Sunday, October 4, 2009

Torrent Picks 10/4/09

Ok so its that time of the week again, where i sit down and ponder what 5 films i should suggest to the masses today. I have to let you know this is getting alot harder as we go, but i do love a challenge.

.45: Here is the plot: Director Gary Lennon uses a documentary style narrative to show the harrowing experience of Kat (Milla Javovich) as she attempts to break away from her abusive gun dealing thief of a lover Big Al (Angus Macfadyen). Cutting between interviews, flashbacks and the present, Lennon explores Big Al's depravity, brutalism and his power over Kat. It becomes obvious that Kat should move on as Big Al comes closer and closer to turning his rage toward Kat. After Kat sells a gun behind Big Al's back, the relationship spirals toward an apocalyptic end. Big Al finally snaps and severely beats Kat, an event that draws crook trying to go clean Reilly (Stephen Dorff), Kat's lesbian best friend Vic (Sarah Strange) and domestic violence counselor Liz (Aisha Tyler) into a vortex of lust and double crosses. As Big Al stews in jail on domestic violence charges, Kat's friends play tug of war for her affections. It doesn't take long for Kat to realize that everyone is simply looking out for their own interests, a fact she uses to orchestrate an impressive escape. This is a great film that was passed over by many, which is sad because its one of Milla Javovich's best roles I've ever seen her in, and thats something because I'm a big fan of hers.

3 Women: About this one: 3 Women is a 1977 film directed by Robert Altman, starring Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule. The story came directly from a dream Altman had, which he did not fully understand, but nonetheless adapted into a treatment, intending to film without a script. 20th Century Fox greenlit the project on Altman's reputation, but a script was completed before filming, although, as with most Altman films, the script is just a beginning point for what he shoots during production. The minimal plot involves two women whose personalities are in sharp contrast when they first meet and move in together. The third woman of the titular three is a key supporting character—a mural artist who lives at the same apartment building. The events take place in a small desert community typical of those found east of Los Angeles. For obvious reasons the film has a dream-like quality, focusing more on behavior, mood and mystery than on plot devices. What the film is about exactly is open to interpretation, and even Altman has said he is not sure what the ending means but has a "theory" about what happens. What is clear is that the two principal characters undergo a transformation in which they exchange their relative status to each other. In this way, 3 Women has a kinship with Bergman's Persona. Duvall plays a woman who is very confident of her personal charisma, and her attractiveness to men in particular, despite the fact that the men she hits on openly mock her for it. Spacek is a naive, childlike woman, who refuses to talk about her past and who initially idolizes Duvall. They both work at a physical therapy facility and much of the film takes place at their apartment building, where the third woman creates striking and somewhat unsettling murals. This is by far my favorite Altman film of all time, its all art house and cool...

Clerks: Here is the plot: Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) is a clerk at the Quick Stop, a local convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey. On Dante's day off, his boss calls him in to cover a few hours for another employee who is sick. Arriving at the store, he finds that security shutters are jammed closed with chewing gum, so he hangs a blanket over them with a message in shoe polish: “I ASSURE YOU; WE'RE OPEN.” Dante’s day is spent in the purgatory of serving a succession of customers while bemoaning the fact that “I'm not even supposed to be here today.” Interspersed with the demands of his job, Dante passes time in wide-ranging conversations with his slacker friend, Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson). Randal ostensibly works at the neighboring video store, although he spends almost the entire day at the Quick Stop. They converse about many things to pass time, such as if the contractors working on the second Death Star when it was destroyed at the end of Return of the Jedi were innocent victims or not. Dante’s current girlfriend, Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti), also stops in and the two talk about Dante's current disposition—in a rut with no motivation to change. Further contributing to Dante's misery is an announcement in the local newspaper that his unfaithful ex-girlfriend, Caitlin, is engaged to be married. From there there are tons of hilarious things tht happen, this is honestly one of my favorite films, and one of the ones that I wonder why i haven't placed up here sooner, its just a great low budget day in the life of style comedy, thats why all these years later people still love it.

The Guitar: here is the plot: "The Guitar" is a story of one woman's spiritual, emotional and creative transformation. One morning, "mouse-burger" Melody "Mel" Wilder is diagnosed with a terminal illness, fired from her thankless job and abandoned by her boyfriend. With nothing left to lose, given two months to live, she spends her entire life's savings renting an empty palatial loft in the Village. Thinking she'll never have to pay the piper, she lives off her credit cards, fills the loft with the fanciest products, sensually engages both the parcel-delivery man and a pizza delivery girl and teaches herself to play the electric guitar she's craved since childhood. These life affirming experiences transform her irrevocably. This is another of those films that were passed over by most viewers, but is just brilliant, its the story of a person who hits rock bottom, knowing there is literally nothing left, and no upside, so she goes about living the way she's always wanted too for just a little while, so she can go to her end believing she's actually finally lived for the first time in her life. Truly beautiful, and truly amazing, this is a great great film.

Modern Times: This might seem like abit of a left field choice, but its not, I was talking with a friend about Chaplin's work and i was mentioning how Modern times is my favorite of his work, so i figured I would put this up, here is the plot: Modern Times portrays Chaplin as a factory worker, employed on an assembly line. After being subjected to such indignities as being force-fed by a "modern" feeding machine and an accelerating assembly line where Chaplin screws nuts at an ever-increasing rate onto pieces of machinery, he suffers a mental breakdown. Chaplin is sent to a hospital. Following his recovery the now unemployed Chaplin is arrested as an instigator in a Communist demonstration since he was waving a red flag that fell off a delivery truck. In jail, he accidentally eats smuggled cocaine, mistaking it for salt. In his subsequent delirious state he walks into a jailbreak and knocks out the convicts. He is hailed a hero and is released. Outside the jail, he discovers life is harsh, and attempts to get arrested after failing to get a decent job. He soon runs into an orphan girl (the "gamin"), played by Paulette Goddard, who is fleeing the police after stealing a loaf of bread. To save the girl he tells police that he is the thief and ought to be arrested. However, a witness reveals his deception and he is freed. In order to get arrested again, he eats an enormous amount of food at a cafeteria without paying. He meets up with the gamin in the paddy wagon, which crashes, and the girl convinces the reluctant Chaplin to escape with her. Dreaming of a better life, he gets a job as a night watchman at a department store, sneaks the gamin into the store and even lets burglars have some food. Waking up the next morning in a pile of clothes, he is arrested once more. Ten days later, the gamin takes him to a new home - a run-down shack which she admits "isn't Buckingham Palace" but will do. The next morning, Chaplin reads about a new factory and lands a job there. He gets his boss trapped in machinery, but manages to extricate him. The other workers decide to go on strike. Accidentally paddling a brick into a policeman, he is arrested again. Two weeks later, he is released and learns that the gamin is a café dancer, and she tries to get him a job as a singer. By night, he becomes an efficient waiter though he finds it difficult to tell the difference between the "in" and "out" doors to the kitchen, or to successfully deliver a roast duck to table. During his floor show, he loses a cuff that bears the lyrics of his song, but he rescues his act by improvising the story using an amalgam of word play, words in (or made up of word parts from) multiple languages and mock sentence structure while pantomiming. His act proves a hit. When police arrive to arrest the gamin for her earlier escape, they escape again. Finally, we see them walking down a road at dawn, towards an uncertain but hopeful future. This is one of those classics that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle and forgotten by many. Which is a shame, it really is a brilliant film.

Well there we go, thats 5 movies for the week, I hope you all enjoy.



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