Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Own Prison

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas Rating:

Pi Rating:
and 3.1624837485....

MST 3000 Rating:

Another round up of a few movies watched recently, all three having a mutual theme of imprisonment to various degrees. After watching these very dissimilar films, it seems the greatest prison...is...wait for it...your own mind! And there lies your greatest freedom. Or greatest downfall. Take your pick.

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas (2008)
A moving film about a sheltered German boy who is the son of the commander over a Jewish prison camp in WWII. Told from the boy's point of view, the film has a unique take on the holocaust through the eyes of a German innocent. He has a great deal of curiosity and empathy which leads him to strike up a friendship with a Jewish boy inside the camp. At first thinking the prisoners are farmers, the boy slowly begins to feel something is amiss but can't put his finger on it. That's because his perception of their reality is clouded by propaganda proclaiming the camps are a wonderful place and hatred against the Jewish race. The effects of constant propaganda is explored on both a personal and societal level in the movie, illustrating the pain and destruction to people's lives that resulted.

Pi (1998)

Directed by the skillful Darron Aronofsky, this grainy black and white film takes a fairly ludicrous concept and manages to make it a white knuckle ride. It follows a mathematician determined to find the equation that gives structure to the universe. He's convinced he can find this secret by finding a formula that can predict the stock market, using a battery of computers and stimulants to stay on edge searching for the formula. One day, his computer spits out a formula that the math guy originally thinks is an error. He becomes increasingly paranoid in his pursuit of the magic formula and possibly what he thinks in an error may be the answer. And what's more, various cults may be after him chasing this formula. Frantic direction, stark black and white photography and whiplash editing generate intensity with power. A man imprisoned by his own obsession with math.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1995)

One of my favorite shows of the early 90's, MST took movie theater audience sarcasm and elevated it to an art form. The movie is really just like an extended episode of the regular tv show as this time they take on This Island Earth with humorous results. While the jokes don't capture their ability to its fullest, they reel off a series of one liners taking off from the movie dialogue in a way that would make any Rocky Horror Picture Show fan proud. What does this have to do with imprisonment? The conceit of the story is a man and two robots are forced by a mad scientist to watch bad movies, the scientist hopes to find the one film that is so bad it will drive everyone insane so he can rule the world.
So you can face imprisonment with ignorance, obsession or humor. If you're looking for freedom, well, these movies aren't very optimistic in that department. Just for kicks, below is a compilation of some of MST3K's greatest riffage including scenes from a movie whose advertisement scared me as a child, Laserblast. As for imprisonment remember, they can take our lives but they cannot take...OUR FREEDOM!

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