Sunday, February 24, 2008

Week in Review - oo8/8


Broken English - Zoe Cassavetes was once a friend of mine. I had heard this film wasn't so good, but I wanted to see it anyway. It wasn't bad. Ultimately kind of flat. It's supposed to be a comedy, but it didn't make me laugh. Mainly I saw it as a desperate auto-biographical self-justification. A sort of tongue in cheek woe is me; isn't my glamorous life tragic? Like if Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw was the daughter of Walter Cronkite.
Parker Posey was very good, as she almost always is. The rest of the acting was pretty flat. A friend of mine does a cameo that doesn't come off at all. Which from what I know firsthand of that crowd is they were sitting around feeling brilliant and cozy, thinking everybody else will think that thy are as great as they think they are. "Oh, R is so funny, I don't even have to direct him." At least that what it felt like.
I don't mean to say that Zoe hasn't had to work for anything. She certainly has worked hard as a filmmaker and in her other careers as hotelier and designer.

A Short Film About Killing - The first few minutes of this Kieslowski film are pictures of the ordinary beautifully framed. You can tell right away it's a Kieslowski film. It's like Fassbinder but the frames are deeper and don't have his melodramatic veil.

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly - It makes perfect sense to me why Julian Schnabel and Janusz Kaminski are winning many awards for direction and cinematography respectively leading up to the Oscars. I love how this film looks, but I always love Kaminski's photography. I also love how Schnabel directed this beautiful but difficult to adapt story. He allowed it to be a moving story without submitting to sentiment or allowing it to become some sort of trite against all odds film. It's not perfect, but it's very very good.

Kill Bill Vol. 2 - I put off seeing this film for a long time. I didn't like the volume one at all and I liked two even less. David Carradine talks and talks and says nada. Uma Thurman used to be sexy, but now she's weird looking and alternatively pants and glowers her way through the film, when she isn't flying around doing kung fu that is. Ho hum.


A Feminine Ending at PCS
Not bad. I only felt like I was being held hostage for about twenty minutes of the ninety plus, intermission-less performance. I liked its ideas about language and feminism. I didn't like the banal plot used to convey those ideas. Ultimately I dislike realistic theater sets - wheeling in the living room set, sliding the piano in and out from behind its hidden panel - and conventions - quick exits and entrances to articulate action. We've been watching films for almost a century. Unless it's a farce, hold your place on the boards and let fly, please. We don't need to stop going to see live theater, but we are a little more sophisticated than such hackneyed attempts at representing reality. Is it going to be about ideas and language or the goddamn easy chairs moving off the stage and back every five minutes?


The Eye is Quicker by Richard Pepperman - a book on editing. I'm rereading it. It's pretty good, addressing the basic problems of applying logic to making 2D images represent reality effectively.

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