Sunday, January 1 1995
In the end, the story of Brandon Teena is no less shocking and reprehensible for not being told particularly well. But 'The Brandon Teena Story' makes it hard to get a sense of the real person behind the blurry photos and sometimes suspiciously convenient anecdotes.
American consumers need to get on with the slam-bang business of (mediated) life.
In language, the gulf between seeing and knowing gapes. The phlegmatic British attempts to be polite and their ardent struggle to keep conversation going, however meaningless its content, become a powerful vehicle for both the pusillanimity of language and the soothing power of its white noise.
The Beast makes the systemic abuses of the time literal, as well as sensational and legendary.
A faithful filmic adaptation of Arenas' memoir could easily take six hours and still not capture the full impact of the book. Painter-turned-director Julian Schnabel ('Basquiat') consciously diverges from the traditional school of literary adaptation.
Bounce is straight in the sense that it stars Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow, and does not include Opposite of Sex-style bitchiness, much less wily jokes about masturbation, Hollywood morality, and the Planet Maturia.
Hey, it doesn't hurt that Johnny Depp makes a leisure suit look good.
Though shot on a shoestring budget by first-time feature filmmakers, the movie encapsulates all that has come to typify the Coen brothers' style: engaging narrative, inventive direction, and the juxtaposition of grim violence with moments of sublime, sometimes surreal, human behavior.
The film's most effective balancing act comes in the form of Foxx's terrific performance: throughout, he's quirky, subtle, and thankfully able to keep up with the movie's lurching tone-and-genre shifts, from comedy to action to almost-arty to melodrama.
Cody's special in a very particular way -- in a second-coming kind of way -- which, in movie-logic, makes her the prime target for a slew of Satan's minions.
'I'm a kid in America, I can do whatever I want.' Jutting her chin at the camera, New York City high schooler Charlie (Bijou Phillips) mouths off to her stuffy-suit dad, who's been pestering her about where she goes after school.
'There are some naysayers,' one Blair Witch fanatic enthuses, 'who come and they say nay.' Not the sharpest wooden stake in the breastbone, this guy.
The cultural systems that condone more subtle forms of homophobia are left unexamined. This allows viewers to forget the important fact that homophobia and strict either-or gendering practices do prevail in today's 'civilized' cultures, liberal and tolerant as they may seem to those who don't have to worry about such things.
Robots: we either love 'em or hate 'em. Movies have given us friendly Star Wars droids like R2-D2 and C-3PO and sadistic mechanical henchmen like Maximilian in The Black Hole. Science fiction television has shown both Buck Rogers' loyal sidekick Twiggy and the destructive Cylons of Battlestar Galactica.
Beowulf saves the girl and carries her to the stronghold, where she immediately breaks away again and allows herself to be killed. Evidently there's 'something' inside the castle worse than death -- the rest of the movie.
Behind a triumphant tale of self-discovery is a subtext of anxiety that ultimately enhances what might have been a pretty ordinary film.