Okay, first things first. I haven't updated this blog in, well, some time due a variety of factors, such as I'm now taking an EMT class, having to put a beloved pet that I had since I was twelve to sleep, finding out a close relative has terminal cancer, and getting rear ended twice in two days at the same intersection.
In any case, there are a couple of movies I never did formal reviews of since I started writing movie reviews for this blogs. The reasons are varied, lack of time, lack of interest in the movie itself, etc. I would not want to offer of a full, formal review of a movie that I have not seen in some time, but I don't see the harm in offering up some brief, informal thoughts on some of these movies.
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Spike Jonze's vision of a Charlie Kaufman script is a true delight. The story of a man, Craig (John Cusack) who finds a portal that leads to John Malkovich's head and for a full 15 minutes, a person can experience everything that John Malkovich experiences. Being John Malkovich is very funny and quirky, but it also provides some provocative material that investigates the meaning of personal identity. When Craig's wife, Lotte (Cameron Diaz) goes into the Malkovich's mind she comes out believing she's either a lesbian or a trans man.
Highly recommended, whether one wants to be John Malkovich or not.
The Celluloid Closet (1995)
Based upon the book by Vito Russo and narrated by Lily Tomlin, The Celluloid Closet chronicles Hollywood's portayels of LGBTQ's from the early silent era to the early 90's. Not surprisingly, most of these portrayals were invariably negative, although the film is able to end on a note of hope, as the rise of independent cinema at the time The Celluloid Closet was made, pointed towards a brighter future.
Highly recommended. This is one piece of celluloid that does not deserve to be kept in the closet, anyone who considers themselves gay, lesbian, straight, bi/pan/omnisexual, trans, queer or otherwise, should see this highly informative film.
After watching The Hours I made an honest attempt to read Mrs. Dalloway, but only made it half way through before having to give up in frustration. Based upon that experience, I can say that director Sally Potter has managed to successfully capture the *feel* of Virginia Woolf's writing style. Orlando has a surreal and hypnotic feel to it, much like Woolf's stream-of-conscious prose. It's too bad ultimately that this does not translate into a more compelling cinematic experience. Tilda Swinton gives a beguiling performance that manages to save this tale of a man who becomes a woman and appears able to live forever, but otherwise, there are not a lot of reasons to be seeking this out.
Recommended pretty much only for die hard fans of Virgina Woolf, literary enthusiasts, or those for whom only pure art house films will do.
Pink Flamingos (1972)
The characters of this film (the drag queen Divine and her rivials, Connie & Raymond Marble) compete for the title of "The Filthiest Person Alive", a label unequivocally earned by director John Waters. Poorly made, there is not a taboo that Pink Flamingos does not attempt to violate, leaving a trail of stickiness composed of something you dare not even guess at. Admittedly there is a certain thrill to be had with trying to figure out what disgusting thing the filmmakers are going to attempt next. I admit it, I did not even attempt to watch the "Divine Eats a Dog Turd" scene. In fact, there were plenty of times where I was looking at anything other then what was happening on screen.
In the grand scheme of things, Pink Flamingos works where other movies that attempted to be shocking failed because Waters' film does not attempt to make any kind of political points/achieve any kind of thematic depth (Women in Revolt) or deal in a bland menagerie of commercialized cliches (Another Gay Movie). Furthermore, I have to say that personally I would rather watch Pink Flamingos than sit through any generic romantic comedy (Latter Days, Imagine Me and You)
Recommended only for those with a strong constitution and a high tolerance for crap, and I mean that literally.