Avant-Garde director Sally Potter ("Rage", "Yes", "Orlando") has made her most accessible film with "Ginger & Rosa".... But accessible doesn't always mean good and despite a fantastic lead performance from Elle Fanning as Ginger, the film feels stale, not to mention as aimless as it's characters.


Fanning and Jane Campion's daughter Alice Englert play Ginger and Rosa, respectively.


Ginger and Rosa are two teenage best friends growing up together in the 1960s.


Ginger is obsessed with the Cuban missile crisis and the possible impending "end of the world" but her world is heavy-handedly rocked by a bigger bomb: Rosa has been having an affair with Ginger's dad.


The cast is good and Fanning is as good as ever but as a film "Ginger & Rosa" is heavy-handed as well as both intentionally and unintentionally aimless and altogether rather blah.


I wish it were a better movie.


C

 
 

Rufus Norris' "Broken" is a movie I've been awaiting for quite a long time and now the movie, released overseas last year after playing the festival circuit, finally gets it's US release on today, July 19th.


As a fan of young actresses it's always great to discover a new one and "Broken" has a great new one.


Young Eloise Laurence gives a fantastic performance in the film as Skunk, a preteen diabetic who lives with her dad (Tim Roth), older brother and live-in nanny. 


Being a coming-of-age movie, it tracks the girl's... Well, coming-of-age as she falls for three guys: a slightly older boy, her teacher and the town's resident "pervert".


Cillian Murphy plays the teacher, Mr. Mike Kiernan, by the way. He's good but severely underused.


With a structure similar to a present day set version of "Atonement", all the drama in the film starts with a lie by another girl in the neighborhood. It seems as though all the drama in this town is caused by this one dysfunctional family but we see pretty much everything through Skunk's eyes.


Laurence's performance as skunk is revelatory but the problem with "Broken" is that it's a wholly predictable, cliched coming-of-age melodrama. 


There are some good moments (almost all come from Laurence) however which makes me give this a higher rating than I probably normally would.


I'm excited to see what Ms. Eloise Laurence does next....


B+


 
 

"Michael Cera is acting like a complete and utter little d--khead in this movie"

- My brother, while watching "Crystal Fairy"


There are four-quadrant films and then there's "Crystal Fairy", a movie that is very hard for most people to like and, yes, most people will probably hate Chilean director Sebastian Silva's first collaboration with Michael Cera, the droll and deadpan road trip stoner comedy "Crystal Fairy" (The other film they did together this year is the horror/thriller "Magic Magic" which stars Juno Temple and Emily Browning as well as Cera and is due for release in August). Thankfully I am not most people, as I really quite enjoyed the "so not funny that it's funny" droll sensibilities of this film.


Cera plays an American in Chile (not unlike Eli Roth in "Aftershock", only there are no earthquakes or tsunamis here and only the slightest mention of rape) who meets a hippie named Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman, yes the "Field of Dreams" child star, all grown up) at a party. Cera's character is really mean to Crystal throughout much of the film (he dubs her "Crystal Hairy" because of her abundance of body hair. Thankfully Crystal takes it as a compliment). Yes, Crystal is weird but she is not particularly a bad person, unlike Cera's über a-hole.


The film meanders and meanders and meanders as Cera and Hoffman and The Silva Brothers (playing Spanish-speaking friends of Cera who seem utterly annoyed by him for much of the film) search for a cactus that will supposedly get them high if they drink it.


So, yeah, it meanders. If you don't like meandering road trip movies then don't watch "Crystal Fairy" but I really got a kick out of it, even though it meanders. Did I mention it meanders?


A+


"Michael Cera is, like, totally tripping balls"

- My brother, while watching "Crystal Fairy"


 
 

I just watched the trailer for Paul Shrader's ("Taxi Driver", "The Walker") latest film, "The Canyons" starring troubled former child star Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen.


A collaboration with Bret Easton Ellis, the author of the books "American Psycho" and "The Informers", which both became really good (in my opinion) movies, "The Canyons" looks right up Ellis' alley. 


It looks decadent and materialistic, which is the point, continuing the trend this year of movies about materialistic "young" people (See also: "Spring Breakers", "The Bling Ring" and to a much lesser extent Michael Bay's "Pain and Gain") but Ellis has always done stories about stuff like that.


It's also right up my alley as movies about digital era 20-somethings living in a material world has always interested me.


I don't know if "The Canyons" will be particularly good (seriously, when was the last GOOD Lindsay Lohan movie?!?!?!?) but it sure looks entertaining.


What do you guys think? Please leave a comment? Are you excited for "The Canyons"?


"The Canyons" releases in limited release and on demand August 2nd.



 
 

The 5 Films that Defined Me as a Film Fanatic By Jape Man  

In a recent Mubi post I listed the top 10 movies that "changed my life" but there were some movies that I unintentionally omitted, movies that were important to my life and defined me, possibly more so than any of the movies I actually mentioned. Here are the 9 films on that list that won't make it on this list (the number 1 on this list was also on that list):  

Annie Hall (Woody Allen) Happiness (Todd Solondz) Beautiful Girls (Ted Demme) Melvin Goes to Dinner (Bob Odenkirk) When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner) Pink Flamingos (John Waters) Inland Empire (David Lynch) Funny Games (Michael Haneke) Antichrist (Lars Von Trier)  

While all of those movies changed my life, I'm not sure if they actually define my cinematic evolution or personal taste in film. I'm hoping the following list does. I've picked 5 movies that are essentially my own cinematic viewing history served up on a plate (though omitting such cinematic "classics" as 2002's "The Powerpuff Girls Movie", which was the first movie I saw in theaters after an 8-year hiatus and "Josie and the Pussycats", a movie I rewatched obsessively on VHS) starting with the first movie I saw in theaters, at age 4.  

5. Encino Man (Les Mayfield, 1992) The first movie I ever saw in theater. My cousin and her then fiancé took me to see this movie when I was just 4 years old. It wasn't good. Ok, I barely remember it but it's an important film to me because it's such an idiosyncratic first movie to see in theaters.  

4. Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, 2005) Flash forward many years later to a Summer day in 2005. 18-year old me trekked far to see a film I had heard about since it played sundance, a quirky character piece directed by a woman named Miranda July. Hilarious, romantic, vaguely cynical and just a wee bit twee, July's film probably has just as many haters as it does lovers but I am certainly one of this film's fervent defenders.

  3. Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine, 2009) Flash forward to 2009 where I went with my MOTHER to see Harmony Korine's radical "Trash Humpers" at it's one and only screening at the nearest art house theater. I was blown away.  

2. Upstream Color (Shane Carruth, 2013) Now flash forward to 2013 and easily the best movie I've seen in theaters this years, without question. Shane Carruth's Malickian masterwork is ashtonishingly awesome and cool. I totally loved the heck out of it.

 1. LOL (Joe Swanberg, 2006) Now, let's go back a few years to a time where DVDs were still hip. The only movie on this list (besides the honorable mention of "The Idiots") that I didn't see in theaters is this movie I picked up for $9.99 at the local Best Buy and which totally changed everything I knew about cinema. I watched it the night before Thanksgiving and the film not only introduced me to Greta Gerwig (who has a small role) but also the music of Kevin Bewersdorf and the film's director, Joe Swanberg, who has become one of my favorites. Not to mention it also introduced me to the "mumblecore" aesthetic which I have loved ever since first seeing this film :).  

Honorable Mention: Leo's Carax's Holy Motors Lars Von Trier's The Idiots

 
 

The Japemania Film Blog is run by Japeman of Mubi.com and Letterboxd.com fame.

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