Posted on 5/12/10 10:16 PM
Broken Flowers...I wanted to like this....I really did. But Writer/Director Jim Jarmusch slightly overestimates how interesting a minimalist Bill Murray performance (ie a constant blank stare) and an anticlimatic story can be. Murray plays a wealthy bachelor who gets unexpected news in the form of an unsigned letter. Apparently he has sired a son but the woman who wrote the letter, a former lover, never told him. That son, the letter tells the hardly moved Murray, is searching for Murray. The movie takes us as Murray goes on his own search to find which of his past lovers sent the letter.
Jarmusch can be thanked for not turning this into farce or melodrama, but the point along the narrative spectrum (between laughs and tears) that he chooses is just too low impact.
El Crimen Perfecto... I recently discovered Alex de la Iglesia at a retrospective on his films. I saw The Day of the Beast and loved his hilarious critique of both the Catholic Church and "alternative" philosophies. So when I saw that his latest was being distributed in the US, I jumped at the opportunity to see another of his rip-roaring satires. I was not disappointed. This film about the perfect crime first shows us an imperfect one: two men who had vied for the same position at a Madrid department store come to blows after one wins and the other loses. The loser accidentally kills the winner and tries to conceal the whole thing. He almost pulls it off, but one of the women who works at the store decides to "help" him. For this ladies man, this wouldn't normally be a problem, but she's not the type of lady he's used to manipulating: she's ugly and she's smart. Iglesia's targets in this anti-romantic comedy (ie a film where the comedy lies in how unromantic their relationship is) are both masculine maschismo and the feminine ideal it perpetuates.
A Tree of Palme...This anime version of Pinocchio (where a puppet wants to be real) is unnecessarily confusing*. It's not set in some small village like the Disney version, but in some complicated science fiction dystopia engulfed in a unexplained conflict that drowns out the beauty of the allegory.
My Beautiful Girl Mari...This is I think my first Korean anime (oh yeah) and I was struck by how flat the animation seems compared to Japanese animation. I'm not sure whether this is characteristic of most Korean animation, but I'm not really sure where this is going so I will stop....
The movie is set is a fishing village on the coast and centers on two boys who are best friends. One of them is going off to study in Seoul causing them both some anxiety. The main character, who lost his father in a storm at sea, doesn't take this very well. He seeks an escape and finds it in the mystical conjunction of a special marble and a lighthouse. He is taken, physically or imaginatively for the movie isn't always certain about which, to a plane of clouds and fluffy animals. There he meets Mari, a being of this mystical plane. At first they share curious glances and then something more. Their only teens so their love has a certain innocence.
This is beautiful, albeit flat, movie. The broad vistas and flights through the clouds are richly colored and rendered.