Friday, March 9, 2012

MOVIE REVIEWS: EDITION #25: "A BETTER LIFE," "CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER", "THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER", "A LITTLE HELP", "REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR," "LEBANON, PA.", "BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD," "SECRET SUNSHINE," "NIGHT CATCHES US" and MORE!

On the good news front here at David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews," we recently passed our 3,000th internet hit, and we're currently on pace to have March be our biggest month ever! And for that, we would like to thank all of you who've been reading and following our blog for the past few months! You have no idea, how much we appreciate.

Saying that though, our once-flourishing twitter account, has hit sort of a standstill. It's topped off at 570 followers, when suddenly, it's began dropping. It's now at about 530 followers, with few new ones coming in. While I appreciate however you follow our blog, through Facebook updates, or through googlefrieng, I'd really like to ask those of you who haven't begun following us on Twitter to do so. The more followers we have, the better. I can't promise I can follow any/all of you back, as I am at my following limit myself, but I will send out Tweets mentioning all those who follow. (All those who don't have a link to a porn site in your Twitter account at least. Have to draw the line somewhere, and much of my losing of followers is from people with porn links getting kicked off Twitter.) And, it's also a good to get in touch with me if you have a question or comment, we're at @DavidBaruffi_EV, if you aren't doing it yet, please follow us. Thanks!

Alright, now onto this week's Random Weekly Movie Reviews!

A BETTER LIFE (2011) Director: Chris Weitz

5 STARS



Every night, Carlos Galindo (Demian Bichir) wakes up on his couch, surrounded by his tools and gardening equipment. He packs everything he can, and travels from East L.A. to Beverly Hills where he does anything required of him, including risking his life climbing palm trees in order to shear and trim them. Of course, he's risking his life everyday, in many ways. Carlos is an illegal immigrant. He and his wife came to America years ago. His wife is long gone. His son Luis (Jose Julian) skips school and constantly get in trouble. He's friendly with some of the local gangmembers. His girlfriend is the niece of one of the local gang leaders in fact, and he watches the TV depict those glamourous portraits of L.A., and doesn't fully comprehend everything his father truly does. Most people were surprised when Demian Bichir's recieved a Best Actor Oscar nomination for "A Better Life". After watching the movie, I'm amazed that his nomination was ever in doubt. "A Better Life," lives, breathes and dies on his performance. It's one of the best of the year. Director Chris Weitz does something that's really quite amazing here, by showing us only as much as we need to know, and allows the story to tell itself. His career has been a strange one. He started in comedies with "American Pie," "Down to Earth," and the masterpiece "About a Boy", and has lately been a doing big-budget films including notorious "The Golden Compass", and most recently, one of the "Twilight" movies. He's a good filmmaker who occasionally gets caught up in bad projects, but still, there was nothing in his background that signified he had "A Better Life". This film is downright neorealism. In fact, comparison with Vittorio Di Sica's "The Bicycle Thief" are inevitable. Carlos has worked for Blasco (Joaquin Cosio), for years, but now Blasco wants him to buy his truck, which also entails the route he has on all the gardens of Beverly Hills. Carlos doesn't particularly want the route, considering his status, but if he doesn't take it, he's back on the lines outside the hardware stores. He gets a loan from his sister Anita (Dolores Heredia), who has married a rich man, and now lives a fairly middle-class life. It's practically that the truck will get stolen. Carlos's only shot is to track down the thief himself. His son tags along, recognizing the desperation they're in. From here on in, I will not discuss what happens. It's not that it's surprising, it's not, but what is is how we've grown to care about the characters. Bichir's a major actor in Mexico, but the only thing I've seen him in until now was on the TV show "Weeds," where he played a major drug smuggler. I see nothing of that character in Carlos. He's quiet, patient, almost unnoticeable in his own film. You can say he represents one of thousands, but I didn't see that. Instead, I saw one of the few characters in a film who I truly cared about what happens to him. At one point, they get a tip on where the theif might be, and await for him to arrive. Luis asks him "What if the truck's not there", Carlos answers "It has to be there." How he delivers that, and all his lines is what makes "A Better Life," a great film, as oppose to just, a good one.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011) Director: Joe Johnston

2 1/2 STARS

As I continually bumbled my way through these superhero films from last year, with "Captain America: The First Avenger", A couple weeks back, I was surprised at how good "Thor," was and had actually become somewhat excited for the genre again. "Captain America...", has sent me back down however. I never did understand some of the pro-America propaganda in some of these comic books tales. Whenever I'd hear Superman proclaim himself for "Truth, justice and the American way!", I always thought to myself, "Really? I mean I get that you're an immigrant, but you're not even from this planet?" I always thought Superman shouldn't be so gullable to advertising posters. Of course, when "Superman," was created, it was a world where America was looking for superpowers in times of war. It's the same world that created Captain America (Chris Evans), who began his life as a determined but sickly and young soldier-wannabe names Steve Rogers. It's 1942, and the U.S. has entered WWII, and a Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) needs someone to experiment on and create a supersoldier. Rogers accepts willingly, and becomes surprisingly smart and resiliant in training, even winning over the Colonel (Tommy Lee Jones), and over Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). The experiment works, but his strength at first becomes more useful in the War Bonds sales division before he's needed to stop a previous failed experiment of Dr. Erskine's named Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), who's used a weapons designer, Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) who's created his own Army ready to take over the world, created out of a secret Nazi program called "HYDRA". "Captain America," is certainly an honorable superhero and man, but I found him to not be nearly as interesting as the other superheroes. There's a few interesting little sides in the movie, like observing Howard Stark's (Dominic Cooper) early technology working. (Yes, that Stark name should be familiar) Mostly, I found myself bored. Many of the costumes never seemed particular believably shot for me, even for the 1940s, and I don't know, while I think it worked to some extent in the latest "X-Men," movie, I'm not sold that these going back in time superhero origin stories are particularly effective. I know there's a lot of secret stuff the Nazis could've done, but I think I would've read somewhere about HYDRA, and Captain America for that matter, in some history book. Right now, I'm just little less interested in the upcoming Avengers movie, because of Captain America. Not his fault, but I thinks there's more interesting superheroes to care about.

THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER (2011) Director: David Robert Mitchell

4 1/2 STARS

"The Myth of the American Sleepover," had only a limited theatrical release, but became popular among critics this past year. The movie has some very obvious influence, the most obvious being the great George Lucas film "American Graffiti". This slice-of-life takes place on the last weekend of Summer, and more than a couple kids spend much of the movie metriculating town searching for a mysterious girl or girls that they just happen to spot, or in some cases, happen to find out that they may like them. (That's something that always annoyed me, not finding out whether a girl liked me or not until long after the crush had ended). I can't even begin to go through every plotpoint, or even pretend that I was able to keep track of every kid and storyline through the film, so I won't, and frankly I don't think it's important that we do. Numerous high school kids are having sleepovers or parties, with friends and classmates, and relatives. They're not the teenagers we've seen in most mainstream films, they're more shy and reluctant, at least most of them are, even if they try hard not to seem that way. It's a world where boys still sleepover and other boys houses and girls sleepover at other girl's houses, sometimes they're typical watching of porn and Ouija board play, but mostly there's jus the typical boredom of reality, that leads them astray and in the Suburban Detroit night. This goes for all ages. Those in middle school, high school, even those who've long since graduated high school and even been off to college, but their lives remain stuck. Two stories I remember involved one kid finding out that one of two twins that were classmates of his, had a crush on him, and he goes out to the University of Michigan, where they're staying at an orientation event, to find out which one. The girls make fun of him, for thinking he's going out for the twin fantasy night of sex and debachery. I don't think he'd say no, but I think he just was hoping the answer might give him some direction. In another, the girl in the T-Bird gets replaced with the Girl in the Supermarket. There's a couple of sideplots and stories, that don't particularly mean much, and nothing much happens. It the quiet experiences between two people who are practically strangers to each other that's interesting. They're trying to have fun, 'cause everyone else seems to be having fun, but they just want to go off, and enjoy these fleeting moments that mean nothing, other than the fact that they've occurred and existed with at least one other person to remember them with you. I think that's essentially all that writer/director David Roger Mitchell tries to achieve with "The Myth of the American Sleepover", and he succeeds. It's sprawling, it's long, it's plotless..., I've had more than a few nights myself that can be described that way.

A LITTLE HELP (2011) Director: Michael J. Weithorn

4 STARS

There's an old theatrical exercise that nearly every actor goes through when performing a part. The idea is to tell the story of their character through the point of view of their character. "A Little Help," is one of those films that could've been made from many of the character's perspectives, and I think you would've gotten about five or six really good films out of it. That says something about the depth of the movie. We only get one perspective however, that of Laura (Jenna Fischer). She's a dental hygenist at work, and a complete mess everywhere else. Her family talks down to her, her husband (Chris O'Donnell) lies and cheats on her, and her 12-year old son (Daniel Yelsky) hates her. Her family, husband and kid, aren't necessarily wrong in their behavior towards her though. She's forgetful and inconsiderate. She drinks beers to get through most everyday, and not-to-secretly smokes as well. After an argument with her husband, he drops on the driveway, and goes to the hospital. The doctor doesn't see the arrythmia, and that night, he has another one and dies. Laura's sister Kathy (Brooke Smith) and her mother Joan (Lesley Ann Warren) take her aside, and tell her everything she should do. Put her kid in a better school that they'll pay for, go see a lawyer to get your finances straightened out, and a bunch of other ways of belittling her. Reluctantly she accepts these requests. The lawyer, Mel Kaminsky (Kim Coates) turns out to be a litigator specializing in medical malpractice, and he thinks she has a case. She does, but she doesn't want to sue, until it's pointed out to her how broked she'd be if she doesn't. Her son starts a lie at his new school telling everybody his father died in 9/11, (The movie takes place in 2002) in order to make friends. How she handles this situation, especially when firefighters and policeman come to the school on a day remembering 9/11 is fascinating, and even funny. There's still more, much more shit that gets piled on top of her. If life, as Mark Twain once said "is one damn thing after another", than all those damn things happen to Laura. The script by noted TV producer/director Michael J. Weithorn is both manipulative, but realistic. He knows that when one thing goes wrong, everything else goes wrong too, and there's no particular good way to deal with them. There's another character that somewhat understands the playing field that Laura is given, and that's her brother-in-law, Paul (Rob Benedict). He works at a radio station, and thinks it's cool that his son work on music as much as school. He had a crush on Laura since high school, and had she not been so pretty, popular, and self-involved, they might have been a better match. When during another argument Laura has with Kathy, we get her perspective on Laura's life, and realize just how jealous and misinformed both sisters are about each other, although that's not to say they either of them will ever figure it out. Every so often, I catch Jenna Fischer is something other than "The Office", whether that's old reruns of shows like "Six Feet Under," or in a Judd Apatow-like film, or something else, and we get glimpses of how good an actress, and yes, how pretty she actually is. (Her "Office" character very purposefully downplays her looks) Here's a role that shows off all she can do, and she nails it! She's flawed women in a situation that's she's not nearly capable of getting out of alone, but we like her and understand her anyway. She just needs a little help, but maybe not the help that's being given to her.

REVENGE OF THE ELECTRIC CAR (2011) Director: Chris Paine

3 1/2 STARS

It's only been a few years since Director Chris Paine analyzed the rise and fall of GM's EV1, the first major electric car by a Detroit automaker, and how all of them ended up in an auto graveyard, destroyed by their own makers in "Who Killed the Electric Car?", and now, not only are electric cars in demand, the companies are at war vying to become the first and the best with the electric car the public buy. Paine, getting something that Michael Moore's been trying for years to get, gets inside GM and a few other companies as they begin designing, and putting their products out onto the market. Paine's access is somewhat astonishing. He's inside boardrooms and meetings, and talks with many automotive business reporters (Yes, they exist) about the sudden shifts in all the companies, stirred, bankruptcies, bailouts, and simply sales and consumer demand. Bob Lutz, one of the heads of GM, and one of the main people who lead to the end of the EV1, who is now the main in charge of GM's hybrid and electric cars programs. His sudden late-in-life shift in values is fascinating. He seems to be the most prototypical representation of who we think of as owners of car companies. He's practically seems like he should have a cigar in his hand as he walks, but now his tune has shifted completely, and has now devoted his life and career on the success of electric cars. Although not as much as Elon Musk a silicon valley billionaire who started his own car company, Tesla Motors. That's actually about the 5th most interesting thing about him. Apparently, he was the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.'s Howard Stark character in "Iron Man", and while his company is an upstart, and he's going to learn the trials and tribulations of that, like having to raise prices on his customers who've prepaid for cars they haven't gotten yet, his company seems more well-positioned to compete than any upstart in recent history. Yet, both of them have to keep an eye on Japan where Nissan owner Carlos Ghosn is betting on electric cars more than both of them combined, with a plan to overrun the U.S. marketplace with there own cars, and underpriced, which considering the batteries they been experimenting with, is not a guarantee. The gamble could put Nissan out of business if it fails. The movie lacks the investigative tone of "Who Killed the Electric Car?", and therefore it only reaches about the level of a report and analysis story, but on that note it's interesting. One thing's for sure, the story of the electric car is far from over, and is getting some intriguing new players everyday. I wonder what the automotive landscape of America will look like in five years, and I how Paine makes another movie then.

LEBANON, PA. (2011) Director: Ben Hickernell

4 1/2 STARS

Former Clinton Campaign Advisor James Carville, when describing the electoral political map of Pennsylvania, famously said of the state, "Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with Alabama in between them." "Lebanon, PA," and is one of those counties that's in the Alabama of Pennsylvania. The story begins with a Philadelphia Ad rep named Will (Josh Hopkins), who finds out that his father has passed. He ran off years ago to live in Lebanon. He's only been there a few times since, but now he goes back to bury and father, and check on any/all inventory he left. To say an unexpected thing happens, and that he suddenly starts to find the place enchanting enough to live there, would be correct, but, while that might where Will's heading (or thinks he's heading), that's not where the movie's heading. Will befriends a teenage girl named CJ (Rachel Kitson). She's smart and quick-witted as teenagers sometimes end up being in these kinds of films. She's gotten accepted in Drexel University, and wants Will to take her back-and-forth to the city, as he temporarily splits times between Philly and Lebanon. She's also found herself pregnant. She tells her boyfriend, who immediately breaks-up with her, until his parents find out, and they begin forming wedding plans. During one of the trips to Philly, she goes to Planned Parenthood. She turns 18 in a few weeks, which gives her time to make a decision, she has to fight through her father, her school, and her town, who already talk about her for being different to begin with. They already don't care much for Will because of a bumper sticker of all things, despite the fact that he seems to enjoy the area obliviously. She has a crush on one of CJ's married teacher, Vicki (Samantha Mathis) who is also the only person that sympathizes with CJ. I won't reveal what actually happens, but I think CJ should get an abortion. I don't say that lightly. Yes, I am pro-choice, but often their are better options, but not for CJ. If she keeps the kid, she'll be unhappy with a kid she didn't want, and a life she didn't want. If she decides to have the baby adopted, there's no telling what happens to the kid, but she'll be spending nine months getting hounded by everybody around her to keep it, and nobody in that state needs to deal with that kind of crap. It is the best of bad options. Interestingly, Will never gives an opinion on the issue to CJ. He's constantly pushed towards decisions to. By his company who wants to come back quicker or they'll give his clients away, by his mother (Mary Beth Hurt) who doesn't shed a tear at her ex-husband's death, and insists Will not end up in Lebanon like his father, and the town even, casually telling him to get out as soon as he can. I was pleasantly surprised by "Lebanon, PA". This is a film that understands the area it takes place in, and tells the story of these two free-spirits who's paths happen to cross, and how they just might be what the other needs to help each other. This started looking like a film that could've fallen into some of the most overused of cliches, and instead, we ended up with a couple different tales where people in life-changing situations and we honestly didn't know what was going to happen next.

BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD (2011) Director: Liz Garbus

4 STARS

As somebody who's been fascinated by chess for years (Chess sets are one of the few things I collect), I, like all chess aficienados, have a particular interest in Bobby Fischer. You can use any sports metaphor you wish, but he was simply the best chess player to ever live. He also is one of the most enigmatic people of the 20th Century. After his famous victory over Russian World Champion Boris Spassky, Fischer became a recluse paranoid, and disappeared for years. He reappeared once in the '90s, and won a rematch with Spassky, one that violated U.S. sanctions. He praised the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., was finally arrested in Japan, when Iceland, the country of that infamous chess match, stepped in and gave him citizenship. In "Bobby Fischer Against the World," his life and career and traced to it's earliest roots. Even in early appearance on "I've Got a Secret," and things like that, you can tell that he might not be in complete control of his mind, but something is working in there. Fischer's was tall and awkward-looking as a kid. He was the youngest American Grand Master chess player at age 16. He was difficult, often walking out of tournaments and matches depending on his mood, or whether or not something was to his liking. His mother was a Communist activist who had a long FBI file to her. He didn't reveal Fischer's real father to him until after he died. Fischer didn't have a home, even when famous. He moved from place to place like a nomad, and playing chess compulsively. Studying, analyzing. There's a savant-like quality to Fischer that's disturbing, but it's also what made him so masterful that he could destroyed the Russians at the game they took pride in mastering. In the movie, we're told that this behavior among chess champions, isn't nearly as unusual as it seems. Many legendary players were hospitalized in asylums. One great player swore he was playing ches with God at one point. Fischer's is the most famous of these tales, maybe the most infamous in all of sport, and yes, the way Fischer approached it, you can call chess a sport. (His training regiment was practically Michael Phelps-like) It takes a certain kind of mind to create a World chess champion, and I would not wish that mind on anybody.

SECRET SUNSHINE (2010) Director: Lee Chang-Dong

4 STARS

Earlier this year, I watched Lee Chang-Dong's latest film "Poetry", about a pensioneer who's slowing losing her mind to Alzheimer's and must deal with the fact that her grandson was involved in a very gruesome act that she must help cover up. That was the first film of Lee's I had seen, and I gave it five stars. "Secret Sunshine," was made in 2007, but didn't get an American theatrical release until late 2010, and it's now got a Criterion Collection DVD release. The title comes from the name of the town which in Korean, Miryang that Shin-Ae (Do-yeon Jeon). It's the home of her late husband, and she's moving there along with her kid to be a piano teacher. She at one point was a classically trained pianist, but has given that up. Her young son Jun (Jung-Yeop Seon), is cute, and for awhile, it seems like she's able to start getting back on with her life, although in the town, she's the talk of much the same gossip and talk that every newcomer to a small town becomes. She mentions to one shop owner that her store should be more cheerful up front, and later she hears the shop owner at a salon, making fun of the comment to other women. Suddenly, her son doesn't come home one day. A few days later, he's found dead. It's tough to describe exactly what happens next, without giving away too much, but the bigger problem is that it's not about what happens, with Lee's films, it's the mood that he creates with them. With "Poetry," as with "Secret Sunshine," you get swept along by the story and his character as they go through and try to figure out how to go on with there lives. His films are poetic, and strikingly visual. They seem to float above the action like waves on top of a lake. In "Poetry," we had a character who specialized in thinking her way through problems, trying to do the same, but suddenly unable to trust her mind. Shin-Ae acts emotionally and instinctively. Yet, when she sets a task for herself, it's achieved, and when that is out of her control, she loses all control. Lee has directed three other films according to imdb.com, and he's got a fascinating and unique visual style that I can't wait to see more of.

NIGHT CATCHES US  (2010) Director: Tanya Hamilton

3 1/2 STARS

It's strange considering it's emotional and cultural impact, just how short the Black Panther movement actually was. At the beginning of the '70s, it looked like it could take the lead in the Civil Rights movement, but by the end of the decade, it was virtually non-existent. Tanya Hamilton's "Night Catches Us," take place in Philadelphia in '76, years after the movement fizzled, but the neighborhood is still healing itself from all it's wounds. The neighborhood and the cops don't trust each other, but both have to survive. It's in this world that Marcus Washington (Anthony Mackie) returns to. He was a Panther, but after another member was killed by Police, he left town, many suspecting that he turned on them. He certainly told something to the Police, one of them named David Gordon (Wendell Pierce) is the only person who seems to be on speaking terms with Marcus. Except for strangely enough, Patricia (Kerry Washington), the wife of the man the Police killed so many years ago. She's raising her kids Iris (Jamara Griffin), and her nephew Jimmy (Amari Cheatom) who's got the same kind of young anger that many Panthers had, and is headed down a bad path. Despite her current boyfriend Patricia and Marcus soon reignites their past flames, not-so-much out of a still-stirring passion for each other, but out of the shared pains and histories they've experienced. I think the film is about the influence such a movement has on people. Those who were in it, those who fought against it, those who survived it, or didn't, those who watched loved ones embrace it, and those who have grown up hearing about it secondhand. "Night Catches Us," follows a fairly conventional storyline, but the mood and the tone is what's critical here. There's a score by The Roots that reminds me of Curtis Mayfield's famed "Superfly" score, and has a similar effect as well. I came out of the film, knowing a little more of what I imagine living in a Post Black Power America, and made me think about how anger can be a striking motivator for young men, and the different ways in which people use it.

A LOBSTER TALE (2006) Director: Adam Massey

3 STARS

Not released theatrically in the U.S., "A Lobster Tale," is a cute and fairly innocuous little fable. I'm seriously tempted to actually stop the review right there and write nothing more about it, 'cause that really does pretty much covers it. The story takes place in one of those Maine fishing villages, where a fisherman named Cody Brewer (Colm Meaney) is struggling to make ends meat. He rejects the offer to join a fisherman's collective a couple years earlier, and while he still prefers to  go at it alone, he's become the town's outcasted fisherman. One day he finds a strange piece of moss in his lobster traps. (I swear there was once a children's story about a strange piece of moss, but for the life of me I can't think of it. It's not relevant to the film, but I think it had to do with an opportunistic spider.) Anyway, soon, it becomes apparent that the moss has some special ability to heal wounds, and as expected, everyone in the town suddenly has an urgent desire need for the moss, ranging everything from curing impotence, from bringing back the dead. (Oh, "Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock", that was it! I was looking it up on Amazon.com, while I was, eh, typing here. Yeah, the spider would trick the other animals to say "Is that a strange moss-covered rock?" or something like that, and the animals immediately feel asleep for like a day, and the spider steal everything they had while they were knocked out. I'm surprised there aren't more dishonorable hyponists that do the same thing?) Anyway, "A Lobster Tale," is a nice little story about a normal guy who's suddenly placed in an extraordinary situation. Nothing bad to say about, good performances by the always reliable Meaney, as well as Jack Knight and Alberta Watson as his son and wife, and an interesting Graham Greene sighting as a town sheriff; it's always good to see him. Nice little film.

ANITA: SWEDISH NYMPHET (1975) Director: Torgny Wickman

1 1/2 STARS

If anybody happened to check the comment section of last's week's movie reviews blog I wrote, they'll notice that I answered a comment that one of my gracious readers left, who claimed that she was equally disappointed witha movie I reviewed called "Our Idiot Brother," since based on the trailer, it looked a lot funnier that it ended up being. I replied to that comment stating that I rarely if ever watch a movie based solely on a trailer. That's true, while I look for things in a trailer like a director's name, writer's name, actors occasionally, I rarely if ever watch a movie based solely on the movie's trailer. Saying that though, based on the title, and the plot synopsis given on the Netflix website, I did determine that despite the low viewer rating, that I should see "Anita: Swedish Nymphet," basically because..., well..., it sounded like there'd be a lot of sex and nudity in it, and the title seemed to signify that. (I put it on my queue like five years ago, people, I didn't think I'd ever actually get to it, this soon anyway.) Anyway, "Anita: Swedish Nymphet", which is also available under the longer title "Anita: The Shocking Account of a Young Nymphomaniac", follows 16-year old Anita (Christina Lindberg). Anita developed early, has become a sexual compulsive, and has become reknowned around town for it. She gets constantly picked on and abused by the locals for her behavior. (BTW, having lived in Vegas all my life, eh, I've known my fair share of..., oh what-the-hell's politically correct here,... I can't think of it, anyway, people who had similar behavior as Anita, were never treated by others like that. Complete opposite, they practically had people worshipping at their feet, and not just the submissive one who worshipped at their feet because they were told to). Anyway, her trajectory seems to be going downward fast until she meets up with a psychology student, Erik (Stellan Skarsgard, yes, that Stellan Skarsgard, the one that played the Professor in "Good Will Hunting") takes an interest in her, first as a curiousity, and then later as a possible test subject for a thesis. Anita's intrigued enough to begin living in this strange communal group of classical musicians and other artists. Erik realizes that Anita's behavior is based on her innability to get an orgasm, and recommends.... Okay, there's no way to finish that sentence without the movie sounding like "Deep Throat". Actually a better comparison film might be "Reefer Madness," in the way it actually plays out, in this serious tone, like this is an actual disease. Okay nymphomania, is an actual disease, but curing it with excessive orgasms is like curing alcoholism with Happy Hour Margaritas. I am attracted to this pre-videotape era of artistic skin flicks, I'll admit. Most of them are relatively harmless and goofy. A couple of them are somewhat artistic. The beautifully shot "Emmanuelle 2: Joy of Passion" comes to mind, but mostly I have more fun with the more innocent Russ Meyer films. (Someday "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" will be a Canon of Film entry.) There's a few ideas in "Anita...", like the non-linear storytelling; the film likes to jump around a bit time-wise, and tells some things in flashback, but overall, the movie was actually boring, considering everything. There's no fun or humor with this film to look at it as camp, and the story is just too absurd to take literally. As an excuse to see teenage Penthouse Pet naked, Christina Lindberg was a cult Sexploitation star throughout the '70s; I have to think there was something better she was in. It's an interesting curiousity, mostly curious that such a great and famous actor actually was in it as one of his earliest roles, but it just doesn't hold up.
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