Napoleon Dynamite: There comes a time in every young filmmakers’ life when he or she feels the need to make a pseudobiographical coming-of-age film, drawing and embellishing on her/his own adolscent experiences. Occasionally, if those experiences are interesting enough, and sufficient artistic liberty is taken, the result is a real gem, like Garden State. Napoleon is not such a film. Instead it’s a film about the utterly uninteresting life of a small town bizarrely stuck in the late 70s/early 80s, who’s highschool is inexplicably populated by 10-year-olds, stuck in adolescent bodies, played by actors in their 30s. I’m sorry Jared Hess, we just don’t care about your loser childhood. Only redeeming feature: some great 80s music from Alphaville, Cindi Lauper(sp?), and When in Rome; which I fear will now be forever tainted by memories of this movie.
Princess Mononoke: Very nice. Studio Ghibli’s track record remains unblemished. Nice to see an Anime film actually come through on the vaunted moral ambiguity it’s fans are always talking about. I love the way Monoke is introduced, mouth dripping with blood… it’s somehow a very compelling image; it conveys her wildness beautifully.