They just don’t make after school specials dedicated to scar(r)ing America’s youth like they used to. Having been born in 1977 I was not alive to see the controversy that surely must have surrounded Linda Blair‘s rape scene in her portrayal of a 14-year-old troubled youth in Donald Wrye‘s 1974 made-for-television movie, Born Innocent. Yet, as exploitative as that description makes this film out to be, this is not another 1970s era profiteering female prisonploitation schlockfest in where nudity and lesbianism run rampant. With more drama than a classroom full of emo kids at the peak of their angst ridden adolescent years, Born Innocent feels more like a Lifetime Channel movie of the week than anything Roger Corman (King of the exploitative cinema) would have made.
Now I like my drama just as much as the next filmgoer, but I do have my limits when it comes to how much I can actually take in one sitting. Those who enjoy mountains of drama being shown for the sake of, well… drama, by all means, have fun with this one. It’s a doozy.
Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp
God damn! If there’s one thing I took away from this documentary it’s that Iceberg Slim was one bad mothafu-shutyourmouth! Slim’s story is told through accounts from family, co-workers (book publishers, not his hos), and celebrities. Coming from someone who knew nothing about the man, or his status as being one of the most revered black American authors of the 21st Century I walked away from this doc feeling quite satisfied.
I must admit I had prejudices of my own as to what this movie was going to be. Could you blame me for thinking that a movie about a pimp which is being executive produced by Ice-T and directed by the rapper-turned-actor’s manager and agent of the last 28 years would be anything other than something resembling a glorification of the pimpin’ lifestyle. I was expecting something along the lines of a 50 Cent music video, yet what I got was a mature, often candid, and thorough introduction into the life of a man with a very strong work ethic.
The Other Side of Sleep
In true text book case of style over substance comes the story of a young women so riddled with grief that she has developed a sleeping disorder; she sleepwalks. Sure, I’m able to appreciate a filmmaker’s craft, especially one who makes a mystery, and even more so, one who takes her time to bring to the screen noteworthy mise en scène framing, but all the well-thought-out scenes within a mystery film’s world mean bupkis without an exciting story to accompany it.
I’m not at all opposed to intentionally slow paced movies, or even ones where I’m made to see the world through an introverted protagonist’s eyes, but in order for me to find any enjoyment in a mystery such as this there has to be at least one interesting character trait in at least one of the roles. That’s mystery filmmaking 101, just ask the filmmaker whose influence can be seen throughout this movie, David Lynch.
Showtimes for Born Innocent:
Friday, February 8th – 8:00pm (Vortex Room)
Showtimes for Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp:
Saturday, February 9th – 5:00pm (Roxie Theatre)
Monday, February 11th – 7:15pm (Roxie Theatre)
Tuesday, February 12th – 7:00pm (Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley)
Showtimes for The Other Side of Sleep: (See Trailer here)
Friday February 15th – 7:15pm (Roxie Theatre)
Thursday, February 21st – 9:30pm (Roxie Theatre)