Quick Cuts (Edition 3)

This weekend a friend came to visit, and if I weren’t so busy with hostess shenanigns, I would surely have full-length reviews of two films for you.  As I was busy living a life instead of writing about one, all you get are two short ones.

I am a world champion insomniac.  No, really.  I could stay up for days if I weren’t medicated into unconsciousness.  As a result, I will often wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to fall back asleep.  These are prime movie-watching hours, my loves, and because of this, I now have two new flicks to recommend (or maybe not).  SPOILERS ABOUND!

Film the first.

Baghead (2008)

This little doozy from the Duplass brothers is less a horror film than just an indie film about what it’s like to have an asshole for a best friend.

Two “couples” head to a cabin in Big Bear to write a screenplay.  When Michelle (Greta Gerwig) wakes up to booze-barf in the middle of the night, she sees a man with a paper bag over his head wandering around in the woods outside.  Before long, the Baghead dude shows up all over the place.  People disappear and reappear.  It’s just generally a little wonky.

What works in Baghead is that which is pulled from other films.  The presence and disappearance of Baghead himself is the best part of the film.  But these moves are pulled directly from other–better–horror films.  A man in the distance at the edge of a shot.  Short cuts to him in the darkness.  This is the stuff of John Carpenter.  And the Duplass brothers do well to steal from the master, but that’s about all that really works in this film.

The characters are a bit problematic.  Michelle and Chad (Steve Zissis) are the only characters I actually gave a shit about.  Michelle is one we care about simply by virtue of her being portrayed by Greta Gerwig.  I would follow that woman to the edge of the Earth.  But Chad, my affection for him comes from pity, and this is not the best way to make me love a character.  He’s sad, y’all.  And that’s about it.

Matt (Ross Partridge) and Catherine (Elise Muller) are both insufferable assholes with absolutely no depth.  Writing them as having a long and tumultuous relationship does not make them any more interesting or worth caring about, and I am sorry to say that I generally wanted them off-screen.

Having said all that, when the film works, it kicks mad ass.  I was really creeped out more than once throughout the proceedings.  It’s very indie and not all that horror, but if you think you might get a kick out of something simple and not too great, check it out.

Beware.  Your mileage may vary.

Film the second.

Anatomy (2000)

I have a hard on for Franka Potente.  She’s just really gorgeous and generally pretty fucking talented.  Yes, this occurred because I saw Run, Lola, Run at just the right time in my life.  But no matter.  She’s awesome, and I am right there with her all the time.  (What a bummer that second Bourne movie was.  Sigh.)

So I can’t really say why it took me this long to see Anatomy.  I mean, it’s been in my queue for years–literally.  I just kept bumping other movies up above it.  You know how it is.  You get in the mood for Bergman, and then it’s Max Von Sydow for two whole weeks.

Paula Henning is accepted at the prestigious medical school at Heidelberg.  When she gets there she soon uncovers a conspiracy left over from Nazi days, and she must fight for her life and for the honor of her profession.

What struck me about Anatomy was just how American it felt.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so wholly not of its culture.  Even the music was American.  It attempted to be a thought-provoking thriller about the way Nazis used humans as medical experiments and play with the notion of that still occurring today, but it really just felt like a popcorn movie.

And you know what?  A popcorn movie is A-Okay.  It’s fun while it lasts and not long after.  Don’t look to this film for more than the 100 minute diversion it is.  It’s a little overlong with what seem to be multiple endings.  The conclusion takes forever, but if you’re looking for lazy Sunday fare, you’ve found it here.  Check it out, but don’t expect the moon.

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~ by acaseofyou12581 on August 10, 2010.

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