Dogma (1999) Film Review

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Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) works in an abortion clinic and is having issues with her Catholic faith. Then she is visited by Metatron (Alan Rickman), an angel sent from heaven to participate in a religious mission – to stop angels Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) passing through a specific church door (that has been kind of opened so to speak by a local cardinal, played by the wonderful George Carlin). She’s being chased by a group of hocky playing skater kids/devils sent after them by Azrael (Jason Lee), and ends up accruing a gang of assistants; profits Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) and Jay (Jason Mewes), the thirteenth apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock) and Serendipity (Salma Hayek).

Kevin Smith ended up putting a clunky (though supposedly hilarious) disclaimer at the start, no doubt expecting a slew of criticism from a variety of different religious sections of society. As a non-religious person, but someone who grew up within a practicing family, I loved some of the concepts in this. Yes, I think Kevin Smith would have pissed off a lot of people with parts of this film, but why not? It’s a great yarn. Though I wish he’d let Silent Bob and Jay go – this film would have been much better without them, and I know it’s his thing, but still… And yes, I still think it was genius having Alanis Morissette playing God – certainly now it is a bit dated in that many folk may not recognise her, but I thought it was great.

 

Chasing Amy (1997) Film Review

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Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) put out a comic book together, and are doing the (very small compared to now) Comicon scene when they meet Amy (Joey Lauren Adams) through Hooper X (Dwight Ewell). Before long, they realise that Amy is a promiscuous lesbian, but she starts hanging out with Holden. (This for me is a big hole in the plot, because Holden comes across as a boring and morose tool and Amy is bouncy and full of life. Perhaps it is supposed to be chemistry, but while it is clear that Holden pines for Amy from an early stage, she seems to have zippo interest until he comes clean). Anyhow, they get together, but then Holden hears some rumours about some sexual escapades that Amy got up to in her past and he can’t cope with it. And, despite a very misguided and totally awkward attempt to resolve their issue, they split.

Getting past the lack of chemistry, I really liked this film. Actually, I really liked one part of the film, and that was that it addressed the double standards that many people still seem to hold about women and sex. That if a woman enjoys sex, if she has had multiple partners, if she has experimented with different things, that all of this is terrible. And this films says no, that’s not right. Stop treating women like this. (Of course, there’s only one significant women in the film… but is that an argument for another day? This is a film by a man about men dealing with men’s feelings – should there be more of an attempt to deal with women other than a hysterical (although totally awesome in all it’s realistic hysteria) rant in the rain? (Actually, was it raining? I just feel like it was) Still.)

It was directed by Kevin Smith who does seem to have respect for women and the concept of allowing them to make choices about their lives that don’t have to be judged. I may be mostly twenty years too late, but I may be getting on the Kevin Smith bandwagon.