Reviews for December 26th, 2007
Smiley Face- Directed by Gregg Araki.
Jane (Anna Faris), an aspiring actress, consumes her roommate’s pot cupcakes and wanders around Los Angeles high during the day of an audition. Throughout her crazy adventures, she ends up with an original copy of Communist Manifesto and bumping into Carrot Top. Writer/director Gregg Araki never allows the plot to take itself seriously and the actors seem to be having a lot of fun, especially the underrated Anna Faris, who finally has the chance to show off her comedic talents loud and clear—her past performances in such films as Scary Movie and The Hot Chick merely hint at it. If you’re a fan of stoner comedies like Dazed and Confused or Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, you’ll get a kick out of this outrageously funny comedy. It’s a real comic “high” that’s best to watch with a bunch of friends after midnight. Number of times I checked my watch: 0. Entertainment Value: “High.” Spiritual Value: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief and check your brain at the door. Released by First Look Pictures. Opens at the IFC Center.
Chuck Close- Directed by Marion Cajori.
This mildly engaging, somewhat unfocused documentary is about contemporary portraitist Chuck Close, who still works even though he’s partially paralyzed. It’s more about the process of his artwork and his relationship to his subjects rather than about him, though. If you’ve ever wondered how an artistic genius gradually paints his artwork from start to finish, now’s your chance. It would have been more interesting if director Marion Cajori had focused more on Chuck Close as a person and artist, and asked him important questions such as why he loves art to begin with. Sure, it’s informative to listen to him describe the free-spirited nature of his art class back in college, which helped him to become more creative. The subjects he created portraits of include Phillip Glass and Kiki Smith, who are both artists themselves. He married one of his students back in the day when he taught art, when those student-teacher romances weren’t frowned upon. More insightful interviews with his family members would have helped to create a well-rounded and more compelling documentary for those more interested in learning more about the artist rather than about mostly about his art. Number of times I checked my watch: 3. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Moderate. Released by Art Kaleidoscope Foundation. Opens at the Film Forum.