Monday, November 30, 2009
Lets face it. What I have to say about New Moon is not going to make a difference to you anyway. Either you were super super excited about it and have already seen it, or you would see Robin William's new film Old Dogs before you would see New Moon (aka never).
If you happen to be on the fence, I can't really help you. The film is pretty much as you would expect. Copious lack of shirt wearing. Slow motion walking towards camera (while taking shirt off). Voice over. Plot. More Plot. Though I do have to say that whoever picked Robert Patterson's lipstick shades should probably reconsider their career choice - Ronald McDonald much? The first Twilight film I actually found interesting, Catherine Hardwicke seemed to be trying to do something more than just please thirteen year old girls. There was style there, a certain adherence to a film style I think of as "Pastoral": shots of nature interspersed with action for no reason other than to evoke a certain mood, and through these kinds of shots a placing of mood above plot. In contrast, Chris Weitz's film is pretty simple. It tells the story well enough, but that's about it.
But really the $64,000 question is Team Edward or Team Jacob? Right? How about option C? How about Micheal Sheen who has played both werewolves and vampires?? Can I be on his team?
So in honor of Micheal Sheen and if you haven't had enough of vampires yet, try Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Granted, the first Underworld film is the best, but this prequel which stars Sheen as he starts the thousand year war between the werewolves (lycans) and the vampires is just a lot of fun. In the NY Times review of the film, Manola Darghis writes:
" Tricked out in leather and heavy metal hair, the British actor Michael Sheen takes a lively break from his usual high-crust duties to bring wit, actual acting and some unexpected musculature to the goth-horror flick 'Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.' "
So yeah. TEAM SHEEN!!! *Scream* *Faint*
Monday, November 23, 2009
I was going to write a little something about Precious, which was better than I expected (and surprisingly did not require the giant mound of tissues I had expected). Lee Daniels really does a good job walking the fine line between exploiting the subject and glossing over issues. But A. O. Scott beat me to it (read it!) and discusses much of the soul searching this film has caused. All I will say is that Mo'nique was truly amazing and deserves all the hype. ( and maybe I should have included the hug it out kitten again....)
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Among the year's most widely ridiculed statements in the cinema world, Lars von Trier's dedication to Andrei Tarkovsky before the end credits of Antichrist ranks right up there at the very top. Having seen von Trier's film myself, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's a prank on the part of the Danish provocateur, although, at the same time, I'm also not quite sure that Tarkovsky would welcome such an irrelevant mention.
In the November issue of Sight & Sound, editor Nick James, when discussing the tastes and selections of film festivals worldwide, observes that many of the prominent filmmakers of today - from Bela Tarr to Bruno Dumont and Apichatpong Weerasethakul - are "all unified by a post-Tarkovskian idea of poetic cinema", and "the reverence with which much of this cinema is regarded is ... too often uncritical".
I don't know. If James' statement is accurate, a film like The Clone Returns Home, written and directed by Japanese filmmaker Kanji Nakajima, would most certainly deserve a bigger audience than it has so far. By juxtaposing a sci-fi premise (cloning, space mission) with highly philosophical musing on such ideas as memories, family, identity, death, and the nature of the human soul, the film looks like something that you might get if Solaris and Stalker were ever rolled into one. (There's even a bit of indoor water-dripping!)
The wife of The Clone's astronaut protagonist is faced with a similar moral dilemma encountered by Solaris' protagonist. Her husband has volunteered for an experimental cloning program that will 'regenerate' his body and memory after any accidental death during his missions. When it actually happens, the scientists meet with her to relate the plan, opening by stating that they're not there to offer condolescence. The wife is, rightly, furious with the offer - you don't replace your beloved partner with a clone; although, when she's countered with the matter-of-fact reply, "In that case, we'll have to offer you our condolescence", her resistence crumbles.
All in all, yes, Nakajima's film is almost as boring as Tarkovsky's (excuse me). But then again, anyone who's willing to last the 110-minute distance will be justly rewarded with a highly cerebral, and strangely touching, journey into the afterlife.