Current Events

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Movies: Carnage, A Dangerous Method, The Majestic,Two by Bunuel

Carnage  2011  80 minutes   It all takes place on an afternoon in Jodie Foster’s apartment.  Another couple is there because their son injured Jodie’s by hitting him in the mouth with a stick.  As the four of them try to discuss this dispassionately, each in turn comes completely apart and bares his or her soul.  I assume it was originally a Broadway play, and it reminded me of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in its intensity, even though I can’t remember what Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor et al were arguing about.  During the final credits as the parents continue battling in the apartment, out the window we see the two boys playing together.
Cookie’s Fortune   1999  118 minutes   When Cookie (Patricia Neal) dies and leaves a modest fortune, mainly her house and things she has collected, her two estranged nieces (Glenn Close and Julianne Moore) make a move on the legacy, not realizing that there is a will which may include Cookie’s African American man Friday (Charles Dutton) and her wild and crazy grand-niece (Liv Tyler).   When the will is read there are many surprises, including who gets the house and who is related to whom.  Liv Tyler does wonders with a wonderful role.  The film is really funny, complex and surprising, just what you expect from Director Robert Altman.
Damage   1992   111 minutes    What a waste of Jeremy Irons and  Juliette Binoche.  If you want to watch them simulate copulation then this film is for you.  Louis Malle could at least have provided a plot or character development or something.  Ugh.
A Dangerous Method   2011  99 minutes   This is an interesting, if sordid, bit of history about the relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud and how their lives were affected by Sabina Spielrein, a young Russian Jewish woman.  She was the first patient on whom Jung experimented with the talk therapy that we have all come to identify with psychoanalysis.  Jung ended up in bed with her as he mentored her through medical school.  She became a psychoanalyst and later returned to Rostov-on-the-Don, where she practiced and taught others until the Germans murdered her in 1941.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie   1972  101 minutes   In my continuing struggle to understand what “surrealism” means, the closest I can get is that it is an attempt to create a reality even more intense than reality itself.  I think that’s what you get here with Bunuel’s portrayal of outrageous reality compounded by even more outrageous dreams.  From the Netflix summary: “Bunuel’s absurdist view of the upper class is a timeless satire about consumerism and class privilege.”
Le Doulos   1962  109 minutes   It’s French noir and new wave with Jean-Paul Belmondo as Silien, a manipulative and duplicitous crook.  The subtitles fly by a little too fast to be sure of exactly what’s happening, but it all works out in the end.  Everyone gets shot. 
The Majestic   2001  152 minutes   This is one of the best films I have seen lately.  It’s the1950s and Jim Carrey plays a young Hollywood writer who takes off in his car in a panic when he is accused of being a communist.  He gets a huge blow on the head after he drives his car off of a bridge in a storm.  When an old man finds him on the beach, Carrey can’t remember who he is.  The old man takes him to town where the father of “Luke,”   the most popular young guy in town until he went missing in WW II, thinks Carrey is Luke and soon everyone else in town does  too .  Carrey doesn’t know who he is and gradually accepts his role as Luke and does wonders for the spirit of the town.  When a film that he wrote plays at the Majestic, his “father’s” theater, Carrey remembers who he is and is about to fess up on his own when the FBI figures out where he is and comes to town to drag him off to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.  The townsfolk are really pissed at him, but change their minds when he they see him on TV before the committee.  He does a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and the committee has to let go of him.  He returns to the town to try to apologize for his earlier deception and instead finds them with open arms.  He’s not Luke, but he’s theirs.
Martha Marcy May Marlene   2011  101 minutes   I don’t know how I let this get in my queue.  It’s about a young woman who escapes from a cult and tries to adjust but has more problems than just the brainwashing she got as a cult member.  I couldn’t stay with it.  See something else.
Spring  1941   2008   100 minutes    A Jewish doctor, his wife and two daughters take shelter with a woman on a Polish farm to avoid the Nazis.  Only the woman survives.  She is a cellist and returns to Poland to play a concert.  While she’s there she visits the farm and relives the horrors she experienced.  It’s not a happy film; it’s just one more aspect of the horrors that were visited on the Jews.
That Obscure Object of Desire   1977   104 minutes    This was Luis Bunuel’s last film.  Fernando Rey tries his best to become Conchita’s lover.  Conchita is played alternately by Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina and has various occupations, including being a flamenco dancer.  She tempts Rey, exploits him, and then rejects him over and over.  It’s painful to watch.  It’s probably art, since it was nominated for an Oscar.

No comments:

Post a Comment