Something hidden -- go and find it;
Go and look beyond the Ranges
Something lost behind the ranges:
Lost and waiting for you. Go!


-- from Guy Maddin's CAREFUL


Being a periodic meditation on some of the more obscure outlying regions of cinema;
regarding movies that are inadequately publicized and hence, easily overlooked --
and by cinema, it is meant in the larger sense of films/tv/DVD/internet --
that might be worthy of your interest, but perhaps has escaped your notice.


*************************************************************************************************************************

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

GREEN PORNO / POSTAL




       This blog-post is a two-fer. First up is some porn -- Oh, I know what you’re thinking; it was only a matter of time before this thing turned XXX (although those who’ve been reading as far back as this entry know that I’m not going into uncharted territory here). But being as this particular skin flick stars Isabella Rossellini (an actress whose degree of comfort with on-screen nudity is only exceeded by my desire to see it) and details the sex-lives of insects, it seems like something worth writing a few words about. Green Porno is a web-series found on The Sundance Channel site; each brief segment (just a minute or two in length) spotlights a different insect (or some such small slimy creature -- both earthworms and snails have been featured) usually portrayed by Ms. Rossellini herself; dressed in a charmingly theatrical insect-costume -- like something you’ d see in a grade-school play. She delivers a brief monologue on the copulatory habits of said creature -- acting it out with the aid of props and sometimes other actors as well. Peculiarly, Ms. Rossellini almost always opts to be the male participant in this bug hardcore. An amusing quirk on her part...? -- perhaps...


       Isabella is the daughter of actress Ingrid Bergman and neo-realist Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini. Towards the end of his career, the cinema-vérité style fell from favor, and he turned his camera towards the documentation of animals and sea-life -- essentially for purposes of scientific research. This perhaps explains her choice of subject matter; but not her offbeat, downright eccentric presentation of the sex-lives of these creatures -- straightforward scientific facts are freely mixed with anthropomorphic musings as to how the insects must think and feel about their frankly bizarre intercourse practices. And she seems to delight in emphasizing the supposedly “kinky” aspects of the bugs’ matings; It’s too lascivious to be a fourth-grade biology filmstrip, but also contains too much genuine scientific lore to qualify as a true blue-film either. All the same, these shorts are good, kooky fun -- and brief enough to appreciate as just that, especially if you find the host charming -- which I must admit, I do (personally, I could watch Isabella Rossellini recite the New York phone book and be entertained at some level). Besides, where else are you going to see a film revolving around the fact that the male bee has a detachable penis?




       Let’s get something out of the way, right off the bat -- Postal is not a good film -- by any stretch of the imagination -- but still bears examining... however briefly. Directed by Uwe Boll; a personage better known for his willingness to spar with his critics than for the quality of his own films. A filmmaker so widely regarded as terrible that petitions -- signed by thousands -- have been drafted to demand his retirement from filmmaking. So when a self-admitted hack of this caliber decides to make what he describes as “the first post-9/11 comedy”, it seems prudent to at least survey the damage done. Like all of Boll’s other films, Postal is a video-game adaptation -- this time, a game that centers around the killing spree of a man so fed up with the frustrations of the modern-day world that he decides to go “postal” -- and the slaughter ensues. Inserted into this premise are sub-plots about a terrorist attack engineered by Osama Bin-Laden and George Bush; a ridiculous dooms-day religious cult; and an assassination attempt on Boll himself -- and of course, our “hero’s” (Zack Ward) murderous rampage is an attempt to stop all these elements from coming to a head.


       Postal may be the first of Boll’s films to garner any amount of positive critical acclaim (not much, but some); it seems to be an attempt at a Dr. Strangelove-style black comedy, but falls short of that mark by a long shot -- it’s not even up to the level of Team America: World Police on that front. That being said, the film has its occasional funny moments -- not clever-funny; Boll pretty consistently fails at that over the course of the movie -- but slap-stick-y funny, at least in fits and starts -- if only because of the presence of talented comic actors like Dave Foley and J.K. Simmons. Boll is self-distributing the film in a "limited release" (mostly midnight shows and “special” screenings) as I write this; supposedly because it’s “too controversial” for the major distributors to touch; and while he does push some political hot buttons here and there, had he done so more consistently -- and with some genuine wit -- I think one of the major labels would have picked it up. It’s a mildly diverting oddity -- as if John Waters, on an off day, had decided to make a political satire -- but nothing to rush out to see in a theater; it can wait for that inevitable, late-night, insomnia-induced cable viewing, I think -- which is more than one could say about any of Boll’s other films, I might add.


Next post -- 06/02/08

8 comments:

Eric M. said...

Actually went to see this when it played for a single week at one theatre in Brooklyn-and it was not to be found in any other place in NYC. But the history of "Postal" is more interesting than the movie itself, right down to ithe fact that it was supposed to be released in 1500 theatres until about five days before it came out when they reduced that to a mere 12, or something like that.

Btu yeah, its not a good movie, but something about it made it watchable, and it did have a few laughs (I really liked that opening bit.) And I have to laugh at the fact that Boll put himself in his movie as himself, proclaims that the movie is great in the middle of us watching it, and than proceeds to get shot down there.

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