It’s hard to know how to feel about the Eight Below screening what with the lady behind us who talked to the dogs throughout while exclaiming to her companion a few times that she couldn’t bear much more of the suspense this completely unsuspenseful film was dishing out – and the two old ladies in front of us who, before the film started, turned around to ask me my opinion, as a film critic, of The New World before proceeding to not listen to a word I said for about two minutes. Her main problem was that she couldn’t follow the narrative of the film and wished that she was fresher from school so that she might be more familiar with the history – when I said that that would almost certainly make her dislike the film even more for being a-linear and anti-narrative, she said that she wished that she was fresher from school so that she might be more familiar with the history. Needless to say, halfway through this Paul Walker masterpiece, the hankies were out and the declaration of “what a brave and emotional film” punctuated her evening and confirmed her sense of well being.
Did anyone mention in the nationals that the snow cat the heroes drive to rescue their hounds at the end of the film is named “Mare Biscotti” – “Sea Biscuit”?
It’s enough to make you sick: for me, it was just enough to plan on skipping the Running Scared screening next week. Another evening show for that one, I’d just as soon wait until it hits the dollar theaters and see it there on matinee. The relative silence and solitude would be well worth the two dollar admission price. Besides, the projectionist at my local discount cinema is better at his job than most of the folks running the machines at these screenings. At the least he manages not to consistently use the wrong lenses on his projectors.
Jeremiah Kipp conducts an interesting interview with freshly-fired Salon.com critic Charles Taylor here – with most of the revelations unsurprising, but worth repeating in any case and certainly still infuriating. I particularly like Taylor’s retort to the popular (and inscrutable) complaint that reviews should be assigned to people who are most likely to enjoy the film (he says something along the lines of “they do that already, they’re called ‘publicists’”). Is the conversation watering down? Not a whisper of a doubt about it.
That doesn’t mean, however, that when folks are presented with a film in a convivial community environment, that they don’t really get into the spirit of intellectual discourse. Speaking before and after Possessed, Leon, The Professional and Run Lola Run recently, with All About Eve (or Humoresque) and a classroom on Edward Scissorhands, Punch-Drunk Love, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind coming up this week – I’m constantly rejuvenated and edified by my interactions with folks bringing the full weight of their experience and prejudices to bear on a piece of subjective cinema. I love pinioning the spiritual progression of Tykwer’s Hitchcock and Kieslowski shrine; the mad ‘90s of Gary Oldman’s career, and the visual hijacking of a film by two of Hitch’s favorite cinematographers: Joseph Valentine and Robert Burks. What’s lost in most discussions of Possessed is its singular, nightmarish camera work. That and the fact that Crawford spent half of the film without makeup: diva that.
Will try to catch that Russian vampire flick this week as well as that Christmas movie that got nominated for the Best Foreign Picture Oscar while, on the DVD write-up queue, I see two television series (“Arrested Development” and “Alien Nation”) and a trio of Bette Davis melodramas. Weren’t they all?
Question of the moment: what books would you like to see adapted that have not or, more controversially, maybe can't be adapted to the screen. Mine for the latter would be William Goldman's Control - and for the former the Coppola-owned Kerouac: On the Road.
Reading Joe Eszterhas’ insane Bill Clinton faux-moir American Rhapsody and listening to the new Beth Orton and Roseanne Cash CDs – here’s the screen capture: