Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Film Week

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

THE ASSAULT (2014)
Lifetime movie that seems more or less based on the Stuebenville rape case. It starts with a high school cheerleader walking out on the football field in the middle of a game, pouring gasoline on herself, and setting herself on fire. Where do you go from there? The kind of Lifetime movie that starts out batshit and then gets more and more serious until you just feel bad. Surprised to see Amy Bruckner, my beloved Pim Diffy from Phil of the Future. **1/2

LEAP YEAR (2010)
Amy Adams as a woman who travels through Ireland to get to her fiance (Adam Scott) so she can propose to him on Leap Day, an Irish folk tradition. She's guided by a scruffy, sullen local (Matthew Goode), and, let's face it, unless you've never seen a movie before, you know how this all ends. What's surprising is that, even after reading all of the bad reviews when this came out four years ago, I somehow still was unprepared for just how truly, excruciatingly unlikable this movie really is. Not only is it terrible, but it's an unacknowledged ripoff of a far superior movie from 1945, I Know Where I'm Going!, directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger and starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey. A considerable waste of the charms and talent of Amy Adams. *

A RIVER CALLED TITAS (1973)
Epic and beautifully filmed Bangladeshi movie about Bengali fisher-folk. It stars Rosy Samad as a woman who marries a man she barely knows from a nearby village, gets kidnapped on her wedding night, and gets amnesia. Her husband, meanwhile, has gone mad with grief. Events follow this family in a film about castes, politics, greed, family dynamics, and civilization itself, all symbolized by the river and complicated by expectations. It's also an interesting comment on the partitioning of India and how poverty is created, in some cases as an act of revenge. Beautiful film. ****

BIG DRIVER (2014)
Surprising and engrossing Lifetime film written by Richard Christian Matheson and based on a story by Stephen King. Maria Bello stars as a mystery novelist who is assaulted on a wooded road, how she pieces together what happened, and the path of her revenge. I can't remember the last time I saw Olympia Dukakis in anything; she's hilariously dry here. It plays like an episode of Masters of Horror that was expanded, and it does not shy away from the visceral horror of the whole thing. ***1/2

THE BOILER ROOM (2014)
Mickey Mouse faces a monstrous boiler for the sake of Minnie Mouse. I guess this is this year's Halloween offering, and while it isn't quite as Halloween-themed as "Ghoul Friend" was last year, it's actually more enjoyable. ****

MUMBAI MADNESS (2014)
Mickey Mouse as a Mumbai cab driver trying to get a tourist to the top of an Indian mountain. This is one of the Mickey Mouse shorts where no English is spoken--here it's Punjabi and Hindi. I always enjoy the shorts in this series that focus on a world culture. ****

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Yes, most of the best MM cartoons are not in English!