"Run Lola Run"


German Filmmaker Tom Tykwer set the world on fire with his 1998 hyper-kinetic film “Run Lola Run” starring Franka Potente and her blazing red hair.  A master class in editing, pacing, and the use of music to pump up the action.  No matter what language you speak, Run Lola Run should be enjoyed by all.

When Lola’s boyfriend Manni leaves a bag of money on the train meant to pay off some pretty serious dudes, she now must come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks in 20 minutes in order to save his life.  The film is structured in a way that we see her goes through three different attempts each with different outcomes.  With a driving techno score, the pressure and urgency are bumped up to the max.  Color also plays a key role in the film with red obviously being most prominent, not only in her hair but with various other objects she comes in contact with.  Red is emergency, danger, and love.

Lola follows the same path and runs into the same people in each of her attempts to save Manni.  Although everything is just a little different each time.  Like a different plane of reality.  So where is Lola going to get the money?  Her father is a bank manager, but she is a little estranged from him as he left her mother and is in a relationship with another woman.  This plays out like a cheesy soap opera, but in a satirical way, just another distraction in Lola's quest.  Manni contemplates robbing a supermarket and when Lola is held up and doesn’t meet him at the agreed time he goes for it only to be shot down in front of her.  After each attempt, we have a scene with Lola and Manni in bed bathed in red light talking about their relationship.

Lola seems to learn from her mistakes in her previous attempts but fails on the second time as well.  Will the third time be the charm?  This time she's trying her luck at a casino and for a second time she lets out a glass-shattering scream that seems to stop time.  Will she crack the code this time and make all the right moves to save Manni once and for all?  “Run Lola Run” is truly an intoxicating experience that will keep you going for all of its brief 81 minute runtime.

John Waters "Pecker" is Full of Grace!


If there is such a thing as an accessible mainstream Jon Waters’s film it would be the 1998 film “Pecker”.  Without going into an in-depth biography of his long and storied film career, let's just say he has a passion for the trashy and distasteful.  Most all his films take place in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, and are filled with eccentric larger than life characters.  While set in Baltimore, the characters of “Pecker” are actually sweet and endearing while being just a little off.

Edward Furlong plays the title character of Pecker, the nickname was earned because of his picky eating habits.  When not working at the Sub Pit, he roams the streets with his camera photographing his world.  From the rats screwing in the alley to his girlfriend Shelly (Christina Ricci who works at the  Spin ’n Grin laundromat.  The Sub Pit will eventually become the scene of his photography exhibition that spins his life in a crazy new direction.

This film is jam-packed with interesting characters that occupy Pecker’s life.  His kleptomaniac best friend Matt, his Mema and her statue of the Virgin Mary, and we can’t forget his little sister appropriately referred to as Little Chrissy, who ends up trading one addiction for another.  His older sister is a bartender at a gay bar, who teaches us about “tea bagging” and his mother who helps the homeless dress in style at her Thrift Shop.  Last but not least his father and his bar, that has a stringent belief that pubic hair and liquor don’t mix.

The film's plot is quite simple but well-executed with all the wonderfully drawn characters and Waters signature wicked humor.  Pecker’s photo show at the Sub Pit is seen by a New York Gallerist Rorey Wheeler, played by Lili Taylor.  She turns Pecker's life upside down with the promise of becoming a famous New York City artist or more likely flavor of the month outsider.   Pecker enjoys all the attention but the photos he took are now unwittingly alienating the friends and family of his close-knit neighborhood.  This premise has been covered by both “The Simpsons”, “Family Guy”, and probably many other non-animated shows.  Waters captures Baltimore as the dirty little stepchild to the glossy sexiness of New York.  Also emphasizing that no matter what you can’t escape your roots and home is where the heart is.  The film is crafted in such a way that multiple viewings are just as enjoyable as the first.  From the Pelt Room to the Fudge Palace, Jon Waters vision of Baltimore is hilariously human and down to earth.