My Week: March 3, '12

Harmony Korine, 1997
I'm not surprised to have received this recommendation based upon my recently discovered adoration of Pasolini's "Salò". Harmony Korine's apt "Gummo" displays the barbaric cores in all of us that surface in the highlighted culture with pale societal structure as mere obligation - as though oppression of the unwittingly grungy human spirit - where there is little to nothing encouraging more sophisticated being. In a sense I feel this may be Korine's "Clerks" in that while subsequent titles may be more specific and affecting (as evidenced immediately below), this will always be what perfectly sums up the filmmaker's relevance in both in subject and in execution. It's so unpleasant, and so good. I couldn't wait for it to end, yet I was finding it brilliant throughout. "Yes, Jesus loves me." Screenshots after the jump.

Julien Donkey-Boy
Harmony Korine, 1999
Coming absolutely from the same world as that of "Gummo", Korine's more dramatically faceted and utterly crushing feature follow-up to that portrait of basal humanity imbues a more focal character as uncomfortable to follow as he is sympathetic. On the heels of that premiere auteur effort, it took me a while to warm up to "Julien". I mean, simply based on the other film's cats, I was wincing just thinking of the horrible things our protagonist might do to that turtle. From an outsider perspective, I'd say Julien himself represents how many of us view ourselves, no matter the truth of our impact or social reputation - the enthusiastic abandon regarding personal identity and endeavors and the inescapable clumsiness, haste, small-mindedness and hate that defines our self-significance and results in a seemingly doomed culture of zealots and nobodies. Between this and "Gummo", I am thoroughly impressed with Korine. I can hardly think the man's name now, without feeling a circumstantial lump in the pit of my being simply due to his subject matter and Dogme 95 (or at least Dogme 95-esque) approach to it. Anyone else notice what is essentially "Sydney's Loop" right after the bacon sequence? If you can even remember it after that ending, that is. I'm still attempting to retain composure.

OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d'espions (OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies)
Michel Hazanavicius, 2006
Like a more earnest "Austin Powers" that looks back in cinematic legacy further than "Bond" to mine its uproariously parodic and practically sketch-based humor that features some instantly classic bits. This only makes perfect sense to be found in the catalogue of the team behind "The Artist". Dujardin is so good I wound up dreaming of tandem bicycling with him o'er a cobbled path by a babbling brook... before we then accidentally got on a freeway traveling the wrong direction and wound up in the middle of a bustling greyhound racing track.

Further first-time viewings:

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax - Kyle Balda & Chris Renaud, 2012
FOX News is right! "The Lorax" is a shamelessly classic case of propaganda with roots in the subjects of iconic Soviet examples such as Davydov’s "Shareholders" and Borzilovsky & Prytkov’s "The Millionare" and the blatant structures of Disney’s notorious WWII cartoons. Thing is, although the obvious purposing cheapens it (the thing ends with an anthem and a quote, for crying out loud), it’s environmentalist, anti-corporation propaganda. That’s A-OK with me! Read the full review at Reel Time.

Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos - Raman Hui, 2012
Quite cute. And often very funny. The big eyes gag has officially run its course.

Il cittadino si ribella (The City Rebels) - Enzo G. Castellari, 1974
AKA "Street Law". It sports an obviously different storyline, but this reminds me of a relatively more produced "Blazing Magnum" (AKA "Shadows in an Empty Room"). This is a good thing, and "Street Law" is grittily entertaining for it, though I suppose I'd really just rather rewatch the great and greatly raw "Blazing Magnum".

Jodái-e Náder az Simin (The separation of Nader from Simin) - Asghar Farhadi, 2011
AKA "A Separation". A realist's intimate look in to dynamics of Iranian family life. With superficial reliance on performances and dialogue, it is the unspoken that reigns crucial to the conduct and respective fates of our characters. Also, the movie is dreadfully boring.

Total: 7

Rewatches (3): Puss in Boots (Miller, 2011), Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review (Stoklasa, 2011), Star Trek: First Contact Review (Stoklasa, 2009)

Video Games (3): Streets of Rage 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Golden Axe
- Made it to the final boss of Streets of Rage 2! Granted I'm tweaking myself up to 8 lives per continue thanks to the PS3 launch menu's noob-friendly customizations. Man, my 12-year-old self would be embarrassed. I'm using personal favorite Max now (Axel's a very, very close second), but I could have used Blaze and beat the sucker without even falling to my final continue back in the day. That rollerskate kid, though, that's another story. No, thanks.

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