Tuesday, July 25, 2017

1035. 13th

Directed by Ava DuVernay

Once again, I apologize for the delay in posting.  I have had quite a few medical issues lately that have robbed me of the use of my arm (not the good one, but still), so I have been out of commission.  It's also partly because I kept having to take breaks from watching this documentary so I didn't have a rage stroke.

The film takes its name from the 13th Amendment, which freed the slaves and forbade slavery, unless as punishment for a crime.  The movie explores the history of racial inequality and mass incarceration in the United States.  I watched this film alone, but that didn't stop me from punctuating every scene with my outbursts (e.g. "That's so true!," "Oh my god, that can't be real," "what the fuck??" etc).

Plenty of moments in this movie were shocking, but I think for me the most wtf statistic was that while the US has only five percent of the world population, it holds 25% of the world's prisoners.  This just blew my mind.

I probably shouldn't make this post about me, but that's never really stopped me before.  I have been ashamed lately of being an American (hopefully, the reasons are obvious).  This just increased that feeling tenfold (although I fully recognize that it is awesome I can say this and not get arrested).  I have been so sick of white male privilege lately as well.  When I go on dates (hey, it happens, despite my chronic use of parentheses), men look at me like I'm crazy because I won't leave my drink alone with them or because I text my sister periodically to let her know that I'm okay.  I see the same lack of empathy towards black people.  White people that I know and like act as though black people get shot more by the police because...caucasians aren't as rude to the police or something.  It is infuriating.

So this post has kind of gone off the rails.  Back to the movie.  Everyone should totally watch this.  Now I am going to go have a talk with my dad about Ronald Reagan...

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

First documentary to ever open the New York film festival.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1034. Tangerine

Directed by Sean Baker

I am completely flummoxed that this is being described as a comedy.  I suppose the way it is filmed invites the audience to laugh at the characters as they are screaming in Donut Times or getting urine thrown on them but man.   I found this movie to be incredibly disturbing (not Flaming Creatures level disturbing, but still).  However, I do think it is worth a watch and deserves praise for representing a very underrepresented subculture.

Sin-Dee Rella, a transgender prostitute, has just finished a month long prison sentence.  She and her friend Alexandra, another transgender prostitute, catch up at a donut shop.  Alexandra accidentally lets slip that Sin-Dee Rella's pimp/fiance has been cheating on her with a cisgender prostitute.  Sin-Dee Rella is intent on revenge.  Ultimately, it would have been more satisfying if she had gotten revenge the First Wives Club way of uniting against the common douche, but instead she focuses on making the other woman pay.  Sigh.

So this is dirty realism at its finest.  It didn't feel like other movies where it seems the filmmakers are determined to make the audience as miserable as possible (I haven't seen it but I imagine that's what Precious was like).  Instead, it felt voyeuristic; they weren't ramming a sob story down our throats.  In fact, it ended (somewhat) optimistically.

This is one that I have to sit with, but for now, I will go with four stars.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Title of the film is a reference to the color of the Los Angeles sky at sunset.

Mya Taylor was just starting to take female hormones when production started.

Shot on three iPhones.