Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just Watched: Teeth

I have made some wonderful friends in Seton Hill's WPF program, and also through Twitter and some magazine venues, and when my peers told me about this movie Teeth, I knew that I had to see it to believe it.  Yes, yes, yes, I know it's an old movie and I should have seen it way before now, but hey.. I'm working on it! Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed... in fact, I don't think that I have ever laughed harder in my life-- oh wait? I wasn't supposed to laugh?  This was a horror movie? Oops! Then it gets my vote for one of the worst/best horror films up to date (but I haven't seen Piranha 3D yet!).

For those of you that haven't heard of/seen this movie, here is a quick summary of the plot: Early on in the story, we are introduced to Dawn O'Keefe (played by Jess Weixler) who appears to be the saintly virgin that is so typical in horror movies.  She gives talks at high schools about abstinence, and honestly, it is because she is so unavailable to others, that the boys desperately crave her. But naturally,there is a back story to every horror plot: Dawn grew up near a nuclear plant, and was sexually abused by her brother Brad (played by John Hensley) as a child. So naturally it's easy to see why Dawn is so focused on abstinence and purity.

What cracks me up about this movie is how the acting.. because honestly, I kind of liked the plot, and I think that if the movie was remade today with more gore and a more intricate twist at the end, that it wouldn't be too bad; I would see a remake of it.  But lets me honest... this story is about a man eating vagina (vagina dentata, which is Latin for teeth.  So basically, this girl got mutated at a young age because of the insecurities and vengeance that she harbored from her sexual abuse, and now anyone that goes near her, without her permission might lose a certain appendage. So in other words, all those horny boys out there better be in love with her, because if they are just looking for a piece of ass...it will be the first and last time for it.

So Dawn's vagina eats people. Big deal right? Well, it eats a rapist, a sick/twisted gynecologist, and then a boy that made a beat that he could sleep with her -- all of which are rather awkward and funny because she doesn't know how to control it yet.  She's screaming, the guy's screaming... then the audience hears the crunch, and then next thing you know, there's half a penis on the ground, and she acts shocked like this hasn't been happening throughout the entire movie.  BUT when she found out that she could control it (although we never find out how it works, or what happened that she discovered that she could control it), she decides to go after her brother for his misogynistic, deviant waves.  What is ironic about this situation, is that Brad has been in love with her since he was a child; he adores her, but since his dad married her mom, Dawn became the forbidden fruit. So when she offers herself to him, he is almost afraid at first because he doesn't want to compromise her morals since he actually cares about her. But she forces herself on him, and eventually he goes along with it... only to reap the benefits that Dawn has in store for him.
---This was easily the best part of the movie because here we have the hard rock, drug using, sex-a-holic, bad child, that softens for the one girl, only to get his dick chomped off and fed to the dog. HA. But take my word on it, you have to see this scene to appreciate it, because the piece doesn't hit the ground until we get a shot in between Dawn's legs, and then its super dramatic. Hysterical.

Even the very end of the movie is funny, because as Dawn decides to runaway and hitch hike, she gets picked up my an old man, who at the end of their journey, wants his payment.. but not it cash.  He is without a doubt the creepiest old man EVER (minus the guy on the bus in Black Swan) as he makes gestures at her with his hands and his tongue.. ewe. But lucky for her, she knows how to take care of the situation....

Friday, January 7, 2011

Review: Black Swan

I had unbelievable high hopes for this movie -- and it didn't disappoint me at all.

Now I have to admit that I'm a huge Natalie Portman fan, and I didn't think it was going to be possible to make me like her more, but then I saw her in this movie, and fell in love with her all over again.  People, she is an outstanding actress, and she shows her true, god given talent in this movie by taking on the role of Nina Sayers, a young ballerina who wins the lead role in the production of Swan Lake.  However, through years of practice and perfection of the trade, it's not the vulnerable white swan that she has to worry about in her role... its the black swan's grip on her that she needs to worry about.

Summary of Swan Lake:
A young girl gets turned into a swan, and needs the love of the prince in order to turn her back.  Everything starts out going according to plan, but when the prince gets slowly seduced by the black swan, (white swan's sister) he falls for her, leaving the white swan crushed, and ultimately jumping off a cliff to her death. Beautiful, yet tragic.

Now Nina is the type of character that strives for perfection, and after years of non-stop practicing to be the best, her director, Thomas Leroy (played by Vincent Cassel) gives her the lead role, and quite an erotic kiss to seal the deal, to which she ends up biting his lip.  At first, I thought this was just a reaction to being surprised and put off, but I think this was the first sign of her dual personality coming through.  Viewers see two sides to Nina throughout the movie: the quiet, vulnerable, sweet girl who is the epitome of the white swan, and then the rash, self-destructive, independent vixen that is so reminiscent of the black swan. I.E. One of my favorite parts in the movie was the transformation of her skin because it brought out the horror girl in me.  We learn early on from Nina's mother that Nina had a bad habit of scratching herself as a child, so when the audience sees marks on her back, it's easy to assume that she is scratching herself again because of the pressure of the role; there is even a scene where she is in the bathroom and her skin starts to peel off...which is really gross yet wonderful!  However, throughout the entire film, we see a metamorphosis of her skin into what looks like scaly tissues-- and which at the end, start to push out beautiful, black feathers during her final performance.

Mila Kunis, plays Nina's friend Lily, who Nina is convinced is trying to take her part.  What's interesting about this relationship is that Lily is everything that Nina wishes she could be: relaxed, emotionally connected to the dance, comfortable in her sexuality, and daring enough to go out and drink and get high during her nights off from the stage.  So it's no wonder that Nina's other side comes out when she is with her...leaving the camera's to find the girls in a steamy lesbian scene as Nina locks them in her room and puts her guard down. Yet the entire time that they are having sex... when Lily looks up... Nina see's herself.

SPOILER ALERT:
Now I'll be the first to admit that I didn't figure this movie out, but now that I know the ending, I can see how all of the clues came together to show us the warning signs early on. So we have the clues that I stated above, and then when one adds in the fact that Nina catches Lily and Thomas going at it when she is at the studio late one night...it's easy to see how she can feel intimidated by her knew found friend.  Add in the fact that when she sleeps in one day, its Lily that takes her place and becomes her understudy in the performance.

The night of the performance seriously blew my mind. Naturally Nina did a great job as the white swan, so that didn't really surprise me too much, because I'm sure like myself, everyone else in the audience was waiting for her debut as the black swan. Yet when she went to her dressing room to get dressed, who was sitting in her chair and in her costume? Lily.  This set off Nina, and to put it bluntly, she ended up stabbing her in the chest, stripped her body of her costume and hiding her in the closet. She then went on to dance the most enticing, powerful and seductive choreography that I have seen in a long time.  It was if the transformation was complete, and Nina had become the evil twin...the black swan of the ballet. But... things aren't always as they appear to be.

When she goes back into her dressing room, she throws some towels on the ground to cover up the blood, and gets dressed into her white swan outfit in order to give the final performance of the night...when she hears a knock at the door.  It's Lily congratulating her on a job well done and apologizing for the squabble between.  How can this be?  She checks the closet, and nothing is there, and its not until she puts her hand on her chest that she realizes the blood, and pulls out a dagger of the broken mirror from inside her.   

ANALYSIS:
I really liked the fact that the story line surrounded itself around swan lake both in the plot and within the characters.  The dual persona of Nina, and her transformation into the black swan, physically, and emotionally, was fascinating to watch, and I have to hand it to the directors for the black swan scene.  When Portman got on that stage, and viewers got to see feathers erupting, which lead to a full set of black wings mirrored by the human skeletal shadow on the back...leaving it to all be metaphorical and psychological.. my heart just jumped from my chest.  It's been a while since I have seen a movie that I loved as much as this one, and let me tell you, when the white swan jumps off the cliff in the final performance because she lost her lover...it was perfection.  With Portman standing on that makeshift cliff, with the blood circle getting larger and larger in front of the audience, and then falling off it on the mattress, to both metaphorically and physically die... it was perfect. That's all I can really say.  Plus, her last words where that she finally felt the dance, and that it was perfect. And frankly, I would have to agree with her.

Do your self a favor and go see this movie.  You won't regret it.