Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tropical Malady

Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul's haunting masterpiece, Tropical Malady, is nearly impossible to describe. An existential love story. A moody, poetic thriller. An exploration of the spirituality of sexual and emotional attraction. The Thai master has pushed himself quickly to the forefront of international cinema by embracing the purest language of cinematic form. He is one of the most expressive, important contemporary directors; his abilities as a master formalist are a large reason for this. Tropical Malady is the latest in Joe's canon and, for me, his best. The oblique romanticism of the film's first half is only enhanced by the brooding spiritualism of the second half. Despite being a relatively new filmmaker, Joe is beyond one to watch...he is one to embrace.

Grade: A+

Belated home video releases - Cursed and Hostage

Cursed - Wes Craven has slipped and stumbled since his groovy meta-horror movie Scream. He's directed two lackluster sequels to Scream; a horrific, treacly "feel-gooder" starring Meryl Streep (Music of the Heart) and now this, perhaps the most inept werewolf film in a decade (yes, even Underworld was better). Cursed, somehow, manages to not be scary, not be funny and not be involving, all of which Craven & Co. are so painfully reaching to attain. It's a disappointing failure from a filmmaker who can do much better (and hopefully will with his next film, the promising-looking Red-Eye).

Grade: D+


Hostage - The always reliable Bruce Willis is unable to save this laffer from director Florent Emilio Siri (a videogame director!). Willis is the man at the center of a ludicrously contrived hostage situation, wherein some bungled robbers commit a home invasion. More and more "plot" points are piled on, and the whole thing creeps toward the end under the weight of an overbearing narrative. Who comes up with these things? The writer of Bad Boys, Money Train and Welcome to Mooseport, that's who. It's becoming increasingly difficult to muster the words to tackle these awful films.

Grade: D