June 29, 2006
June 29, 2006
In August 2001, video gamers protested the cartoony feel of the new version of Zelda because "it would be nigh impossible to introduce a serious and epic plot and epic characters" into such a "childish environment."
It's not unlike that time, fellow old-school Zelda fan Jordan Barry, replied, when Robert Reed sent a memo to Sherwood Schwartz, expanding on his refusal to appear in episode 116 of The Brady Bunch:
There is a fundamental difference in theatre between:Episode 116, by the way, was titled "The Hair-Brained Scheme." Here's a synopsis:
They require not only a difference in terms of construction, but also in presentation and, most explicitly, styles of acting. Their dramatis peronsae are noninterchangable. For example, Hamlet, archetypical of the dramatic character, could not be written into Midsummer Night's Dream and still retain his identity. Ophelia could not play a scene with Titania; Richard II could not be found in Twelfth Night. In other words, a character indigenous to one style of the theatre cannot function in any of the other styles. Obviously, the precept holds true for any period. Andy Hardy could not suddenly appear in Citizen Kane, or even closer in style, Andy Hardy could not appear in a Laurel and Hardy film. Andy Hardy is a "comedic" character, Laurel and Hardy are of the purest slapstick. The boundaries are rigid, and within the confines of one theatric piece the style must remain constant.
Teevision falls under exactly the same principle. What the networks in their oversimplification call "sitcoms" actually are quite diverse styles except where bastardized by carless writing or performing. For instance:
The Paul Lynde Show....Farce
I dream of Jeannie....Fantasy
In the final episode, Bobby's hair tonic turns Greg's hair orange on graduation day. Robert Reed refused to appear in this episode. Oliver speaks the last dialogue of the series. And the word "sex" is used for the only time in the series.Wow, protesting the last episode? That's really standing up for your Craft. Meanwhile, how'd Zelda turn out?
To watch McQueen and the other cars motor along the film's highways and byways without running into or over a single creature is to realize that, in his cheerful way, Mr. Lasseter has done Mr. Cameron [director of The Terminator] one better: instead of blowing the living world into smithereens, these machines have just gassed it with carbon monoxide.- from Manohla Dargis' NYT review of Matrix 4: Cars
I already added X3 to the pile of sequel-sequels that I won't see [lessee, there's Matrix 3, Star Wars 3, Godfather 3, Police Academy 3...], but that doesn't mean I don't love reading the reviews.
Take Walter Chaw's review, for example, at Film Freak Central: "...an example of what can happen when a homophobic, misogynistic, misanthropic moron wildly overcompensates...
...It's Michael Bay's Schindler's List..."
March 4, 2006
Considering that the Decalogue is at least partly to blame for me deciding to become a filmmaker, and that it's partly an inspiration for my Souvenir Series, I can't let a Kieslowski festival go without genuflecting.
The National Film Theatre is running an in-depth program of Krzysztof Kieslowski's films and his influences/inspirations. It started on Thursday, but you haven't missed anything so far, "just" The 400 Blows and La Strada. [of course, what I meant was, they'll both be screened again.] Decalogue screenings start next weekend, and Three Colours screenings the weekend after that.
The NFT site is comprehensive, but hard to peruse, while the Kultureflash overview is deliciously easy, as always. How DO they do it?
January 19, 2006
"When I originally posted the video on the site I likened watching it to a life-changing experience 'on par with losing your virginity or seeing Garden State for the first time'..." [emphasis added]
That's part of Derek's description of #1, "Glosoli," a Sigur Ros video, which is pretty gorgeous. Obviously, it might be that I'm just waaay too old and outside the demo anymore, but if Beck's boring-ass breakdancing robot video is #47, I guess there really aren't 65 good music videos made each year.
December 15, 2005
So there's a full Sigur Ros concert from Reykjavik available to stream online. Two-plus hours of maxed out visuals and...aurals? You know what I mean.
sigur rÛs live in reykjavÌk 2005 [sigur-ros.co.uk]
Also, Ari Alexander's documentary tracing the development of Icelandic music, Screaming Masterpiece, opens tomorrow in London at the Curzon Soho for a one-week run. [According to Kultureflash, one of the highlights is footage from a firework-equipped Bjork concert in Central Park, which'd be quite a get; the concert in question was actually at Coney Island. But then I don't know Shoreham from Nottingham, so it's all good.]
November 11, 2005
November 7, 2005
Jia Zhangke's Unknown Pleasures was eye-opening, the tale of two disaffected slackers told in a Chinese-inflected, naturalist style.
Now Jia has turned his eye on a symbol-soaked Chinese theme park full of miniature world landmarks, which provides the impossibly contrived backdrop for an unassuming, bleak narrative. Roger Ebert loves it.
The World, dir. by Jia Zhangke [ebert via archinect]
November 2, 2005
When watched together, in sequence, Film professor Aidan Wasley says, the Star Wars 6-ilogy is actually revealed to be the world's greatest art film, ever:
Star Wars, at its secret, spiky intellectual heart, has more in common with films like Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books or even Matthew Barney's The Cremaster Cycle than with the countless cartoon blockbusters it spawned. Greenaway and Barney take the construction of their own work as a principal artistic subject, and Lucas does, too.Wasley goes on to talk about Lucas's interest in both the "never in a
So you mean the stilted storytelling and embarassing acting is good because Lucas intended it that way? I think that by defining "art films" as the uncompromised vision of a single individual--who we'll call an artist--then yes, Cremaster and Star Wars are both art films. But don't expect critical or audience opinion to be swayed by someone re-ascribing a whole host of a film's shortcomings as the artist's intention.
There's as much risk of turning out a dud from this kind of mythic, singular, lone artist process as there is from the much more maligned studio-meddling/compromising hack process. Think Gangs of New York, Baseketball and Team America World Police.
Star Wars: Episodes I-VI, The greatest postmodern art film ever. [slate via kottke]
Previously: On watching Cremaster 1-5 in order