I apologize in advance if you don't have access to all the movies that I've reviewed this month. They might not all be available in Golden. You may find a couple of the older ones in VHS, otherwise you will probably have to go the internet (although I'm not sure if the CRTC has yet to allow Canadians to purchase things on the World Wide Web). But I just bought a new DVD Player and a new flat-screen TV and I'm hitting my local hipster video store hard and catching up on as many movies as possible and they're going to be obscure!
I've noticed a trend in the movies that I've been reviewing in this collumn. They tend to be mediocre action flicks or teen girl angst movies. I thought this was an interesting combination until I realized that Hollywood spotted this trend among males 18-34 a long time ago and created Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I guess deep down all us guys want to be elite commandos and/or misfit high-school girls!
The Mack is the first pimp movie and one of the earliest of the genre that we now call blaxploitation. It was filmed in Oakland on a small budget and has footage of the actual players ball with real pimps in all their finery. Max Julien plays Goldie, a street hustler who comes out of jail and decides to become the top pimp in town. He fights with his revolutionary and idealistic brother, the other pimps and two corrupt, racist cops. It's politics are confused at times and the plot is inconsistent, but an honest energy drives it forward and the lead, Max Julien, keeps you wanting more. He lays his rap on a rich, white girl and gets her into his stable and you cheer for him, feeling a little confused yourself.
4 out of 5 yams
Welcome to the Dollhouse
This may be the classic of painful teen (or pre-teen) angst movies. If you ever felt ostracized or awkward in your junior high years, you must see Welcome to the Dollhouse. Dawn Wiener (or Wiener Dog as everyone calls her) is the loser of the school. Her life at home and school is one of constant abuse. The movie shows it all from her perspective and it hurts to watch. But the depth and strength of her character slowly lays bare the flaws of all the other people around her and they begin to seem to have even more pathetic lives than her. It's depressing and fulfillng at the same time. At the end I wasn't sure whether I wanted to kill everybody or rejoice.
4 out of 5 yams
Good luck finding this outside of a Chinatown or the internet. But if you want to see super-cool, hyper post-modern gangster movies that are arty and still entertaining, then seek out any of the movies made by MilkyWay Productions. They are the last remnants of the now-shattered Hong Kong movie industry and somehow they keep cranking out great movies. Johnny To, their most prolific director and one of the owners, directed Fulltime Killer about the competition between two of Asia's top hitmen. Andy Lau is the flamboyant, cocky newcomer with sudden fits of epilepsy and Takachi Sorimachi is the current #1 that he wants to bring down. Fantastic stylized assassinations and gunfights ensue, including a shootout in a fireworks factory and a ridiculous opening scene where a stool pigeon is rubbed out by having a duffle bag full of grenades thrown into his cell. That's what I'm talking about.
4 out of 5 yams
Swimming with Sharks
Kevin Spacey plays the worst dick boss of all time. Though this movie was marketed as a comedy it's really a dark morality tale about men and hollywood. It has some painfully funny moments and if you've ever suffered at the hands of an arrogant asshole manager then you will appreciate them. But mostly you are supposed to think and I generally frown on thinking when I'm at the movies. Some of the thoughts are interesting, however, so if you are a thinker and want to ponder the nature of the responsibility of men and the role of cruel bosses in our capitalist society, rent this movie.
3 out of 5 yams
Visions of Light
This is a documentary about the history of cinematography. It's basically clips from great movies interspersed with great cinematographers talking about those scenes and how they were shot. It makes you inspired to watch more movies and it opens your eyes and lets you see the images of movies a little differently. If you're a serious movie buff, you will find the history interesting but not deep enough. If you just like movies a lot, this will help you appreciate them more. People should watch more documentaries
4 out of 5 yams
I now have confirmation from a few people that the ents will be in The Two Towers, so I'm calling off the war party. My opinion on The Fellowship of the Ring still stands, though. I love you all. Conan out.