Tuesday, January 8, 2013

4 Flicks

Exorcismus is a British film about a teenage girl who begins to show signs of demonic possession and becomes the subject of an exorcism in her home. Yes, yes, it’s all been done before. I’ve seen just as many of these cookie cutter Exorcist rip-offs as you have, and probably more, and you don’t have to waste your breath telling me they’re usually a waste of time.

But . . .

I liked Exorcismus. I reallllly liked it. Of course it’s largely the same storyline as The Exorcist, but so what? Think of it like an apple pie: all share the same basic ingredients (apples, flour, sugar), and all bake at the same temperature for the same amount of time, but there’s a world of difference between your Mom’s apple pie and what you’ll find at the local 7-11. Sometimes it isn’t about the recipe; it’s about the quality of the baker.

Exorcismus had dang good bakers.

From the start the film looked and felt like someone cared about it. The acting was convincing, the disintegration of the family appallingly gut-wrenching, and the plot twist unexpected. Yes, there’s some anti-Catholic bias at points, but In a word, well in two words, it was damn good.

It’s available for streaming on Netflix. Please, watch it.

Grade: A+

After Porn Ends is a documentary that explores the life of several notable porn stars long after their careers on screen have ended. The film itself doesn't adopt a moral stance one way or the other, but it’s painfully obvious that some of these people entered the industry because they were emotionally damaged, a few far worse than others, and neither the career nor exiting it did much to help their problems. By and large, however, the former stars have created successful ‘normal’ lives, with 9 to 5 jobs and families, and few of them speak of regretting their time on screen.

The male stars seem to have enjoyed an easier transition to the ‘regular’ world, and I’m sure your first instinct is to chalk that up to societal sexism. You could be right, but based on the documentary I would wager it has much more to do with the men having stable, loving relationships at home than any sociological theory.

By the way, some of John Leslie's artwork was breathtaking.

Grade: B

Yellowbrickroad is a film about a small town whose population just got up and walked off into the woods one day in the 1940’s. By the time investigators began to search for them, there was only one seemingly mad survivor left.

In the present day an investigative journalist is given some never before seen documentation about the case, and along with a small group of professionals he sets off to recreate this mass migration. As you can guess, the forces at work in the ‘40’s begin to ply their trade on this group, and one by one they begin to slip away from the bounds of civilization.

What saves this from being a ho-hum, been there/done that film is a dark and all together depressing finale that lingers with you days later.

Grade: C

Craigslist Joe is a documentary about a man who, for 31 days, lived and traveled the length of America relying solely on the generosity of people he found on Craigslist. It’s a sweet, sometimes funny testament to Gerald Ford’s notion that “most people are mostly good, most of the time.”

With that being said, Joe has a few inherent advantages that skew his experiment. He is accompanied by a cameraman and is open about the focus of the documentary, a fact which eases some concerns strangers would have about security. In some cases the camera no doubt ‘forced’ a person to act above his nature, and the fact that this was an experiment and not a case of panhandling opened some wallets.  Joe is also a male, and I think a woman attempting this same journey would meet with quite a few more shady moments than he did.

Grade: B+

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