Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hall of Strangeness Part VII

Chungking Express – (Wong Kar-Wai) The lives of two cops, a drug-runner and a waitress intersect in this fresh romance about fate and chance. Combines superb acting, gorgeous cinematography, intelligently repetitious music, a great script and lots of pineapples. One of my favorite love stories ever shot.
Artistry: ***** Fun: ***** Strangeness: ***

The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover – (Peter Greenaway) Set primarily on a single stunning set (hundreds of feet long) with a camera that dollies along-side, the film follows the four title characters over the course of nine days. The crude thief has recently purchased an exquisite restaurant that he pretends to be cultured enough to appreciate. His quiet wife begins an affair with a bookish man at a nearby table and the cook helps cover for them, but tragedy looms.
Artistry: ***** Fun: *** Strangeness: ****

Cowards Bend the Knee – (Guy Maddin) Beginning with a random framing device, a nameless man observes sperm under a microscope and discovers it to be teeming with hockey players. The star player, Guy, discovers that his girlfriend is pregnant and takes her to a combination hair-salon/abortion-clinic. While the cross-dressing doctor goes to work, Guy becomes enamored with Meta, the daughter of the female owner. Before consummating this new relationship, Meta demands that Guy avenge her father using the man’s preserved, blue hands. The plot only gets weirder until the action culminates in a hockey wax museum located in the rafters above the Canada-USSR hockey finale. If Lynch was snowed into a black-market Canadian studio circa 1920, this is close to what might have resulted.
Artistry: **** Fun: *** Strangeness: *****

Cowhead – (Takashi Miike) Osake becomes a dangerous liability for his crime boss after he claims a poodle is a yakuza attack dog and brutally kills it in public. His friend Minami is assigned to drive him to a dump for execution but Osake disappears along the way. While trying to find him Minami encounters a man obsessively describing the weather on the phone, an albino faced stranger, the weirdest hotel owners ever, a rice owner whose responses to questions are all on convenient cue cards and the mysterious “cowhead” to which the title refers. The conclusion is Miike excess at its grandest.
Artistry: *** Fun: *** Strangeness: *****

The Cube – (Vincenzo Natali) Seven apparently unrelated characters (including a thief, cop, government employee, mathematician and an autistic man) wake up inside “The Cube,” a massive 3D grid of colored rooms. They must escape by solving the cube’s mysteries and maze-like structure, but entering the wrong room can trigger deadly traps. Unfortunately the C-quality cast couldn’t act their way out of cardboard box, and this cube isn’t made of cardboard. Suspenseful and oddly profound. Followed by a miserably nonsensical sequel and a not-without-its-merits prequel.
Artistry: ** Fun: **** Strangeness: ****

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