Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Male Gaze Wide Shut

…Or using feminist theory to defend the work of Stanley Kubrick.

This is my thesis, to sum up everything I’ve done in college.  I plan on making more videos like this, so please feel free to send me feedback.

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Trance

Oh Danny Boyle, I love you so.  But what were you thinking?

Cassel doing his best Tard impersonation.

Cassel doing his best Tard impersonation.

I’ll admit the idea seemed like a good idea at a time: an amnesiac art thief gets tossed through his own subconscious web of secrets, lies and memories.  That sounds like a movie.  You have an acclaimed visionary director behind the wheel – that’s a plus.  But something somewhere went kind of wrong.

I think it might be the characters.  More so, the contrived romance between grumpy baddie Franck (Vincent Cassel) and hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson).  I can’t say I really saw that one coming – but then again, I’m not much for romance, especially when it’s perplexedly forced.  Come to think of it, Elizabeth is really the only developed character in this whole film.  I suppose part of the intrigue of this film is that the characters aren’t entirely made to be likeable, given the primal context human nature and materialism associated with perception.

Oh man, why couldn't this be another Trainspotting?

Oh man, why couldn’t this be another Trainspotting?

On the topic of human anatomy, I just want to note that there were numerous opportunities for male nudity – none of which were taken.  I realize that nekkid Rosario played more into the plot (specifically referencing Goya’s nudes), but honestly I found it all grossly unfair.  But I digress.

Oddly enough I think I enjoyed this film more in retrospect.  Similar to Momento, once everything’s gathered together, character motivations make much more sense.  Like I said, similar.  Trance does a great job at skewing many dynamics of the human psyche, but makes a mess of putting its priorities together while shoving a sad excuse for gender politics in your face.  It’s a fun ride but a tad anticlimactic, screaming for more development.  Truly a film for the ADD generation.

Final Grade: B+

Hitchcock

Just try to get the theme out of your head.

Just try to get the theme out of your head.

Guess who has a keyboard and no way of getting out to see Evil Dead.  No big deal though – I decided to do something a little unorthodox and review something already on DVD, but fresh enough to avoid the What You Should Have Watched category.  From what it looks like, Hitchcock had a rather limited release as it was, and being a devout fan this was an automatic must-see.  And it doesn’t disappoint.

Right from the beginning, this movie sets the tone perfectly.  I had no idea it was possible to make a flawlessly tongue-in-cheek introduction to Ed Gein within the first minute.  I’ll be honest, it gets a little weird from there.  Since Hitchcock’s discovery of Gein’s crimes, Gein henceforth acts like a Jiminy Cricket sorta spirit guide, helping Hitch through his doubts and anxieties.  Somehow I doubt this was actually going on this way, but such is the manner of creative liberties.

Thrilling editing montage.

Whoo thrilling editing montage!

Hitchcock‘s real focus is really the stress of Hitch’s ego on his wife as well as his actors.  One thing that was greatly appreciated was the fact that they didn’t ignore the fact that Hitchcock was a voyeuristic, controlling creep.  But beyond a creep and a brilliant director, he was also a man rendered helpless without his wife, Alma.  Hitchcock thus serves as an apt tribute to a dynamic duo whose better half better not be ignored.  At the same time, it also gives an accurate portrayal of the beginning of a filmmaking revolution.  Yes, there was a time when a toilet was considered controversial.

In all, Hitchcock is an excellent pick for movie fans.  Despite the liberties and melodrama (I guess Hitch was good at throwing hissy fits), this is a satisfying biopic all around.  Also bonus points for James D’Arcy’s flawless execution as Anthony Perkins.

Final Grade: A-