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In the Realms of the Unreal (2004)
The Most Extreme Example Of Outsider Art
With the recent focus on outsider art,somebody must have figured that Henry Darger was a natural. Darger was a janitor and well known introvert for years. What was not known (at least until after his death in 1973),was that Darger kept a series of stories & paintings, as a continuing account of a realm of fantasy that only Darger could relate to. Vast volumes of paintings & text were found in the cramped apartment that he lived in for years (he had little family & had less than no use for the company of other people). Jessica Yu's film attempts to tell Darger's story (with extracts of his writing read by the likes of Dakota Fanning,and others). This film is a "must see" for anybody with an interest in art (especially outsider art). As this film is independently produced,it carries no MPAA rating,but does contain a bit of mature subject matter (mainly in the way of some of his paintings depicted that has nudity).
Two Sides Of The Same (Dark) Coin
What we have here is,yet,another shining example of what is supposed to be good for you can also be really,really bad for you. In this case, it is religion. The story concerns Naomi (played to perfection by Ania Bukstein),who is a young woman who wants to study theology at a seminary,much against the wishes of her ultra-Orthodox Rabbi father, as well as her straight laced,traditional husband to be,Michael (played by Guri Alfi),who's view of women is that they should be home, serving their husband & G-d. When Naomi does manage to enter the seminary,she meets an equally headstrong young woman,Michelle (Michal Shtamler),who she takes an instant dislike to,but eventually forge a friend ship. When the two of them take on duties beyond studies,they bring food to a middle aged Parisian woman,Anouk (played by the always welcome Fanny Ardant),they find out of her dark past & try to help her regain her spiritual centre by dabbling in the ancient Kabbalah (the realm of Judism that embraces mysticism,which is strictly forbidden in ultra Orthodox households). Things only become more involved when the two young women discover their budding sexuality during a sleep over (and for the benefit of any of you perverts out there that are thinking, "BOY,MIDDLE EASTERN LESBO PORN!!!", think again---the subject material is handled with good taste). Avi Nesher directs & co writes (with Hadar Galron)a crisp,well written script that is guaranteed to be a lightning rod for controversy (as homosexuality is absolutely a no no in Orthodox Judism). This film may be a bit of a find,as there are not a lot of cinemas that will screen a two hour film, spoken in Hebrew & French,with subtitles (art houses seem to be about the only logical choice,here). Rated 'R' by the MPAA,this film contains a bit of rude language,full frontal female nudity & a bit of sexual experimentation. Okay for more mature minded teens that may be interested in matters of a spiritual nature.
Gran Torino (2008)
To Sleep (and live) With Anger
Despite the fact that Clint Eastwood announced some time back that he is considering retiring after filming his latest opus (Gran Torino), he is,in fact working on his next project. Until then,we can sit back and enjoy 'Gran Torino'. Eastwood pulls no punches in his portrayal of Walk Kowalski,a decorated war veteran (Korea,in this case),who is in his later years,and longs for the way things were,back in the day. Walt is a walking case of anger,bitterness & repressed remorse for what he did fifty plus years ago in Korea. Things aren't any better, when his beloved wife has passed away, and his two sons want to put him in a retirement home. All Walt wants to do is sit on his porch with his dog,drink beer & smoke. Things only get complicated with the fact that he's the last white person on his block (which is boasting of a growing South East Asian community). The icing on the cake for Walt is the growing number of street gangs causing trouble for his Hmong neighbors (whom he already has major issues with). When he defends his neighbors from the street gang, a troubled sort of relationship starts to form between the two. Clint Eastwood directs himself (from a crisply written screenplay by Nick Schenk & Dave Johansson) as well as a top notch cast in a film that incorporates drams,pathos,humour & action. Eastwood himself deserves major kudos as a embittered war vet who's glory days are far behind him (and has no problem with expressing it). Rated 'R' by the MPAA, this film contains vulgar language (including some unpleasant racial slurs),as well as some violence (including the upsetting after effects of a rape & beating). Not a good choice for the kiddies.
Che: Part Two (2008)
The Best Of Intentions
The year is 1964. Ernesto "Che" Guevara, having been a Cuban citizen for the last five years,disappears from the face of the Earth,leaving a glum Fidel Castro to announce that he is probably dead,when in truth, he has left Cuba to move to Bolivia to live an assumed identity. Whilst living in La Paz,Guevara undertakes an idea to overthrow the corrupt,bourgeois government there. Once again,Steven Soderberg takes up where 'Che:Part One' leaves off (only better this time). The pacing is more on target,the job of acting is ever so fine (including a turn by a sickly looking Benecio Del Toro,as Che Guevara). Suffice it to say,it's probably best if you see both films,to get the true story of Guevara & what kind of a man he was (I had the rare open window of opportunity to see both films at one screening----talk about a long haul!). As with 'Che-Part 1:The Argentine',this film has no MPAA rating, but contains enough salty language & violence to easily snag it an 'R'.
Che: Part One (2008)
"You Say You Want A Revolution?"
Steven Soderberg is the kind of director that can be (in a sense)compared with directors such as Michael Apted & Jonathan Demme. They like to direct mainstream,money making,popcorn escapist fare that thrills 'em at the major cineplexes. But he also has an equal eye for the arthouses that prefer to screen quirky,off centre films for those who like brains,as well as entertainment. When I heard last year that Soderberg was about to release a four hour,plus biography of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, I thought, "I'm there,if it turns up at one of the cinemas in my area". One year (plus)later,the hope became a reality. Benecio Del Toro stars as the ill fated Argentine that assists Fidel Castro topple the corrupt Battista regime in 1959 (tho not without many lives lost during the nearly five year struggle that it took). The film also gets some good mileage from the rest of the supporting cast (including a nearly unrecognizable Matt Damon in a role that if you blink,you'll miss him). The film is not without a few minor flaws. At times,the pacing can be slow as a snail. Don't let this deter you from seeing this otherwise fine film biography of a man who was more than just a face on a T-shirt that one can find at Hot Topics. Not rated,this film contains some raunchy language & violence, some of it fairly bloody. Released as two separate parts, 'Che-Part One:The Argentine',and it's follow up, 'Che-Part Two:Guerilla' was originally screened as one complete film in it's original release.
Date with Duke (1947)
An Entertaining/Inspirational Duet
I first saw this George Pal animated short some years ago on American Movie Classics,when that station was worth watching. It incorporates animation with live action (okay,nothing new in itself---but stop motion puppet animation with live action?). Duke Ellington is seated at a piano,when several figures pop out of a series of bottles to interact with Ellington (and perform with him,as well). As musical shorts were the in thing at the time, George Pal's stop motion animation was a major plus on this short, which is sadly missing these days from the airwaves (the Paramont live action shorts,like the animated ones are hard to track down,due to the fact that the original distributors that sold the 16 & 35mm prints to television in the mid 1950's/early to mid 1960's had all gone out of business by the late 1960's,leaving behind some battered & scratchy prints that sometimes turned up on late night television). I'm sure some of the George Pal Puppet Toons can be found on various video compilations on budget video releases (check your local department stores)
Tubby the Tuba (1947)
George Pal Started A Movement
George Pal was a force to be reckoned with. After leaving Hungry to move to the United States,he inked a deal with Paramont Pictures to produce/direct/animate a long running series of beautiful stop motion animated "puppet" shorts for that studio. Tubby The Tuba,from 1947 is just one of those shorts. Adapted from a popular children's record of the time,Tubby dreams of being a soloist in the orchestra,only to be reminded that he's only an instrument in the harmonic section of the orchestra. Tubby,not listening to the others,decides to test his fate. Does he manage to fulfill his quest? All I can say is,just watch & find out (good luck,as the Paramont shorts have all but been sucked into the proverbial black hole in space,although 'Tubby'has turned up on a few video releases in the 'El Cheapo' budget video section in certain department stores. Not rated,but perfect for the small fry's
This Was Actually Made For Television?...The Mind Boggles
I first saw this early Henry Sellick animated short at a festival of animated short films. I had never heard of Sellick before, but after seeing this, I thought..."Wow, I'll have to keep my baby greens open for any other works by him". This dreamy,surreal short would be the perfect film to be screened at just about any midnight movie,before the main feature (if,in fact,midnight movies still existed--with the possible exception of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)',which would work,as well). I would imagine it would also work at a screening of surreal,experimental,avant garde films,too. I can't imagine this strange little film being aired on television (outside of being aired in the early hours of the morning,on the Sundance,or IFC channel). No rating,but too bizarre/cerebral to rate.
Kudos To Henry Sellick
Henry Sellick is one gem of an animator to be reckoned with. His contribution to stop motion animation is superb. I had my world rocked big time with 'Nightmare Before Christmas',as well as 'James And The Giant Peach'. Sellick mines the harbor of author Neil Gaiman (American Gods)with the story of Coraline, a feisty 11 year-old girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning)who is very unhappy with the fact that she's been moved from her original home (as well as her best friends),to live in a creepy old house, with some pretty weird neighbors. When Coraline finds a portal into a alternate dimension with parents who seem like the ideal parents,Coraline seriously decides to cross over to that realm,for good. Somehow, something seems...well...not quite right. The film gets some good mileage from the other voice talents on parade here (including Terri Hatcher as both her Mothers). This lovingly stop motion animated feature film is available in both 3-D digital projection, as well as standard 2-D,for the benefit of cinemas that do not have the set ups for 3-D,digital projection (if you have the open window of opportunity to see the 3-D edition,by all means,do it--although the 2-D animated prints would be just as much fun). Handed a PG rating by the MPAA,this film serves up some situations that are pretty creepy & scary for the little ones (much like 'Nightmare Before Christmas'was). Older youngsters will eat it up.
Frog Baseball (1992)
The Big Debut (heh,heh....he said "big")
Anybody with a twisted sense of humour will appreciate Mike Judge's first installment of Beavis & Butthead. The plot:B&B are two VERY stupid teens from Texas who find a frog & decide to play a sadistic game of baseball with it. No big surprise:the frog croaks (oooh!---bad joke). This animated short (only about three minutes)would start a trend that would eventually spiral into a pop culture icon in the 1990's. This twisted little short has been featured in several animated anthologies,and is also featured on one of the Beavis & Butthead video compilations. No rating,but contains some pretty violent (and gross)images. Not for the little ones.
How About You... (2007)
A Bloody Fine Irish Comedy, This Is...
'How About You' is one of those "feel good" films from Ireland (just to let everybody know that we're not just a bunch of gloomy,depressed sods that like a good cry). Anthony Byrne directs a crackerjack cast of seasoned veterans,including Vanessa Redgrave as an over the hill actress (or so she claims),Joss Ackland as a retired judge who's chronic alcoholism brought his career crashing down early,and a cast of other fine actors & actresses playing the residents of a nursing home in the beautiful Irish countryside (filmed mostly in County Wicklow). The story concerns a young woman,who arrives at her older sister's nursing home in need of a place to live & work. As she arrives around Christmas time,most of the residents have already gone home to family, except for a scant handful miserable,cranky residents,who are nick named by the staff as "the hard core". Hayley Atwell shines as Ellie, the obviously pretty,young face,among the resident batch of sour balls, who refuses to put up with their b.s. This film reminded me a lot of the British comedy,'Experience Preferred,But Not Necessary' (which was also about a young lass who goes to work for a Summer holiday resort in the English seaside coast). If you like a light,refreshing,breezy comedy that will make you smile as you exit,then 'How About You',from 2007 may just be your cup of tea. Not rated,but contains profanity & drug humour.
Vals Im Bashir (2008)
(Animated) War Is Hell
This is a film that is guaranteed to be a lightning rod for controversy (with lots of finger pointing & shouting "I beg your pardon...but"). The story concerns a middle aged man, who during his tenure with the Isreali Army,was involved in the war against Lebanon in 1982/83, that triggered the surge of the PLO. The audio track is a series of filmed interviews by the director with the battle scarred veterans of the war, then converted to animation (standard cell animation,3D-CGI & flash animation),like Richard Linklater did for 'Waking Life'. The film also dramatizes the surreal & disturbing dreams of some of the soldiers. Many truths/half truths,are revealed in this powerful & disturbing drama. Note:Despite the fact that this is an animated feature film, this is absolutely not...repeat NOT a film for children,or war veterans that could possibly be freaked out by some of the horrors that are depicted in this film,due to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Rated 'R' by the MPAA,this film serves up disturbing war carnage,graphic & bloody violence,language & a brief animated sequence of a pornographic video. Again,not for the little ones.
Los cronocrímenes (2007)
And Now, For A Refreshing Change Of Pace...
A Science Fiction film that isn't a political allegory,nor does it have big metal spaceships nor butt ugly aliens that destroy the planet before our very eyes. 'Los Cronocrimenes' (or 'Time Crimes' as it's being distributed here in the continental United States) is a smartly written/directed (and acted)corker of a Sci-Fi film that concerns time travel that was filmed on a modest budget & has a bare minimum of special effects (mostly in the way of make up effects). The plot concerns your average everyday Joe (Jose?)Sixpack,his drop dead beautiful wife & the house that is being remodeled. When he is witness to a (potential)murder in his own backyard,he checks it out further, only to become involved in time travel (via a time machine at a science centre not far from his home). What follows will surely boggle the mind. The cast is mostly unknowns (at least on this side of the Atlantic). Do yourself a big favour & seek out this fine Spanish film before Hollywood unleashes it's own bastardized remake (due sometime in 2009). Rated 'R' by the MPAA, this film contains nudity,profanity & some violence (some of which looks truly painful,as well as bloody).
Seven Pounds (2008)
Karma, Thy Name Is Ben Thomas
Will Smith stars as Ben Thomas,a weary man who is trying to seek redemption for a horrible thing he has committed. Assuming the guise of a government agent, he intercedes in the lives of seven strangers he never met before,and attempts to make things right for them (and himself,in the long run). The cast is rounded out with some fine support from the likes of Woody Harrelson,as a blind man,just trying to make a living selling meat through a phone order service (when his calling in life is a musician),as well as a young woman who suffers from a congenital heart problem. The rest of the cast is rounded out with some fairly unknown faces (but still manage to pull off fine performances). This film is presented as an abstract jig saw puzzle (of sorts)that can tax the patients of the audience,but is well worth sticking it out until the end. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA,this film contains some disturbing subject matter,including a tasteful sexual encounter,as well as a bit of rough language.
Un secret (2007)
Finding Out The Painful Truth
Director Claude Miller ('The Little Thief')has gone and crafted a fine, taut,heartbreaking tale of repression,tragedy & truth,leading to closure. 'A Secret',adapted from the novel of the same name by author Phiiippe Grimbert,concerns a man,Francois,who as a young boy,had the feeling that he had an older brother. When he couldn't get a straight answer from his tight lipped family,he goes on a search for the truth & gets more than he bargained for. The film boasts of a fine cast,including Julie Depardieu,daughter of actor Gerard Depardieu,and the always welcome Ludivine Sagnier (Swimming Pool). The story's pace may be a bit slow for most Western viewers,but waiting it out will be well worth it,for the final solution. The film's visual look is a treat for the eye (with the present day sequences filmed in black & white, and the scenes that take place in the past which were filmed in colour,which may remind some viewers of 'Les Violins Du Bal'). Films like this deserve far better than they get (unlike any & all of the latest cine crapola that feature Pauly Shore or Adam Sandler). No rating,but contains nudity,sexual situations & some gruesome images of concentration camps that would be disturbing to youngsters under 15.
Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964)
I Wanna See Blood,Guts & Gore & Eat Dead,Burnt Bodies (sorry,Arlo Guthrie)
If you've never seen a film by H.G. Lewis, then by crackies, it's high time you set yourself a spell,pop this evil mother into your DVD (or VHS,depending on what format you own)player,sit back & have your mind screwed with for 90 giddy minutes. H.G. Lewis was the pre cursor of splatter cinema,that would inspire untold generations of horror/exploitation directors to move ahead in this field. Lewis,and his partner in crime, Dave Friedman,crafted 'Blood Feast',',2,000 Maniacs',and others like it for drive in's across the Southern United States back in the 1960's to entertain & gross out audiences. 'Maniacs' concerns two couples that find themselves rail roaded into a Southern back water town that is celebrating a centurary of sorts. What the two couples don't know that the celebration is the 100th birthday of the Civil War. What follows is a nearly non stop blood orgy of graphic dismemberment,and sadism that even by today's standards, is very graphic. The acting is easily grade Z,and most of the special effects are laughable. If you want to scratch a truly perverted itch for a dose of early splatter cinema,then '2,000 Maniacs',or for that matter, any H.G. Lewis film should do the trick for you. Unrated,but contains enough blood,guts & gore to have earned it an 'X' rating (had there been a rating system at the time),but did earn an 'Adults Only' legend on the posters.
Pixar Comes Up On Top,Again
Within The past 20,plus years since Pixar Studios churned out quality 3D-CGI (three dimensional,computer generated image)animation shorts (starting with a short dealing with computer generated dinosaurs running across a field,up to the release of the celebrated Toy Story features,with a new one down the pipeline), they have made a name for their selves as the Czars of computer animation. Despite a couple of less than celebrated releases,they come out on top again with 'Bolt' (originally planned to be called 'American Dog'), about a little dog (voiced by John Travolta),and his owner,Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus),and their adventures as the stars of a television series. It seems that Bolt thinks he actually has super powers,so when he gets loose & ends up accidentally being mailed to New York,he has to find his way back to Hollywood. He is assisted by a cynical alley cat & a domesticated hamster,on the road. What follows is a series of adventures for the trio. Does Bolt get reunited with Penny? All I can say is, check it out for the answer. This animated film is being released in a special 3D edition,but standard flat,2D prints are also available (for cinemas that lack the equipment for screening 3D films). Rated 'G' by the MPAA (suitable for the whole family)
Piss Orgy (1971)
The Title Says It All
What you read is what you get. A ten minute short (clumsly shot & edited on what is most likely Super 8mm film stock) of a three way orgy,with the subjects taking a whiz all over each other. This seems like the sort of film that noise core bands like The Butthole Surfers used to project on a backdrop screen during their concerts. Only relevant to mavens of hard core porn/S&M/fetish/post punk noise band followers,etc. About the only reason most of the above sought this soiled little gem out was that Linda Lovelace appeared in this short some months before she made it big (ouch,bad pun---my bad---l.o.l.)from Deep Throat. No rating,but with a film like this, does it really need one?
We're Not Talking Table Talk Here,Gang
For years,numerologists have tried to crack the code of Pi,the highest number in the mathematical spectrum. Although Darren Aronofsky doesn't manage to crack the code either,he has managed to craft a surreal,mind twisting film that takes us into the dark side of the human psyche. The story concerns an introverted mathematician,who is trying to implement Pi to try & figure out the stock market. When he comes upon some soft ware that contains a formula for doing so,he is pursued by government goons & Hasidic Rabbi's who want a piece of his knowledge. Combined by all of that stress,coupled with his drug addiction (to prescription medications),the mathematician manages to obsess over numbers & their connection to all things in nature. This makes for a dark,surreal,disturbing journey of the soul. Filmed in a flat black & white,with camera work that may remind some of the experimental films of Stan Brakhage,and others. Rated 'R' by the MPAA,this film contains some foul language,drug abuse, and disturbing images. Not for the little ones.
The Wrestler (2008)
Mickey's Back (and there's gonna be movies...)
It seems that Mickey Rourke has made a grand return to the screen. After a decade plus of being in some of the worst ultra soft core pseudo porn (which wouldn't even get a Boy Scout excited)for the sex hack of all hacks,Zalman King,plus a few other films that were equally as bad (which either went direct to video or pay cable),he has regained something resembling a role that commands respect. Rourke plays Randy the Rod, a wrestler who had hit his stride in the 1980's,but had seen better days. His lifestyle had a toxic effect on the people around him. Evan Rachel Wood,who plays his estranged daughter,turns in a strong character who isn't on screen nearly enough (for my tastes,anyway),which could be one of her best acting gigs since '13'. Marisa Tomei plays a stripper who has a soft spot for Randy (and vice versa),but can't bring herself to date the customers at the bar she dances at. Darren Aronofsky makes a grand return to directing (after the somewhat disappointing 'The Fountain') with this film,adapted from the novel of the same name. Let us hope that Mickey Rourke manages to make this open window of opportunity work for him and act in some quality films again (even if he was baked to the nine's at last week's Golden Globe award ceremonies). Rated 'R' by the MPAA,this film serves up some rather nasty language,even nastier sports violence that is at times quite bloody,a scene of pervasive sexuality,semi nudity & other material that is probably not too suitable for little Johnny
Loins of Punjab Presents (2007)
And now for something completely different,from India. A film that isn't a Bollywood musical (but does feature music),isn't nearly four hours long,and,is in the English language (with the minor exception of a couple of lines spoken in Hindi,that is subtitled). The film is 'Loins Of Punjab Presents', a comedy about several groups of Indian immigrants,trying to compete for top honours in a talent contest,called 'Desi Idol',an Indian take on (guess what?).Desi,being a Hindi term for a victim of the Indian diaspora. We see several prospectives going through the various processes for being a contestant. Along the way are the usual monkey wrenches in the proverbial cogs:the ones that take up their own self perpetuating political agendas,and change the rules when it suits them (in short,the ones who always manage to screw things up for others,big time),the would be contestants who bomb out,to mention a few. This film seems to want to be shot in the Christopher Guest style "mockumentary" style (at first,but this is eventually dropped as the film's plot line develops). Besides the assortment of oddball characters (a would be Indian American rapper,a half caste singer,who sings in Hindi,although her handle of the language is nearly non existent,a talented teen aged singer,who is just a little too good for one of the other contestants,and my personal favourite,a young Jewish man who is obsessed by Bollywood musicals,as his girlfriend is Indian,herself),there are lots of songs by the various contestants,taken from various Bollywood musicals. Toss in all of the above,stir,and you have yourself a spicy,fun,good time film that will have you walk out the cinema with a smile on your face (as was the audience at the screening that I attended). No MPAA rating,but does contain some raunchy language,as well as some minor adult situations,and an unpleasant racial slur.
Clerks II (2006)
Previously On Clerks....
After directing his first low budget,grainy,black & white opus,'Clerks'(unless you count an unfinished short film featuring Prince,that ended up being screened in segments,during Prince's next concert tour on a background screen,and silent,none the less), Kevin Smith went on to direct a series of films that varied in quality: Good (Chasing Amy),very good (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back),so-so (Mallrats),and down right unwatchable (Jersey Girl). He needed another hit,really bad. Despite the fact that Smith announced after 'J&SBSB' that his best two known characters would be phased out, he had no other choice but to revive them in his next film. This film was the eagerly awaited, 'Clerks II' (which would originally carry the co title:Still Clerkin' After All These Years,which was eventually dropped,in favour of just Clerks II). The results:fans ate this stuff up,lock,stock & barrel. The plot finds Dante (Brian O'Hallorin)& his side kick,Randall,now working at a fast food joint,after the Quick Mart burned down. As with the original Clerks,all manner of gross jokes,crude sexual humour,wall to wall swearing,and to top it all off,brief nudity. In short,a raunchy good time is in store for those who got their groove on with the first film (me,included). As with the first Clerks,sub plots,overlapping jokes,pop culture references being tossed around like Greek salad,etc. Well worth a rental for your next video get together. Rated 'R' by the MPAA for the above mentioned raunchiness (and more).
Dialouge So Sharp & Cutting,You Can Get A Close,Clean Shave From It
If you're a fan of low budget,independently produced cinema with a subversive edge,then Clerks is for you. Kevin Smith made his feature film debut with this kitchen sink,black & white film,that may remind some viewers of some of the early Jim Jarmusch,or Hal Hartley films (who both get an acknowledgment in the closing credits), with a (then)no name cast,shot mostly in a convenient store (with some extra footage shot in a video shop next door). The plot has Dante Hicks (played to the hilt,by a damaged looking Brian O'Hallorin),who is experiencing what has to be the absolute worst day ever in his life. He is called into work on his day off,when he is supposed to hook up with his pals to play some hockey. His lazy,good for nothing slacker of a friend,Randal,who works next door in the video mart (yeah...right!), manages to be nothing short of a major thorn in Dante's side by being obnoxious to customers. The various weird customers that Dante hates dealing with. Among others,Dante finds out his ex girlfriend is getting married,which launches Dante into a downward spiral of depression. Toss in a couple of equally obnoxious pot dealers (Jason Mewes,as Jay & Kevin Smith,himself as Silent Bob,who lives up to his namesake)to up the ante,and you have yourself the makings for a caustic comedy that will turn some off & attract a cadre of followers. This film had a bit of controversy,due to the fact that the goons at the MPAA wanted to slap this film with an NC-17 for the nearly non stop barrage of vulgar language & crude sex jokes. In the end,though, Smith appealed & got the 'R' rating he wanted. This is the film that would spawn a sequel, an short lived animated series (only six episodes,although only two were ever aired on ABC),not to mention turning Jay & Silent Bob into an icon of pop culture. Not a film for every one's tastes,but those who endure,will be pleased. Rated 'R' for wall to wall profanity & sex related jokes (although nobody in this film removes so much as a shoe).
The Movie...The Series (well.....)
The idea of turning Clerks into an animated TV series was fertile ground for some potentially subversive humour. The end results...well...it could have turned out somewhat better. This series was sold to ABC TV, with six episodes as a trial. ABC, predictably fumbled the ball,big time by only airing two of the six episodes (and worse yet,in the wrong sequence,as the jokes have a thematic thread to them (plus,most of the humour was somewhat surreal). Bottom line:Clerks was canceled by ABC after only two episodes. I guess the few viewers who did catch one or both of the episodes would be confused. The jokes tend to be a satire on pop culture references. What I appreciated was that the original cast of the film supplied their own voice characters. The animation is somewhat decent. It's obvious that the crude sexual jokes would be a no no on network television,but still manages to get a few corkers across. All six episodes are currently available on a double DVD,with commentary by Jason Mewes (Jay),and sometimes even Kevin Smith,himself (as Silent Bob). Good for a video get together party.
Trouble the Water (2008)
Flipping The Middle Finger To All That Deserve It (and jamming it into the eye socket,all the way to the 3rd knuckle)
Back in 2005, when Kimberly Roberts,a up & coming rapper from the 9th Ward in New Orleans first heard of what was going to be a major hurricane in her neck of the woods,she got her hands on a used video camera from a street hustler,looking to make a quick buck & started to record anything & everything she saw (with the assistance of her husband,Scott). Four days later,her world,as she knew it,drowned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Documentary film makers Carl Deal & Tia Lessin (who had worked on 'Fahrenheit 9/11',etc.)were in New Orleans,filming all of the mass mayhem & became acquainted with the Roberts' & offered to use their crude,clumsy,kitchen sink video footage as part of their documentary film project. The results of this collaboration is 'Trouble The Water' (the title of a Gospel song that is heard on the soundtrack). This powerful film is cinema verite at it's best. It easily takes it's place among recently released documentaries on Katrina ('Camp Katrina',etc.). This documentary is produced by HBO,which means that it will probably turn up there some time later for those who missed the opportunity to see it in cinemas. No rating,but contains vulgar language & some disturbing sights & sounds.