by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Jonathan Swift. The name is synonymous with fantastical satire, filled with bitingly subtle observations of the corrupt political world of his time. Jack Black. The name is synonymous with a fat dude who falls down and says “Fuck!” a lot. When a studio decided to make a cinematic retelling of the classic novel Gulliver’s Travels, guess who they tailored it to — not political science majors, that’s for sure! Nope, this Gulliver is a goofy, crude slacker who winds up in the mythical land of Lilliput, filled with diminutive imperialists who view him as a dangerous beast of sorts. That is laid to rest when a fire breaks out and … sigh … he puts the flames out by urinating on them. Yeah, any semblance of Swift’s original meaning is farted on — literally — by the filmmakers in an effort to churn out a kid-friendly dick-comedy that completely relies on your tolerance level for Jack Black’s para-diddling histrionics, of which I’ve got very little left.
Ricky is a baby. A French baby. A French baby who sprouts wings. While a plot like that is ripe for an American remake starring Eddie Murphy, and that’s something I would normally pooh-pooh immediately, in this case, it would be a welcome formula. Ricky is a confoundingly irritating movie, annoying in its cinematic aloofness and total failure to connect on any single emotional level. The European equivalent of American trailer-trash — only far bleaker — manages to get pregnant in the stall of a factory bathroom by a Spanish co-worker. After the baby is born, he leaves and said infant starts to sprout grotesque wings, causing more issues for the now-single mom. Uneasily mixing pathos with comedy in a way the never once gels, there is no chemistry between any of the main characters, especially the mother and baby, who just flies away and life goes on. It’s jarring and disjointed, but in not a thought-provoking way, but a “someone-should-call-DHS” way.
If you’re like me, you probably thought Tron: Legacy wasn’t erotic enough. Getting sucked into a video game to just run around and play Frisbee? No thanks. The French thriller Black Heaven, however, uses a MMORG-based world to create all types of disturbing David Lynch-ian sexual situations and homicidal intrigue while hauntingly whispered 60s pop songs are sung in the background. Horny teen Gaspard finds a cellphone, tracks its suicidal owner down and is pulled into a world of drugs, sex and numerous hours in front of a computer screen. The mysterious woman, Audrey, seduces lonely gamers and films them committing suicide for the sexual pleasure of her brother, with Gaspard as possibly the latest conquest. It’s a decent thriller, way too silly at times, sure, but, as Audrey, actress Louise Bourgoin is the quintessential French sexpot poster-girl. Between this and The Girl From Monaco, she’s the obvious heir to Brigitte Bardot’s shapely-but-empty throne.