Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
I am taking a History of Latin America through Film course, and this was one of the films on the syllabus. This 1972 Werner Herzog picture comes up a lot in the discourse of film (at least for me), but I had never seen it. I was blown away by it, especially since it says a lot more about Vietnam, puppet dictators and guerrilla warfare against hegemonic powers.
The production is minimal and naturalistic and the dialogue is minimum. The film is carried by the amazing performance of Klaus Kinski, who emotes every line so that you won’t even need to be fluent in German to understand him. I definitely recommend this one, it is definitely on the must-see list for cinema fans. My only negatives with this picture is that it still maintains a Euro-centric view, strays a bit far from history, and presents almost no agency for the female characters. Other than that, solid film.
I didn’t know what to expect with this, because I had heard so many conflicting things — it’s a good rental, though. It was enjoyable, mostly in its monotony. Where I kept expecting dramatic things to happen, they did not (save for drunk, abusive step-dads). It was sentimental and bittersweet and enjoyable, yadda yadda. It did weird me out how the Mason kid looked a bit like Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites at times. Let’s make a sequel called Manhood, and it can be about college through kids and what not.
After watching the film, I spent some time researching and I was impressed with the amount of work they put into this (other than 12 years, obviously). Planning is everything, people! Linklater actually told Ethan Hawke that he’d have to carryout the rest of the filming if Linklater died. Impressive! The biggest shortfall this film has is that you keep expecting things to happen — things that dramatic movies love, something like a boy dies while they’re goofing off, or they crash by texting and driving. But this never happens. There are some scenes that build anxiety and then end, without a payoff. While that can be seen as a huge problem, it kind of says a lot about the American childhood. Enough that I give it a pass, at least.
22 Jump Street (2014)
While most comedy sequels give you exactly what you expect, 22 Jump Street takes that a step further by giving you exactly what you expect — and telling you that it is doing it the whole time. I respect it for that. It wasn’t as funny as the original, but the two leads are just too damn good together. The end is as funny as everyone says, but the resolution to the film could have been a lot stronger. It’s just anti-climactic and a bit ham-fisted, which is silly for me to gripe about.
I’m 100% ready for 26 Jump Street: Art School.