6.1/10
162
3 user 6 critic

Cartoon Noir (1999)

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3 December 1999 (USA)  »

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| (Western Electric Sound System)

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Certainly a mixed bag
29 May 2006 | by See all my reviews

I hate to parrot the typical line, but yes, "The Story of the Cat and the Moon" is hands-down the best thing on this disc. And, since it makes up less than five of the 83 minutes on this disc, a lot of people have been very disappointed with the rest of the selections, I figured each of them deserves their own, mini review: "Club of the Discarded" Stop motion mannequins going about their lives. The film would have been serviceable had it have ended halfway through, but it goes from mildly interesting abstraction to incoherent stupidity when the injection of a "plot" is attempted-when new mannequins come into the old mannequin's turf and a painfully uninteresting battle ensues.

Many of the film's more striking images (that of a limp-necked female mannequin shooting her head up as an invocation of thought or of a family of mannequins sitting down to eat a dinner consisting of paint and newspaper) are ruined by incessant repetition. The film's other images, with range from mediocre (a mannequin man falling down the stairs on his way to work) to juvenile attempts at humor/shock (mannequins having sex), which I was barely able to stomach, get downright frustrating with all of their repetitions. Actually, repetitions make up about 2/3rds of the movie.

I don't mind abstraction without plot, but that abstraction should at lest be interesting. This isn't.

GRADE: F "Ape" A man and wife sit down to eat a dead ape. It is implied that the woman had sex with the ape before she cooked it. SHOCKING!!! Very stylized. Some great images, some so so images. A painfully amateurish vocal track doesn't help matters much, but at lest it's too short to be offensive.

GRADE: C- "Abductees" Audio interviews with some real-life "victims" of alien abduction are played over lush visual representations of those abductions. The varied mix of visual styles and the slow but measured pace of the film is creepy and oddly affecting-it turns out that TV shows typically only show the interesting parts of abductees' stories, but some of the mundane parts are actually quite fascinating.

GRADE: B+ "Joy Street" What at first seems like a typical art student film takes an abrupt and thankful turn for the weird. The beginning of the film features an incredibly depressed young lady sitting around and being depressed. It's nicely-drawn but too technical, not really approachable and the character's can't really emote. I was ready to dismiss this as pretentiousness until the woman falls asleep and her cartoon ashtray comes to life and starts dancing around in a world of Disney happiness, trying to revive her from a suicide attempt.

It's a bit long, especially with all the imagery near the end (had it lasted a few minutes more, I probably would have screamed out "I get it!"), but overall it's a greatly enjoyable little film.

GRADE: B


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