A couple of clunkers

I got Kino Video’s DVD of Expresso Bongo. I had been reading Pauline Kael and she said “Expresso Bongo, a satire on entertainment crazes, specifically rock-‘n-roll, is the best British comedy since the days of Jessie Matthews, Sonnie Hale, and Jack Buchanan.” (I Lost It At the Movies) Everyone in the film is a caricature, unreal in his exaggeration, which takes the bite out of any satire.  A very young Cliff Richard is in here, and one can appreciate how well he cloned Elvis for the British. Unfortunately it was not the best side of Elvis; the movie Richard is like the movie Elvis, except for his first performance which does have some energy in it. From the rest it is impossible to see how the rise to stardom depicted here is supposed to have happened.

The other loser is Flickering Lights. This is a Danish buddy movie in which a gang of inept thugs, fleeing with some loot, buy a restaurant and settle down, inexplicably humanized by the desire to have a place of their own. Capitalism saves! Also they fit in because it turns out that the people of rural Denmark are losers just like them. They name their restaurant Flickering Lanterns, which is the Flickering Lights of the title. The studio did not think much of the movie either, not even bothering to make the DVD anamorphic. I gather that Anders Thomas Jensen, who made the movie, sees Denmark the way Gerrison Keillor views America, with a contempt disguised as affection so that he can market his product.

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