Tuesday, August 7, 2007

August 7th Log

2007, Chris Rock, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Chris Rock’s second feature film as director (his first was the flawed but occasionally witty political satire Head of State) marks a distinctive move towards a new type of career, one that has equally emerged in his profession as a comedian. Here Rock takes the bold and perhaps surprising attempt at reimagining French New Wave auteur Eric Rohmer’s 1972 film Chloe in the Afternoon, the last of Rohmer’s “Six Moral Tales” series. Rock reimagining Rohmer would seem an odd fit, yet at Rock’s comedic essentials lie within the core of Rohmer’s film, which is focused on marital infidelity. There differences lie in comedy sensibilities and ultimately Rohmer’s moral depth is greater drawn and ultimately a superior film. However, Rock certainly does enough to entertain and is also rather insightful and clever in the way he captures martial fiction, temptation, and African American middle-class lifestyle. The film effectively mixes Rock and Rohmer’s style while respectfully reimagining the original film. I Think I Love My Wife is not without flaws, and it closes with a questionable forced ending which clearly lacks the moral dilemma and female character development of Rohmer’s film. Rock never fails to keep the viewer interested and laughing, and he is supported by a fine cast (including the always terrific and versatile Kerry Washington, here displaying her seductive beauty as the fantasy woman). While not everything works, I applaud this film and enjoyed it on various levels.

1998, John Waters, United States
Repeat Viewing, Encore

You know you are always in for something different when it comes from John Waters, Baltimore’s independent king of gross-out shock humor. With his 1998 film Pecker he seems to draw parallels with his own filmmaking roots, and clearly he presents the “arty” world of New York in a negative light. But overall the film is a lot of fun and very funny. There are some great characters (Pecker’s sugar-obsessed little sister) and quirky moments (the colored dust that shoots across the screen) that really make this such an appealing film. Waters focus is more lighter then some of his other films, but the result is one of his funniest films to date. While I do respect his impact and originality as an independent filmmaker of American cinema, not everything Waters does works for me, but I guess that is to be expected and I guess that is what makes his originality so likeable. Pecker may be Waters at his most "mainstream" and perhaps that is a good thing, because to me it's his best film outside of his endlessly fun masterpiece 1988 Hairspray (at least of what I have seen from Waters to date).


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