Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pithy Reviews (3)

Still not short enough for twitter...

Memorias del subdesarrollo / Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1968)
Castro takes over Cuba and people begin to flee for Florida. Even though all of his friends leave and he is a intellectual and relatively wealthy, Sergio decides to stay. He is confronted by the contradictions of life under the new regime, while the movie takes breaks from the narrative to discuss social and political, denouncing both the former and the current regime. The movie is about losing and finding faith under oppression and also examines the nature of cinema as a medium of truth and artistic expression. One of the more (in)famous scenes presents a montage of scenes from American movies that were deleted by Batista's censors.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (almost 5, but not quite...)

Monsters (Garreth Edwards, 2010)
It's the future (well, a few years from now, anyway...)! Primitive aliens have reached Earth.. somehow... ! They all live in an infected zone between Mexico and the USA. A photographer and his boss' daughter have to cross it to get to safety. Made on a very low budget, the movie does manage to create a couple of very convincing scenes involving the "monsters" (among some that are not as convincing), but at the core of the film there is the relationship that forms between the two main characters and the beautiful digital photography, some of the best camerawork of its kind that I've seen.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Angel Face (Otto Preminger, 1952)
Let's end with another classic, made by one of my favorite directors of (not exactly, are they?) noir films. Here, he takes the Double Indemnity scenario, strips it to the basics (there is no Edward G. Robinson character here) and deconstructs it: the characters are much more aware that they are part of a scheme, that there is an old guy that needs to die, a femme fatale that want to kill him, and a sap she needs to find. Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons give a couple of excellent performances.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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