Posted by: kfugrip | March 13, 2007

Trois

Watched 3 this weekend with Kelly. I’ll try to be interesting (it’s been difficult lately).

First up was Jesus Camp, and documentary directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. I knew very little about this film before Kelly was turned on to it. It is the story of three children, all evangelical christians, who attend… that’s right a jesus camp. It’s about the recruitment and indoctrination of children into the right wing cause. At said camp the people in charge address abortion, Supreme Court Judges, and the fact that “Harry Potter is an enemy of God”.

It’s a chilling portrait of a generation being trained to take over and make decision for me when I’m an old man. At one point in the film a woman says that liberals are watching the film and quaking in their boots. She’s right. You should see this. #33 = 4 stars.

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Jackass Number Two, directed by Jeff Tremaine is more of the same… only better. I laughed so hard at this film that it should probably be a 5 star film but seeing as how it’s just a collection of guys being hurt, puking, and performing outlandish stunts, and not an actual narrative it get’s demoted to 4 stars. The best aspect of this one is that there are less of the things that I don’t find as funny. Less fat guy chasing midget in public, less “party boy” and more pain. When these guys get hurt it’s hilarious. Perhaps it’s a signal that society is crumbling but at least it’s laughing all the way.

I wonder what their lives are like. The fact that Chris “party boy” takes a drink of horse semen in order to opt out of a later stunt is a peek into the psychology of these guys that is very revealing. I don’t know what they could to for a third film but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it happens.

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Infamous, written and directed by Douglas McGrath will forever be connected to the other, academy award winning, Capote film. When this film was being previewed I was confused. “They are making another Capote movie about In Cold Blood?” I asked. “Why?” I was shocked that, much like the Armageddon/Deep Impact situation, there were films about the same subject that might have been competing. They didn’t though. Infamous came out the summer after and didn’t make a peep, not even in New York. Despite it’s star studded cast, and a smart and emotionally involving script, the film pales in comparison to Capote, by Bennett Miller.

I read about the genesis of Infamous in Christine Vachon’s latest book, and I feel bad that Toby Jones, and Douglas McGrath can’t be considered without having to be compared to Capote. This was a good film but it’s treatment of the subject matter didn’t have the unity in tone that Capote did. Infamous felt uneven. Though it was attempting to show more of the whirlwind that was Truman Capote, I felt it fell short if that was it’s intent. It’s not the fault of the film, because the man’s life leads to the most dramatic moment, which is the writing of In Cold Blood and his relationship with Perry. That has to take over the scope of any Capote project, and thus the first one on the scene get’s a benefit. I still feel that Capote was a better film and the performance at it’s center was more sensitive and three dimensional, due in part to the tone of the film.

McGrath’s direction is skilled and finds the humor but I feel it pushes too hard and veers into sentiment when the scene calls for emotion. Also the ‘talking heads’ sections are forced and I don’t like the device. Why must the faux documentary elements be leaned on so heavily in independent cinema? It’s the new crutch for the independent spirit.

#35 = 3 stars.

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