Weekend DVD roundup

Posted by Bel. The time is 3:20pm here in Wellington, NZ.

We got through four DVDs this weekend, so I will bang out a few reviews here in case you stumble across them next time you are down at the video store.

First up, a random pick grabbed because it starred that chick from "Shameless". The film is called The Waiting Room and I would hazard a guess that it is a relatively recently made, low budget Brit indie.

It was quite nicely shot and fairly well acted, but the simplistic storyline meant that it was hard going. Basically (i.e. here is the whole story) two people have a chance encounter and yet fall in love. They are respectively in shit relationships, which by the end of the film have fallen apart, leaving them to bump into each other again and presumably get together. Sorry if I just wrecked it for you, but you'd probably be able to pick it yourself from the DVD cover, which has a picture of them two and a love heart.

After that low key distraction, we watched an Italian film called My Brother Is An Only Child. Set in the 1960s, this was a wonderful exploration of the dynamics of family and the personal impact of politics.

I think anyone who has argued over the dining table will gleam something from this, as the main character, Accio, determinedly follows the path of fascism as Italy is gripped by the revolutionary spirit of the 60s and his older brother leads local communists in a working class uprising.

Accio's search for belonging comes full circle and the emotional resonance of this film is heightened in learning that it is based on an autobiography. Wonderful young actors and it's just so fun hearing Italian spoken - yelled - gesticulated all over the place.

On Sunday it rained, which filled me with glee, and I watched Look Both Ways. I remember when this was at the NZ Film Festival and it got a lot of hype. Well. Goodness me, I am glad I didn't bust my guts going to see it back then.

It's a bit like "Me and You and Everyone We Know" except none of the humour or quirk or sexiness.

Meryl's constant anxieties are demonstrated through animated sequences, initially pen and ink drawings, but more successfully in paint such as the artwork her character produces. Other than this feature (and a similar technique to show some of the, um, photographer guy's thought processes), the film is visually quite staid and relies on the plot device of interweaving stories to maintain interest.

To me, this felt more like a soap opera and I found my interest, particularly in the secondary characters, was tentatively held. I like to be supportive of female filmmakers, but this just wasn't my cup o' tea.

Spanish madness was about all me and my square eyes could handle at this point. Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown seemed most appropriate.

This film is pretty much mental. You just have to throw your hands up, assume there are some cultural divides which cannot be crossed but can still be admired and settle in for the ride.

This film also has a touch of soap opera to it - but in a fabulous Joan Collins kind of way, not a Home & Away double episode kind of way. The plot kicks off with a TV star discovering that her lover is leaving her and then involves her changing outfits at least five times in the course of the day, setting her bed on fire, throwing the phone out the window (twice), accidentally drugging the fiancee of the step-son she's never met before and much more. Including a whole thing with Shiite terrorists.

It's Almodovar, it's genius - see it because it's Antonio Banderas' first film appearance if nothing more.

2 thoughts on “Weekend DVD roundup”

  1. Yeah, I remember being a bit disappointed by Look Both Ways - but I believe that it was an artist's first foray into film-making?? Maybe?? Yeah?

    And Almodovar = <3 ... obviously.

  2. I haven't seen any of his recent stuff but will now endeavour. My mum is a huge fan of his but says that they do not supercede his early works so we shall see...