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Sunday, June 18th, 2006

Sunday Cleaning – Volume 38

I haven’t done any movie roundups for a little while and I have been seeing movies – so here’s some that are sort of related. Same studio, similar themes, pure coincidence.

Terry Zwigoff / Art School Confidential (Sony Pictures Classics)

Terry Zwigoff, Daniel Clowes. After Ghost World, that should be a recipe for a decent film at the very least, right? Not so much. Remember the scene in Ghost World with Illeana Douglas as the art teacher? This basically takes that gag and stretches it out to feature length with an exceptionally lame murder mystery storyline tacked on. It starts out alright and is amusing when they stick to light skewering of artiste stereotypes but it fails to give any of the characters anything resembling depth or empathy. Not nearly clever enough to function as a satire and just generally clumsy all around. Disappointing, especially from creators who should know better.

Trailer: Art School Confidential

Pedro Almodovar / Bad Education (Sony Pictures Classics)

I’m a pretty big fan of Almodovar’s films if for no other reason than they a) always look amazing and b) never fail to have some theme or image or something stick with me long after it’s over – no mean feat for someone with an attention span like mine. His latest film (excepting Return, which just premiered at Cannes) is a little bit of a departure as the main story is a sort of mystery-thriller with an extra-twisty story-within-a-story-within-a-story structure. As such, it turns out a bit darker than I’d expected but is still immensely satisfying and stimulating. Gael Garcia Bernal, in particular, is amazing in his two or three roles (I lost track). I only had one question – if you’ve seen the DVD and seen the deleted scenes, wouldn’t those, if included, had completely screwed up the way the entire plot unfolded? I can’t figure out why they were even shot.

Trailer: Bad Education

Mike Mills / Thumbsucker (Sony Pictures Classics)

A small, charming and only slightly precious coming-of-age film loaded with more star power than you’d expect. Basically the story of a teen who tries to give up sucking his thumb as a rite of adolescence, it’s got your fairly standard crises at school (boy pines for girl, inexplicably gets girl, gets ditched by girl for pot), home (unhappy mom, careerist dad) and dental office. General observations about the cast – Tilda Swinton is terrific, Vincent D’Onofrio and Vince Vaughan almost look interchangable (this is not a compliment to Vince Vaughan’s diet) and Keanu Reeves is a hoot and perfectly cast as a spacey, new-age orthodontist.

Trailer: Thumbsucker

np – The Cardigans / Super Extra Gravity

By : Frank Yang at 9:36 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. yoti says:

    I agree with you on Art School Confidential–so disappointing. It seemed more like a TV movie. I did like Ghost World, from what I can remember.

    Speaking of bad films, I could not understand the critical acclaim for "Me and You and Everyone We Know". I thought it was mostly terrible. Eye of the beholder and all that I suppose.

    Thumbsucker was one of my favorite movies that I saw last year. Very good and clever movie, although I think it was under most people’s radar.

  2. thomaus says:

    Try the book on Thumbsucker. There’s a whole Morman thing going on that didn’t make it into the movie. Most consider it to be way better than the movie. But isn’t that always what they say?