Saturday, February 17, 2007

Movie Watch! - A Home at the End of the World, Le Souffle Au Couer, Imaginary Heroes, The Dreamers, and Ma Mere

Yikes! Netflix has me hooked on movies! Here's my recap:

1) A Home at the End of the World (2004) - Blegh. Didn't like it. I mean, it started out pretty great, with one really ugly kid playing Colin Farrell's character as a youngster. He's supposed to be this ambiguous, free, intuitive kid. But, I mean, he was really ugly. Distractingly so. And he wasn't that great of an actor either. Ryan Donowho (aka Johnny from The O.C.) as his free-spirited older brother was a bright point, but I wish they could've developed his character more. Robin Wright Penn made me want to vomit on her obnoxious face. The first 30 minutes were intense, poignant, witty. The next 30 I fell asleep for. The last 30 made me want to scratch my eyes out. I give it 4/10.

2) Le Souffle au Couer (Murmur of the Heart) (1971) - Wow. Quite excellent. It's a bitter comedy about a 14 year-old Laurent Chevalier, a bourgeois Catholic boy growing up in Dijon, France, in the 1950s. He's hopelessly hormonal and his two older brothers aren't exactly the greatest mentors. His mom was a 16 year-old Italian refugee when she married Laurent's gynecologist father. So their family is fairly screwed up to say the least. I won't ruin anything else, but I will say it's very much worth watching. It was nominated for a foreign language Oscar and for Le Palme d'Or at Cannes back in 1971. Ribald and colorful and oh-so-comedic! 9/10

3) Imaginary Heroes (2004) - Decent enough. It's a dramedy about the ways a family copes after one son commits suicide. Emile Hirsch (from The Girl Next Door) is game enough to take on a fairly intricate role, but it really seemed kind of a stock character. Sigourney Weaver, who was charming as a stilted housewife in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, makes another coping housewife turn here to varying degrees of success. She has surprisingly good comic timing, but her emotional range never seems to expand beyond a few stolid glances. Ryan Donowho makes his breakout turn as the ambiguous, pill-popping boy-next-door. He's unbelievably skinny and exceptionally attractive, but even that can't belie his insouciant, rebellious charm here. Jeff Daniels, who played the unbelievable father in one of my favorite films, The Squid and the Whale, once again takes up the role of a father who fails (quite bizarrely) in the face of adversity, and he pulls it off flawlessly. Interesting for a while, but a little long, and nobody ever gets fully fleshed out enough to keep me watching. Give me more Johnny! 6.5/10

4) The Dreamers (2003) - Bertolucci is crazy. Bertolucci is awesome. Bertolucci is probably very horny as well. It's the tale of an American student who gets caught up in Paris (in rather unexpectedly ways) when he meets two fellow cinema-obsessed French siblings. The American is played by Michael Pitt and the brother and sister are played by Louis Garrel and Eva Green. Garrel and Green are both fiercely attractive. She just played the latest Bond Girl, opposite Daniel Craig, so it's quite crazy to see her in her breakout role. It's a bluntly sexual (rated NC-17) exploration of cinema, politics, manipulation, and the like. I can't really describe it without ruining it. But it was pretty funny, pretty interesting, absolutely gorgeous to watch. 8.5/10

5) Ma Mère (2004) - Holy crap. Wow. Umm... This film was rated NC-17 for "strong and aberrant sexual content" and I definitely agree with that rating. Isabelle Huppert plays Hélène with Louis Garrel (see above) as her son Pierre. After Pierre's father dies, everything goes haywire. Insane. Psychotic. Set in the unbelievably gorgeous Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco, the scenery is just as stunning as the cast. I can't even describe how psychotic the film gets. Like Le Souffle au Couer, this film revolves around the son's Oedipus complex, but this takes it to an extreme new level. This isn't a light, innocent comedy. This is intense, psychological manipulation at it's freakiest. Huppert (who was in I Heart Huckabees) is incomparable in the role of the psychotic whore/mom, and Garrel is exceptional and intense (and ungodly attractive) as the son who just can't resist his mother's disgusting attempts at maternal love. Not for the faint of heart. 7.5/10

No comments: