Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Sex, Love, and Copyright...

Starbuck (2011)
Viewed at TIFF
(Lang: French/Quebecois) {chill out, there are English subtitles}
Ken Scott's Starbuck was an ingenious, hilarious film that I recommend everyone see. This All-Canadian film takes place in Montreal. The premise is that a down-on-his-luck meat delivery man, David Wozniak, made money over two years of his youth by donating sperm, only to discover twenty years later that he has fathered over 500 children in the Montreal area. To make matters worse, around 140 of them are filing a class action lawsuit so that he will reveal his identity. David seeks the help of his idiosyncratic lawyer-ish friend to fight his case, and hide his identity from the media, who have labelled him "El Masturbator." David becomes invested in the identities of his children, and seeks a few of them out, only to become their "guardian angels." Realizing the impossibility of his task, but desperate to get perspective on his life as an adult, David manages to learn from and grow with his children. Patrick Huard does a terrific job playing David as the kind-hearted, somewhat simple-minded David, who only wants to do right by his family and his community. I seriously hope this movie becomes mainstream. The quality was excellent, the storyline original, and the unique comedy was refreshing amongst the heavier elements of the plot. 

I Love You Philip Morris (2009)

I am so glad I finally had the opportunity to see this movie. It was screening on YouTube movies for free for a short period of time (lucky me!). I cannot believe this movie was actually based on a true story. Jim Carrey plays Steve Russell, a con man who, in middle age, comes to terms with his homosexuality. While in prison for one of his schemes, he meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor) and they immediately fall in love. Steve stops at nothing to exchange letters, visit Phillip's cell, and ultimately build their life together when they get out of prison. There are some surprising twists to this movie, which I might say were not as cleanly orchestrated by the filmmakers as they could have been (unfortunately, to explain this is further would be too much of a spoiler, and then you'd just get upset at me for even mentioning it). Overall, this movie was more of a drama than a comedy, but it carried with it a lot of heart, a lot of love, and some truly funny moments. Carrey and McGregor had an insane amount of romantic chemistry. They were truly believable as a couple in love. I think this may have been the finest acting I have ever seen from Carrey, who has a tendency for hilariously campy overreacting. Carrey plays Steve Russel as a soulful, loving, multi-layered man, albeit compulsive and psychopathic in his scheming, con-artisty ways. I'd give this film 4 STARS, and a definite movie rental this fall.


RIP!: A Remix Manifesto (2009)

View here (FREE)

This documentary is made by a Canadian director, Brett Gaylor, on a well-known remix artist: Girl Talk. This is by far the most entertaining film I have seen to date on Copyright Protection, Creative Commons, and Fair Use issues. With a very clear slant to the Copy-Left, I certainly got a comprehensive perspective into the downfalls of copyright law (which was meant to protect artists) and how a few large corporations (a.k.a. DISNEY) have essentially influenced the development of copyright law to allow large corporations to monopolize concepts that were originally ripped-off from other artists, cartoons, musicians, and authors. This documentary provides a fascinating perspective into how copyright is now stifling future artistic creation, limiting remix culture, fan fiction, and new takes on any literature post Jane Austen. A definite must see for any writers, artists, publishers, editors, or essentially anyone impacted by copyright laws.


The Princess Bride (1987)

Alright, so I bought the 20th Anniversary Edition of The Princess Bride. I never saw this movie in my younger years, but I feel pop culture is constantly inundated with references-to and quotes-from this movie. First, this movie was significantly funnier than I had ever expected it to be: the clever banter and sword-play between the disguised farm boy and Inigo Montoya; the defeating of Fezzik (Andre the Giant); even the"outwitting" of Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) was kind-of a hoot if you recognize the deliberate campy-ness of it all. So, so many popular quotes came from this movie: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die"; "As you wish"; "Inconceivable!"; and the banter about which cup is poisoned and why... oh a treasure! The whole meta-theatrical framing thing [with the grandfather reading the story to his sick grandson (Fred Savage!), trying to convince him it was truly a tale for men, and not just some goofy love story] was cute in a roll-your-eyes sort of way. But, I'm sure if I saw this movie when I was twelve I would have appreciated it more. For the hilarious quotability of this movie.

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