Monday, June 29, 2015

She's Gotta Have It (1986)

Poetry. Love.  Weird Nipples.  You'll get all of these when you watch today's film, She's Gotta Have It.  This is Spike Lee's first film right out of film school, and that's obvious.

Spike Lee used his friends from film school as well as his family (and himself) as actors in this film. It's about an independent woman named Nola dating three men at the same time, and who is not ready to settle down yet.  She has a great job, beautiful big apartment, and has her life together.  Her three boyfriends are a poet, a narcissist, and a sneakerhead (played by the mousy Lee).  Also, one of her female friends has a crush on her.

One thing I didn't like were the character interviews.  Why were they being interviewed?  Who was filming them? Who was asking the questions?  Was it me?  Am I asking the questions to the characters?  It seems too easy to find out about the other characters and situations by interviewing them.  How did we know the old man was Nola's father?  Because he looked straight at the camera and told us.  How did we know about her ex-roommate and why she left?  Because the ex-roommate looked straight at the camera and told us.   It just seems lazy to me.

I liked how it was about a woman who enjoyed sex without presenting her as gross or immoral.  Women like sex too, we're just not supposed to admit it.  Nola is independent and fierce, and none of her choices of partner are right for her.  She's not going to settle for anyone unless he is truly right for her.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Il deserto rosso (The Red Desert) (1964)

Today's film is The Red Desert.  It reminded me of looking at a painting in a museum.  It's pretty to look at, but not much is going on.  It was quite artistic though, I will give it a 6/10.

The story focuses on Giuliana.  She was in a car accident, and even though she wasn't badly hurt, she seems to have be traumatized by the event.  No one really understands what she's going through.  She's married and has a son, but is pursued by the handsome Corrado, played by the same guy who would later play Dumbledore.  I was like hell yeah get that lady, Dumbledore.  You don't get to hear his distinctive voice since everything was dubbed over in Italian.

Giulana spends some of her time at the power plant/factory/whatever where her husband works.  Everything is cold and steel, and there's lots of red paint.  This was Michelangelo Antonioni's first color film, so color is going to be an important part of the film.  When she walks past the water, it's not a beautiful blue color, it's icky green and brown with pollution.  She and her son notice poisonous yellow smoke coming out of the smokestacks and wonder if it kills the birds.

I think part of the problem is the Giuliana is a natural person.  She needs to be out in nature.  While painting her store, she decides on blue and green - natural, cool colors.  Outside, the machinery is painted bright white and red.  Everything is dead or polluted outside.  She says when she looks out over the ocean, she forgets about the land.  The ocean is beautiful, natural and endless.  She tells her son a bedtime story about a gorgeous beach, where a girl swims, alone and happy, while the whole land sings.  Maybe she is this girl in her dreams.

Let's talk about Corrado, who is there to recruit workers for a factory.  Yay more destruction.  I know in Spanish corrido is a form of ran, does this refer to his constant desire to move cities?  We know from the beginning that he's interested in Giuliana but doesn't act on it until the end.

Later, she receives another scare when her son starts acting sick.  Even though she is assured that he has had all his vaccinations, his legs aren't responding and she believes he has polio.  She finds out that he was faking it and runs off upset.  Corrado uses this as an opportunity to take advantage of her.  Giuliana leaves and retrieves her son, where they again walk the empty dead landscape around the factories.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Little Caesar (1931)

Today's film is Little Caesar.  The dialog is so weird and the slang is hard to figure out, but turning on the closed captioning makes it a lot better.  I don't know if they really talked like that or if that is a gangster film thing,  but it was one of the first films with talking so I'm going to cut them a break.

The character Little Caesar, or Rico, or more precisely Caesar Enrico Bandello, was played by Edwin Robinson.  I'm not going to say he was ugly, he just wasn't very handsome, and that makes him more believable.  He makes money by robbing gas stations, then goes to the city and offers a mob boss his services.

You know how hard it was to find a picture of Little Caesar
that wasn't pizza? I'm serious.

Soon, he takes control and robs and shoots people with abandon.  He even shoots the crime commissioner.  His best friend leaves the mob world and becomes a dancer, and guess what? He shoots him too!  He even has his getaway driver killed on the steps of a church so he can't confess.

Soon, the police come after him and he almost gets away.  However they put some insulting things about him in the newspaper, knowing his ego would make him come out of hiding.  When he does, they finally kill him.  I guess the lesson here is don't be a gangster.  It's not as great as Scarface, but it's pretty good for what it is.  I'll give it a 5/10.

Friday, June 19, 2015

High Noon (1952)

For the past few weeks, I've been watching black and white films.  This makes my husband mad.  I don't expect him to watch everything or even like any film I watch.  Sometimes I don't even like the films I watch.  But he gets so mad he leaves the room.  So I finally asked him why he leaves.

It turns out he doesn't like the fact he has never seen a non-white person on the screen in a black and white film (he's Native American or more accurately First Nation since his tribe's from Canada).  So I told him that the reason this is is because we show up in film (because of the higher contrast between white skin and grey picture). If a non-white person like him was to be filmed in black and white, they'd appear like an unlocked character in a video game.
What my husband might look like
in a black and white film
The best part about this is that he totally believes me and is now ranting to anyone who will listen about the injustice of this.  I told him that is why color film was invented and also why there are no old photos of his family.  I suppose one day he will find out the truth but I'm not going to tell him. It is too funny.

Today's film is High Noon, which is obviously a black and white film.  It starts off with a really old guy sheriff marrying a young beautiful Quaker woman, Amy.  Already the believability of this film is gone! Why would someone who opposes gun use and violence marry a Wild West sheriff? Makes no sense.    Also I don't want to see them make out because he is old.  I don't even care if they were dating in real life because I don't want to see it.  

Then, someone that he sent to jail long ago has been released and is returning to town to kill him.  The old sheriff tries to round up a posse but no one cares.  This part is actually realistic.  The bad guy isn't trying to kill me, actually he hasn't done anything wrong to me or my family at all, so why should I care?

We have no idea how the sheriff or Amy met, but even more mysterious - who is Mrs. Ramirez?  We find out that she owns the hotel and stuff, and she hasn't spoken to the sheriff in a year.  Why? Did they used to go out? Who broke it off?  So many questions.  Mrs. Ramirez does the sensible thing and leaves town when the bad guys come.  Amy changes her mind at the last minute and goes back to town to find her husband.  She originally was going to leave him if he stayed to gunfight or whatever so that proves how loyal she is.  He's a sheriff.  He uses guns.  Get over it.  Since no one else will help him, she shoots and kills one of the bad guys because of course that makes sense.

John Wayne called this film un-American, but he was a racist who hated Native Americans so fuck him. I didn't see anything particularly anti-American about this film.  It has some allegory to communism but everything in the 1950's was about communism.  It's a nice film if you like westerns.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)

As the weather gets warmer, more and more tourists come and we are super busy here in Florida. I have been watching some movies though.  Today's film is 'I Know Where I'm Going!' which is a fun easy romantic film.

As with most romantic films, this one is predictable.  Our main character, Joan Webster, wishes for the finer things in life.  She is set to marry a super rich older man and travels north to reach him.  However, a windstorm prevents her from reaching the island where he is staying, and is forced to wait for him on a nearby island.  Meanwhile, she meets Macneil, whose family owns the island.

Oh, so she can't reach her fiance and there just happens to be a hot guy where she's staying?  Yeah this is easy to figure out.  There are so many romantic films that center around an already engaged person falling in love with someone else.  Maybe y'alls relationship should be stronger before you get engaged.  My friends just got married last week and they've been engaged for ten years.  That's a long time.

After a few days, Joan gets too impatient and demands someone take her to the island.  She even pays for passage to convince them to take her.  Macneil joins her because she doesn't understand the danger and that the wind will blow them straight to a giant whirlpool.  Which they get sucked into but pop out at the last second.  Then there's a castle which has no place in the movie with a really lame curse.  What does that have to do with anything.  Also the main characters both have dull personalities so I hope they are happy with each other.  I will give this film a 5/10.