Friends, Lovers, Videophiles. It was a weekend of R & R & R & D & Vthat's rest, relaxation, research, development, and VIDEOSat the Worsted household. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the new Gooden Worsted VideoPlex!
On screen one is Tatie Danielle, a French film about an old, fussbudget lady who must be taken in by her nephew's family. As her nephew and niece realize half-way through the film, the woman is just plain mean. On a pacing scale from 1 to 10, 1 being supersonic and 10 being earthworm-speed, this film is a 10. The humor is extreme in its subtlely: Auntie Danielle plays high status to everyone in the film though she is perceived as a helpless old woman. This allows her to be totally manipulative and hurtful to everyone around her, very slowly. The predestined shift in character happens at least _ of the way through the 2 hour film. All characters remain pretty flat and predicable, and no real explanation is given for Danielle's meanness. I got the best chuckles from the cross-eyed portrait of Danielle's long-dead husband which serves as her confidant. Here, and in other places, the humorous nuance satisfies. If you don't like subtitles because they go by too fast, you won't have trouble with this film. 9 _ stars.
No time for the French? Try John Leguzamo's The Pest. The Hispanic comedy icon plays a player on the streets of the city, endowed with a gift for fast talking, smooth walking, and hilarious impersonations. Due to some situation which takes place before the film begins, The Pest owes $50,000 to the Swedish Mafia, a concept played for laughs. Meanwhile, a strange German manthat same actor who played the principal in Ferris Beuler's Day Off, the evil alien in Howard the Duck¸etc., etc.hunts people for sport and targets Leguzamo. What happens is anybody's guess! Ten minutes into the movie, I felt able to trust that Leguzamo would come out victorious and decided to call it a complete experience. You gotta give 'em credit for trying to hold my attention with way-too-far-over-the-top zany-ness. 9 stars.
Let's get to the good stuff. On the recommendation of many friends who are South Park devotees, I rented Volume 6 of the series which includes the cult favorite: Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo. Since I already have a screen saver which features this character, it seemed even more important for me to watch this episode. I was not disappointed. Since people either love or hate South Park, there isn't much convincing to do here. Fans will have doubtlessly seen this classic episode. Compared to Volumes 1 and 2, this one was at least as good; and either because the sound-quality improved in production or because I'm more used to Cartman's mushy speech, the words were easier to understand. The second episode on the tape wasn't nearly as good, but still elicited disgusted guffaws from both Mrs. Worsted and myself. Stone and Parker are very funny in the introductions to each episode. I wondercould BASEketball be a comical fiesta as well? 10 Starsthat's sheer home video perfection!
I've saved the best for last: Artemisia is a French film about the artist Artemisia Gentileschi (1597- 1651), the first woman to be accepted into the Artists' Academy. The film is a passionate, exciting, intelligent telling of the life of an extraordinary woman whose modern attitudes toward aesthetics and love crashed against the predominating patriarchal Puritanism of her time. As the daughter of a court painter, she has inspiration, natural talent, and some protection. As apprentice to Italian the Italian painter Rossi, she discovers new sight as an artist. Moreover, they discovered a lasting and true intimacy with one another. Their faith even under torture was astonishing and heart-breaking. I'd highly recommend this movie to any intelligent adult. The true story fascinates and engages, and the film-making by Agnes Merlet sensitizes and embraces the viewer. Even greater praise than these 10 stars is the fact that I've made an effort to remember the director's name.
That's all for this time, friends. Join me next week for more VIDEO adVENTURES!
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