Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CAPSULE REVIEW: Kaboom (2010)

I just can't decide whether I should love or hate Gregg Araki. I thought The Doom Generation was one of the most vapid examples of style over substance and mid-nineties nihilism ever put to celluloid, while Mysterious Skin managed to handle an incredibly difficult subject (the aftermath of child abuse) with unparalleled deftness and emotional depth. Kaboom is somewhere in between. Focusing on Smith (Thomas Dekker), a sexually fluid college freshman, it might be mistaken for a corny day-glo television high-school drama with unusually strong performances, if that show was somehow blended with soft-core porn and moments of dread-filled apocalyptic Lynchian conspiracy. Sound like a mess? It is, but that doesn’t stop it from being genuinely entertaining for most of its length. The ending trainwrecks though, and feels thrown together without any regard for plot resolution or the fact that we’ve just waited eighty minutes for an explanation. Still, you can tell Araki had fun making this, and it’s worth checking out if you’re willing just go with it.

6/10 = Worth checking out

4 comments:

  1. I agree that Araki is a tricky proposition. I think The Living End is an important movie (and Totally Fucked Up also...) He's definitely a product of LA/body-obsessed superficiality. He fetishizes youth. He fetishizes twink adolescent bodies. He is sort of like the writer Dennis Cooper with less gore and more body butter. But his movies also feel genuinely queer to me. And genuinely radical in how they undercut and reject heteronormativity. I would actually argue that Kaboom is his best "true Araki" movie. I feel like both Mysterious Skin and Smiley Face were Araki trying other mediums, and I think he learned alot by doing so. Kaboom reminds me of shit like Liquid Sky and Repo Man. Yes his movies are definitely overambitious messes, but I'm really glad he exists...

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    1. So even with all the mixed feelings I have about Araki's work, I agree - I'm glad he exists. He's a filmmaker that I keep finding myself drawn back to time after time. I've only read some of Cooper's short work, so it didn't occur to me to make the connection, but that's a good comparison. I really need to delve deeper into Araki's older work...

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  2. I really like The Living End, but haven't liked anything as much since then. Kaboom I probably liked the least. Haven't seen Doom Generation, though.

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    1. Hi, Scott - thanks for reading and commenting. Doom Generation is one of those films where I get the point but don't enjoy the film that's built around it. I haven't seen The Living End, but since it comes recommended by you and Sean, I'll definitely check it out in the near future.

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