So, Its that time again, for me to drop more movies on you all that i feel you might enjoy be it for their impact, or that they are hidden gems, or if you are looking for a laugh be it remembering a film you'd forgotten, or by laughing at just how bad some of these films are.. and as always, I am glad that i can bring them to you.. so, lets get too it...
The Dark Crystal: My post earlier this week about Jim Henson got me into a mood to watch his older films, and marvel at just how impressive they really were. And though there are many to choose from, I decided to go with the non-muppet related one, The Dark Crystal. The considerably darker then Jim's other work, its the tale of a mystic journey to stop evil and all of that good stuff, and sure its been done and said millions of times before, but never told before or sense with the wonder, magic, joy and care that is a Jim Henson made classic such as The Dark Crystal. Sure by today's standards it seems abit hokey, but you need to look at this film with the eyes of a child of the early 1980s, you need to let that little kid inside you see the magic and wonder that is there. After all, we all deserve to be children again at times.
Hounddog: Remember last week, when I mentioned with Towelhead that I had a similar film in mind for this week? Well this is, the controversial yet ever so powerful Hounddog, a film of a twelve year old girl's decent into a psychological hell and how she is able to deal with the world through her love for the music of Elvis Presley. Set in the late 1950s in the southern part of the united states, you meet Lewellen, who lives with her strict overly religious grandmother and her drunken loser father, who is trying to clean up his life and be a good parent, even looking for a woman that would be a good step mother to his daughter, the film deals with Lewellen being delt one hardship after another, until she finds out that as part of his tour Elvis Presley is coming to her town, she is excited and plans to go, though all that happens between that and when she goes, she keeps her head high knowing that she will get to see her idol. But the film's bad luck doesn't end there, Lewellen is raped the night of the concert, and the rest of the film is spent dealing with the trauma from that added with all the trauma added before it, and how no one is really sure if a 12 year old girl can handle all that is dumped on her. Its a brilliant film and though many raise and eyebrow or question if a film thats climatic turning point is a the rape of a 12 year old girl, but, its just done so well, its so dark and gritty and so very well acted, possibly young Dakota Fanning's best role to date for me.
Chocolate: one market that I seem to overlook alot is the modern Asian film market, and though there are many good films, their staple has always been the action film, and though there are many that are infact very good, I find myself looking past most of them looking for something that stands out. And 2008's "Chocolate" does just that, billed as Thailand's homage to the greatest of the great Asian action films, chocolate does not let you down, ever, its the story of a young autistic girl named Zen, she is the daughter of a boss in a Thailand branch of the Yakuza (the asian mafia), who's mother, the mob boss' wife flees with her before she's even born, she's told its for her and soon to be born Zen's safety, because a rival crimelord called "Number 8" will stop at nothing to kill one or both of them as a show of disrespect and hate for Zen's father. As you see Zen grow, you realize that she is autistic, which if you don't know what it is, its a very strong mental illness, the only thing that seems to keep Zen from lashing out or having fits is either watching kung fu movies or watching the students training outdoors at the Muay Thai Marital Arts Dojo nextdoor to where she lives. Zen eventually beings to mimic the movements she sees in both the movies and from those who train nextdoor to her. Eventually its discovered Zen not only taught herself several martial arts, but has also gained super heightened senses as well, and as her mother is slowly running out of money and her mother appearing to be sick, she and her only friend, a young boy that lives with her and her mother, set out to gain money for them to survive on. The film is jut so beautiful in its portrayal as well as its constant homage to every single star of the asian action cinema not only by the action scenes being exact move and shot for shot remakes of them, but also in Zen mimicking their trademark stances and poses and everything, Zen emulates everyone from Jackie Chan, even doing his legendary fight scene from The Legend of Drunken Master the film most people say had the greatest action scene ever made in it, to mimics of Jet Li in various roles, as well as Bruce Lee, mimicking Bruce down to his trademark yell, attack stance, strange facial expressions and all the sounds he used to make while doing his asskickery, and many others as well, its a beautifully done action dramedy. Even if you aren't a fan of the Asian action film market, you should give this a look its lots of fun.
Magnus: Magnus is an estonian film that personally, I just love, its the story of a young boy who's decided he has nothing to live for, and wishes to kill himself, his father however, has different plans, and wishes to show his young son the joys of life, and that life is really what we make of it, and that if we choose to make it depressing and sad, then it will be depressing and sad, but if we choose to make it fun and enjoyable regardless of anything that comes our way, life can be so much more important then how and when you die. The movie is a delightful mixture of serious and funny, its kind of like if Harold from Harold and Maude had a father that felt the need to show him all that life had to offer instead of letting him attempt to kill himself. It also features one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen in a film, the father looks at Magnus and says "I should take you to a strip club.." and after a short pause Magnus says "I should hang myself..". Its just full of funny little scenes like that, which is partly why I love it, the other reason why I love it, is the actual message behind the film, your life is what you decide it is, if you decide its dark, its dark, if its light, you decide its light, we are the masters of our own choices and our own destiny, we are also sometimes the prisoner of those things too.
If....: This is one of the rarer films from my list of the 30 Best Films Of All Time, and its arguably one of the most powerful of them all. If... tells the story of the class and social structures of a private school in The United Kingdom in the late 1960s, this film serves as an allegory for the entire social structure of The United Kingdom at the time, and of how if the continued mistreatment and disregard for human decency, respect and dignity, it would lead to nothing but violence and the blood of those who hold others down will show just how those repressed and held down really feel. Its the tale of a group of freshmen who are mistreated by their rude, demanding, mentally and abusive upperclassmen who they must "serve" given the school's charter and its social rules. Its the story of how they take as much as they can and then finally decide to do something about it, and set about planning to exact their revenge on the day when parents all come to the school by gunning them and their parents down, its an unsettling film to watch, truly the top of the art house late 60s british films, if there really was a crown to such a title.
Well, thats that for this week, I'll be back next week with more, I hope you enjoy.