Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

City of God and Pineapple Express

Over the last couple of days I've seen a couple of films, the first being Fernando Meirelles' 2002 City of God, and the second David Gordon Green's Pineapple Express, released last year. One film was good and the other had funny moments, but was otherwise very forgettable.

Unsurprisingly, Pineapple Express was the latter. It's a film in which Seth Rogen reprises his stoner, never amount to anything role as a stoner who witnesses a murder and then runs straight to the apartment of his dealer, played by James Franco. Having recently purchased some a-grade pot from the dealer--the 'pineapple express'--Rogen's character leaves a roach on the road that drug lord and recent killer Gary Cole tracks him down with and a series of errors and paranoia ensue. There are some funny moments, such as when Franco drives a squad car down the road with his foot stuck in the front window, or when Rogen visits his High School girlfriend and later, her parents, but mostly it's a lot of scenes in which the two main characters smoke, do something stupid, and then end up with guns and fighting Chinese and American drug gangs.

Perhaps if Neil Patrick Harris had been in it.


City of God was pretty decent, however, and I enjoyed it. It's firmly directed and nicely shot and focuses on the rise of gangs from the slums of Rio through the eyes of the narrator, Rocket. For the most part, Rocket is a figure on the edges of the gang war that erupts between Lil Ze and Knockout Ed, and the use of him as a point of view character allows the film to examine both sides, as well as to show the contrast between the rich and poor (or white and non-white, one could argue). Meirelles uses the socio-economic culture of the slums (the City of God that the title refers too) to provide the reason for the crime life in the slums: it's the way to make a living, and one of the few ways to make something of yourself in the crippling poverty that the slums exist in. I seem to remember that when the film came out it was fairly popular, and caught a lot of attention, and I remember thinking that I should watch it after catching Merielles' next film, The Constant Gardner . His latest film is Blindness, a flick I haven't bothered to track down because I thought I'd read the novel first, but maybe I will, after this, especially since I've enjoyed both his films.

In fact, here's the trailer for Blindness, which looks pretty decent:

Anyone see it?


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