Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
A Whitman's sampler of all of us
There isn't much structure to SHORTBUS. Rather, it is a series of scenes, all good, many absolute genius, that capture the human condition, complete with penises and vagina and all the sexualities that go with those organs. I used to teach human sexuality. Were I still, watching SHORTBUS would be a requirement. I also used to be a therapist (although not a sex therapist), and I laughed my ass off at the send-ups of therapy and therapists. Most of all, I was struck by the authenticity of the characters so it came as no surprise when the credits revealed that the actors had created the characters and scenes in collaboration with the writer/director. Yes, this is no slap-dash "improvised" film. Instead, it is a film that seems to come from the heart of all those involved. If you haven't seen many penises and vagina in your life experience, you might be a little blown away, but you will feel ever so good by the end and you'll know yourself a bit better.
American Dreamz (2006)
Juggling three plots is a tall order
DREAMZ attempts to juggle three plots. First, there is the satire on "American Idol." Second, there is a satire on Bush & Cheney/Rove. Third, fun is poked at middle-Eastern terrorists. It works surprisingly well, sometimes, with all three plots, but not extremely well with either of them. I'm an "American Idol" fan, and I thought Hugh Grant's characterization of our fantasies of what Simon Cowell might really be like was right on. Dennis Quaid skewers Bush in his portrayal of President Staton, dumb as dirt but gradually realizing it. And the middle-Easterners are a gas. Tony Yalda, a 25-year old Lebanese native, is wildly funny as the very gay LA cousin of a terrorist who also happens to be a Broadway musical buff. He deserves a supporting nomination next year for this. All in all, AD may not be as good as WAG THE DOG, CATCH-22, or DR. STRANGELOVE, but it's the best one in quite a while.
Talent can lift kids out of despair...sometimes
Lots of films have depicted how childhood for many kids isn't exactly a warm, fuzzy experience. American photographer Zana Briskie moved into the red light district of Calcutta to study the lives of the prostitutes who live and work there. In the process, she became involved with the children of the prostitutes, literally BORN INTO BROTHELS. Even the grandmothers of some of these children were or still are prostitutes. There is a presumption that, at puberty, the little girls will follow in their mothers' footsteps and "join the line" and that the little boys will either pimp or sell drugs. This is not Walton's Mountain or the land of Ozzie and Harriet.
But then Briskie was inspired to give these kids cameras so they could photograph the world around them. We get to know eight or nine of them, their personalities, families, and homes, and most importantly their art. Some of the kids are serious beyond their years, others more playful. Some of the parents are supportive, others suspicious. One little girl is of Brahmin caste and lives well. Another must scrub the pots and pans of other prostitutes. All the photography is interesting, but the work of one little boy is clearly so good that he is invited to an international showing in Amsterdam.
It is clear that Briskie's intervention will be a stepping-stone out of the brothel for some of the kids, but not most. Patterns are hard to break. Is this encouraging or discouraging? Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
Extreme Close-Up (1990)
Not just a study of depression/suicide
This film belongs with others like URBANIA which question how we know reality. The central figure videotapes his life and only in the viewing of his tapes does his life become real. Although never explored, there is the implication that since he might edit the tape, he could edit reality. I would really love to have a good copy of this film if possible.