Tuesday, August 08, 2006

All the films I saw in the US

I hardly seem to go to the movies any more, but on holiday, when it's 100 degrees in the afternoon, the only place to escape indoors with air conditioning for a few hours are the matinees. Here's what I saw, in order of how much I liked them:

Art School Confidential

This is almost a sequel to Ghost World, and covers similar themes of youthful alienation. Cutey, Max Minghella is the new student at a crappy art school, where his tutors (including John Malcovich and Angelica Houston) are all either too incompetent, pretentious or self-absorbed to offer any type of realistic help. Minghella's ambitious student cares little for conceptual art and is stupified when subjective "messages" in art are valued more highly than actual artistic ability. There's also some stuff with a serial killer and a nude model. It's an indictment on modern society. Really.

The Devil Wears Prada

A lot of fun. Meryl Streep plays the sadistic editor of a New York fashion magazine, Runway. Enter Anne Hathaway (from Brokeback Mountain) as a cute ingenue who has no fashion sense but an ambition to be a good journalist. She's hired as Streep's assistant, and it's goodbye to any semblance of a normal life. It's kind of been done before (see Swimming with Sharks, Showgirls and All About Eve), and this is an equally camp, bitchier version of an old story. Before you know it, Hathaway's got a whole new outfit, discovered her ruthless streak and found a string of oddly heterosexual admirers (this is the fashion world, remember). But will she ever find happiness and hold on to her thicked-haired chef boyfriend? Or is she destined to turn into Streep herself?

Another Gay Movie

A kind of gay version of American Pie which also has some good parodies of Carrie (except the character doesn't get soaked in a bucket of blood this time, but a bucket of something else...) and Mommie Dearest (female impersonator Lipsynka plays a Joan Crawford-like mother, furious at the wire coat-hanger in her son's room). Four gay teens are out of school and on a mission to have anal sex before the end of the summer. Cue a series of misadventures and camoes from the likes of Graham Norton (he plays an exchange teacher who's into "Belgian chocolate" - don't go under the glass coffee table), Richard Hatch (playing himself - his decision to do a nude scene was, let's say, brave) and James Getzlaff (the lead from reality tv series Boy Meets Boy), who manages to shed his nicey-nice image and gets dirty in a threesome. It's just one outrageous set piece after another and I'm ashamed to say that I covered my eyes with my hands on three occasions.


Woody Allan revisits familiar Manhattan Murder Mystery terrority, but this time set in London (and again stars his new favourite Scarlett Johansson). It's all a bit of hocum, with Scarlett seeing a ghost who puts her onto the scoop of the century - that the "Tarot Card" serial killer of London is really Hugh Jackman's swarthy aristocrat. It doesn't really matter whether he did it or not. The key points are that you get lots of Woody/Scarlett schtick where they run around London being amateurish and bickering mildly, and Hugh Jackman's bare chest appears a lot. For that reason I give it 10 out of 10.

A Scanner Darkly

Clever sci-fi thriller, which uses a rotoscoping animation technique which gives the film a unique feel. Society is hooked on a drug and Keanu Reeves is the operative assigned to infiltrate a group of users, in order to find out who the main dealer is. But it all gets a lot more complicated than that. Throw in the "zany" humour of Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr, doing a kind of 21st century Cheech and Chong, while Winona Ryder is at her most earnest. Don't see it if you couldn't follow the plot of the Matrix.


Horrible two-hander about what being a prison "bitch" is like. Blonde, blue-eyed Randy (Michael Pitt from Bully) has a 25 year sentence (for dope possession and spraying "fuck you" on a neighbour's car and no I don't get the American justice system either), and he's sharing a cell with fugly wife killer Jake. Before you can say "pass me that towel", Jake's established who the daddy is, and it all gets pretty horrible and intense from then on. This film would bring out the screaming, outraged liberal, even in Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

Superman Returns

Although I'm like, one of the top 100 Parker Posey fans in the universe, even I can't say that much for this. He's back is he? I never even noticed that he'd gone anywhere.

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