The film is gorgeous to look at, and the extensive efforts put into animating the Wild Things appropriately have definitely paid off. Director Spike Jonze captures precious flickers of humanity through the character of Max, and at no point in the film does he appear more precocious than necessary. However, there is something a little off about Where The Wild Things Are. Whether it’s the fact that the Wild Things themselves are too rational to be as ‘wild’ as Max’s imagination, or the overwhelming sense of self-righteous hipness, the film feels incomplete, and it’s more than likely a result of the film’s hasty child-oriented revision.
Sunday, 31 January 2010
Saturday, 30 January 2010
Hogarth’s exposé has the best interests at heart, but it is often hard to take seriously as some of the interviewees show a lack of solemnity for the subject. Facts and glossary definitions appear on screen embellished with excessive graphics and house music, as if glamorising the subject. HIV is mentioned repeatedly, but the film does not go far enough in illustrating how damaging it is beyond throwing out the occasional statistic. Nonetheless, it does serve as a vital cautionary tale for an apparently uninformed minority group, as well as conveying a more universal message about trust and health. The Gift provides insight on a fortunately rare practice, but could have gone further.
While quite unique in several respects, combining aimless non sequiturs with hardcore scenes, Thundercrack! is not as valuable as it should be. Whereas other underground films transcend their technical shortcomings with charm and character, this one struggles to engage its audience beyond voyeurism. Though the first act sets a promising tone, the film quickly transforms into a brain-dead version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. There are rare flashes of brilliance, but the film is so technically inept as to erase any doubt that they were unintentional. Sterile and unimaginative, this jagged sex comedy misses the camp idiosyncrasies of George Kuchar’s other works, and is far too long at 158 minutes.
Thursday, 28 January 2010
The film is (rather upsettingly) based on a real-life story and, in refusing to make a single cut, director Spiros Stathoulopoulos does not contrive action, instead telling the story from the perspective of the family by absorbing every single second of terror. But as much as it holds the viewer’s attention, it is hard to know what this film wants to say. The obvious question to ask is what role the camera plays as it dances around the terrorists and captures the family’s tears up close. It could be a statement pressuring the media to present such tragedies in unedited form, but this is a generous suggestion as it mostly appears to be played for entertainment. Shocking and gut-wrenching, PVC-1 is certainly not to be taken lightly.
Filmmaker Gil Cardinal is a Métis himself (that is to say, of mixed European and First Nation heritage), and the documentary consequently shows great respect for its subject. Cardinal shares the Haisla’s indignation at the revelation that the Swedish government agreed to return the pole under the condition that they house it in a museum themselves, in conflict with Haisla tradition. A short video sequence showing two Haisla dignitaries visiting the pole in Sweden is a poignant moment in an otherwise sedate documentary. Outsiders may feel that more of the Haisla culture should have been explained (for example, how its members feel about adopting European names), but the film otherwise fulfils its duty. A sequel was produced in honour of the pole’s triumphant return.