Sleightly Nerve-Racking

I love independent, fun little dramas that give you a sense of not knowing where they are heading.  Sleight does that, and well.  There are some scientific and medical non-possibilities which weaken the final third of this brief film, but I love the whole street performer-with-multiple irons in the fire-angle.  7/10

Comparison Notes (all recommended): Nightcrawler, Dope, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Gran Torino, Drive, Tangerine

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UPDATE: I caught some the beginning parts of Nerve on TV, and was reminded of what a fun and fresh film it is, at least through the first half.  So an upgrade: 7/10.  Just don’t expect it to hold up all the way to the end.

Take Some High Profits

High Profits - image

High Profits - text block

Just want to throw out a blurb on CNN’s reality soap serial High Profits.  In this case it’s real reality, not the completely artificial, hyper-produced type of reality programming that one usually encounters.

The widely varying degrees to which pot is legalized throughout the US — and that swiftly turning national tide — is fascinating to me, and this series has become must-watch TV.  The banking situation alone has got to be fixed soon or there’ll be hell to pay.

The episodes are starting to drag briefly in spots, but they’re still quite compelling.  I suggest watching from the first episode, which you should be able to do via CNN streaming or through the on-demand section of your TV provider.  New episodes air on Sunday night.

Enter the Void at Your Own Risk

Enter the Void - poster

Enter the Void (2009) is a story centered on siblings Oscar and Linda about sex, drugs, death and birth, and more sex.  Although not an altogether ‘great’ film, it certainly forges a novel vector in cinema.  It’s presented as a sort of stream of consciousness, or more aptly stream of camera-ness, and is a technical amazement.  The filmmaker Gaspar Noé certainly Enter the Void - text blockhas an idea what he’s doing.

As I stated, Enter the Void is not a great film — the storytelling elements don’t support the film’s vision.  But at least the film has a vision — more than one can say for most efforts out there.  Besides occupying its own unique space, the movie’s dream-like state carries a spare but firm narrative about love and tragedy that I found compelling.

Manohla Dargis:

In “Enter the Void” the camera soars above the world like a bird, like a kite, like a ghost. It moves with smooth, gentle motions and seemingly indecisive purpose, passing through walls, drifting over alleys and climbing high above the roofs of a nighttime city agleam in jeweled color. At times it hovers next to one of the city’s inhabitants like an angel or a threat. Occasionally it even appears to take up temporary residence in someone’s head — dive-bombing toward the back of a skull like a blow — so that it (and we) can see the world directly from another point of view: This is your brain. This is your brain on a Gaspar Noé movie.

Early in the film, Oscar faces an Oscar Pistorius moment — he gets shot through the door of a restroom by the police — which never would happen in a million years.  This early death is precedent for the entire movie, and though I let go my incredulity after a bit, it bothered me for too long.  As a movie fan, I’m very glad I watched Enter the Void.  If this scene had been handled better, I’d rate a 7, but as it is, 6/10.

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Comparison Notes: films of Cronenburg and David Lynch, Scorsese’s continuous shot, Birdman, Blade Runner, Lost in Translation, Spun, Requiem for a Dream