Catfish Directed by: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman Written by: N/A Starring: Yaniv Schulman, Angela Wesselman, and Ariel Schulman
Catfish, the documentary yin to The Social Network’s yang, begins innocently and romantically enough. Yaniv Schulman, a photographer from New York, begins a romantic relationship online with a girl from Michigan named Megan. Of course, for the movie to be interesting or even worth releasing, it can’t stay that simple.
The tone of this documentary is not quite journalistic, but leans more toward the Michael Moore style of documentary filmmaking. In essence, that means it takes a point of view beforehand, and opts for entertainment rather than insight. When this relationship with Megan delves into the creepy, the filmmakers aren’t quite willing to take that unbiased leap. We don’t explore the world of Angela Wesselman, Megan’s “mom,” as much as we observe her as if we were at a zoo.
Mother Directed by: Joon-ho Bong Written by: Eun-kyo Park & Joon-ho Bong Starring: Hye-ja Kim, Bin Won, Ku Jin, and Yoon Jae-Moon
To call Mother, the latest effort from seminal South Korean filmmaker Joon-ho Bong, obscure would be putting it lightly. Rarely does a movie of such visual beauty have such an odd sense of humor, especially when the subject matter is so dark. It begins with its small female protagonist dancing alone in the middle of a wheat field. It ends with the same dance, this time in a crowded bus. It’s hard to describe a reaction to this, and I’m sure it will differ for many viewers. However, it summarizes the movie quite well.
What begins as an odd tale of a mother/handicapped son relationship quickly saunters into an intriguing murder mystery. When her son (Bin Won) is accussed of the murder of the local nympho, the unnamed mother (Hye-ja Kim) sets out to prove his innocence.
The Ghost Writer Directed by: Roman Polanski Written by: Robert Harris and Roman Polanski Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall
It is wise advice to be told as a storyteller to separate personal affairs and creative work if you are looking to tell a good story. But if you are looking to tell a great story, then making your work personal is exactly what you want to do. Roman Polanski, a nearly 80 year old filmmaker publicly known for currently being placed under house arrest for a sex scandal that happened back in the 70’s with a 13 year old girl, does something like that.
The Ghost Writer is film is by no means Polanski’s personal film, nothing in the likes of Woody Allen’s Whatever Works which in a way is his firm defense on being charged with molesting his 7 year old adopted daughter and later marrying wife’s biological daughter. In no ways does Polanski involve himself in the politics of the film, nor does he allow that sort of thing to distract from the story, but politics and controversy are nonetheless haunting this somber political thriller much like Polanski’s ghastly past must haunt him. His familiarity with scandal may be the reason this film is done so authentically. Continue reading →
In honor of April Fools Day, I decided to list five famous and not so famous movies that can confound, twist, and trick you while still being well made and entertaining. Don’t worry, I won’t give anything away.
Image courtesy of The Pioneer Woman
1. The Sixth Sense– How could you not include this one? The most famous thing about this movie is its ending, but the rest was still a great revitalization of the scary thriller when it was released. Haley Joel Osment, Bruce Willis, and Toni Collette all give outstanding performances, but it’s the ending of this movie that earns its place in cinema history.
Image courtesy of Oregon Live
2. Tell No One– This excellent French thriller has twists at every turn, leading to one of the most satisfying conclusions in a movie. This tale of a man who’s thought to be dead wife starts emailing him is a first-class thriller of the highest order. Writer/director Guillaume Canet knows how to structure a film around an already great screenplay.