Well, ok. Apart from No Country For Old Men, which I already informed you about, there is something called The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, The Last Heist (starring Henry Rollins, of State of Alert), and God’s Club, a movie about how public schools won’t allow clubs about God because they are Godless institutions, starring everyone’s least favorite Baldwin, Stephen.
I am not going to watch these films and neither should you.
This feature, I fear, is doomed.
Luckily, there are still things worth diving through in the garbage pile, so here are a few of those. Better luck next week, let’s hope.
The Boxtrolls: With the release of LAIKA Studios’ latest, the rapturously received Kuba and the Two Strings, what better time could there be to check out their stop-motion wonder The Boxtrolls? Meshing a Dickensian narrative about a street urchin and allegories of class struggle with the Aardman-style sensibility of Wallace and Gromit, co-directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi inventively assemble a fully-realized world.
The Boxtrolls live below ground, building their lives from refuse and hiding from the humans above, who demonize them as monsters and thieves. The Red Hats constitute an aggrieved middle class, hustling to enter the upper echelons of the White Hat ruling class. A Fagin-like villain schemes for that class mobility at the Boxtrolls’ expense — a regular Donald Trump of the steampunk-Victorian set — and an orphan human is caught in the middle.
That’s a lot of politics for a kids’ film — and there are also some genuine scares here that might be too much for the really little ones — but it’s all treated with a fleet touch and incredibly detailed, impressive animation. This was my first LAIKA production, and I can’t wait to dive into the others.
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World: A surprisingly sweet and melancholy turn from Steve Carrell roots this apocalyptic rom-com, as he and Keira Knightley travel the countryside as humankind’s clock ticks down its final hours. There are scattered laughs, but director Lorene Scafaria has other things in mind — the ways in which we find shared meaning together, whether we mean to or not. It’s a lovely film that goes in unexpected directions.
Congo: There are few sillier or more enjoyable goofball cinematic enterprises than 1995’s Congo. By all rights, it should be terrible — and, with its obvious “guys in ape suits” jumping around, it frequently is. But somehow it ends up being enormously fun. Stupid fun, but fun all the same. Tim Curry chews up the scenery like some sort of a man dressed in an ape suit, Ernie Hudson has the time of his life affecting an idiotic accent, and John Patrick Shanley’s screenplay strikes a perfect balance between a meta-awareness of its own lunacy and delivering the dubious, Michael Crichton goods.
Tu Dors Nicole: Director Stéphane Lafleur composes gorgeous black and white images of the mundane, while the titular Nicole, 22 years old, floats dreamlike through a last summer before adulthood. Not much happens: her brother’s band wants to use their parents’ empty house to practice, much to Nicole’s chagrin, and she’s romanced by a 10-year-old Lothario, who imagines his early puberty makes him an eligible bachelor. Eccentric touches abound, but Lafleur never gets precious. Instead, Tu Dors Nicole feels pretty familiar, the gauzy, subdued memory of an earlier time, when one stands at a crossroad knowing one chapter is about to be over and another one ready to begin. It’s a very French sort of melancholy, a nostalgia for a time that’s not yet finished. It’s haunting, in the quietest way possible, and entirely familiar.