Friday, October 30, 2009

On Skidlove, Canadian Mumblecore

Skidlove (Ryan Arnold, 2009)
*** (A Must-See)

Skidlove, which is slang for passionate affection between disenfranchised youths, tells the story of a twenty-something painter Ryan Arnold and his attempt to kindle a relationship with the girl, Jaymee Keith, that he likes. The two meet and hook up in a expositional long montage with a daze-like score. They soon start to go out after some initial reluctance from Jayme. Her reluctance springs from her hidden occupation of selling her bottled urine and menstrual blood on the black market. The buyer of her excretions personally inhales in rapture her goods. This is the love triangle.

Ryan, a struggling artist, typically does not have too much money to throw around. His restaurant job with accompanied meager wage and intermittent painting sales awards him his spare luxuries. His dinner consist of Ramen noodles, he drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon, and leads a relatively lackluster life, but he is happy. He lives, works, and sleeps around his studio. This is where he appears to be the most comfortable and open. He discredits photography in its inability to capture experiences and as a corrupting form of recollection. In his paintings either the ones he is working on or if they are just in the background his life experiences, memories, and emotions abstractly arise in them.

Ryan Arnold and director of photography, Chris Clifford, paint a beautiful surface with colorful light and darkness. Scene's that stick out include Ryan walking at night in a purple hued treescape, the dank and gritty Toronto downtown streets look the way that they feel and Ryan gratifyingly and mournfully biking around. While the cinematography around train tracks reminds the viewer of other existential tales such as Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D (1954) and Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot Le Fou (1965). Isolated contemplative close-ups demonstrate the close relationship between actor and the cameraman.

Ryan is charismatic, upbeat and pleasant with his friends and girlfriend. In conversations he comes off as sly and funny. His magnetism when dented with failure brings out even more human qualities as it leads to personal re-evaluations. He represents the 21st century emerging adult. He bikes around the city, walks unfazed down sidewalks, and earnestly busses table at a restaurant.

Jaymee's living is dictated by her output of urine, menstrual blood, and soiled underwear. The monetary gains of such simple, and discusting, demands are an easy way out of having to work. This form of comprise and moral adjustment is a result of her encounters with the black market dealer Roger Bainbridge. He is disgusting, violent, crude, sadism and perversions. He is the source of many gross outs and a painfully needling experience. His leaching onto the already troubled couple is a parable about the negative and corrupting effects of living in a large city. Roger tries to purchase Jaymee ease and affection while Ryan emotionally wins her over through perseverance. What makes up this film is the choices, habits, resiliency embodied by the diffident protagonist.–David Davidson

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Judaism + Nihilism

A Serious Man (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2009)
**** (Masterpiece)

(World Exchange Plaza, Empire 7 Cinema, 111 Albert Street)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Exam Studying Procrastination

Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze, 2009)
*** (A Must-See)

(SilverCity Gloucester, 2385 City Park Drive)

Meditation on Life and Death

Life Without Death (Frank Cole, 2000)
**** (Masterpiece)

(Canadian Film Institute, Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, 17/10 & 18/10)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Late Night Stylish Vampire Picture

Thirst (Chan-wook Park, 2009)
*** (A Must-See)

(The Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank Street, 16/10 - 18/10 & 21/10 - 22/10)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Nine-o'clock Movie Anticipating Hanekeland

Shocker (Wes Craven, 1989)
** (Worth Seeing)

(The Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank Street, 12/10)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Free Market Tribute

Capitalism: A Love Story (Michael Moore, 2009)
*** (A Must-See)

Documentary activist filmmaker Michael Moore`s Capitalism : A Love Story sets out to do a historical analysis on the current financial collapse. The aim being to create a cause and effect relationship in the United States of America from the Great Depression to the current Recession in regards to the effects and evolution of its socio-economic system.

The Franklyn D. Roosevelt administration (1933-1945) started in the Great Depression. A era of deprivations and rationing. In face of a turbulent landscape with social need insufficiencies president Roosevelt, in an important historical artifact, addressed the nation in a call for a “second Bill of Rights” proposing to insure the rights for a job, equitable pay and health care. The bill was never enacted.

In the post-war era, with the Harry S. Truman administration (1945-1953) and the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration (1953-1961), was the turning point for productivity, industrialization and development. These objective conditions were a result of the destroyed Eurasia infrastructure and accelerated government spending during the war. The destroyed German and Japanese nations were unable to participate in an international market which led to the booming American manual labor industry. The Marshall plan helped create new European countries progressive Bill of Rights. Germany and Japan reached an industrial level and started to have an innovative and competitive automobile industry. Their emergence on the international market had an adverse effect on the supply of American jobs. The negative effects of free-market capitalism took place which lead to General Motors cutting jobs. Flint, Michigan has been greatly devastated by the job loss of the closing of the General Motor factories which Mr. Moore explores further in his first documentary Roger & Me (1989).

Partly autobiographical, home videos of Mr. Moore`s childhood are woven throughout. Joyously bathing in the revolutionary and progressive spirit of capitalism of its day. Videos include his families touchstone moments of 1960 white middle class suburbia life. His father Frank Moore, an automotive assembly-line worker, was an employee at one of the now defunct manufacturing plants. Which he reflects upon with Michael when the two returns to its remains. He ruminates about the joys of working at the factory in a team.

The Ronald Regan era (1981-1989) shifted the American political-economic-social spectrum towards corporate sponsorship and reduced business regulations. In the third millennium the employment, wages, and healthcare of the working class has been decreasing and there is a 1% financial elite. To explore these relationships between individuals and society there are humanizing cases which he shows to represent the personal effects of larger economical and social shifts. There is an enduring concern for the difficulties of the working people and suffering population.

Capitalism : A Love Story is valuable in its ability to teach and inform. However it is guilty of facetious comparisons, manipulative filming, boorish antics, and an inability to come to a conclusion. Catholicism, through select preachers, also do some deriding. Mr. Moore opportunistically lavishes them with opportunities to scorn the most certainly atheistic Wall Street bankers. This gets tiring really quickly. Interest include underlining jobs of the lowly service workers which are created by capitalism. The positions include a carpenter who boards up houses, a sign salesman that specialized in foreclosures and guards that are always pushing Mr. Moore aside. The psychological implications of their occupations are interesting. Ultimately, a criticism of the profit system is still noteworthy at any cost and this documentary is sure to inform and broaden one’s mind to the context of the world we live in. It is a great opposition to inferior popular media coverage and press publications which regrettably dominate our culture.–David Davidson

(World Exchange Plaza, Empire 7 Cinema, 111 Albert Street)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Frank Cole Retrospective

A Life (Frank Cole, 1986)
**** (Masterpiece)

(Canadian Film Institute, Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, October 3rd)