Movie Mania: KIDULTHOOD, SURVEILLANCE, and more
Welcome to a new Movie Mania! I don’t usually watch a lot of documentaries, but this week I went crazy and watched two, it was a spur of the moment thing. I also got around to watching a few movies that I have had on my list for a while. So let’s talk about them.
The Box (2009) – I was curious about this film because of Donnie Darko’s director involvement, but unfortunately it was kind of spoiled at Comic Con 2009, so it took me a little longer than expected to get around to watching it. So what did I think? It was ok, but not great. The concept was good, but I think it wasn’t explained very well. Still there were some good moments, so I say if you end up catching it on TV, you might want to give it a look and see if it’s something you’d enjoy.
Synopsis: A disfigured NASA employee named Arlington Steward (Frank Langella) informs Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur (James Marsden) Lewis that they have 24 hours to decide if they want to push a button inside a box that will give them a cool million — but a complete stranger will die at the same time. Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) writes and directs this thriller based on sci-fi writer Richard Matheson’s short story.
Food Inc. (2008) – I was prompted to watch this movie by a tweet from Tapeworthy, who was watching it. It was pretty good documentary, which made me wonder if there was any safe food left to eat anymore. However, it got a little long towards the end. Still, a good documentary to watch.
Synopsis: Drawing on Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, director Robert Kenner’s Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry’s detrimental effects on our health and environment. Kenner spotlights the men and women who are working to reform an industry rife with monopolies, questionable interpretations of laws and subsidies, political ties and rising rates of E. coli outbreaks.
Good Hair (2009) – This documentary from Chris Rock was very instructive. I never realized how expensive weaves are and all I can say is I’m glad I don’t have to spend that much money on my hair. This is a really good documentary, although I do wish we had learned a little more about the process of taking care of the hair from natural to weave.
Synopsis: Actor and stand-up comic Chris Rock hops around the world going from beauty salons to science labs to comb through the mystery of African American hair in director Jeff Stilson’s astute, hilarious documentary. Rock contemplates the purpose and application of a weave as well as women’s self-esteem and their locks. He also gains varying insights from Ice-T, Nia Long, Rev. Al Sharpton, Raven-Symoné, Maya Angelou and other celebrities.
Kidulthood (2006) – I had been meaning to watch this movie written by Noel Clarke for a long time (especially because of his new film, 18.104.22.168. coming out soon) and finally got around to it. It was very dark and gritty, but I really enjoyed it and recommend it. Now I’m going to have to watch the sequel, Adulthood.
Synopsis: In this gritty, powerful drama about lost innocence, classes are suspended when a schoolgirl who’s been bullied one too many times hangs herself, allowing a clique of tough-as-nails teenagers have free reign of the inner city streets. And within the unforgiving confines of the concrete jungle that these kids call home, sex, drugs and violence are just business as usual in the daily struggle to survive.
Surveillance (2007) – I was really intrigued by this movie because of its trailer. Let me tell you, this is an insane and twisted movie, which kept me guessing until the end. Pretty intense!
Synopsis: Revealing the stunning truth behind a horrific string of homicides near Santa Fe, a young girl (Ryan Simpkins), a police officer (Kent Harper) and a drug addict (Pell James) spill their wildly different eyewitness accounts to FBI agents Elizabeth Anderson (Julia Ormond) and Sam Hallaway (Bill Pullman). Michael Ironside, Cheri Oteri and French Stewart co-star in this thriller from director Jennifer Chambers Lynch (Boxing Helena).