En La Ciudad The pessimistic and the stylishly apathetic (wearing hats and buttons that say “I don’t care” and) would very stylishly reduce human beings to mere machines for eating, sleeping, In many a spanish movies (how weak I am to seeing some spanish on the spine of a DVD in the library!), human beings are often reduced to mere machines for eating, lying to each other, and having sex. This is essentially the plot of “En la Ciudad”: a bunch of upper middle class friends who are all engaged in some form of philandering: sleeping with a student, sleeping with a fellow thespian (un actor!), lying about sleeping with people, and sleeping with people that they are lying to. It is filled with narcissistic people who live between kitchen, bedroom, and restaurant. The plot is muddled, unclear, and there is no growth of characters in a movie that may not be character-driven, but most definitely is not plot-driven either. Skip it, and go to a restaurant with your friends and embellish your love life.
An Education-the acting was great, the characters were sometimes to broadly sketched, but nonetheless engaging. I highly recommend this film about a middle class English girl studying to go to Oxford and and her relationship with an older man who introduces her to a more hedonistic England that is driven by something other than middle class aspirations and post war fears of poverty. The film follows their relationship and neatly develops the various temptations of young women, who in 1960s education had greater access to an education, but not much in the way of of opportunities beyond that. Her two main options are essentailly: go to Oxford and hope that it provides an independence beyond teaching, or 2) marry her lover and trust him with your independence to show something more. This question is perhaps the most compelling part of the film, in that both options are equally tempting in that they are equally constricting. You can see Jenny’s frustration with what society offers her as it bursts out of her with the same staccato edge that her school girl laugh did at the beginning (Carey Mulligan has a lovely laugh). Towards the end, perhaps one answer is served up as too complete, too much the “right” answer. This is however, a flaw in the plot easily eclipsed by the cast, and by neat parallels offered…a fitting mapping on of national and gender concerns on to one charismatic individual.
Hamlet 2-Follows the story of a hapless and mediocre actor whose life falls apart and writes a sequel to Hamlet that has hyperbolic consequences. In what would have been very meta–and meta is always mega sexy–the film seems that it was written by the idiotic main character. A good idea that was never made coherent, plot wise, and never ceases to take whatever easy gender or race joke thrown its way. Parts are funny, in part because of Steve Coogan’s masterful timing (somewhat hamstrung by his American accent in the movie). A funny concept that was never developed past the second draft, a lack of finish common any overly exuberant writer blind to his own mediocre talents. Skip it, go to dinner with friends, and embellish your love life.