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Exit Through the Gift Shop:  Acclaimed documentary about graffiti artists.  Was supposed to be a movie about this nutty French dude who spent years shooting footage of graffiti artists, documenting their work, seeking out the elusive icons of this eclectic subculture and showing the world their work, but he never really intended to make the movie.  After tracing down the most elusive and renowned of this graffiti pack, a guy going buy the name Banksy, he’s finally motivated to make the actual movie.  Said film is an unwatchable disaster so Banksey, who appears only in shadow and modified voice, makes his own movie, this one, and turns the documentary around on the nutty French guy and his ascent to pop art stardom.  Whole thing is probably a put on from front to back, the French guy isn’t so much an artist as a guy who tells other artists what to make, but it’s entertaining for what it is.  Those who label it one of the years best are too impressed by that which is kind of clever.

 

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence: I got no grasp of this movie at all.  It’s an off center POW drama set during World War II that the good folks at Criterion felt compelled to bring attention to.  It features David Bowie in weird contact lenses that give him eyes with different dilations.  I really have little to say about it because I’m not sure what point the movie was trying to make.  Something about culture class between Japanese and British.    Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough.  I don’t know.  If you’re into David Bowie go watch The Man Who Fell to Earth instead.  Or just listen to Station to Station one more time.

 

 

Easy A:  Watching anything aimed squarely at the team crowd is tantamount to having to sit through an honest to God snuff movie.  But instead of watching a person die on camera you’re watching a whole culture be asphyxiated with stupidity.  I guess movies aimed at teems have always been pretty dumb but the stuff that floats around now seems particularly toxic.  So it’s a nice surprise that Easy A turns out to be fairly digestible and likable in many regards.  Emma Stone holds the film up as an intelligent teen who takes Nathaniel Hawthorne material to heart.  A high school wall flower who starts a lie about losing her virginity, only to escalate it to lying about having sex with everyone and becoming a school pariah.  It’s a breakout part for her and one hopes that things turn out better for her than they did for Alicia Silverstone.   Things are made more enjoyable by virtue of a very notable supporting cast: Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow.  Tucci and Clarkson are scene stealers and Stone’s parents.  More Easy A’s and less Twilight’s would make the world a better place.  Here’s hoping.

 

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