Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Spotter's Guide to Whelks

We Don't Live Here Anymore
An intimate, very unhappy movie with only four actors and a lot of hugging, but what actors, and what hugs! Naomi Watts, Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo and Peter Krause are the stars, and the hugs are naked and sometimes against a painful-looking tree. The basic plot is that two couples cheat on their spouses in almost every possible permutation (it's what Closer might have been, had it been a good movie and not an embarassing Livejournal). It sounds leaden and depressing, but it's actually quite funny and completely riveting. From two Andre Dubus short stories. For fans of Six Feet Under, or people who just want to see Laura Dern step in cat poop, this is the can't miss hit of the summer!

Southern Belles
For maybe six minutes I tried to like this independent comedy about two obnoxious girls who (in one of the film's many twee touches) are both named Belle (OK, one is Bell, the other Belle). They live in rural Georgia and are trying to save up enough money to move to Atlanta (in real life, this would take maybe $80). This is an indie movie, and boy does it show, from the inexpert camera work to the NYU film school script filled with alternating leaden moralizing and faux-natural dialogue that sounds as fresh and unaffected as a Harold Pinter play. It stars Anna Faris and some doe-eyed no name - I adore Anna Faris, but she really was not very good or even very funny in the admittedly limited role of Belle (who, unfortunately, is the sidekick). This film looks like it was supposed to be a love-letter to the idiosyncratic south, but was instead a parade of idiotic, un-selfconcious cliches and one-note characters. Terrible.

This could have been a fun voodoo-and-murder filled romp, but instead was just kind of boring. Evil gas station attendant Ray (who I will call Ray Harryhausen) gets attacked by a magic devil suitcase filled with CGI snakes, then turns into a voodoo zombie intent on killing all the sexy teens who wronged him by either flashing their boobs at him or being polite to him. Too slow moving, and too much emphasis placed on the literally colorless bad guy, who kills people with such implements as a crowbar and at one point a tree. Mostly just the crowbar. This does fit into the interesting pop-media theory that post 2000 is the Year of the Zombie (wheras the 90s were for vampires, and the 80s werewolves). Give it a miss.

Movies I would like to see made: Devil Suitcase, Fatal Ablution, The Great Cuttlefish Caper, Those Two who would Steal the Moon (English remake), M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense Two: Ghosts in Da Hood (let me just point out here on the internet, where my voice will really be heard, that I hate Shyamalan and his work about as much as his rival overrated airhead childish auteur Tim Burton)

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