Monday, August 18, 2008

20:08 (Purity)

Thoughts and screenshots from the 20th minute and 8th second of films released in 2008

I was missing my 20:07 series so I'm maybe bringing it back albeit in an altered form. Maybe look at only this year's titles (there's a lot of other projects/series here bringing you bits and pieces from all other film decades). Bringing it back: Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Lips together. Teeth apart?

Teeth released January 18th, 2008. Directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein.

Actually, you're probably stronger now --your resolve. Because you've been there. I mean, you've seen the dangers firsthand.
In this screenshot Dawn (Jess Weixler) the hapless heroine (antiheroine?) of Teeth has just learned that her boycrush Tobey (Hale Appleman) is only a virgin "in His eyes." It was only once! God's forgiven him. Dawn, the popular leader of her high school's abstinence crowd is always ready with simplistic reassurances and empty slogans --she even wears them on cutesy illustrated Ts -- attempts to comfort him. But mostly she remains bewildered and uneasy whenever the subject rises up. Her psycho-sexual panic runs deep. As you may have heard this comic horror is a riff on the vagina dentata myth. Weixler's got angry private parts. That she doesn't know the first thing about her own body and what it's capable of is the source of both the horror, the drama, the comedy and the satire.

It's a tricky role and Weixler meets it with sly comic grace (love the way she instinctively attempts to covers her computer screen when a picture shocks her) and a full range of emotions. She's got great control of her face: important closeups of her face register her body's deadly flip-switching: pleasure, disbelief, annoyance, anger, oops, my bad!

The movie is definitely not for everyone (I wonder what the master of body horror David Cronenberg would make of its shyness?) I'm not even sure it was for me. It doesn't work all of the time (a major plot element involving Dawn's step brother didn't work at all) but there's enough one-of-a-kind weirdness, creepy/funny aesthetic sense (love those twin smokestacks behind Dawn's house), amusingly unsubtle settings (caves!) and actorly skill to make it watchable ...as long as you can handle this [*NSFW & spoiler-riffic]
B-

5 comments:

par3182 said...

thumbs up

Billy D said...

Sorry to piggy back on this post, but I have to get this off my chest: Saw Vicky Cristina Barcelona this weekend. It brought up some serious issues in my own relationship (fun!) but the only thing I could think of was how much I LOVED Penelope Cruz.

Honestly, I didn't get the love for her in Volver. It was a good movie, and an ok performance at best for me. But this one was FANTASTIC. It completely made the movie for me, and I'm saying now that I hope she wins the sup. actress statuette. Funny, crazy, suicidal, yearning, sexy...the performance did it all with such ease. Ahora no puedo esperar para Abrazos rotos.

JA said...

Yay! I was just wondering the other day if you'd watched this yet. The whole film really does hinge on Weixler's really funny performance, and she does a terrific job. She even overcame the stigma of instant recognition from a much-hated-by-me TV commercial (that Mary Tyler Moore theme-song'd Mastercard commercial from a few years ago that played everywhere constantly for a bit) to make me like her very much. And I agree that the movie is iffy in bits, but when it focuses on Weixler it's gold.

Charlie said...

i love this movie! def not without its flaws, but its a great premise and a lot of fun to watch. weixler definitely elevates this movie a lot, shes great.

Adam said...

I agree with that assessment, and yet I think the film should have gotten more backing. I'm certainly more intrigued by a horror film like this than I am something like 'Mirrors.' Aside from its strong lead performance, the film does offer a few great bits of dark comedy too. I loved that after her jarring first time, her parents tell her dinner's ready and she says she already ate.