Saturday, February 17, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: Can You Take It? More Startling . . . More Blood-Curdling Than Anything You've Ever Seen!

The Disappointments Room (2016): I dunno, but unlike much of the rest of the internet, I think D.J. Caruso’s movie about a family escaping a tragedy to a supposed rural dream home, only to have the mother (played by a surprisingly effective and human Kate Beckinsale) start seeing ghosts, is a perfectly acceptable bit of contemporary mainstream horror, with perfectly okay ghost bits. There’s also a semi-competent effort at updating the old “is the woman MAD?” trope into something more palatable, perhaps even meaningful to contemporary eyes. It’s not quite as feminist as it probably thinks it is in its approach there, but like the rest of the film, it’s thoughtful and interesting enough to get a vague thumbs up from me.

The Go-Getter (2007): Martin Hynes film concerning a teenager (Lou Taylor Pucci) going on a road trip in a stolen car to find his long-time absent brother, meeting strange people, falling in love with the owner of the car (Zooey Deschanel), and perhaps doing some growing up in the progress on the other hand is more than just deserving of a vague thumbs up. Stylistically, it’s very much inside of the indie mainstream of its time, but Hynes uses the genre (and believe me, this sort of thing is just as much part of a “genre” as is a slasher or a vampire movie) with warmth, a sense of poetry and obvious liking for his characters – including their fault lines and flaws – while getting fine performances out of Pucci, Deschanel and usual suspects like Judy Greer and Jena Malone.

Le parapluies de Cherbourg aka The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964): Jacques Demy’s musical is of course a stone cold classic, applying things learned from the nouvelle vague and the director’s very personal idiosyncrasies to a conception of the musical that seems – also thanks to the sung dialogue – to try to apply approaches of the opera to the kind of people most traditional opera doesn’t care about, consequently also using quite a different kind of music. Compared to his next musical, the surface-friendlier Young Girls of Rochefort (which I slightly prefer) the material’s dark elements aren’t pretending to be as light (Rochefort doesn’t even make a deep emotional thing out of a serial killer). This is the sort of musical romance that doesn’t get a traditional happy ending because life usually doesn’t have one, and it is one that really wants to talk about actual life in an artistically heightened way. It also happens to be a film that is so drop dead gorgeous (and not just because its actors are) in sound, shape, and movement, the “realistic” sadness of its ending seems to be the least interesting thing about it.

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