I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS

Legal download: Con men on demand

Article: Legal download: Con men on demand

The world of film is changing. For one thing, there’s not much actual film anymore. The future is digital; more and more, it’s streaming on our computers, too. Every week in Legal Download, we survey the landscape online movies to bring you a snapshot of what’s available. This week, we make our mark on the world of con man movies.

THIS WEEK’S THEME: Con Men On Film

I have a proposition for you. See, this guy gave me this watch. He owed me some money, long story, I don’t really want to get into it, but he gave me this watch. It’s a Rolex; look, you can see the logo right there. I’m in a rush, and I need some cash, so I tell you what. Just like he gave it to me, I will give it to you. The watch is worth at least $5,000, but because you seem like such a nice guy, I’ll give it to you for $500. No? Not interested? You think this is a scam and also a fairly silly way to introduce a column on con man movies that are currently available to rent, stream, or purchase online? Well, fine then. You’re no fun.

I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS? CHAMELEON STREET!

Article: I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS? CHAMELEON STREET!

I’m just not sure I get it. I watched a friend’s screener of I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS and was, frankly, mystified. Is “based on a true story,” or, as this movie states, “this is true,” really a satisfactory replacement for dramatic structure? Cuz this movie has, um, none. Other than Jim Carrey sort of bouncing around from scene to scene chewing up the scenery, taking us from one con to the next. Yes, there’s lots of gay sex. Yes, that’s great. Yes, that’s admirable to go there to such an explicit place with the actors and the story and yes yes yes. But ya gotta deliver dramatically, and not just ride it on out on a plateful of Carrey front teeth smiling that totally intense grin. Now that we are headed in to the Sundance Film Festival, I’m reminded of another Sundance film (MORRIS was there in 2009) that really took on the issues of passing – CHAMELEON STREET, winner of the 1990 Grand Jury Prize. A Sundance press release described it as “one of the first films to examine how mellifluously race, class, and role-playing morph into the social fabric of America.”