Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ocular Optometrical - Lists 4 The Win

Cue The Film - Top 5 Films With A Non-Condescending Portrayal Of A Child's Perspective
This list was my own top-5 topic inspired by listening to the latest Cue The Film podcast which featured reviews of "Son Of Rambow" & "Millons." I thought it was a great pairing of films and both movies do indeed feature young protagonists that act like children but aren't catered to or treated as props like most hollywood films are want to do.

Millions (2004)/ Bacheha-Ye aseman [Children Of Heaven] (1997)/ Mitt liv som hund [My Life As A Dog] (1985)/ 28 Weeks Later (2007)/ George Washington (2000)/ Whale Rider (2002)/ Die Blechtrommel [The Tin Drum] (1979)/ El Espíritu de la colmena [Spirit Of The Beehive] (1973)/ 800 balas [800 Bullets] (2002)/ Rocket Gibraltar (1988)/ Ma vie en rose (1997)/ Leolo (1992)/ Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)/ Ratcatcher (1999)/ Fanny och Alexander [Fanny & Alexander] (1982)/ Walkabout (1971)

05 - The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
- John Sayles is one of my favorite filmmakers. A big part of that is that he's also a writer, and i always appreciate a wholistic vision for a film. Based on the book by Rosalie K. Fry, Sayles' adaptation is beautifully understated and really captures the magic of the folk tales without having to resort to any big special effects. Watching this movie prompted me to write a letter to my grandmother because it left me with the same feeling I had when she read with me when i was a child.

04 - Salaam Bombay! (1988)
- This one is a heartbreaking story of a 10 year old boy growing up in a brothel in India. It doesn't pull any punches.

03 - Kids (1995)
Larry Clark is a weird one. I like his films, mainly because I do think that he shows a pretty accurate depiction of teenagers. There is a scene in Kids where a bunch of boys are hanging out in an apartment, cracking on eachother, talking about girls and watching the Blind: Video Days skateboarding video. It was an eerily accurate slice of my highschool days. Larry Clark does have a pervy streak and a penchant to show young looking actors in sexually explicit scenes but there's also a tendency of society to pretend that teenagers aren't completely obsessed with sex & morally chaotic.

02 - Cidade dos Homens [City Of Men] (2002)
A brilliant TV series set in the Brazilian favelas. This unfairly gets written off as a retread of the equally brilliant movie Cidade de Deus [City Of God], but it focuses on a pair of younger protagonists and over the course of the dense series, the expanded running time allows them to cover a wider range of stories as they truly grow up in front of the camera. Outside of the Wire, this is one of the best produced & most complex TV programs I've seen.

01 - Les Quatre cents coups [400 Blows] (1959)
- The first film for François Truffaut's legendary character, Antoine Doinel. Every good movie about adolesence, including a bunch in my honorable mentions, are riffs on this movie. Classic writing, directing & acting.

Filmspotting - Top 5 Characters In Need Of A Comeback
When approaching this topic, there were a ton of characters that I would plunk down change to see on the screen again, but really most good films preclude sequels, so I tried to use only characters that seemed to still have room for interesting stories.

05 - Halloweentown (The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993))
- One of my all time favorite films, Tim Burton & Henry Selick's Halloweentown was beautifully realized & full of fun characters & history to explore. I haven't played any of the video games set in Halloweentown, but based on reviews, my impression is that a lot of the secondary properties around The Nightmare Before Christmas have been shoddily slapped together to cash in on the cult fanbase. I hope Burton & Selick eventually revisit together.

04 - Lone Wolf & Cub (Shogun Assassin (1980))
- I'm sorry but I just cannot get beyond the fact that the Ogami Itto of the films & TV series had a double chin. The actor is great otherwise, & apparently a legend, but the ascetic Ogami Itto of the comics would never allow himself the indulgence of putting on a few pounds. Lone Wolf & Cub is my favorite comic book ever and it was hugely influential. You like Wolverine? Batman? Daredevil? Frank Miller basically just transposed Lone Wolf's personality onto the characters and it's stuck ever since. A modern production of Lone Wolf & Cub would be amazing, and I think an audience tiring of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon rip-offs would eat up the epic story of the Shogun's executioner.

03 - Steve Zissou (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004))
- It would be impossible to cast another actor as a younger Steve Zissou after Bill Murray put his stamp on the character, but I would love to see more of Team Zissou's adventures.

02 - Sun-Ra (Space Is The Place (1974))
- We'll have to wait until Sun-Ra decides to return from the cosmos, but when he does I hope he hits us with another wonderful battle royale with the devil.

01 - Perseus (Clash Of The Titans (1981))
- I think there is actually a remake of Clash Of The Titans in production, but Greek mythology is so rich & full of stories, there's plenty of new material to mine. Maybe the reason the spate of recent Hollywood fantasy films aren't succeeding is that they all feature little kids in the hero role. 10 year olds can look up to Perseus, but its harder for Joe Sixpack to relate to Harry Potter.


frank said...

Nice to see you giving the nod to Leolo, Ma Vie En Rose, and Ratcatcher. Three of my favorites for sure. Haven't seen many of those others but will definitely enqueue them soon. Have you ever seen Fresh?
Wondered what your opinion was if you have. Also, I totally agree about the Zissou and Clash of the Titans sequel requests. The only problem is if they remade Titans they'd probably screw it up with a whole bunch of awful CGI. The animation in the original was so freakin awesome.

andrew. said...

- thanks for the recommendation on Fresh. i went to add it to my Netflix but it's already in my queue, somewhere. i'm going to bump it to the top.

- i share your concerns about sullying Clash Of The Titans with CGI effects. Ray Harryhausen's stop motion work in the original is brilliant. The only thing is that I have a similar awe for Willis O'Brien's stop motion work in the original 1933 King Kong but the CGI for Peter Jackson's Kong was extremely effective (and the best part of that film).

pipecock said...

CotT is my fucking joint, i have loved that shit since i was very little. i definitely dont want anyone fucking with that movie.

as for lone wolf and cub, arent there like 13 movies of it altogether? you only get the first 3 movies of it in Shogun Assasin 1 and 2.....

andrew. said...

- yeah, there are a ton of movies in the Lone Wolf & Cub series as well as a TV series. The comic has something like 200 chapters. I just grabbed the Shogun Assassin link to represent them all. (holy shit, i just stopped myself from making a terrible Lord Of The Rings joke)

- one of these days i'm going to do the other top 5 list: inappropriate sequels. (ie. Au Hasard Balthazar 2: The Next Generation, The Last Temptation Of Christ 2: 3 Day Weekend...)