Monday, September 1, 2014

2014 monthly movie list: August

  1. The Lego Movie
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. Saving Mr. Banks
  4. The Infidel
  5. Bad Milo!
  6. Mary Poppins (never seen entirely before and interesting: so much of the story was plot-unrelated spectacle; and the real protagonist of the story--in one reading--is Mr. Banks, who hardly gets any screen time at all, but has the biggest arc, from caring about the bank to caring about his children*; but a lot of this is still very enjoyable and engaging)
  7. Brave
  8. Turner and Hooch (so 80s, so young Tom Hanks)
  9. Pontypool
  10. 20 Feet From Stardom
This was a good month. Even the lower rated movies were still pretty solid. 20 Feet From Stardom is a documentary about back-up singers that was very interesting, but not quite for me; Pontypool was a strange horror film that didn't entirely work, but at least it went for something a little different with its language virus and limited setting (a radio station under siege).

Special note here for Bad Milo!, which is a very particular type of horror-comedy film--and that particularity is a lot of anxiety about the ass. And anxiety in general. Ken Marino plays an anxious husband and employee who swallows all his anger and other ugly feelings: when his overbearing boss makes him fire people--swallow it; when his new office is a repurposed bathroom and his new cubicle mate tries to use one of the (non-functioning) toilets--swallow it; when his dad who abandoned him can't bother to help him through crisis--swallow it; when his mom's young new husband is very demonstrative about their sex life--swallow it.

In a move worthy of J. G. Ballard and David Cronenberg, these bad feelings that Ken swallows cause/exacerbate a medical situation: he has a polyp in his rear that is actually a Dark Half. This is somewhat archetypal Jungian/Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde material (or at least our modern form of that story): when someone upsets Ken's character, Bad Milo comes out to kill them--but since Bad Milo is a part of Ken's character, he can't just kill it, but has to reconcile with it.

Of course, given that premise, this isn't a philosophical film about accepting your shadow--or it is a film about that, wrapped up in a lot of jokes about things coming into or out of Ken's ass. As you can tell by the fact that I don't even know Ken's character's name, the film is not a masterwork of narrative storytelling. (I mean, if the main couple is waiting to have a kid, why are they seeing a fertility expert?) But it is a fine execution of an odd premise.

I'll talk more about the film du summer, Guardians of the Galaxy, at a later date.

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