What better time to discover the philosopher within yourself than the holidays? Increased alcohol consumption, a relaxed atmosphere, lot of time to think about your life. In that spirit I found myself thinking about ideologies or philosophies that filmmakers knowingly or subconsciously work into the stories they tell. A lot of these world views have become so popular, that they almost became staples of storytelling itself, genre tropes, clichés even. Some of those are easy to detect and unmask, like the famous happy ending. Some are more subtle and insinuate themselves into the film through the back door if you will. Continue reading
Did you know Michael Cera was a director too? I didn’t. Here is his creepy/awkward four minute short film Failure, directed and starring Michael Cera himself and a drop dead gorgeous Aubrey Plaza as a stalker invading his home.
I really liked it. The Woody Allen-esque music, composed by Cera; Tobias Datum’s (Smashed, Kiss of the Damned) dark, but warm cinematography and a completely strange atmosphere, conveyed by two solid performances. Reminded me of a Kim Ki-duk film in it’s themes and of Alex Pardee’s genius video where he “invades” Shia LaBeouf’s house. Cera even says a similar line “Why are you in my house?” echoing Shia asking San Francisco illustrator “What are you doing in my house?”.
Looks like this is the year where the home invasion sub-genre really came back between The Purge being a Fsmash hit at the box office and You’re Next coming out at the end of August.
Lilja (Oksana Akinshina) is a sixteen-year-old girl living in a depressing, rural small town in Estonia with her mother (Lyubov Agapova). One happy day her mother tells her that they’re moving to the US. Lilja is overjoyed. It finally looks like her dreams of leaving Paldiski are coming true, but then her mother leaves without her. Abandoned with her mean, greedy aunt, left with no money and living the shittiest apartment imaginable things aren’t looking to good for Lilja. As if it couldn’t get any worse her BFF spreads false rumors about her in school, so she turns to the only person that consistently had her back: a little kid named Volodya (Artyom Bogucharskiy). Lilja quits school, occasionally prostituting herself just to get by, not to starve and pay the bills. One night she meets a dark, not so tall, stranger that offers her a ride. Once again it finally looks like things are turning around for her, but they’re just about to get a lot worse. Continue reading