27 January 2011

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Banksy rules.

That is all.

Samurai Rebellion

One of hundreds of samurai films made between 1950 and 1980, this one is really really good. While Mifune doesn't bring as much to this character as he does other roles (and the sword fights are bland), the story here is very very complex. And the three main characters weave a rich tapestry as they deal with the constrictive bureaucracy of the opposing samurai.

Having thoroughly studied feudal Japan, many of the complexities and subtitles mean more to me than they may to the average viewer, but I still think people will enjoy it.

Class Action

A 1991 Court-Drama that is only 5% Court, this movie feels more like a mid-80s film than the four-star recommendation that Netflix let me to believe. Peppered with awful dialog and mired with cliches, the movie is still okay.

But just okay.

It's really a family story more than a courtroom drama. However, all of the court scenes are filmed inside real courts, with real law being practiced.

And that was kind of neat.

Capturing the Friedmans

Directed by Andrew Jarecki in the style of an Errol Morris documentary, this complex and an inconclusive documentary starts as one thing, grows into something else, and ends without answering half of your questions.

In the late 1980's, the Friedmans — father and respected computer and music teacher Arnold Friedman, mother and housewife Elaine Friedman, and their three grown sons, David Friedman, Seth Friedman and Jesse Friedman — of Great Neck, Long Island, are seemingly your typical middle class American family. They all admit that the marriage was by no means close to being harmonious — Arnold and Elaine eventually got divorced — but the sons talk of their father, while also not being always there for them, as being a good man. This fa├žade of respectability masks the fact that Arnold was buying and distributing child pornography. Following a sting operation to confirm this fact, the authorities began to investigate Arnold for sexual abuse of the minor-aged male students of his computer classes, which he held in the basement of the family home. Based on interviews with the students, not only was Arnold charged with and ultimately convicted of multiple counts of sodomy and sexual abuse of these boys but so was eighteen year old Jesse, who was mentioned by many as the aggressor of the two in the acts. Arnold admitted that he is a pedophile, but that he did not abuse the boys in his class as charged and convicted. The trial process brought out the dysfunction that previously existed within the family. But the issue of Arnold and Jesse's guilt of these acts is hotly debated among the family, among the authorities, among the media and among the students of the computer classes.

Except for the run-on sentences and lack of focus, this is a thorough-enough explanation of the documentary. I do recommend it, despite it being almost a decade old.

The Parking Lot Movie

Surprisingly amazing documentary. One of the best studies of humanity and inhumanity in American culture you will find. This is not the heavy metal parking lot documentary, but the three year study of a small corner parking lot in Charlottesville, VA... where college, elitist, and conservative cultures collide with the overly-educated slackers who run this one of a kind parking lot.

Unbelievably good. Pair this one up with the donkey kong documentary and you have the perfect stew of American culture.

23 January 2011

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

That's right. This movie is so bad ass, it has a color and a "en-dash" in the title. If you don't know what an en-dash is, go ask a teacher.

Now. If you haven't seen the original Bad Lieutenant with Harvey Keitel, what are you doing? Get off your ass and go rent it.

Are we clear?

Next. This movie has nothing to do with the original except that the main characters are constantly on drugs. That said, Herzog probably should have watched the original, just so he could have learned a thing or two about just how depraved Keitel got.

That's right. Werner Herzog directed this movie. And it is really, really good. Nicholas Cage actually acts in it. And Val Kilmer even has a small role, although he's had better dialog/performances. All in all, a smart movie. But not nearly as depraved as the other unrelated film.