Saturday, May 21, 2016
THE END OF THE TOUR(directed by James Ponsoldt) offers a glimpse into world of journalism, literary culture, and celebrity
An engaging film built on contradictions. A 'serious' writer works for Rolling Stone magazine specializing Pop Music. He is assigned to interview a 'reclusive' writer of a 1000 pg novel with hulking physique and dorky personality. David Foster Wallace is a one-man cat-and-mouse game. A passive-aggressive internal drama queen(beauty-in-the-beast) who both seeks out and hides from celebrity. His mind is too immersive for shallow pop culture, his tastes too callow for artistic depth.
Done without sentimentalism and sensationalism. It is also about clever Jew and messed-up Aryan and might make an interesting double-feature to A DANGEROUS METHOD. Solid film.
Seems inspired by the fairy-horror school of Tim-Burton-Terry-Gilliam.
Mostly fast-forwarded through this lousy movie. Given the degeneration of Christmas into Black-Friday-Walmart-Riots, maybe Krampus the monster better represents the spirit of our age than classic Santy does. But what might have been a cute 20 minute short film slogs on for feature length, and there simply isn't enough material or talent to hold our interest.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
This is reportedly Ted Cruz's favorite movie, of which he can quote every line. It isn't difficult to understand why. If ever a movie was made for dufuses, this is it. But it's fun and entertaining just the same, and it has at least two or three very inspired scenes: The first duel, the battle of wits, and the rescue at the end when the romantic hero summons a weird combination of intuition, skill, and stamina to rise above his semi-paralyzed stupor to unravel the evil prince's plot and save the damsel in distress. Not a pretty movie except for the romantic leads. One wonders which character Cruz identifies with most. The dashing hero? Or the cunning and conniving villains? Or one of many freaks? Probably all of them.
What is it about the Spielberg touch? Even when you know he's making schmaltz, it is often irresistible as it is here. This movie is a bridge between genre cliches and grim realities. It ventures just beyond the comfort zone to feel the chill of the Cold War but steps back inside to avoid frostbite. It's that ingenious balance of glow and gloom that makes Spielberg's 'serious films' appealing to middlebrow sensibilities. There's something that passes for ambiguity, but it's ambiguity 101, an introductory course accessible to all with a modicum of effort.
Spielberg's mastery is such that everything he does now looks effortless. You won't learn much about real history, but BRIDGE is still more intelligent than most movies out there. And certainly more entertaining.
Monday, May 16, 2016
This movie sucks for the same reason as the new STAR WARS(FORCE AWAKENS) movie.
The wonder is gone. Magic is an afterthought. The first JURASSIC movie was full of surprises as vision and technology. Already the second installment had little to add and turned into parody. Third one wasn't even directed by Spielberg. It was T-Rex on the loose once more with big jaws to snatch up more dough.
So, what does the latest installment have to offer? Only more advanced computer graphics. So, we have a gaggle of dinos stampeding and flying all over the place. The whole thing looks like a video-game with characters who only register as pairs of legs. The tasteless 'Trevor Lynch' of Counter-Currents defends JURASSIC WORLD because it has lots of white heroes(while denouncing the new STAR WARS for diversity-mongering), but both movies are cynical exercises in purse-snatching.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
A SPECIAL DAY(with Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni) Is a Special Film. Directed by Ettore Scola.
The kind of intelligent humanist film we rarely see anymore. Mastroinni plays a fruitkin leftist preparing to be exiled by Fascist authorities on the day Hitler arrives in Italy. The entire film takes place in a tenement complex and uses some of the devices made famous by Hitchcock in REAR WINDOW. It makes us think about history as heroic vision(as promulgated by propaganda and myth) and as private lives with weaknesses and vulnerabilities that makes people what they really are.
This overblown movie cannot make up its mind. It strives to be art film, fashion statement, Hollywood spectacle, faithful adaptation, free-flowing visual feast, etc. It is at once too faithful and too fanciful.
It's a mess. It has some impressive cinematography, but the images do not rise about chicness, prettiness, and obviousness.
The general rule for film-makers should be, if you don't have a clear idea(or ample talent), just stick to the spirit and substance of the material. Don't bet on gratuitous style and razzle-dazzle making up for lack of focus and vision. A lot of talent went into this production only to be wasted under the direction of its pretentious would-be 'auteur'. It's like a fine army sent to destruction under the command of an incompetent general. THAT is the film's real tragedy: Futile waste of talent. Justin Kurzel is to art film what J.J. Abrams is to the blockbuster. Mere shadows of real talents.
This is surely the worst STAR WARS movie, if indeed it could be included in the 'canon'. The sense of wonderment is gone. In what is now an all-too-familiar universe, there is nothing left but more chases and explosions. J.J. Abrams the director treats the material like bowling. Scene after scene, he sets up the pieces, rolls the ball, and watches things fall apart. He makes Michael Bay look like a genius.
The characters are so thin and the plot thinner that they make Lucas' treatment seem Shakespearean in comparison. The fact that so many critics and moviegoers fell for this junk(for reasons of PC or sheer stupidity) is proof that morons rule the world. Genuinely impressive sci-fi films like ENDER'S GAME and TOMORROWLAND failed at the box office. Hype trumps honest talent.
The only nice scene is when Han Solo and Chewy make their entrance. Like the saying goes, "In the land of the blind, one-eyed man is king." In a culture where everything is one-dimensional, two-dimensional heroes are next to godliness. There is more intelligence and intelligibility in Chewy's bawl than in all the jabbering among the insipid characters. Btw, why does Han Solo's kid look like a Jewish John Travolta?
I knew this would be bad, but I had no idea it would be this bad. It's up there with BATTLEFIELD EARTH.