Friday, April 30, 2004
Just have to mention what leaden bores Love Actually & Big Fish are
Got through the former because Susan was into it, and there were some sweet moments, if you're awake for them.
OK, some other film notes:
32 Short Films About Glenn Gould got us into him for a couple days, I copped The Goldberg Variations from the library. Neat slice of a genius's life.
I'd never seen Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, only Smiley's People (which for some unholy reason isn't available on disc right now). It's about on par with the latter, the best stuff of its kind. Perfect for Sir Guinness, of course.
Spoorlos -- the original Vanishing -- was perfectly awful. I stayed with it mostly to confirm that it wasn't going to redeem itself, and I wasn't disappointed.
Finally saw Man on the Moon, which was very good. Probably would be more resonant if the country wasn't mired in reactionary lunkheadedness, I think.
Also caught up with Empire of the Sun, which I held my breath and plunged into because I'd just read the book finally too. The book is very good, especially on the psychology of living in a detention camp: very bleak and spooky. Essential for Ballard fans of course. The movie was among the most watchable of Spielberg's for me: though less dark than the book, he didn't pull punches like I figured he might. No one has really gotten the Ballard tone on screen yet though.
The Black Hand is a pretty nifty and surprisingly sharp portrayal of a few stalwarts' fight against the Italian mob in NYC in the early 20th century. Gene Kelly is quite good, and the script realistic.
Tokyo Story took a while to sink in, and I think Ozu may be a bit too formal and old school for me now (though it was nowhere near as static as I expected), but the maturity and humanity of his world view is unparalleled. Floating Weeds is just out on Criterion and includes an earlier version of the story Ozu did decades earlier.
I actually sat through a movie starring James Cagney & Doris Day! Love Me or Leave Me is from '55, and both of them are at their best. Day could act back then, and Cagney's scenery chewing is on a tight leash. It's the supposedly true story of 20s singing star Ruth Etting extracting herself over the years from the gangster who made her famous.
The Channel 4 production The Miles Davis Story is well worth seeing if you're a fan, not shying away from his sometimes violent misogyny and control-freak nature as well as documenting his remarkable genius at putting bands together to create the music he wanted to hear. After(?) Armstrong, the most important musician of the century; but perhaps even more inportantly, his ferocious creativity and Teo Macero's pre-hiphop cut-up technique were astoundingly challenging and revolutionary. Even that 10-second blast at the beginning of "Sun City" is so "on" it still gives me the shivers.
I was surprised by The Last of Shiela too. Much better than I expected. Like The Big Sleep, I don't really care if the mystery has any loose ends (though I doubt it -- it was obviously a labor of love for writers Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim, who staged similar mystery games with friends), it's just fun to watch the actors and hear the spot-on satire of Hollywood. James's Coburn and Mason have a great time.
Chuck Workman's The Source is as good an intro to the Beats as will ever be assembled.
Lastly, Almodovar's Talk to Her and Kaneto Shindo's Onibaba are each unique & well worth your time. Both tackle the mystery of sex in allusive and idiosyncratic ways.
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Thursday, April 29, 2004
shrubco deletes women and their issues from government websites
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Sunday, April 25, 2004
Much ado about climate change flick
Day After Tomorrow (see post) pisses off shrubco & environmentalists, the former ordering NASA muzzled
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