Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012). Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy is reminiscent of the Feral Kid in The Road Warrior. Which is not to suggest that Beasts is an action-packed blockbuster like the Mad Max film. In fact, where the Feral Kid seems a bit the outsider even among his community, Hushpuppy fits right into hers. Many critics have noted that Beasts of the Southern Wild doesn’t hold up to detailed scrutiny. What is interesting is how many of them also say it doesn’t matter. Zeitlin convinces us that this world exists in the “now” of the movie, and allows us to go with the flow. Dwight Henry as Hushpuppy’s dad adds just the right amount of unpredictable danger to his role (and thus, to the film), but ultimately, all of the residents of “The Bathtub” are shown as good people, including Daddy. And Wallis deserves all of the kudos showered upon her, although it’s worth remembering that whenever you see a good performance from such a young actor, the director needs to be praised, as well (and Zeitlin also praises Wallis’ mother, who was on set and helped explain the story and Hushpuppy’s motives). The responses to the film have been varied, if mostly positive … President Obama liked it, bell hooks vehemently disliked it. I think it would make an interesting companion piece to Spike Lee’s two “Katrina” documentaries. 8/10.
Bubba Ho-Tep (Don Coscarelli, 2002). 7/10.
The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, 1938). 9/10.