Director Rospo Pallenberg’s “Cutting Class” is a slasher film I’ve grown to enjoy over the years, and maybe that’s because there’s rarely a slasher that doesn’t win my heart. I first caught it during a late night screening on cable, and since then it’s grown on me immensely. It’s a late eighties last gasp at the slasher sub-genre that relies on the comedic styling of Martin Mull who attempts to survive an arrow attack in a conspicuously detached sub-plot from the central premise of a slasher stalking a high school.
Since films like “The Constant Gardener” and “Traffic” have set a precedent for big budget Oscar contenders with a commentary on society, “Babel” is one of the many to enter the film community with a rather timely commentary. If anything, “Babel” should make for some interesting debating once the film has ended, and will surely enter into the Oscars eventually. Iñárritu’s film revolves around alienation and communication, and alienation not only through immigration, but through the differences that alienate us from everyone around us, even to people similar in nationality. Take for example Chieko who is a deaf-mute still grieving her mother’s suicide and seeks to be accepted in her country among her friends.
About a little under a year ago, a filmmaker named Russell Emanuel sent over a film called “Girl with Gun”, about a single girl who has to balance her single life, career, and job as a hit man all at the same time. I loved that movie and it was a little under twenty minutes long. That film, an independent film, was fun, light, and breezy and managed to grasp its concept with enough entertaining novelty, that it felt too damn short. With “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, I didn’t get that feeling. And I wanted to enjoy it, I really, really did. But I couldn’t. And why? Well, mostly because “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” takes itself much too seriously. One thing I can’t begrudge “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” for is its excellent direction.
“Troy” is ultimately the prime example of how such an immense concept ripe with possibilities and potential can be so botched in the wrong hands. While an achievement in visuals, “Troy” fails in every other aspect including its writing and storytelling. Peterson excels at creating a half hour too long epic with just no point in sight. The film has so much going for it, but quickly blows it as we drudge on and on for three hours without any real substance nor do we take anything away from this demanding experience. As they say, if a film is great, three hours can fly by, but with a poor film, three hours can drag on, and this did indeed drag on with melodrama, romantic sub-plots and everything that drags this down. I love the legend of Helen of Troy and the face that launched a thousand ships, but this is not what I was hoping for, and it doesn’t pay homage to its true storyteller.
I’m from the generation of movie-goers who grew up on Harryhausen epics like “Sinbad” and “Jason and the Argonauts” and I also grew up on classic animation, Max Fleischer, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Robert McKimson, you name it. “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” is an epic with a great cast, and quite an enjoyable one with excellent hand-drawn animation that rivals anything I’ve seen before. It’s sleek, it’s stylish and hell, it’s damn entertaining. In yet another adaptation of the mythological tale, we meet Sinbad and his band of pirates who all specialize in something. Sinbad is a master thief and want the book of peace to sell, but on his way to take it he clashes with his old friend Proteus who wants the book as well but for more noble purposes. The two have at it, but the goddess of discord Eris captures Sinbad and makes him an offer: Take the book of peace and bring it to her and she’ll grant him paradise and luxury for his remaining years.