Jun 11 2007, 09:59 AM
I just saw Knocked Up over the weekend and thought it was pretty damn funny! I really enjoyed it. :-)
Jun 11 2007, 05:41 PM
I watched I Capture the Castle last weekend and although not as good as the book it was sweet and beautiful.
Yes I agree that both the book and the movie of I capture the castle are super charming.
Another very good adaption of a recent Brit ladies' novel, though comic rather than romantic, is the recent version of _Cold Comfort Farm_.
PS Hey, T-gal, You there? I'll fill in you pronto on some of the cultural highlights of my breathless weekend.
Jun 11 2007, 07:21 PM
'course i'm here, waiting with baited breath...speak to me of film and beauty, oh dulcet dolor!
Jun 11 2007, 08:24 PM
Well then, ma chere fille de distension et anxiete,
Where are and were we?
Now does your interest in welding have something to do with metal sculpture? Then, in regard to Beauty, you must know that we went on over to Storm King in the lower Hudson valley, which is the Biggest sculpture garden in our fair Nation. 500 acres! The original idea was to set up one more museum of the Hudson Valley school of paintings, but someone had a two-fold conversion 1st in a quarry in Austria, then 2nd coming upon David Smith setting out his own sculptures in his expansive back yard, and so, it was born. Massive pieces by Calder and Serra set in the rolling hills. Wish you had been there.
Our host was threatening us with a Larry Buchanan film festival, argh!. but relented, decided to only compel us to watch "Creation of the Humanoids." My second time, but something to be savored again. We were transfixed by the "clickers." The acting style is so Kabuki that of course there's no saying who is the alien, and who is the human. Just like life, right? More talky than Last Year at Marienbad. "I thought you died alone, a long long time ago...?" "Oh, no, not me, I'm the man who sold the world..."
After everyone else when to bed, I plunged into the Charisma tree. Liked the setting, the camera work, but the heady portentous symbolism wasn't working for this head, so I bailed after about 71%.
Yes, I'd be delighted to find you at my filmic feet. Do you do pedicures? I know I'm supposed to make you beg for it, but... I just say Yes!. That's how Dolor is: A pushover.
Oh, I paused while half way through the first Seance. So tender hearted I just didn't like seeing that annoying little girl being kidnapped. Just a delicate mood of the moment, I'll plow through it tomorrow, I promise.
Speaking of relentless self-consciousness, you still haven't told me what you think of my avatar.
Oh just be ruthlessly honest, I can take it.
-- now I must fly off to dreamland.
Jun 12 2007, 04:06 AM
oh, darling dolor!
i was caught off guard by your lilting turn of phrase:
The acting style is so Kabuki that of course there's no saying who is the alien, and who is the human. Just like life, right?
only to be a giggle struck girl by this:
More talky than Last Year at Marienbad.
ah.... it's love!
although, i'm afraid i don't do pedicures, (how does one do that on filmic feet, i wonder), but you've certainly given me reason enough to change my stand on that. keep talking to me like that, and you will have the most beautifly lit toes...
my interest in welding, has nothing to do with sculpture, sadly, i know very little about the subject. but, i have no doubt you would be an extremely charming tour guide. i should correct myself. i do know one thing about sculpture: i love the huge tom wessleman sculpture in downtown seattle that everyone else hates. it's perfectly situated on the corner of 1969 and 1970. i suppose no one but me sees it's sad longing for free love. a unfortunate wild flower overshadowed by skyscrapers, faded by time and obliviousness...
i wish i could say something about charisma, but i STILL haven't seen it...after having it from one place or another for more than two months. something keeps me from watching it. (the charisma tree. *sigh.* you are so very wonderful!) i'm not that familiar with larry buchanan, far as i know.
and, alas, re: your avitar, i am not one for surealism in paintings. i am too literal, sadly. but i am so very glad you posted. i think i've caught a case of the doledrums, or the dolors. the-one-that-got-away was in town last week, and it's one of those bittersweet things. i woke up at 2 with scritti politi's 'a little knowledge' rolling round my head and spilling out of my lips. if you know the song, you've got it in your head now. it is, naturally about old love, and like that wessleman, or old love, an anachronism now days: out of fashion, out of date, almost heartbreakingly so. quinessentually 80's but like most scritti (or my old love), subtly cerebral, it's corners, soul and new wave, it's melody--quicksand-- much like my old love. i met her when i was a boy, the day after i decided to make the change. love at first sight for both of us. she made me feel like such a man, but she loved me way past transitioning, never missing a beat. she held me together.
Not a lot to say now
Except I miss you
Not a lot to take your place
Oh, in the heart of the boy
Ooh a little knowledge
Is so exciting
You became a part of me
Oh, and the world that we knew
I guess it's a sickness
That keeps me wanting
Ate away the heart of me (heart of me)
Oh, and the heart that I loved
Still beyond believing
In love forever
Quite the brightest star, girl
Oh, in the reason of sleep
Here's a verse for nothing:
To the way the world will be
Now we're apart and alone
Mustn't be unhappy
When you remember
Lovers never lose each other
Oh, such a lot to be learned...
Jun 12 2007, 07:52 AM
I saw Hostel Part 2. It was pretty lame, a lot of bad acting and grossout moments. Lauren German has pretty eyes.
Jun 12 2007, 09:04 PM
Alas poor Girl-Trouble,
It sounds like you're truly troubled now. You've checked into Heartbreak Hotel, down at the end of Lonely St....? Sobbing into your pillow? Was she the only one that held you together? Ah, what can I say? The sorrows! And I'll bet yours have been far more severe than my prosaic challenges. You're staking out new terrains, while I'm just caught up in standard stuff. When I first poked into the B-lounge, poor Dolor was being buffeted by such terrible pangs of loneliness (and on many fronts, not only the obvious lonelinesses of the heart, and that relentless skin-hunger). Being punished by the beauty: How does it happen that nature springing forward all around me is so lush, fecund, and lovely (I'm in the country, you see, while you are a swinging urban chica) and there is no one for me to share sweet affection with...?? To be natural, in nature... WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS??! But yay, that has abated a bit, I'm still marching on my own down the solitary path, etc. but now a tad post-pathos, and my more typical cocky side has returned, well, somewhat. Which is as I wish for you, dear soul.
Meanwhile, we will listen to scritti pol, ensembled. None of that lyric is too open-hearted for me.
Now, please let me drag you away from your Hotel:
Larry Buchanan is responsible for $30G AIP crap like "Mars needs Women" and "Zontar." Price of entry: your mind! I can only enjoy this stuff while with friends and high. Otherwise, we should sip tea and watch Ozu, in sober appreciation of the waves of modernity... gently lapping away at the Japanese family.
Now, If you want a serious suggestion from me, you know where to go: The Holy Girl. (And if you don't go there pronto, I may have to give you an imperious slapping!)
Meanwhile, I'm flying off to Prague this friday, with my aged father. He's receiving some mega-award for encouraging friendship across national boundaries, etc. etc. so we will be honored guests of the Czech Republic. Their driver will take us from the airport to the 4-star hotel... then on to the official tour of the Palace, the formal banquet, and so on. This is not my scene but I hope to get some appropriate threads fitted up today, so that I can play the part, and not embarrass or annoy the old feller, Dad. Anyways, I say this 'cause of course it gives a reason for another filmic tangent. So, czech it out: "Little Otik" where Karel and Bozena dig up a tree root, which then turns into their diabolical voracious baby, yikes! (I think this is going to be mostly stop-motion), and a more wholesome "Divided they Fall," set in WW2. Listening to Dvorak, Janacek, Martinu...
As you can tell, I think your know-it-all side, the one you want to overcome or push aside, is altogether hot. "Let T-Gal be T-Gal!"-- is what I say.
There's more than one fig leaf that can fall off, when the time is right. Now c' mon over here next to me, cuddle up and tell me all that you know, lil Ms Smart E. Pantz!
-- more anon,
Jun 13 2007, 12:19 AM
hee-hee! dolor! you are indeed the cat's pajamas! i get melocholy whenever i think about the-one-that-got-away, (after all, she did get-away)but dispite appearances, i am making my peace with the situation.
it is true i am a city mouse to your country one, but i love the country too. i miss horseback more than anything, but i want to talk film!
(perhaps i want to change the subject.) and the film i want to talk about (in my own circomspect way) is little otik! now i have been a fan of jan svankmeyer since i stumbled across his film alice, which, along with some bros. quay shorts the rep theatre i worked at was playing, i was smitten! i've seen most of his other films (possibly all) EXCEPT little otik. it's one that has been on my list since it was made... it's been in my netflix que for more than 2 years. sigh. some life goals-- seeing little otik, larry the arab, charisma, once or seeing the spaghetti space-opera starcrash for a second-- are simply pipe dreams. stars beyond reach. *sigh*
and yes it's another movie i always recommend (really there are only 4 movies i talk about, i just rotate them), but that don't mean they are not marvelous....
if you haven't seen it, hukkle. beautiful, lyrical, smart and nearly silent. i won't say much more, save that it is/would be in my top 10 best movies of all time.
ok. lack of sleep has caught up with me. g'nite dolor dearest!
eta:note to myself: drunken sleepy posting does not work.
Jun 13 2007, 05:37 AM
Yes, getting back to topic 1, before the lounge-police boot our soppy hearts out of this thread,
I finally wrapped up "Seance on a Wet Afternoon" yesterday, and thanks for that. I do think that both Kim Stanley (the famous, the unknown....) and Richard Attenborough to an exemplary job as this crazed British couple. And it's interesting to compare their accomplished technique to the thoroughly clunky styles of the police, and most of the extras.
Also I liked that moody wet B&W. (Lived in London for 3.5 years, so I know all about that soggy scene.)
We know Rich A as the director of mega-clunky epics so its good to remind ourselves what he could do as an actor, where he began. One movie I've been wanting to see for years is Brighton Rock, featuring his extraordinary work (they say) has the demonic Pinky. (I've read the book.) It's not available over here. So far.
I'll be watching Lil Otik over the next two days.
-- lil Dolor
PS OH, wait for it, here's the movie that I have watched MORE TIMES than any other over the past 15 years... (I own it, of course.) Three Caballeros. Yes, the 1944 Disney cartoon. Not that it's my fave of all time, I'm not that silly, but it is the most repeatedly watchable. It has EVERYTHING: singing, dancing, trains, flying, costumes, nostalgia + time-travel, scores of "pretty gurls," romantic delirium, dislocation /confusion of the self, a bizarre and obnoxious political sub-text, fantastic animation (mixed with live-action, the most impressive instance of this prior to Who Killed Roger R?) and takes off into mescaline-induced insanity! Who can ask for more than that?? Not I!
(But if you wanna check it out, set aside the two initial tedious cartoons-- things don't get going until Donald & Carioca the parrot hop on the train for Bahia.) Tip: If you skip into Spanish during the song interludes, then you hear them in their original toungue-- and "Bahia" (yes, the byoutiful "Bahia"...) turns up in Portuguese! One of my favorite make-out tunes... "Ah, Bahia...."
-- whoops the Lounge police are wagging their fingers s'more, and so gushy Dolor must skip out of here...
Jun 13 2007, 08:59 AM
you know of scritti AND love the song Bahia?! funny (or more importantly, witty), smart, traveled, and adore film? oh dolor, if there is no one to lurve on our little country mouse, surely the other country mice are a bunch of addle brained rats! dreamy dolor! the film festival ends this weekend 400+ films and i've seen.......one. sniff. t'was a good one, mind you, but the number is anemic compared to my past records.... i think i know how those high school jocks whose glory days are behind them feel....sniff.
my jealousy of your mere posession (if only temporary) of little otik is enough to drive me to distraction. all of my friends have seen it. i do mean all-- even the bizarre non-film watching ones who would rather go outside on a sunny day than stay indoors, watching a good movie, which, i cannot fathom for the life of me. to quote logan's run, "I HATE OUTSIDE!". huh? oh yeah, little otik. they have some sort of otik inside joke that they will not share with me since, they say, i haven't seen the film. hmph! some people just need to rub your nose in it! some day. someday perhaps i'll see it. so, do you have, dreamy dolor, a list of movies you steadfastly REFUSE TO SEE? i am tempted to put anything more by the soporific matt barney, but they are usually mainstream movies like: forrest gump, and titanic.
Jun 14 2007, 05:04 AM
Thank you for your warm words. Our alone-ness is a puzzle. There are explanations, but they would take time, and be more serious than we've been here. As I said before, I'm older than you... and "It does not get easier." (Consider yourself warned.) On the other hand, Dolor's situation is quite Johnny Normal compared to Trouble-Girl's exotic blend.
In an event, tomorrow I'm driving to Boston, then flying to Prague, so I must be brief. Which is not my nature! You may be w/o your Dolor for ten days or so. "Ah, do Remember me..." Perhaps I'll be checking in from there? So, in anticipation(!?), I spent the eve with LIttle Otik. As the interview says, it is actually much more straightforward than Svan's other more surreal efforts. Since it's grounded in the folk tale. The clever bit is how the tale is interpolated in this modern updating.
Also, it really plays up the mother's maternalism, which is frustrated... to the point of madness, and magic. It is her obsession that bring Otik into life, magically. Then intriguing how the maternalism is transposed to the little girl-- who also assumes adult sexuality! Ok, the rest is yours, tell me what you think.
hmmm, no I don't make lists of movie I refuse to see. But life is short (you have been warned, again!) and so best not to waste time on the dreck and fuckery. Stick to the good stuff, with your eyes on the prize.
As for Bahia, I think I may have found the original!, by Carmen Miranda when she was still in Brazil. The title is different, and the whole feel is completely different. It's does not begin as a make-out song, it's almost martial...?!
As in: "We must march, my darlings!"
-- which is Whitman, incidently, tho Dolor uses it very differently than WW does.
I'll check out huckle.
ciao for niao,
Your Lil cuddly Dol Babe
PS I thought his Svan's Alice was... worth the watch... but did not capture Alice. Seen it? No one has captured Alice! And I do feel that she could be rendered filmic. Having Netflix allowed me to finally see the Jonathan Miller Alice, which many Brits were keen on. But that didn't get it. For starters, you have to get the age right: Alice is on the brink of puberty... Whoops sorry for the digression... Chatty Dolor! You bring this out of her.
Jun 14 2007, 09:33 AM
QUOTE(girltrouble @ Jun 13 2007, 11:16 AM)
so, do you have, dreamy dolor, a list of movies you steadfastly REFUSE TO SEE? i am tempted to put anything more by the soporific matt barney, but they are usually mainstream movies like: forrest gump, and titanic.whoa, now hold on a sec, there! i stand by my belief that forrest gump is great for a drinking game. i haven't tried it yet, but the next time TNT airs it (which is, oh....every weekend) my roommate and i will be drinking every time forrest yells "lieutenant dan!"
Jun 14 2007, 10:06 AM
Or in War of the Worlds, how many times Dakota Fanning is carried by Tom Cruise. She barely walks.
I counted about 40-something times that Carol Anne's name is said in Poltergeist.
Jun 14 2007, 10:30 AM
hi wee faerie! i do hope i haven't offended. even though i haven't seen it, i'm quite sure that forrest gump would make a terriffic drinking game, as i would have to be stinking drunk to watch it. even better for me that i am a lightweight, so by the second reel (or TNT's 42 commercial break), i would either be visiting my lovely porciline friend, toilette, or passed out in a tableau of rockstar splendor, ass up, kissing carpet. thank you do much for the tip-- (i'd if you were here i'd give you a big hug n' kiss too, faerie-- i miss you), next time it airs i will watch the gump in a lump, so my friends will stop teasing me for being a film snob. i am sure they are sick of my argument that blind adoration of monster movies, frankenhooker and barbarella makes me exempt.
dolor! now that i've found you you're going to abandon me? i think perhaps i just follow paris hilton's lovely eg, and start a hungerstrike, but, i love food too much, and i just bought a box of corndogs and a 3 pack of cherry garcia....
i guess i will just have to soldier on, taking those marching orders to heart. but i refuse to like these, dull dolor-less days, and you can't make me like them either!!!
there is something i meant to tell you...hmmmmm....oh, i do thank you for your warnings, about life and love, and i would certainly not ignore a second of your solomon-like wisdom, but i have, over the years gained an unfortunate pavlovian response to the phrase "consider yourself warned". i'm not sure if you know, it is the tagline for the awful teen odor sensation "axe body spray". let's just say the reading or hearing of said phrase (or getting "axe murdered" as i've taken to calling it, for that matter) makes me run to visit my porciline friend. do know dolor, you need not refrain from using the phrase, just please use it judiciously.
as for our friend alice, i am really quite embarrassed. i suppose that i am forced to admit that...i.... oh, i hate to admit it.... i.... this is one of those bandaid situations where it's probably best to just rip it off quickly.
i don't read.
yes, i know. your view of me is diminished. in my defense, it was not by choice. it's not some sort of hipster pose. it's just one of those things... when i was a wee lad (so very long ago), i would read anything i could get my hands on-- outloud! infact, it was so annoying to my mother that she procured a pair of pitch black sunglasses for the blind that she would make me wear in public so i wouldn't constantly be screaming words that passed in front of my eyes. but somehow, since then (and i suppose this, like my intuitive braille reading, is another pavlovian side effect), my eyes automatically redact everything except movie subtitles, and film theory. infact i can't even read your posts, dearest dolor, so much as absorb their intoxicating essence. my cousin, my gastroenterologist, mark leyner says i just need a swift kick in the butt, to which i reply, et tu, babe! (what does he know anyhow? )
ich! i am not one for brevity either, am i? i wanted to ask you if you have seen seance (the kirosawa) and what you thought of it. although your silence on the matter may be the answer.... i saw syriana last night. i do love movies that actually have something to say... the terrorism subplot remined me of a movie (they all remind me of something else) of a fantastic movie called the terrorist. it was presented by john malkovich, but it's stunningly beautiful, every bit as lush and seductive as movies like scent of a green papaya (speaking of the pavlovian), but it's so ingenious-- it's beauty is in it's vagueness. strange as it might seem that a movie about terrorism would be inexact turns out to be the best way of making it's point-- it universalises the issues, but don't mistake that fuzzyness for lack of aim. it's points are sharp as spears, and even the cinematography incorperates it-- there are brilliant rack focus scenes that punctuate danger, politics and other filmic themes. a great, great movie...
ah well i have to get ready for school! i will miss you terribly. have a great trip!
in dolor departure denial,
ps. i should also menton (for no good reason) your leaving town and not posting for a while was redacted red.
Jun 14 2007, 12:52 PM
Hey there Tea Gal of the august moon,
Yes, I will consider myself warned about these warnings I might intone. We certainly don't want lil Minxy Dolor to morph into some pompous wanker given to dishing out gnomic existential mottos.
As for flix, I'm moving on various tangents per usual, and so will be circling around to Seance, as well as getting back to Bresson's mouchette. Right now it's Lady with a Lapdog (part of my post-Vanya Checkov thing), Goobye Dragon Inn, "I am cuba, siberian mamoth"-- a documentary about I am Cuba, a jaw-dropping B&W documentary made by the same team that did Cranes are Flying. This will be on my plate when I stumble back from the Czech Republic.
With a Czech honey on my arm? In love with me... or my citizenship?
I wanna see Syriana again. That was my kind of confusion.
Hey and I love corn dogs! I even tried to mix my own batter, and make my own. Didn't work, but let's try again.
-- time to pack my bags,
have fun sweet one,
Jun 14 2007, 05:04 PM
which cinematic adaptation of Alice are you discussing? (*struggles to keep up*)
I have a couple of different Alices in my dvd collection and wondered whether it was one of those.
I'm looking forward to the adaptation of American McGhee's Alice (the video game) with Sarah Michelle Gellar - not the pre-pubescent Alice but the deranged, adult Alice.
Jun 14 2007, 07:53 PM
gt, no offense taken! *throws a kiss right back at ya*
anna, you're giving me way too many ideas for drinking games!
hmm, i think i just want to drink. that's the only plausible reason i can give for actually wanting to see forrest gump. 'cuz i wanted to gouge my eyes out with a blunt object the first time i saw it. lol
i just finished seeing ralph nader: an unreasonable man. a little dry at times (and it had really wretched music), but i liked it.
Jun 14 2007, 09:00 PM
the alice in question was jan svankmeyer's, purty bunny!
faerie, another good drankin' game is to do a shot while listening to condeliza rice speak. everytime she says "uh" knock one back. the tricky part is to pour the shot quick enough to keep up....
oh, that's right....
goodbye dragon inn. i'm still not sure i liked that film. one of my best friends (a film reviewer), the last person i thought would like it, loved it. i thought it would be too slow for him, but the tiny funny bits are really intresting, i think i just liked the hole better. how can you not love a millenial virus that makes people think they are roaches? but in favor of GBDI; there are a couple of tati-esque scenes, that i'm sure you'll appreciate, delicious dolor!
that reminds me, i actually need to see dragon inn (hello, dragon inn!) it's the noodle opera being played durring goodbye dragon inn, of course. i should have seen it forever ago, since it has my #1 (or so) crush, maggie chung.
i was thinking about you today dearest, dreamy dolor, athough it got me in trouble. i wore a headscarf to welding class and i felt like a skateboarding norma rae. it was wooooonderful! sadly, my teacher (who is the spitting image of jack lemon, but with a beard), did not appreciate the reference. all the same, i wish you could have seen me, as i silently held up a sign saying "strike!", doing my level best to look over worked. my classmates (not ones for filmic references, but certainly looking for any excuse to loaf), stopped welding and chanted that same slogan. like i said, teacher no likey. i guess it probably didn't help when i did my best sally field accepting an oscar. and no, he did not like me, really, really like me. but it certainly beat (audience response wise), my trying to do a one woman version of 'the women' or 'zardoz'.
day dreaming of my dolor-mite,
Jun 15 2007, 06:01 AM
....maggie chung.... ye gods...!
I've said it before, but it needs to be said again:
when she's walking slo-mo,
in that sheath dress
with that sound track,
down the steps,
in the rain,
to the noodle stand...
is just vachement TDF!!
Jun 15 2007, 07:48 AM
PS ... and with her little metal bucket!
Don't forget the bucket....
Jun 15 2007, 07:48 AM
vachement TDF indeed. i don't think any being-- man, woman, child, animal, mineral or ... can survive her visage unchanged. she's been in jackie chan movies, the feminist action movie the heroic trio, as well as other wong kar wai films, but who could compete with her in in the mood for love? chaste, forbidden, but so..........devistatingly beautiful. and that moment-- that single moment when she proves women can seduce better than any man wordlessly.... [there are no words....!]
i will miss you so much dolor! have no doubt...
back to sleep then school,
your norma rae
Jun 16 2007, 05:47 AM
Yes, indeed, Maggie teaches us all a lesson in... how a woman can be... captivating, radiant.
In one of the "special features" that comes with either 2046 or In the Mood for Love, we have her and Tony being interviewed, and she's out of her shanghai sheath, and looking like a cute Hong Kong chick, instead. It's not like she's wearing a JON BON JOVI t-shirt, but... it's not quite the same charge as her entrancing TDF movements.... with that bucket. And tony L is just acting like some smilin' dude, instead of the Romantic Icon, or Brutal Asian tough guy. Of course, we have to let our romantic icons take a break from the weight of Being Beautiful every once & a while.
Meanwhile, your rambling D-gal is checking in from the exceedingly swank Lufthansa 1st class lounge at Frankfort, since we misses our original flight to Prague, Merde!, and so are cooling our heels. Which gives me a change to say, HEY, T-Gal, I've watched Charisma and Seance on a Wet Afternoon... but have you watched "The Holy Girl??" Or anything else that I've been yakking about?? Spirit of the Beehive? 3 Caballeros? What gives? Is this an unhinged and unbalanced relationship where devoted Dolor comes across with the goods, and you just eat corn dogs and goof off?? That's right, I'm being fem and super-sensitive, and if you don't *respect* me I will fly into a Major Sulk. (I almost said "you have been warned"-- but bit my tongue instead.)
OK, the drinks are free here, so I'm headed off the bar....
Jun 16 2007, 04:47 PM
oh dearest dolor....!
have i left you feeling neglected? i am sooooo terribly sorry! lord knows the filmic sun rises in your eyes alone, and i worship your very movie theatre seat. it just takes me a very long time to see a specific movie-- as odd as that sounds, it's very much true. many movies, like charisma, have taken me years to get to. the ones that stand the best chance for me to see them are the ones that just happen to follow me home from the library, then spend another two weeks loitering around my apartment, giving me sad puppy-dog eyes until i relent. usually those aren't the kind of
movies that someone with cultured taste like yours recommends, the movies you talk about are like my favorite resturants-- secretive tips from a fellow gormand who shares roughly the same tastes, and who has traveled to exotic lands and can separate the authentic from the americanized. holygirl is on my list, but netflix's killing of sister george has been on my desk for a week, and has to wrestle with 8 other movies for supremesy. add to that, i am in the last week of my welding basics course and the teacher has decided we haven't learned enough, and has been smothering us with reams of homework.
i know this might sound like nothing but excuses, dearest dolor-mite, but rest assured, there is nothing i would love more than to sit with a list of your movies, watch and discuss them with you-- really. in less than a week, you have become one of my favorite movie people, but as i said, usually durring film festival month i would have somewhere between 200-300+ films watched, taking in sometimes 6 films a day, but this year i have seen only one. i simply haven't the time. just know your films are on my mind, and a recommendation from you, to me, is more valuable than gold.
understand. i never thought that you would or should go out of your way to see a movie i had recommended. i was tickled, no-- gobsmacked --that you bothered to get one, let alone the others, based on my say. i throw so many movies into my posts in the hopes that there is on that you have seen and might give me some dolorism, some tiny tidbit of your views. i thought, if you were looking on netflix, and you came across one, perhaps my talking about it would encourage you to give it a try, and say how you felt about it sometime down the road. nothing more. i am sorry if it came across as something more.
i love to hear you talk about any film, and could do so until celuloid became a scarce resourse. i crave not just a list of movies for me to see, but your insight on movies i may never have the fortune to see. i just love your take on films, your wit, your intellegence, your esprit.... if you like, i will make a point of seeing your movies once the welding is done, in a week, as a show of faith, a tribute to you, my film goddess, focus of my i-dolor-try...
Jun 17 2007, 06:56 AM
Gosh... such warm effusion! Girl Trouble, you are a darling!
Meanwhile, my doddering old Dad is crashed out for his afternoon nap, after a morning of walking through Prague. Him bent over his cane, and me still somewhat light of step. Hordes of tourists on the Charles Bridge! All those JON BON JOVI t-shirts, etc. etc It was time for our T-Gal to sail down from the skies on a cloud and put that eternal question to us: What's with all this FUCKERY??
Well, we were able to turn a few corners, and find ourselves enjoying a grand view of the river, the city, and then passed into an idyllic quiet park. I do prefer a provincial backwater to these Great Cities and their fandom, but all was not lost. (Should this be in the travel thread?)
OK then, to get back to to our movie chat-- while the complements of your last message are still spinning in my brain and heart: Yes Goodbye Dragon Inn does elicit tremendous disagreement between those who loved it, and those who find it akin to watching paint dry. I think one has to be in the mood for its moody saudades plotlessness, or near plotlessness, to join the happy few of the first grouping. Of course, it's easy for me to climb out of the plot rut. But to make sure that I do, my plan is to get into the spirit of oriental transcendence: turn some of last year's opium harvest (grown in my garden in upper NY state, of all places) into opium tea. You can do it in a French press coffee maker, they say, 10 minutes of steeping, and don't forget to add some honey) then... Popcorn? Rainier Ale? (You are in Seattle, right?) And settle in for the evening's double bill of kinetic action-filled Dragon Inn (Hello!), and then the hazy moodiness of Goodbye Dragon Inn. Wouldn't that work?
And who better to join me in my second cup of O Tea than that slinky Tea Gal... of the August Moon?? With the french press of her pouty lips!
Uh-oh, I'm wandering off topic, challenging the thread police once more,
and so must step out of here for a bit. Time for some more urban vistas while Dad dozes. My typical environs is literally vachement, i.e. "cow-like." I live in a place of rolling forests and small dairy farms.
Jun 17 2007, 10:56 AM
dolor de la danger!
(if only i could speak to you in praguese, or whatever it is they speak there), i have been racking my brain to remember a movie i saw at the film festival years ago shot in prague. it was dog something or something dogs, which i mistakenly thought would be a documentary about that guy in american idol, randy something...? i figured it would be a quick way to catch up on all of this american idolotry, since i pretty much ignore the show-- save the highlights on the local news.
at anyrate it turned out to be about a guy who was hired to go over there to be a talent scout for the porn industry, taking photos of exotic women or some such, but he ended up falling in with a bunch of cripples and handycapped pan-handlers, and he ended up photographing them, and trying to tell their stories, while dodging the wild roving packs of pooches (and the ensuing pooch poops). it was really quite interesting. many of the beggars were of course real, since they had missing limbs etc. and far from disuading me, it made prague all the more interesting.
i'll have to look it up when i get home. i decided to take a cue from my delicious dolesome one, and take i tiny vacation, at my ex's for the weekend. there is a library in her hood that stocks lots of spanish movies (mine in chinatown, has lots of asian movies, naturally), i was inspired by a preview of volver i saw on some other movie last week and i checked out some carmen maura films i'd not seen. i have a horrible habit of falling for almovidar heroines (rossy de palma is still the one i lust for most. i saw her irl, and as i've said 1000 times, she made penelope cruz look like one of cinderella's other sisters. -- rossy being cinderella of course --no one believes me, but i'd swear on my life!). at anyrate, carmen was my first almovidar crush (older women have always been terrificly exoticly hot to me), and certainly not the last. i suppose some time i ought to get around to seeing volver, sometime, but till then the library was kind enough to loan me the promise (la promise) and the instructional video (i'm joking of course) how to be a woman and not die in the attempt. i'm sure there is another movie, but i can't recall it.
as for goodbye dragon inn; i think i fall somewhere in the middle. i have no problem with plotlessness, but the numerous scenes of watching people watching movies made me utter the catechism of faux film reviewers, "it could have used a good editor." but it doesn't. it has its mood (and the director is very deliberate in the slowness of his movies), i just had little patience for his patience. when things happened -- relatively speaking of course-- someone walking down a hall-- it was strangely fascinating, and when there was a funny bit-- like the tati-esque ticket seller, it was well worth it. but i still, i can't erase the blank spaces of the movie in my head, which in retrospect, are very much like watching paint dry. but i loved the hole so much i would watch any of his other movies without hesitation.
ok, well the ex needs to use the 'puter. just know i am thinking of you an would love to hear more of your prague hi-jinx, dear jetsetting dolor!
as you would say ciao for niao!
ETA: ut! here's how much i was paying attention (or how well i remember films), imdb says the movie was called stray dogs, and it took place in bucharest...
Jun 17 2007, 11:32 PM
First, some good news for all lovers of oriental movies, as I just learned this morning: Criterion has released the first Naruse movie available in the US, When a Woman Ascends the Stairs. Yay! When I looked into this 6 months ago there was nothing, and he remained the most obviously neglected of the Japanese masters in this part of the globe. Immediately to the top of my queue.
This popped up while looking into Fassbinder, now in order to give an answer to your query, a while back, of what I made of him. >>> Well, for starters, of course we have to admire his astounding productivity and seriousness. As for the rest... the jury is out-- once more. As we get older (mature?) reactions and assessments alter... with the wisdom of the years? Whatever. For you as well? (I'll return to this question, below.)
In any event, it's been a long time since I saw any Fassbinder. This goes way back to my years in London when I saw Ali: Fear Eats the Soul and the Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. Then much later, I saw Effi Briest and some chunks of Alexanderplatz when the whole thing (12hrs?!) was being re-broadcast on PBS.
As you already know I'll bet, the first, Ali, like the more recent Todd Haynes' Far from Heaven, is a remake of Sirk's All that Heaven Allows, with the class difference reinforced by race difference. (It was also great to see Haynes reproduce the lush color and melodramatic camera movements that Sirk made use of.)
So it's time for me to get back to Herr Fassbinder, and see what he's like this time around. Beginning with Bitter Tears. Now, the biggest alteration in my POV-- relevant to Fassinder, that is-- since my first viewing is my awareness of the situation where Gay writers /directors are transposing their Gay (i.e. autobiographical) frame upon women. I first came upon this puzzle in regard to Tenn Williams. What I'm talking about is the case that in Streetcar named Desire, for one instance, Blanche's attitudes in regard to Stanley, and her "life situation" are, if not thorougly Gay, substantially Gay. So that we are watching a plot in drag, so to speak. Have you encountered this kind of transposition? (I can add that I came upon this puzzle while also reading Proust, realizing that Marcel's-- the character in the Novel-- affairs with women, are grounded in Marcel's-- the author's-- relations with men. so this move is not only found in film, theater, but also in fiction.) This is one new insight that I will be bringing to Bitter Tears, this time around. And granting that BT is a lesbian melodrama, as opposed to Steetcar which is ostensibly straight, the issue is whether it is, in truth, based upon some kind of autobiographical gay male melodrama....? And if so, what of it?
And the question that follows is: Why put a plot into drag? Why would Williams or Proust do this? And then why would Fassbinder? Who never concealed his orientation-- so that's not the answer here.
And then, I'll ask you dear one, as you advance your gal nature, are your past assessments of movies re-arranged?
Here I am writing to you is my sober and straightforward manner, as opposed to my more usual silly and coquettish style. Is this OK with you? I assure that both are just as warm, my sweet Girl Trouble.
I'll write more about Prague next time, where we've been chatting about Czech movies of the 60's, and wondering why Milos Forman won't be joining us today...
Jun 18 2007, 07:51 AM
Girl Trouble, I completely understand your Rossy De Palma crush. She, ladies and gentlemen of the Academy, is what a movie "star" should look like. If I ever had my nose "fixed", it would be so that I could shape it exactly like hers. I'm still a little upset she didn't make it into Volver--but I don't think Almodovar wanted that film to be one of his outright comedies, which is where he seems to love to put her. She's gorgeous, as tall as the roof, and that face is like Spain personified, like Picasso gave up hating women and tried desperately to paint her portrait, and then had to admit that he sinned against us all before she came along. I bet she is highly and elegantly perfumed in Piguet's Fracas, too.
And even if she isn't, that's fine too.
I watched Volver again this past weekend, as my husband hadn't seen it yet....and it just blew me away the second time I saw it, for reasons which may not have much to do with the film.
Dolor! I am so glad you can post from Prague: I'm giving Proust, Williams, Sirk, Raynes, and Fassbinder a lot of thought because of you. I'm going to suggest one thing, though, about the couching of homosexual desire in a feminine disguise: maybe all of these men were making some critical observations about some easily accepted but disastrous notions about gender as a concept, (no matter how "open" and advanced a society claims to be). If you've ever seen Rayne's film "Safe", maybe the idea is better illustrated there.
Jun 18 2007, 04:55 PM
I am looking forward to checking out Sicko, later this month.
Jun 18 2007, 08:31 PM
oh dear! i am afraid this is all too much for me! i wish i could respond in a strictly straightforward manner as you have, but-- well in all honesty, i am a puddle, dearest dolor! a post from you about fassbinder, and another from my other super crush, cha cha agreeing that rossy is the zenith of beauty i belive her to be.
even suade headed rossy...drool
at the risk of sounding over the top, or, as you say, coquettish (as if i had a fear of that), i am in 7th heaven.
but on to matters of film, my pavlovian palate whetted, let's get to it! in the words of a victim in the (insert french continental accent) horror horrible, stay alive, "enough of all this cinematic foreplay! i want to f*ck!" i think that revision of fiction in light of the author's sexuality is always interesting, as is your question:
Why put a plot into drag? Why would Williams or Proust do this? And then why would Fassbinder? Who never concealed his orientation-- so that's not the answer here. i don't think one's outedness-- if that is a word -- has little to do with wanting to convey ideas in a way that most people will "swallow" but i think many authors use it as a device similar to george bush talking to holy rollers in his political speeches-- those who know will follow. it's a means of talking not just to a certain circomstance-- i.e. dating troubles, but more to speaking to issues that the speaker's community may catch that others would not, and talking to those who are still in the closet. if any author worth his salt would want a complex, enriched, deep text of his work, why would he not want to speak to those who are like him? part of the human condition is trying wanting to know we are not alone. i don't think wilde had a death wish when he wrote his plays (plays in frocks if there ever were), hinting at his not so secret life. there is something, both brilliant, and horribly sad, about not to speaking plainly about one's life and conditions. it is not always about one's own space, or freedom or identity, but knowing that you are the exception, that people like you must still be silent.
i fear i may not be saying this clearly.
as cha cha so wisely pointed out, sometimes it is done to point up the very theatricality, or falseness of our gender concepts.
i am sure you know, one of the most infamous plays in drag, is jean genet's the maids. in our lady of flowers, genet eludes to the maids saying, "i would demand that these roles be played by adolescent boys..." yet, rarely is it performed so. on stage or in film infact of all the versions of the maids on film, both feature female casts (i do not count murderous maids. it is based on the same story, but not genet's text). granted, genet's intent is for theatrical effect, and we all know artifice has fallen out of favor in this modern age. but the larger point remains, we are not quite ready for queer stories. they are seen by film financeers as having a limited audience, and who would finance or even see a historic, epic queer film like bitter tears if it were not...er... played straight?
many queer male directors seem to gravitate towards female surrogates, think almovadar or even john waters, not to mention haynes, fassbinder et al.
as for your sober style, dol-icious one, thank you, but if you are afraid of offending me, fear not! i have rather thick skin, and inless your intent is purient or to offend, i am even toned. i have spoken on many transgendered panels, and almost any question you could ask i've been asked before.
the question was about any revised views of films based on new information on the (director/creator/etc)author's orientation. sadly, no. i've been aware of these things going in, usually, but even so, i tend to gravitate towards directors who are visual, and fluent in filmic semiotic style more than anything else. symbolism, themes and codas next, but the story being a surrogate one has only a limited impact on my personal evaluation of it. infact in the case of Veronica Voss, say, i was far more interested in it's encyclopedic use of wipes, fades + transitions than the story itself. it has been a while since i've seen any fassbinder, my fassbinder phase was either my junior or senior year of highschool, so perhaps it is time for another look.
and i do know i had an awful crush on hanna schygulla in maria braun...
but more the crush i have on the two of you.
(as you read this, picture me with hearts floating above my troubled noggin, flashing warmly.)
Jun 18 2007, 10:55 PM
i fucking love almodovar. he's ties with lars von trier forr faveoite director ever.
i'm fucking drunk withe now.
but almodovar is my davirited fucking diretor ever, man. he reallhy is, i must say..
rossy loksy fucking hot.
i ned more wine manh. i fucking rfan ouf.
girl toruble...hyolur last post was sstyem oferload. ttoo much infotmationh for med right now.
Jun 18 2007, 11:06 PM
and ongoher thing. i'm wathcing rfoayl tenenbaums right nwi. kindof. and i would toalyyh do wes anderkin. i would cfuck his brains ougt, okay?
Jun 19 2007, 02:56 AM
and a post from faerie? whisky tango foxtrot! is this a parade of my bustie crushes? (god this is gonna go on for sometime... there's a long list of busties i adore...) but i can't resist, here's a toast to you, faerie!
Jun 20 2007, 05:44 AM
Okay, Faerie's the one who's typing drunk yet I'm the one confusing Todd Haynes with Claude Raines while perfectly sober. Scares me a little bit, but we don't need to get into that.
That picture of La Rossy draped in cowrie beads is iconic. That is some perfect makeup! Thank you for that very sleek photo, it's inspiring.
Here's the thing, on the whole "story in drag" and "gender" topic: when I think about a film like Aliens, for example, by Ridley Scott, I feel like it's "drag" of another kind--basically taking a female figure (Sigourney Weaver) and placing her in a strictly masculinist interpretation of the role of "hero" (and, for that matter, placing another female figure in the strictly male-defined role of heroine as well--the helpless little girl character called "Baby"). If you consider the function of drag in that particular context (a strictly hetero, masculinist, warrior cult society's core values, wrapped up in an appearances-only "feminine" form), it sheds more light on what Wilde, Fassbinder, Proust, Genet, Almodovar, and many others preceeding and following them have done with their feminine protagonists in contrast. Same device, but boy does the "gay gaze" create a different result!
I'm trying to figure out how to fit Shakespeare in there, too--so much happening there in terms of gender, and he lived in a time when practically the whole gamut of sexuality was considered the norm.
Or Hitchcock (was he gay? How could he not be?), who lived in a time when practically the whole gamut of sexuality was considered pathological.
Jun 20 2007, 09:28 AM
Wow, I was out of control with drunk-typing. LOL You should see the messages I sent through email. I really did want to fuck Wes Anderson. hee!
I must say, I love how this convo has evolved into what it is. Though I'm ashamed to say, I don't believe I've ever seen any Fassbinder!
ginger, I also can't wait to see Sicko
. This month has been absolute hell, movie-going-wise. I never really had a chance to go because of school, and of course this month, when I have nothing but time on my hands, all there is is crap! ugh.
I saw La Vie En Rose
at the movies this weekend, about Edith Piaf's life. It was really
depressing! I didn't care much for a lot of the filmmaking techniques, like it was trying too hard to be artsy. But Marion Cotillard was phenomenal
as Piaf. Get the woman some Best Actress awards!
Jun 20 2007, 01:40 PM
um faerie, if i havent mentioned it, i personally hope to get more drunken emails and posts on my profile. you are so damn cute!
as for not seeing any fassbinder, i wouldn't worry about it unless our conversation has sparked an interest. this is stricly my opinion, but, i don't think most people have (unless they are crazy obsessive film peoples) unless they are into theatre, german films, or some other oddball reason (like being german in the 70's and 80's). i fall into all the categories (save the being german). lots of directors who were huge when video first came out have fallen out of favor, although he does find his way into most blockbusters via maria braun. nowadays you'd only know about them if you read film theory books, magazines (like cinaste), film classes etc. unless i miss my guess..
npr did a story on michael moore/ sicko this morning. it was kinda dumb. they made a point of nitpicking on some of his points, but then being intentionally vague when talking about their own stats. the worst is it's annoyingly cutesy patronizing ending. linky:morning edition: mm/sicko
i am so jealous you got to see la vie. it was at the film festival, but i missed it...
Jun 20 2007, 03:27 PM
It's funny, but I think I am noticing a "let's pick on Mikey" media tendency lately, now that he's out promoting his new documentary Sicko. I watched Michael Moore's appearance on David Letterman the other night and I got the distinct impression that Dave was actually being sarcastic to him and implying that he was dishonest in his filmmaking. I think I saw Michael Moore actually flinch--and then make a suitable, courageous comeback to one of Dave's snarky dismissals at one point and the audience seemed to cheer him on in very subtly standing up to Dave.
And now NPR's doing the same kind of snide thing.
Watching the Dave show the other night I felt a little odd about it, like something was wrong and Michael Moore walked into a tiny little bit of a trap. I've seen Dave welcome all kinds of idiotic guests who are pushing whatever ridiculous movies they've made and he's always allowed them to speak while never being critical about the film they've come on the show to flog.
Anyone else notice this?
Jun 20 2007, 08:08 PM
not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it's republican propaganda. they did the same thing to al gore's film. any documentary that might effect the status quo gets that whole mechanism going.
if a can recommend something on a similar topic (and when don't i?), check out 30 days, which usually airs on the fx networks, i think it might be out on dvd. if you like michael moore, this is similar, it's by the guy who made the film supersize me, morgan sperlock. the premise is that someone who has a particular point of view agrees to live 30 days in the life in the shoes of the type of person they have the opinion about, i.e. a xtian lives as a muslim, a straight guy lives as a gay man, usually there are rules that keep the person doing this honest. sometimes their lives are changed, sometimes not, but along the way, sperlock talks about the issue and gives out facts and figures that deepen the viewers understanding of the issue, and keep knee jerk reactions at bay. it's some of the best television on television, and i almost end up crying at the end of almost ever episode. the immigration episode is particularly heart breaking, and so worth watching. especially to find out how the man who is so anti-immigrant's views might have changed. what's also cool is that sperlock and his girlfriend aren't content to sit on the sidelines. they usually end up being the guinea pig. the premiere episode had them going on minimum wage, and showing how it is so not a living wage. great, great television.
Jun 21 2007, 06:24 AM
The thing about a conspiracy is that, try as you might to find clues of one's existence, it is by nature a completely covert, highly organized and well orchestrated mechanism. It's Caesar, the skilled and experienced emperor who would have been more than capable of avoiding his own murder, shocked to find out that all his plotting senators have each taken a stab at his backside.
What Dave (and others like him in the media) are doing is no conspiracy. The shock of seeing Dave do it, though, is that he's never done this to people like Michael Moore before--and that's why Michael Moore looked a bit surprised.
What's going on isn't covert at all: it's obvious, and therefore no conspiracy. It's unashamed suppression, planned propaganda.
30 days sounds brilliant. The only thing that beats the kind of hatred that's the basis for racism, sexism, and bigotry of all kinds is the ability to empathize: it's the only thing that can even stop a soldier from killing another, in a war. What better way to create that ability to empathize than to put someone, literally, in someone else's life so that their perspective has to reallign? Sperlock needs to get that show on something that is more widely accessible. It'd make a terrific replacement to all the other "reality" shows polluting my eyespace these days. I'll look for the DVDs, if they're out there.
Jun 21 2007, 07:35 AM
I did end up crying at the end of the immigration episode. I love that show.
Michael's kinda on my shitlist after seeing the Nader documentary; he was such a hypocrite! But I've still gotta admire the guy. I don't consider his works documentaries, but whatever they are, he's damn good at making them. And so I will be seeing Sicko. I am really surprised that Dave would act that like, though. Dave usually reserves that kind of animosity for people like Bill O'Reilly.
btw, I checked netflix and season 1 of 30 days is indeed available on dvd.
Jun 21 2007, 08:58 AM
oh god, how could you not? when you saw where they came from... so much poverty, even in the poorest parts of the us, we simply can't imagine....the guy's conclusion after the show was very interesting. i would love to see a reunion of many of the guests on that show.
sniff. i was hoping you'd get drunk and email me last night faerie. no such luck. but i love you sober too! you and your crazy toaster!
where is my dolor? i hope you are doing well....
Jun 21 2007, 09:28 AM
the immigration episode is particularly heart breaking, and so worth watching. especially to find out how the man who is so anti-immigrant's views might have changed.
I liked that episode a lot. The INS man was the son of Cuban immigrants, and was against illegal immigration. He said he liked the family he stayed with, but still disagreed with illegal immigration. It was an interesting episode.
I don't like Michael Moore. I respect his intentions, but I couldn't stand Fahrenheit 9/11
. I thought it was too manipulative and I couldn't stand it. Although I liked his series on Bravo in the mid-90's.
Jun 22 2007, 04:32 AM
Moore's no more manipulative than any other documentary film maker. The same can be said of Sperlock, too.
After all, documentaries are meant to communicate a specific perspective, usually one that isn't given any light or attention whatsoever. The thing about Moore is that he's figured out how to get this perspective across in a country where that perspective is rigorously suppressed in all forms of media including film (unless, of course, you're wealthy enough or connected well enough to secure any funding you would need to make and distribute that film). No one is allowed to think like that, or report thinking like that, or make any kind of creative work along the lines of those thoughts in order to publicize them in the US. Moore has been successful in figuring out how to do it despite a lot of tremendous obstacles. I was hoping a lot more work would be made and showcased in a way which by-passes the whole institutional muddle of film (so that we'd see a lot more relevant and critical work being made for distribution on the internet, for example) but so far, not much is happening there either.
He is very good at what he does, extremely resourceful. Sure, there are other documentaries being made about what is happening in the US, but many of them will never be seen (because they are either made by people who haven't the resources Moore has, or they are not made in the US and feature a "foreign" point of view...and Americans are kinda restricted when it comes to access to media from anywhere else in the world, or they are not distributed widely because the filmmakers can't guarantee the large return that an Oscar winner like Moore can bring).
The sad thing is that it seems to me that there should be a segment of the number of people studying or working in film or journalism in the US should be bringing criticisms like his up relentlessly but instead what we get are people who want to make films like Spielberg, who aren't interested in looking at what is happening in the culture critically. Moore seems to be the lone voice, and he's persisted in being heard primarily by making connections for distribution and funding outside of the US (another reason he's made to seem like he's "questionable").
He isn't great, not by any means, but he is all the US has, in terms of reach.
Jun 22 2007, 04:55 AM
where is my dolor? i hope you are doing well....
Hi there my sweet one,
... checking in from the Lufthansa business lounge, on my way to Frankfurt, then Boston! What a week! But I'm hardly all-business, when Girl-trouble is involved.
At our reception at the US embassy, you would have been proud to see your dolor with my video-loop button of Otisanek (i.e. little Otik) gobbling up GWBush, and spitting out his bones. This while being schmoozed by the Ambassador. And if you had descended from a cloud with your mind-provoking query
"How goes kind of all-FUCKERY this time, my friends??"
-- as translated into Czech, and back, it would have been very... liberating.
-- I must wobble off towards my gate, more free wine sends your D-Gal's head a-spinning,
Jun 22 2007, 10:38 AM
!sigh... i am desirous of dolor. you jet setting minx!
i tend to agree with cha cha; and i've always thought that the idea that documentarians don't manipulate to be an odd one. who was is that said that film is 24 lies per second, or some such? even if you use actual footage, the editing makes the lie, it connects ideas that will have certainly have events ommitted. the point is to set up a thesis and prove it, with actual people and events. even the use of voice over or title cards to convey info-- is a form of inserting personal agenda. all of the tools film makers use to craft their art are at base tools of manipulation. all of our so called 'reality shows' use these same tactics to tell their stories, the difference is that more often than not, they have writers and producers whispering things in the people's ears, inserting events and obsacles. comparatively documentary film is more than honest, since they haven't got the players under contract. documentary films don't reshoot scenes to have people reword or add continuity. that's not to say that the truth is of no import, it is, but the sort of nit-picking that is done in that npr piece is bullshit, and if you are going to accuse someone of not being exacting, then hold yourself to a higher standard.
saw saw III.i've enjoyed the first two, in large part because of the title pun (a old saw, as in an old story), but perhaps this series has worn out it's welcome. this one? meh. there were some interesting ideas, but i think i could see where some of the detractors of 'new horror' had a point, that so much of it is shock for shock's sake, and a form of visual sadism. while that was part of the point, it's dwelling on the first couple of deaths went over the line for the point they were making. i have no problem with gore or splatter, and rather enjoyed hostel for it's pitch black sense of humor and great payoff, it had no more violence than res dogs. i say this after seeing grindhouse, where i conluded eli roth is a disgusting slime ball. but until the story actually cut in (pun unintended), the killings were nothing if not gratuitous. yes, yes, shawnee smith's charecter represented the other new horror films that followed in saw's wake (hostel, wolfcreek, etc.), but still....whatever happened to humor in american horror films? i remember being grossed out and laughing thru some of the killings. now, the films are drained of not just blood, but sympathy and fun. although asian horror is pretty much played out now too, it was more interested in the kind of chills i want from horror.
brick, on the other hand, was a fucking amazing thrill ride. if you are a noir fan, as i am, how can you not giggle your way gleefully thru brick-- a straight ahead noir detective yarn set amongst the highschool set? it's sly references to american pie, hard boiled language, the great whatzit* and even caberet. but the best is bringing back the detective who is always getting beat up, but still doggedly pursues his case. it took me all of 5 minutes to fall for brick. while it doesn't play with the architypes like most neo-noir, it's faithfulness makes you wish the other films didn't. i watched it with subtitles, and was smirking thru the two hours. some of the lines are a riot. i think this is one of my favorite first films in years, and undoubtedly one of the best neo-noir probably since donnie darko. as much fun as it was to watch crank (which at it's heart was just a glossy, sterioid pumped, big budget remake of the edmond o'brian noir classic, D.O.A.), brick beats it out by light years thru it's wit and understanding of detecive tropes. this isn't some light weight version, this is sam spade, this is all those great movies, and as dead on as polanski's chinatown.
*the great whatzit was a mysterious item in noir films. the most notorious of which was the suitcase/pandora's box from the mickey spillane/mike hammer post apocolipic thriller, kiss me deadly, which most people say was the death knell of noir film. in kiss me deadly it was a nuclear device of some sort, althought it was never exactly spelled out. it was referenced in alex cox's repo man and tarentino's pulp fiction the 'glowing suitcase/car trunk.
i've got more than 20 films checked out from the library, but i've resolved to see the killing of sister george today so i can send it back to netflix so i can see a dolor picked flick...
Jun 23 2007, 02:25 AM
speaking of kiss me deadly, it seems it was directed by Robert Aldrich, who, it turns out directed the killing of sister gerorge, as well as the dirty dozen, hush, hush, sweet charlote, and whatever happened to baby jane. i liked sister george, at the outset it comes across as a bit stagy (it's based on a play), but ultimately it ends up in douglas sirk territory-- which makes me want to see far from heaven, todd haynes tribute to those 50s melodramas. even though i havent seen FFH, i would bet haynes saw sister geo-- its notorious not just for being one of the first movies to be rated x (though, by today's standards it's pretty tame) but because it was one of the first to take on gay life. it's interesting to see how lesbian life was looked at in the sixties. the word lesbian is uttered only once, and for most of the movie, sexuality is only shown obliquely. but it's towards the end when it gets more direct. interesting, although i'm not sure that i liked it exactly.
i also saw the descent, which was much better than i expected. a good solid thriller with an all female cast (infact, if you don't count the creatures, there are no men after the first 5 minutes. i don't think i'm ruining anything talking about the creatures. the premise is that a group of women go off to explore a cave, one that is populated by some sort of creature. i wont say more than that, but all the things i was griping about in saw 3.... well... let's just say the descent is a good horror/suspense movie that belongs more in league with alien than any of the 'new horror' hype/tripe. the charecters are interesting, and the horror elements don't really happen until well into the film. the best part is, by the time they do arrive the director has you so ratched up, you could almost do without them.
so dearest dolor, my next film will be of your choosing: which should i see first of all the ones you've recommended?
Jun 23 2007, 05:10 AM
alors je suis en passant mais,
I must pop in to say
kiss me deadly is all around fun, and esp for the amazing title roll at the start (can't think of any other movie that does it that way), a very young and lovely Cloris Leachman (isn't she the one who says "Remember me..."), and one more deathless line: "No more.... va-va-voom..."
As for noir, well it's impossible to reproduce in our time, because it is in now totally self-conscious-- how would you like your noir today??-- starting with the question of Do we shoot in color, or plunge back into emphatic B&W?
I'd certainly nominate Memento (which I enjoyed tremendously, and admire) as an excellent daylight-noire for our time, esp for how it heightens and *imposes* the elements of confusion and paranoia by unfolding both backwards and forwards-- the case that it's also moving forwards seems lost on many. Is this seductive woman my new friend, or a black widow? Rather than: only time will tell... it's time will un-tell.
And speaking of central europe (from which I've returned), and the spirit of heightened B&W have you seen Zentropa? I saw this before my apprehension with Triers' misanthropy and misogyny hardened... so not sure what I would make of it now. It's definitely something to look at. Also I want to finish his prior Element of Crime.
-- time to hit the road encore, and toodle home,
Jun 23 2007, 12:59 PM
yeah, i know every director manipulates her/his movie and there's no possible way to be objective, but i think moore does it in a way that gives him a genre of his own. i've made a documentary before (about an animal shelter), so i was always uber-conscious of my choices in how i wanted my stuff portrayed. and yes, i'll admit i did do things a certain way to tug at people's heartstings. that was the whole point; to make people see how fucked up the animal overpopulation issue is. but i think there's a huge difference between "straightforward" documentaries (if there is such a thing), and moore, but i can't quite put my finger on it. (spurlock, too, to a lesser degree.) that's not to say i don't absolutely love what moore and spurlock do, because their films do a fantastic job of fusing humor with reality in a way that definitely makes them more palatable to the mainstream than, say, the fog of war
or something on pbs. and the way moore took the country by storm, especially after fahrenheit 9/11
, was amazing. that movie gave everyone a hard on. that's why i'm so shocked to see that sicko
is getting such backlash before it even opens nationwide.
speaking of documentaries, i just saw f**k
(about the history of the work "fuck") last night and i loved it; it was hilarious. although there was one person they interviewed who had me fuming. they were talking about throwing the finger, and the guy said something like, "that's the worst thing they can do to a guy because that's like saying you're fucking them up the ass, and that's the worst thing possible because that renders them women." or some shit like that. i was like fuck. you.
and are my roommate and i the only people on this planet who did not like brick
?! i think seeing lucas haas walk around with a cape and cane was the final straw. although, i must say, i'm just waiting for someone to ask me how it's going so i can respond, "status quo." lol that and "coffee and pie, oh my" were my only two highlights of that movie.
i loved the descent
. a lot. i'd been hesitant to see it because of all the "horror" crap flooding theaters these days, but i was pleasantly surprised. i saw saw 3
with my sister and her boyfriend, and they were like "this is the best movie of the series." but um, no. i thought it was really paternalistic and sexist. i was really bummed, too, because i really liked saw 1
(and to a lesser extent, saw 2
"i concluded eli roth is a disgusting slimeball"
heh. i just wrote a myspace blog
the other day titled "eli roth is a pig." great minds think alike!
Jun 23 2007, 02:58 PM
yes, well i can certainly understand who people wouldn't like brick, but (in the same way they might not like jennifer jason leigh's performace in hudsucker proxy), and i might see it as way over the top, but it is it's over the toppedness that makes it at once true and ironic. lucas haas was orson welles in the third man, or (if you really want to go down the road of manipulative documenaries, welles' f is for fake). if you've ever seen his girl friday, jjl's performance is pitch perfect rosilind russell. to me it was just so smart and wasn't some toss off faux noir, but a very loving tribute to that genre.
and i was in love with von trier when zentropa came out-- that rear projection technique was what made me fall in love with cocteau's orphee (or orpheus), and to see a modern direcor use it, well, lets just say i peed myself. (i also loved the hypnotism bit. and zentropa was the first thing that came to mind when i saw stir of echoes, also a great neo-noir btw.) he was my fave modern director thru the kingdom, but when he did that self indugent piece of crap, breaking the waves, when it was apparent he was just a pretentious little turd (who else would make movies under the name erik nietzsche?), i do, however want to see dogville, pretentious as it, and he may be, since i love theatrical productions like that (ie pretentious), on stage as well as film.
i know what you mean about that whole fear of feminine thing that you mentioned in f*ck, faerie, although i encountered it in a much different context. i was doing some research on transexual cultures outside of the us, and in many spanish cultures guys can date trans girls (travistis) and not have any homosexual stigma-- as long as they are the pitcher instead of the catcher, if you know what i mean. and that was fine, i suppose for those times (80's 90's), but i wonder how well that rule works now that there is a new wave of trannies who like pitching, and to whom femininity means more (thank god) than being a man's sperm depository.
and yeah, that was kinda the thing i disliked about saw 3. i was actually looking forward to seeing shawnee smith take over as jigsaw, so her little piggy persona was annoying. besides, how long can that jigsaw asshole live? die fer chrissakes. everyone around the guy is dropping like flies and he's just puttering on. what's more, i find it ironic that he spends the last two movies lecturing people about 'how to value life' when all he does is mope and brood in that hovel. dood! travel. take a vacation, hell, smoke crack. do something else so you don't look like what you are, a hypocritical asshole. add to that the whole paternalistic angle too. which is not to mention what i was annoyed with in my post, the sadistic dwelling on the first couple of killings only to moralize about them later. the film is just as hypocritical as it's main charecter. dumb annoying movie.
descent on the other hand was a kick in the pants. i can always enjoy women being badasses on film. it just makes me happy. athough i don't know about the films message in the end: spoiler where all the women die where the rest of the film was about female self sufficency, the end seemd to say women will just turn on each other and fuck everything up. or that's the rather erksome way i read it.
and dolor, i have a hard time with the color vs b/w thing in neo noirs. i think i would have to choose an odd middleground of hyper color something like the 300 but with the color bumped instead of muted. i love the way noir films push the limits and are over the top. the obligitory halucination scene is always my favorite... i do like christopher nolan's films, momento of course, as well as following the noirish b/w movie before it, which remined me of darren aronofski's pi. which was also very noirish and black and white, and speaking of day time noir, how can we, in talking about aronofski mention the bleak fucked up nightmare that is requiem for a dream ( or any hubert selby jr film for that matter?). there is blood simple by the coen bros, or barton fink, a literary noir or my favorite existential spanish noir, alejandro amenabar's abre los ojos or open your eyes (cameron crowe/vanilla sky i spit in your eye! you do not even merrit bold type that i give to all films. you are poop. american pablum!) or the director's previous film, thesis or the first 2 films of john dahl (which brick reminded me of) red rock west and the last seduction... ich.. the list goes on and on....
i know what you mean about docs faerie, but even rather cold, austere doc makers like errol morris, manipulate although it is usually way more subtle. i remember when thin blue line (? or was it red?) came out, there was a bit of a hubbubb about the way he edited it together to make the case for the people's innocence.
dolor... you did not recommend which movie i should see? should i join you and finally see otik? or holy girl, spirit of the beehive or....?
Jun 24 2007, 06:41 AM
See, I loved Momento (and Following too, altho it was flawed) but really really disliked Brick. For me, although they could both be considered noir-ish, Momento was the real deal, while Brick was simply style over substance. Momento generated (for me) an emotional response, while Brick just reminded me of David Lynch at his worst.
It's not as simple as this, but the two leads arguably set the emotional tone (or lack thereof). I adore Guy Pearce and think he made Momento; he is oddly sympathetic in it even though we don't know anything about him. I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and think he did a good job in Brick, but I hated his character. (I like him more in another film I rented recently, with Helen Mirren: Shadowboxer. Odd film but intriguing cast.)
Basically, Momento drew me in; Brick left me stone cold. But then, I don't really like David Lynch either, except for The Straight Story. I agree John Dahl's films get the nuances of noir, despite being in colour. Did anyone see Soderburgh's The Good German?
Loved Far From Heaven though. Haynes gets Sirk perfectly, although it's initially disconcerting to see Dennis Quaid as a Sirkian villain.
Jun 24 2007, 06:46 AM
It is the Holy Girl which I do recommend to the Trouble Girl. For starters.
Directed by a woman who herself experienced such powerful Holiness during her Catholic girlhood.
(To be compared with aforementioned views of the female situation, of Antonioni (circa 1954) and Fassbinder...?)
Also, in an unusual elliptical and off-center style-- like life itself, I find. *Very* impressive, for me. Please Tell me if it reminds you of anyone else's...?
Now that I appreciate her technique more I want to re-see her prior "The Swamp /La Cienega" This last Almodovar was taken by, so he then helped with producing The Holy Girl.