intraspace: the review lounge

Sunday, April 29, 2007

6 films, 30 hours

my body packed a sad at the end of this week and so i decided to embark on a movie marathon. armed with a 5 dvds for $5 voucher i crawled down to the local video store.

i didn't have any films in mind, so after 20 minutes of browsing and visiting the bakery for an apple turnover, i returned home to start consuming my movie smorgasborg.

straight into darkness. with a title like that, i have no idea why i started with this one... anyway, it turned out to be a good use of a low budget, but what an odd film it is. i can't decide if i like it or not. it's about two american ww2 deserters who end up walking through an almost post-apocalyptic landscape before joining a group of french partisans who are fighting the nazis. what makes this really odd is that this group is mostly composed of special needs children, led by an old couple. the entire film is set either in bleak winter conditions or at night and sometimes almost feels like a horror movie. however, the movie climaxes in a showdown between this odd group of children (aided by the old couple and the two deserters) and an entire german regiment assisted by a tank... what the?!

everything is illuminated. brilliant film! i wasn't too sure about watching a film starring the doe-eyed elijah wood, but the synopsis sounded good. an american jewish kid goes to the ukraine to find out where his grandfather came from when he fled from the nazis during the war. wood plays a very quirky character - jonathan safran foer - who obsessively collects mementos of the life of his family. the film is narrated by an america-loving ukrainian break dancer named alex whose family runs a rather shoddy tour operation that helps american jews find out about their ancestry. alex and his family (especially his cranky grandfather) are the highlight of this film. jonathan (or "jonfan" as alex calls him) engages the help of alex and his family, and an amusing roadtrip with emotion commences. this film was a true gem and i have no idea why it hasn't won awards.

EDtv. a bit of a movie classic that i'd never watched, all about an ordinary guy who signs on for reality tv show that broadcasts his entire life live 24 hours a day. it is all fairly predictable, with the main character (played by matthew mcconaughey - who i don't like because his acting always seems a bit soulless) who falls in love etc and nearly lets fame go to his head before realising what is really important in life and fighting the tv channel to get out of his contract and return to normal life, so that he can get on and be with the girl he loves. when this came out in 1999, the reality tv thing was the latest craze, but i think the movie has dated pretty badly - which of course is the problem with films that deal with current crazes and issues. quite entertaining though, so no harm done in watching it. the most touching thing about this movie is that director ron howard gave his old 'happy days' mate ralph malph a bit part.

the ringer. in the middle of my marathon, this dvd arrived in the mailbox from, and suddenly my 5 movie marathon had grown into 6. this is a mildly amusing comedy starring johnnie knoxville, about a guy who pretends to be mentally challenged so that he can win the special olympics, rig a bet, and thereby get enough money so that he can pay for an operation to have his lawnmower man's fingers sewn back on. of course, he falls in love with one of his carers - but will she forgive him when he confesses his ruse??? this is real film tension, people. anyway, it is what it is - light comedy entertainment. so, after two fairly entertaining and unchallenging films, i was ready for something a bit more interesting.

criminal. i can't really describe this movie too much without giving the whole thing away. it is another film about con artists, but it is really rather good. the cast is excellent. the main character is a hardened con man (not a very nice fellow at all) who takes a young grifter under his wing and suddenly finds himself confronted with a prime opportunity to make some extra money by selling a forged rare banknote. the film is nicely done and is a character study as much as anything, but it still moves along at a nice pace with good changes in the direction of the plot along the way. well worth watching. produced, i see, by george clooney - so it has a little of the oceans 12 about it but without the glamour - a lot more grit.

atanarjuat: the fast runner. and the most unusual film last. not that i'm unaccustomed to festival and indie films, but i've never seen a film quite like this before. the story is based on an old inuit legend and is set in the canadian artic 1000 or so years ago. it is the story of two brothers: atanarjuat, the fast runner, and amaqjuaq, the strong one. a shaman casts a spell on their group and evil intentions enter their clan. oki, the son of the camp leader, and atanarjuat come into conflict over a girl named atuat, and then later when atanarjuat offends oki's sister. however, oki tries to kill atanarjuat and his brother but atanarjuat gets away - by running butt-naked across the ice flow. well, this is a long and involved story, so i'll leave the synopsis there. the movie is filmed at a steady pace that seems to match the arctic landscape and the film runs (no pun intended) to 2hrs 40min. it is shot in almost a documentary style and it is the first movie ever made in the inuit language. i'm not sure if i like it or not - but i was certainly impacted by it. so i'd have to say that it is a good movie.

and so, with this marathon film, my marathon came to an end. not bad going when you consider i had a full night's sleep in that 30 hours as well - although my apple turnover only lasted for the first 5 minutes of the first film.

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  • I can highly reccomend the inuit film actually. What other medium lets you travel so right into the midst of such a different culture?

    By Blogger jnxyz, at 1:10 AM  

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