Sunday, January 1 1995
Now this is a surprise: Bring It On is, at some not-quite-invisible sublevel, about white thievery of black cultural forms and content.
As the Blair Witch has her way with the group one by one, 'BW2' turns partly cheesy and nonsensical like a slasher film and partly, like 'BW1', emotional and visceral, with disquieting depictions of grisly violence.
'Who are these guys?' a voice asks, as the screen is filled with successive images of men, some bloody and all wearing tights, beating one another senseless.
As the charismatic protagonist in Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry, Brandon embodies the ongoing dilemma of masculine identity. This dilemma is exacerbated by the fact that, when you see him riding that pickup truck, some fifteen minutes into the film, you already know that 18-year-old Brandon's efforts to act like a boy are complicated by the fact that he is, biologically speaking, a girl, born Teena Brandon.
Jose Luis Cuerda's film, Butterfly, mourns the Spain destroyed by civil conflict by remembering it through the enchanted eyes of a small boy.
High school movies tend to end with graduation. It's at the prom that the primary couple finally achieves their much-anticipated clinch (with camera circling and trendy pop song resounding) while their adversaries - treacherous teachers, jealous fellow students, ridiculous parents - back off or smile approvingly, showing that they have indeed learned whatever lessons they're supposed to have learned.
[In 'Bride of the Wind',] Alma agrees to marry Mahler even when he demands that she give up her own piddly composing and adopt his music as 'our music.' This suggests he's a jealous, possessive, and petty fellow, but that is for us to surmise and for her to deal with in later scenes.
The Bone Collector assumes you know the drill, the serial-killer-movie drill. It gives you most everything you need to know during the first four minutes, half of which take up the credits sequence (the credits themselves are, of course, hyper-scratchy and slashy-looking, very post-Seven stylish).
But of course, all this genderfuck is just warm-up for Malcolm/Big Momma's dilemmas when it comes to sex.
The fact that all of Elliot's hopes and dreams are pinned on winning Allison supplies the film's most provocative gender twist -- a man refashioning himself to please a woman.
Martin Lawrence's signature punchline is all about survival. Typically delivered with exuberance and not a little self-satisfaction, the line reflects his thrill at getting over. It reflects his fans' thrill as well: they're happy to see their boy survive and, even better, succeed.
It is not, as I've heard it called, a 'Scottish Thelma & Louise,' as this soundbite doesn't do justice to the ambitious, if not exactly realized, aspirations of 'Beautiful Creatures'. For one thing, it's less glossy and celebratory than Ridley Scott's anthemic movie, and for another, there's no road trip in it.
John Singleton's 'Baby Boy' begins with a bang. But it's not the sort of bang you'd expect from the guy whose first film was the earnest 'Boyz N the Hood' (1991), or whose last, the explosive 'Shaft' (2000), had its Armani-clad protagonist declaring, 'It's Giuliani time!' as he stalked off to blow away a few bad cops.
As its title promises, Robert Iscove's romantic comedy features a number of boys and girls. Or rather, it features a number of character sketches standing in as boys and girls, rendered by actors whom you'd expect to be more careful about selecting projects.
The Business of Strangers' basic premise -- the meanness of the business of strangers -- is worn-out.
With 'Brother', his first English language film, Takeshi Kitano again examines the violent intimacy of the yakuza 'brotherhood.'"
'Blow' is all about how reality and money get mixed up.
The question I am left with, in relation to all these other characters, is what, if anything, are they satirizing?"