Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Netflix Diary 7

Aguirre, The Wrath Of God [1972]
I wanted to see this after enjoying last year’s Rescue Dawn, because I had always heard how good it was, and how in a lot of ways it is the…technical forerunner to director Werner Herzog’s 2007 expedition. But ya know what? I was bored to tears by Aguirre. I understand how much of an impossible feat the production was, trekking a film crew and actors in full suits of real armor through the South American jungle – it’s all right there on the screen – but that doesn’t mean it makes a good film. The story is skeletal, with half the scenes being improvised, and the acting is alternately forced, amateurish or nonexistent. It’s not a completely bad film, illustrating madness and paranoia pretty well, and the craft does count for something, but I just found it profoundly disappointing for all the cultish hype it gets.

A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints [2006]
I really really wanted to like this movie, because, as I’ve said, I like Shia LaBeouf, and I really like the recent choices of Robert Downey Jr. Actually, I did like this movie, and I do recommend it, but I do so with some reservations. The movie totally hinges on the good performances of these two lead actors (playing the young and old versions of the same person, Dito Montiel), as well as the fact that it’s simply a filmed autobiography, adapted and directed by Montiel himself. NOW, the rest of the movie is merely good. The situations are interesting, though sometimes not well drawn enough, and unfortunately the characters are mostly unlikable, though Irish Mike is cool...but I can’t shake the fact that I wanted young Dito to escape his world not because I was rooting for him, but because I was rooting against the world. Apparently, this is just one of the short stories from the original book, which continues with Dito fronting a hardcore band among other things, so maybe that’s the place to start. Otherwise, this is just another in a long line of coming-of-age dramas that take place in the five boroughs of New York City.

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