Tag Archives: Arts

Excision (2012)

24 May

Watching Excision is a bit like having a nasty, infected flesh wound.  You want to look away and stop picking at the damn thing, but you just can’t. The wound becomes more and more bloody, offensive and disgusting until finally it creates a lasting scar that stays with you forever.  But somewhere among all the blood and horror is a bit of playful fun – and that is where the movie thrives.

Bordering on John Waters-inspired trash-cinema, (we even get a cameo from the man himself), Excision is part coming-of-age story, part horror/comedy.  We see the story of a mentally disturbed girl who wants to become a famous surgeon, but she is trapped by her conservative mother and skeptical peers.  She is also obsessed with blood, dead bodies and loosing her virginity before her senior year of high school. What ensues when all these elements mix is a nice blend of campy dialogue, disturbing images, and teenage drama, with plenty of WTF moments injected in for good measure.

Stylistically, Excision is one of the coolest films of the year.  The bizarre images and scenarios culminate into an all-out freak-show, but unfortunately, the narrative falls flat after about 30 minutes.  There is no motivating drive for anything we see in Excision; no “rosebud” to keep things moving, and the film simply turns into a random-but-fun assortment of bizarre situations. When we do finally realize what is going on with the story, it is too late and the film ends at its most pivotal and dramatic moment.

Excision still has its interesting points though. The characters are all fun, especially the lead played by AnnaLynne McCord, and you can tell there is some smartness behind all the blood and gore.  Overall the film is best suited to fans of the camp/horror/comedy boat, although there is enough going on to keep most people entertained.

6/10 stars

Similar to: Bronson, Carrie, Teeth

Newlyweeds (2013)

20 Jan

So I just got back from seeing Newlyweeds, the first feature film by director Shaka King, at the Sundance Film Festival 2013.  The film, being tagged as “the stoner’s romantic comedy” is really anything unlike I have seen before.  Take one part feel-good comedy, one-part romantic drama, and one-part stoner/drug movie and you get something like this.  It really is just a mess of ideas, characters and events that somehow tae shape and provide an interesting conclusion when the film is done.

Newlyweeds is centered around an African-American couple named Lyle and Nina.  Nina works at a local museum, and Lyle at a appliance-rental service.  We watch as the highs and lows of their relationship culminate and crash while they puff their hard-earned cash away by constantly smoking weed.  And there is A LOT of weed-smoking in this movie.

Their relationship takes a turn when a figure named Chino comes into play and tries to get the attention of Nina.  Meanwhile, lyle is struggling with his job trying to find the balance between being a supportive boyfriend and maintaining his drug habits.

While it is a drama of sorts, there is a hefty amount of comedy that weaves its way in and out of the film (usually involving your typical jokes about marijuana), but the laughs never really take center stage like they should.  Instead the film focuses too much on building events that never really take off.  In return, this leaves the film anti-climatic and emotionless.

While the wonderful dialogue and acting give the film a truly authentic feel, there is really nothing going on in the script for me to pay close attention too. The film feels more like a collage of short episodes, rather than an over-arching narrative and the ending just feels flat and unpolished. It is worth seeing, but nothing remarkable.

 

rating 6/10 

 

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Amelie (2001)

30 Nov

Amelie tells the story of a French twenty-something year-old girl.  She fantasizes about many things including dipping her hands into a bag of grain and cracking fresh creme’ brûlée’ with a spoon. Trapped somewhere between a naive childhood fantasy and the impending responsibility of adulthood, Amelie’s life takes a turn when she (though rather unknowingly) falls in love.

Amelie, as a film, is a montage of sorts about the small pleasures of life. Like watching a laughing baby or a litter of puppies, the film is an enchanting delight that is easy to get immersed into.  There is something universally charming about Amelie, both her character and the world in which she lives.  The colorful characters and remarkable production design give the film an animated vibrance that was unlike anything I have ever seen.

Some say this is a romance film done in the style of Woody Allen, others will point to the dark comedies reminiscent of Wes Anderson, or John Hughes.

I liked this film best for it’s wonderful use of music, story, cinematography and performances which really leave a lasting impression.  Technically, Amelie is flawless, but it’s the emotions and vibrance of the film which make it a mesmerizing and overall enchanting piece of cinema.  One of my all time favorite French films.

rating 10/10