Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dolemite! (Directed by D'Urville Martin)

Just because a movie is bad doesn’t mean it is not entertaining. Rarely, a film is so bad that it is great. Dolemite is one of those rare exceptions.
It has been about an hour since I finished Dolemite and this tale of a storytelling pimp continues to make me laugh. I am amazed by how many rappers and entertainers have been influenced by this movie. As a matter of fact, ODB from the Wutang Clan (my favorite hip hop group) used scenes from this film in one of his music videos.
Here is the run down of the film:
The movie starts like other exploitation films as a black pimp is released from prison to help catch the pimp and crooked cops who initially framed him into the prison sentence. Then it gets interesting: Sex in cars, Shootouts in broad daylight on a two lane highway, Dolemite makes a white man dance to avoid bullets (only to be shot point blank), castration, crooked cops who openly snort cocaine, black revolutionary preacher with automatic weapons, sex, X-rated Nursery Rhymes, consensual rape, Prostitutes who practice Kung Fu, The player’s ball with pimps dressed in their finest gear, a grand finale fight scene featuring prostitutes with kung fu grips, somebody’s bladder gets ripped out, and of course more murder…

The acting in this movie is horrible! The direction of this movie is horrible! There are scenes where you can literally see the boom microphones in the frame. However, writer and star Rudy Ray Moore’s cursing rants and X-rated Nursery rhymes easily over shadow these negative aspects. With lines like, “You no business born insecure MUTHA FUCKAS!” and “Man! Move on and let me pass before I have to pull MY HUSHPUPPIES OUT YO ASS!” this film was obviously used as a vehicle to unleash some long pent up anger towards white people. Few movies top Dolemite in its use of Curse words and deliberate chauvinistic view of women.
If taken serious, this film is offensive to everybody. So expect and appreciate the worse in filmmaking when you look at this film “You movie going butter popcorn EATING MUTHA F***AS!”

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer)

I usually do not rent films before 1950 unless it is a Film Noir or directed by either Fritz Lang or Jules Dassin. I believe modern films have expanded upon the ideas that these films initially relied upon and the progression in filmmaking has left these films unexciting. Every now and then a film before the 1950’s can hold my attention. Unfourtanetly, Joan of Arc falls into the previous category.

Honestly, I want to enjoy this film. I want to be able to talk about how great it is. Instead, I am going to commit Blasphemy and critique a film that was made almost a century ago.

I understand there were major limitations for early filmmakers but I cant help that this film put me to sleep TWICE! I admit, the focusing on the emotions presented by the Human face is initially a great idea, but it is not a photographic element that neither keeps my attention nor carries a film of this length. The film is visually haunting and the burn scene is eerily realistic. But you wait through what seems an eternity for the films most famous and controversial scene… Kind of like Vincent Gallo’s Brown Bunny. Actually, Just like Vincent Gallo’s Brown Bunny.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Crossroads: Exit Exhibition

I am having my first Solo Exhibition Monday, December 8th in Tallahassee, FL. Please visit my website or contact me directly for more details.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend (Jean-Luc Godard)

In the world of Professional boxing, a great boxer is not necessarily the undefeated boxer. A great boxer is one who's winning streak is interrupted by a particular opponent and all faith is lost in the boxer. Fans begin to equate his early success with luck and Critics forecast his demise in the rematch. In the rematch, The great fighter proves to the world why he is great and either brawls it out with the opponent for 12 rounds or humiliates the opponent. In essence, what makes a great boxer great is his character and will not to give up.

In comparison, Jean-Luc Godard is considered one of the great directors because of his contributions to the French New Wave. But like his Boxing counterparts, he was not without failure. His 1967 feature length film "Weekend" was a failure. At times the film with showed promise, but after 12 rounds it failed to deliver.

I must admit, the absurd metaphor of consumer and capitalistic society killing off itself in an endless amount of car accidents is an interesting idea. These scenes were so absurd that they were funny. However, i believe Godard was too experimental in this film and forgot about the basics of story telling. Overall this film is not cohesive. The jump cuts in this film are very harsh and usually seem very random. Furthermore, I feel completeley detatched from the main characters of this film.

This film is similar to Felini's "City of Women." It is a wild Oddessey into a world that is visually similar to our own but drastically different in the characters morals, laws, and ideology. These films show the characters being thrown from one situation to the next. Once they escape one camp of weirdos they run into another. However, Felini's "City of Women" had a clear goal from the start. The character was being put through various test because of his lust and views of females. In a sense, the film was Felini's self evaluation of his own chauvinistic views. In comparison, Godard's political statements are presented to boldly and forcefully in the feature.

This is not meant to be as harsh as it sounds, but one of the best parts of this film is the ending. The ending finalizes Godards statement that modern society will "consume" itself. Almost 10 years later, "Dawn of the Dead" would take this concept and produce a much better film.

For fans of Godard's "Breathless", this film can not be compared to the brillance displayed in the earlier film.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Golden Chicken (Director Samson Chiu)

I guess the stereotype is true… I cannot resist Golden Chicken.

This story of an aging prostitute sharing her memories of her 20 years in the profession to a would be robber in a locked ATM booth caught my attention when I initially picked up the box cover at Video 21. I knew I would love the film.
Initially, I thought the similarities to Nights of Cabiria made me love the film. However, I believe the performance of actress Sandra Ng was one that stands on its own. I felt that her performance as a fun loving and compassionate person, who happens to be a prostitute ,was stronger than Giulietta Masina’s performance as Cabiria. The actress’s expressions of joy were sincere throughout the film. By the end of the film, I felt that the main character was one of my best friends.
Another strong aspect of this film is the plot. I thought it was interesting to view 20 years of Chinese history through the eyes of a prostitute. Furthermore it was great to see how outside forces, such as the economy affected her trade. It was funny to see the transitioning of styles and wardrobes as well.

This film is one that I will watch for years to come… I hear that there is a sequel. I doubt that it can top this film, but this film left me itching to see more from the main character.