Today's shorts: Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown (1988), Possession (1981), The Room (2003), Eddie Murphy: Delirious (1983), Fast Film (2003), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Good Time (2017)
Using the break up as a canvas for a splatter painting of sorts, Almodóvar brings to life an incredibly vibrant and chaotic world with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
Experiencing this as almost three short films, I saw this to open with powerful direction that sets you loose and then loses you in a world of confusion, transition into an absurdly convoluted network of nutty happenings before exploding with some hilarious comedy. Though these three acts appear distinct, they build into one another quite brilliantly, tearing you through their phases with break-neck pace. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is then a lot of fun, and, more importantly, tonally complete - something I didn't feel with Almodóvar's All About My Mother.
Possession is a near-impossible film to judge. The performances seem terrible, yet also appropriate, the direction is impressive, but also needlessly excessive, the writing is sometime awe-inspiring, but feels very pretentious at times, and overall this is simultaneously fascinating and mind-numbing. Everything and nothing wants to be at harmony and in conflict about this film, and the results are... I'm not sure.
The only way I can begin to make sense of this is to see this as a film about divorce; divorce as a force that turns people into demons and welcomes chaos and fire into once peaceful realms; it is a destroyer and a saviour of the self and a place beyond time or space. In the end, I cannot say how successful Possession is at capturing this nightmare divorce, but, I do have a slight headache now.
I've finally seen this and... I don't understand too much of the hype. Yes, it's bad, but nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Presented somewhat professionally, what bogs this down is, of course, the script and the performances. That said, you can clearly see that Wiseau wanted to write a Tennessee Williams-esque drama with each and every one of his characters experiencing a constant conflict within themselves leading to explicit, truly absurd, contradictions of behaviour. As much as Wiseau wanted to capture 'human behavior', he seemingly has very little idea of what this means. There is feeling in this film, however - I actually believed Tommy as he screams "You're tearing me apart, Lisa" - so maybe he just doesn't know how to articulate the hints of humanity within his alien being.
All in all, this is an attempt at a classical Hollywood movie that is too self-involved and masturbatory. It's bad, I chuckled once or twice, but it's certainly not the worst movie ever made.
The 80s were a nutty time for comedy. On stage and in their prime were the likes of Dice, Carlin and Kinison. Among these absolute murderers was Eddie Murphy. And he, in my opinion, was the best of the best. Murphy wasn't a particular kind of comedian; he was 'blue' and he told stories, he delved into his past and he dealt with his present, he didn't try too hard to be clever, nor change the world, he only wanted to be ridiculous and leave your insides burning. Murphy was a huge personality, and was a genius when it came to translating his comedy through body language and his voice; and all with effortless timing.
Delirious captures some of Murphy's best with a perfectly tuned hour sprinkled with some hilarious inputs from the crowd. I almost know it by heart, but this is like a great piece of music. Play it once, play it again, play it again and play it again, then play it some more.
A work of pure ingeniousness. In Fast Film we essentially see an imaginative kid play with his action figures and train set. However, not only do we step into the kid's imagination, but we step into a world made of paper, projected onto which are characters and moments from a plethora of classic movies. Whilst many of us may have played with Star Wars or comic book action figures, it is only through Fast Film that we can see so many of our cinematic heroes and icons played with in such a manner - and the results are tremendous.
Carrying a subtle commentary on recurrent/archetypal symbols, characters and story lines in cinema, Fast Film steps beyond entertainment as a uniquely and endlessly fascinating piece of intrinsically constructed work. This is a must-see.
Incredibly cheesy and predictable, even technically unsound at points, but none of that matters. This is a tremendous movie, quite probably a new personal favourite.
With love as freedom and a relationship as choice, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The Big-Hearted Will Take Away the Bride) conveys much-seen Bollywood tropes with incredible weight as each and every theme is anchored down by characters you cannot help fall in love with. So, though this is another story about a subversion of an arranged marriage for the sake of a love marriage, you're made to feel the bond between our two main characters, and such sees tropes overcome and the conventions of Bollywood cinema utilised masterfully.
To me, this is simply a film that reassures me why I love movies.
Good Time is a dense film that utilises expansive set-pieces with complex plots to draw an astounding amount of character from its numerous subjects. Following constant character decisions and getting under the flesh of, especially, our main protagonist, we see a story about choice and reason emerge. In such, we quickly discover that this is a film about family and the tragic pretense of love; one person using love and a relationship as an excuse to possess and control someone who becomes their shield. The manner in which this fizzes through the screen with the often cacophonous sound design and buzzing cinematography drives deep, leaving this a pretty unforgettable film. Highly recommended.
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