Sunday, March 25, 2012

tilda, rachael & Will

It's getting to the point that there are precious few current films worth seeing, let along discussing. The title of Glenn Kenny's inspired non-review of Gary Ross's "The Hunger Games" says it all: "From Hunger." (But exactly why is everyone else so excited about this movie which, it seems to me, is a triumph of marketing, not filmmaking?)

Anyway, three titles, about which no one seems to care, are worth recommending nevertheless.

First, there's Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” a deliciously demented film with Tilda Swinton as the mother of an evil spawn - an awful teenage son who goes berserk and traps a bunch of kids in the school gym (à la "Carrie") and kills them with his bow and arrows (à la "The Hunger Games").

The film, which traces the steps of Kevin from screaming infant to obstinant toddler to aforementioned awful teen - is being sold as a social statement on disturbed kids waiting to explode but it's really a horror film about the hazards of breeding. Question: Did Swinton receive an Oscar nomination for this? Who remembers? Who cares? Still, she deserved one. Next up is Robbie Pickering’s raggy "Natural Selection," about Linda, a barren Christian woman whose hypocrite husband piously refuses to have recreational sex with her (ah, there Rick Santorum!) but has no problem jerking off to religious pornos at the local sperm bank.

When the prig has a stroke during an ejaculation, his betrayed wife finds out about her hubby's favorite pasttime - and the fact that he sired at least one nameless kid, a boy who is now a grown man. Linda decides to track down the kid and what follows is a road film of self-discovery, self-fulfillment and, yes, sexual awakening.

"Natural Selection" is anchored by a game, resourceful performance by Rachael Harris, a terrific, intelligent comedic actress who usually plays shrews ("The Hangover") or moms ("Diary of a Wimpy Kid").

Get this woman a major role already! Matt Piedmont's "Casa de mi Padre" is an amiable curiosity - a Will Ferrell lark spoken entirely en español (with some made-up malapropisms tossed in for extra laughs). The publicity for film - about a land barron, his two sons (Diego Luna is the good son; Ferrell is the stupid one, natch) and a vicious drug dealer (Gael García Bernal) - likens it to a telenovela, but it's actually closer to a cheezy Grade-Z Mexican import.

Best gag: A title tells us that it was filmed in "MexicoScope."

It's great fun, even while it's winding down. But who on earth will bother to see it? Perhaps that's why Lionsgate gave it a less pushy opening than it accorded ... "The Hunger Games."


Roger said...

Thanks Joe! I for one agree with Kevin's transgressive heart (haven't seen the other 2 yet).

And I humbly suggest that "everyone" isn't excited about Hunger Games, it's just one of those Matrix/Harry Potter/flavor of the month things you see on the sides of buses this time of year.

It sure ain't no Tree of Life!

Keep up the good work,


EMMA said...

Loved,loved,loved "Casa"

Alex said...

I'm also impressed with Rachael Harris and hope this star role in a small film leads to bigger parts in bigger films.

jbryant said...

I want to see NATURAL SELECTION. I'm not sure it's going to lead to other great leading film roles for Rachael Harris though. She seems to be concentrating on TV, with guest shots on Fox's NEW GIRL and a co-starring gig on an upcoming CBS sitcom. She'll also guest star in the upcoming second season of USA's SUITS (a really good show, by the way).

g.l. said...

Have you seen "Julia" with Tilda Swinton? Discovered this French-Mexican gem on streaming Netflix. Amazing ... she plays the world's most unrepentant drunk, a real lush ... hard to watch some scenes.