Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back in the Saddle (briefly, probably)

After a relatively dry spell, I've watched 9 films in the last 7 days--a feat unmatched in any given month since March. I don't know that that warrants a blog post, but for those who don't count anything but blog posts as official participation in film club--this is for you (John).
Most of what I've watched in the last week was unremarkable. Particularly Dinosaur Island (1994, Olen Ray/Winorski), which was so bad I was too embarrassed to log it on Letterboxd (but I'm not afraid to admit it to you guys). But there were a couple that warranted a few extra comments that I will add here.

I know most of y'all aren't into documentaries, but I thought Wish Me Away (2011, Birleffi/Kopf) was especially good. However, I'm not always good at judging the allure of the material vs. the quality of the filmmaking (see Brother's Keeper), so I don't know if it was a well-made film or not. I appreciated Chely Wright's transparency in the interviews--she comes across almost innocent and naive--and it seems genuine. When the camera's rolling, it can be hard to be genuine, and either she's a spectacular actress or it's real. The most compelling argument for why she would allow herself to be so vulnerable onscreen would be for the sake of those who would watch the film, so I'm choosing to believe it. I can't imagine anyone in film club (except maybe Ben) wanting to watch a movie about a Christian country music star coming out as a lesbian, but I'd like to recommend it anyway.

I remember when JCVD (2008, El Mechri) came out it made quite a stir--it being not only a more complex role for the usually one-dimensional action hero, but one in which he plays himself, or possibly a caricature of himself. I got the DVD on discount when a Blockbuster was going out of business several years ago and only got around to watching it recently. I only gave it three stars because the bad guys were unbelievably lame, but Van Damme's performance was really good. Can you do a bad job playing yourself, though? I could imagine anyone from film club watching this one, and would be curious what others' take on it is.

Rubber (2010, Dupieux) is about a car tire in the desert that kills living things using psychokinesis. I don't know if anyone from film club has seen this, but I can imagine everyone watching it as well. I don't think everyone would like it, though. Maybe they would. It's weird enough that one could accuse it of being too self-consciously so, but also multi-faceted in its weirdness. It's unusual in that you're not sure where the story's going overall, but within a scene you can predict with some accuracy what's going to happen next because it adopts some classic tropes and uses them for humor more than horror because of the fact that it's a tire instead of, say, a homicidal maniac. The other element of weirdness involves a subplot (or is the tire the subplot) that includes characters who are spectators and characters who break character as well as the fourth wall. I've seen a trailer for Dupieux's more recent film Wrong and am hoping to check it out soon.