“Oh, Nino… look at this beautiful face! Nice, eh? Now, think of his big, fat mother — because that’s the face you’re going to end up with!”
— Lina Paventi
If one flick surprised me in this week of gayness, it was Émile Gaudreault’s Mambo Italiano. I went into the film expecting kitsch, a mediocre script accompanied by some bad acting, a lot of the wrong kind of laughs1, and ninety-nine minutes of wasted entertainment. Aren’t I an idiot, because I loved every single second of it!
Sure, the kitsch is present, but it serves the film instead of dragging it down. In any other film I would’ve probably winced at all the eye-scorching colours, but in Mambo Italiano it worked in perfect synchronise with the story and the Italian background. Also, if one’s trying to be a bitch, one could call the acting “bad.” Though the acting is nothing compared to, say, Doubt or My Fair Lady, the shoddy acting in Mambo Italiano has a point and is done with such melodrama that it enhances the experience and the characters’ stories.
Of course, I wish every film actor would act as grande as Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, or Judy Garland, but moreover, I want actors to adapt to their characters and the overall idea behind a film. They did precisely that in Mambo Italiano, and it earned them only the second 9.0 I handed out this week.
The other nine-zero went to Twilight‘s art setting, the top film of this week. Does that say much about this week’s viewings? Well, yes, and no. Though I surprisingly liked Twilight, you can’t exactly call it a masterpiece, now can you? Thinking back, it seems to me that the film was actually pretty empty regarding the storyline. “This girl goes to live with her father, meets a weird (incredibly sexy) guy who turns out to be a crystal-vampire, she is then hunted by a pack of vampires, and boy saves girl.” Twilight is two hours long, so, how slow did the plot in this film actually run?
Talk about slow films, what about Resident Evil: Degeneration? I seriously wonder whether Screen Gems chose that title as an ironic twist on the whole franchise. I like said film series, to level with you. Neither of the three installments were masterpieces, all contained incredibly ludicrous storylines, and only the third one (Extinction) was up to par with its special effects. Yet, I’m terribly fond of Milla Jovovich, and though they sucked, if you just ignored all the badness for a second, the live-action trilogy was actually pretty solid entertainment.
But this Degeneration, this “computer-animated piece of crap,” is in no way solid entertainment. Nothing in this adaption is worthwhile. The animation is amateurish, and while I won’t be able to emulate their animation, I’m not the one making a computer-animated film here. If you’re going to go for it, at least try to do something right in the process. The eyes are dead, their movements are either eerie or just plain wrong, the effects are giggle-inducing, and the simulated camera movements look like something Uwe Boll would even reject.
Perhaps the screenplay provides a ray of light in the darkness? Keep on dreaming, I would say, because every uttering of dialogue in this film is a “speech of exposure.” The characters speak in monologues, constantly bringing up background information that is necessary for the advancement of the plot, but which is not relevant in their current conversation. It’s like introducing your sister to a stranger in the following speech of exposure-style:
“Hi, have you met my sister, who has been married thrice and has a kid with her second husband’s brother, who secretly just happens to be your husband, isn’t that a coincidence, though to be fairly honest, I wanted you to meet my sister, you remember her, right, the one who has been married three times, well, I wanted you to meet her because I unconsciously feel irked by the whole situation and feel incredible anger towards you because this one time you willingly injected me with the T Virus so that I would die and your boss could take over the world?”
There’s just too much information in their dialogue, and it makes everything seem unnatural and forced. Which also counts for the plot itself. Everything that happens could have been avoided by a simple act, one that is either hindered by stupidity, or by meaningless and frilliness arguing.
Wait, with that description I have also described Latter Days‘s and Cowboys & Angels‘s plot devices. Near the end of Latter Days, a film which could’ve been so much more than just a mediocre gay interest film, the main characters fail to get into contact because of a mother who implies her son is dead. If this was the love of your life, the one you were supposed to be with (if you believe that), would you accept the vengeful, moronic mother’s statement? I wouldn’t. Call me crazy, but I would want to see a dead body, or at least a tombstone. Heck, I would do with an obituary, but no, in Latter Days the characters don’t follow through that passionately. And if a gay interest film needs anything, it is passion.
|Boy Culture||TLA Releasing||
|Role Models||Universal Studios||
|The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2||Warner Bros.||
|Resident Evil: Degeneration||Screen Gems||
|Holding Trevor||Regent Entertainment||
|Latter Days||TLA Releasing||
|Cowboys & Angels||TLA Releasing||
|Mambo Italiano||Samuel Goldwyn Films||