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December 26, 2008

DVD Journal: "B. Monkey"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --


A small-scale London-set gangster romance about a sexy young burglar (Asia Argento) who wants to go straight, and the low-key teacher (Jared Harris, Richard's son) she fastens on.

Beautifully designed and lushly shot, it's an enjoyable, if somewhat lightweight, film in the movie-dream mode of Godard's "Breathless" and "Band of Outsiders," What gives "B. Monkey" a lot of tang and makes it memorable is Asia Argento. 22 at the time the film was made, she's like nothing you've ever seen: reactive and passionate, a Wild Child who knows only how to be true to herself and do things her own way. If she recalls anyone it's such other sui generis performers as Belmondo and Brando. Props to director Michael Radford for creating such a gorgeous cinema-reverie showcase for her. Movies would be a far less interesting medium than they are if it weren't for attractive and distinctive performer-personalities, and the talented people who figure out effective ways to show them off.

Semi-related: Buy a copy of "B. Monkey." Back here I wrote about Asia's loony and fascinating first film as a director, "Scarlet Diva." Back here I confessed that I only semi-enjoyed Argento in Breillat's "The Last Mistress." Back here, I reviewed a bunch of sexy movies, including Michael Radford's "Dancing at the Blue Iguana."



posted by Michael at December 26, 2008



I haven't seen the movie and have no opinion about it, but, your remark...

"... she's like nothing you've ever seen: reactive and passionate, a Wild Child who knows only how to be true to herself and do things her own way."

This is like nothing I've ever seen? That's a perfect description of the millions of spoiled brats in the various hipster-villes that I've encountered over the past 40 years.

Is this your "Stuff White People Like" moment? The unique taste of millions?

What's new about a completely self-interested spoiled brat?

Your review had the opposite of its intended effect. I'll avoid the movie like the plague. I can take a walk down Tinker St. in Woodstock any day and see a couple of dozen spoiled brats who are completely true to themselves.

In this era of abandonment of parental responsibility in favor of self-expression and getting laid, being a Wild Child is not novel, and it's also not very interesting.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on December 26, 2008 7:06 PM

I am rather puzzled by Argeno's cult appeal. I saw her in Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel, and her appeal evaded me. I saw part of the film she made from J.T. Leroy's debunked memoir, and while I can't call it a feel good film, Argentos's direction demonstrated a good grasp of the psychology of the film's self-destructive protagonist.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on December 26, 2008 11:34 PM

Not a big fan of Asia's either, although she is gorgeous. I actually agree with ST here, her wild child image is tired. Hung out with much wilder girls and while that was fun when I was 22, it's just boring now.

Posted by: JV on December 27, 2008 12:44 AM

Love Argento - she's a splendid addition to your "quirky girl" list. Did you see her in the recent "Boarding Gate"? She's become a more fascinating and ferocious actress in her 30s and I'm curious to see how her career will develop.

Posted by: res on December 27, 2008 4:10 AM

Goddamn that's one sexy exhale.
What can I say. I like smoking.

Posted by: Spike Gomes on December 27, 2008 7:17 AM

I respectfully suggest "Don't Tempt Me" if you want to see a unique bad girl in Penelope Cruz.

Posted by: hello on December 27, 2008 8:44 AM

Argento's new film with Catharine Beriliat(sp?) The Last Mistress is out on DVD .

Posted by: ramesh on December 27, 2008 10:32 AM

Saw her in La Reine Margot and xXx. Enjoyed Teh Hotness. The acting skills? Not so much. Yet another barely capable performer trading on the connections of a famous parent...

Posted by: JP on December 27, 2008 7:56 PM

I'll bet she always has to be on top.

Posted by: ricpic on December 28, 2008 8:48 AM

I ejoyed Asia in three movies this year: The Last Mistress, Boarding Gate, and the ultra-loopy The Mother of Tears. As res says, Boarding Gate is really pretty wonderful. It's a thriller that's been stripped of most everything but its raw nerves and jangled sense of dislocation. And Asia is unstoppable in it. I couldn't take my eyes off of her.

At this point she's one of my favorite actresses, up there with Maggie Cheung and Samantha Morton. I'd watch her in just about anything.

Posted by: ron on December 29, 2008 8:27 AM

To add to your list of worthies,

The Secretary: Twisted James spader Maggie gyllenhal fun.

Moonlight whispers: tickles more than one of my the same time

Quills: corrupting and ravishing kate winslet onscreen has never been so much fun.

Elegy: is all about penelope cruz's boobs.(but seriously, it's an important angsty film...)

In the realm of the senses: can get to be a sensory oberload...but it is worth it as long as it lasts...

Posted by: ramesh on December 29, 2008 12:21 PM

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