
Powerful Luis Bunuel film about children trapped in the cycle of desperation and poverty in Mexico City. There are a number of surreal shots and sequences, but Bunuel counters those moments with a truly visceral social realism and moments of idealism that are sadly overpowered by harsh reality. Excellent stuff. ****

HOUSE OF VERSACE (2013)
The story of how the fashion house weathered the murder of Gianni Versace, with particular investment in the downward spiral of Donatella (Gina Gershon). Not as full-blooded as I wish it had been (it has that breezy, TV movie slickness I'm all too used to from Lifetime), but I like the approach: instead of focusing only on Donatella's drug addiction and how she pushes the people around her, it focuses largely on what can happen to a family after a sudden, tragic death forever alters the family dynamic. Gershon is actually quite good; it's not as over-the-top as the ads make it seem, but with a little more grounded an approach, it could have really been something more. Colm Feore is also quite good as Santo Versace. ***

DIRTY TEACHER (2013)
Wow, that little girl from Charles in Charge that isn't Nicole Eggert has had a surprising amount of work done. Potentially interesting Lifetime flick about a teacher carrying on a sexual affair with her student that either needs to be much more hilariously lurid or much more of a thriller. But it's... sure there, I guess. **

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