views from canada’s left coast

views on movies, sports, and politics

Southland Tales (2/4)

I watched Southland Tales last night, the latest film from Richard Kelly of Donnie Darko fame.  The film received an incredibly poor reception at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and I can understand why.  The plot is confusing at best, and many times downright incomprehensible.  The film looks good, has some funny moments, and even a couple of good performances.  The movie is kind of a sci-fi, comedy, action, mystery, thriller, spoof, sorta thing.  In other words it does not really seem to know what it is, or maybe it does and the audience is just not smart enough to figure it out.  I am convinced that there is something going on in this movie, something that could have been great, but it is just too confusing to pick much out of the film.

I watched this movie on DVD where the version is apparently 20 minutes shorter than the one that was shown at Cannes.  The re-cut version is supposed to be more clear by cutting out some characters and plot lines, but it is still extremely confusing.  Perhaps there will be another version of this film one day, one where Richard Kelly can make the film as long as he would like, perhaps long enough to explain a little more what is actually going on in the film.  It seems unlikely that a film that has already had two version that no one liked would be released in yet a third version, but that is exactly what happened with Oliver Stone’s Alexander (which went from long, to to shorter, to much longer versions).

One thing worth noting is that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was again passable in this movie.  The Rock continues to put in workable, passable performances in a variety of roles.  Normally passable is not very high praise, but for an action star it is often the best that you can hope for.  I have great hope for The Rock, he is not a terrible actor, presumably can get better, has a great look for an action star and some decent off-screen charisma.

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Movies | , | 2 Comments

Breakfast with Scot (2/4)

I don’t usually have much hope for any “gay themed” movies. They tend to be full of cliches, they tend to have poor acting, and they tend to follow along the lines of coming out stories. Breakfast with Scot had promise in that it appears to be a gay movie about parenting. I do not want to go much into the plot (I find it unhelpful for reviews to explain what happened in a movie, it just ruins the movie should the reader choose to go and watch it), I will just say that this movie is about a gay couple who unexpectedly are left in charge of raising an 11 or 12 year old boy. I spent the first half of the film generally offended by the tone, and particularly by the attitude of both of the new gay male parents. I found both “dads” to be homophobic homos. One character is understandably a little homophobic; he is a former NHL hockey player who has spent most of his life in the closet and is still closeted at work. We are not told if the other dad is out of the closet, he is a lawyer, so it is possible that he too is in the closet but this is never made clear. Regardless, both of the leads seem generally ashamed of themselves and their relationship. There are virtually no displays of affection between the two and not attempts to understand the others point of view. The characters came across as two straight male actors doing a poor job of playing two gay males are are supposed to be very much in love with each other.

If not for the second half of the movie I would not be giving this movie such a generous 2 out of 4 rating. While the ending is stereotypically cheesy with everything wrapped up in a nice tidy little bow, it is nonetheless somewhat heart warming. There is slightly more affection shown between the dads and between them and the young boy Scot, who is now their son.

Perhaps I am just not the right audience for this movie. I can see how the lack of any gay male affection in the movie would be a smart move if the target audience were a straight one. The film goes out of its way not to offend heterosexuals, but while doing so comes across in many parts as offensive to gay people. If this movie somehow manages to reach some straight people and improve their perceptions of gay people in general then I would say the movie is a success. However, I do not see many straight people rushing to the video rental store to pick up this flick. I sincerely hope that most gay people, like myself, are at least somewhat offended by the poor portrayal of gay male relationships in this film.

Breakfast with Scot

Starring: Tom Cavanagh, Ben Shenkman, and Noah Bernett

Directed by Laurie Lynd, Written by Sean Reycraft (from the novel by Michael Downing)

A 2007 Canadian production

Running time 90 mins

March 16, 2008 Posted by | Movies | , , , | Leave a comment