Movie Roundup #2 - fleshballoon Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Movie Roundup #2

I rewatched a bunch yesterday. Super High Me (4.4)  is pretty bad, [REC] (8.25) is still great, Word Wars (6.2) is decent fun, and Inside (8.1) is way way way better than I remembered.

Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat, 2001)

Two siblings, a slender, attractive 16 year old and her physically undesirable younger sister, go on vacation, and the older sister falls in love with a charming guy in law school. I thought this movie was a lot more tender than I was led to believe. The two sisters' impulses and differing views on sex and virginity, and the way these characters vow to explore the unknown in their own terms unravel in a pretty thoughtful and delicate way, attacking the issue more psychologically and what the characters themselves believe what is true and what is not. It's painstakingly realistic and meticulous (which I guess makes this an entry in the New French Extremity movement), and it may be a challenge to watch sometimes based on the subject matter, but I love the way Breillat addresses the theme, as unconventional as it is.

Fat Girl has two pivotal scenes. One is the older, more attractive sister being seduced by the young man while the younger title character pretends to sleep in the same room. It's a very slow scene that occurs in real time and there's a very interesting shift in power between the couple that happens here. And the second time it happens, the younger sister's jealousy and disdain manifests itself. The second is a very lengthy scene in the end of the movie, a very long and laborious ride home with the mother and the two sisters. The exhausted mother woozily changes lanes in between enormous trucks, the younger sister feeling sick, it's somewhat of a prophetic scene for the final three minutes that's jawdropping at the very least. The pure shock is saved up for these last few scenes, and it's swift and blunt, sort of the opposite of the rest of the film.

I really liked it, but these are just random thoughts I had after an initial viewing, so excuse the incoherence. I forgot to mention other stuff like how this movie is really nice to look at and the performances of the main actors are unreal. It's out on Criterion and I might have to pick this one up soon. Seriously see it. 9.25.

The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001)

Fantastic and unsettling, done so in a way that doesn't bludgeon the viewer into an orgy of disturbing imagery. Another winner from Haneke, but this to me this is all about Isabelle Huppert's towering performance.

Huppert plays a brilliant, renowned middle-aged piano teacher. She's highly abusive and authoritarian to her students, placing unrealistic expectations and being constantly disappointed at their lack of skill and dedication. She lives with her abusive mother, and they still sleep in the same bed. Sexually repressed, she satisfies her carnal urges in ways that are unorthodox to say the least.

Huppert's performance is amazing in not only balancing the stern intelligence and the insecure deviant of her character, but also the way she gradually unravels like a ball of yarn for two hours (credit also goes to the excellent pacing). It keeps pulling ever so often, until finally all of her vulnerabilities are tragically exposed. The sex scenes (between her and the great Benoit Magimel) aren't erotic as much as they capture Huppert's internal battling between her true feelings versus her sick fantasies. By the end of the movie, you will come to know this woman inside and out. A wonder to watch. Bring the kids. 8.7


The Trials Of Henry Kissinger (Eugene Jarecki, 2002)

Like all good muckraker documentaries, it's infuriating, not only in Kissinger's actions but the way this country's foreign policy in general has needlessly killed civilians, assassinated leaders, and set up puppet governments due to some perceived moral superiority all around the world.

The film's based on a book Christopher Hitchens (pictured, not even sure if that's a still from the movie) wrote a year before, and I hope to read it soon. It does a really thorough job of building up an argument against Kissinger, accusing him of war crimes and other atrocities. Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki give it to you straight, pulling no punches and delivering an uninterrupted stream of accusations, shocking revelations, and interesting factoids.

Their ruthless attack results in a documentary that I wished was a bit longer than it is (80 minutes) but it's amazingly concise and razor sharp in its execution. See it. 7.8

Pootie Tang (Louis CK, 2001)

This was pretty fun. It's incredibly stupid and deliciously absurd, but I can't deny the fact that it's downright hilarious. Of course, this movie will not appeal to everyone. So do you find any of these funny?

1. A woman eating homemade pie out of someone's chest
2. Wanda Sykes awkwardly dancing for what seems like 5 minutes total
3. A villain who will stop at nothing to be covered in dirt
4. Another woman licking milk out of a doggie bowl
5. Chris Rock playing a corn

Yes? Then you and Pootie Tang were made for each other. 6.9

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