Saturday, March 28, 2015

Three Films Make A Post: One Cop. One Vigilante. Alone, they're unstoppable. Together, they're invincible!

Hugo (2011): Now, it would be quite easy to put on my cynical hat here and treat this as your typical Oscar bait movie, seeing as it contains children, is a heart-warming hymn on the art of film making, and has a very self-conscious happy end where everyone and everything wins. However, that’s not at all how Hugo feels to me. Instead, I see a heart-felt film made with all the love Scorsese so obviously feels for the history of movies and specifically Georges Méliès, created with a loving hand primarily for the eyes of his daughter. It’s a film whose happy end incorporates the sides of life that aren’t happy at all, a film that implies one of the things that makes us love art is its ability to fix the wrongs and injustices of life in it, seeing cinema’s happy ends as a way to push us into making happy ends in the world too.

Out of the Dark (2014): Director Lluís Quílez’s attempt to crack the US market is certainly a technically accomplished film but for a movie featuring the basic creepy menace of ghost children with rags on their faces, it feels surprisingly harmless, with little content that could actually disturb. That might be on account of the highly basic nature of its characterizations (seriously, could Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman be any blander?), and the obvious and predictable nature of every little thing that happens in it.

While I don’t exactly need everything grim and gritty (as my appreciation of Hugo shows), I’d also have wished for the film’s resolution to have felt less like an afternoon special and more like something with actual emotional impact, but then, that would – again – have needed some actual character work or depth, and that’s not something this particular film seems comfortable with.

The ABCs of Death 2 (2014): As a concept, this anthology movie series really is difficult to beat, because while you won’t like everything in here, the shortness of each single piece makes it difficult to become too annoyed by the ones you don’t like. Among the 26 short films here, there’s the stupid, the silly, the misanthropic, the clever, the disquieting and the gosh-darn bizarre, mixed via the awesome powers of the alphabet, and created by directors from all over the globe. To my tastes, there’s a lot more to like than to dislike here. At least, I found myself in turn laughing, shaking my head, looking puzzled and feeling mildly disgusted, and what more could I ask from a project like this?

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