Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

23 August 2008

The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, dir. Asia Argento (2004)

NIKKI says:
I said to Steve after this one -- if we're going to continue to support Asia through all these bizarre aspects of her career, she's gonna have to start giving something back. But then, I don't think it's entirely her fault that this one runs off the rails as much as it does. Perhaps she thought she was making a true-to-life film about JT LeRoy's terrible upbringing. For all she knew, and the rest of the world, LeRoy's story was true. It came out a while back that it was all bogus. JT LeRoy was really Laura Albert. And watching it with that knowledge, it's very hard to relate or sympathise with any of what goes on.

And I have just discovered that Asia was not angry with Leroy when she discovered the hoax. She is quoted: "If the literary world wanted to believe Leroy was real, it's not Laura Albert's fault. She just wanted to have her novel published."

Isn't that like saying, it's okay to perjure yourself for your own ends? Why does Laura Albert get to suck out my sympathies with these horrendous lies about this poor, neglected child just so she can be a published writer? I'm shocked an artist like Asia, who must know what it means to strive for truth and authenticity in one's art, could simply overlook Albert's deception.

And that makes the movie less of an accomplishment for me. So here's the story of these fake people doing awful things. Why do I care? By the end, Steve and I were picking out the next level of pain for the kid -- Well, now he's been abused, he'll have to get into drugs... Now, he's done drugs, he'll have to shoot someone... It was just blow-by-blow every sob story you've ever heard rolled into one big one. Snooze. 

All that aside, Asia's style is tremendous. I can forgive her only because she is such an artist. Her blending of styles, her attention to detail (the images of Americana seen throughout the film are effective), her ability to fully immerse herself in a character. She is incredibly skilled. But, man, what a waste of all that this story was. The story was so awful, the characters so stupid, the situations so standard, that even the artistry could not redeem it.


STEVE says:
The controversy of the JT LeRoy/Laura Albert thing was lost on me, I'll admit. I don't follow the literary world that closely, and what news I get is generally filtered through Nikki. I remember when this all went on, all the Oprah controversy, and I remember being mildly annoyed by it, but not enough to make a federal case out of it.

This movie, though, is something else. I don't care if it's true or not, or how many people in the film and publishing worlds were duped by the whole thing. What bothered me was how poorly constructed the story was. Cliche after cliche heaped one upon the other does not make a story. 

I mean if you're going to make something up, at least make it believable.


Riot-On!, dir. Kim Finn (2004)

NIKKI says:
There are some things that go in the world I just don't need to know. One of those things involves the media company Riot Entertainment's sharing around of a porno featuring members of staff. Apparently, it's not weird at all for orgies to take place during work hours, or for people to film those orgies and release them on DVD. Am I shocked the business went under?

God, to live in Finland, where office Christmas parties could get you pregnant.

So, this company that has no technology, no money, no business prospects aside from a handful of ideas manages to create the facade of prosperity on fumble into $21 million dollars from Nokia to develop mobile phone games. This movie is about how the company did that, and how eventually it all fell apart. It's a fascinating story that makes you wonder how the world manages to turn they way it does if this kind of stuff goes on.

The movie itself is really funny, and clever, and the cartoon sequences are great and give it a style all its own. It fell apart for me in the last half because I already had the gist of the story and the fall out wasn't have as thrilling as the build up. Still an enjoyable movie that makes me kind of cringe now every time I open my phone.