Had intended to get the Robert Towne interview transcribed for this weekend, but real life and illness intervened as I came down with a killer flu that, in addition to all the other appalling biological fallouts, led to a sort of existential fatigue that made it tough for me to keep my attention on any one project for more than a few minutes. Attention span like a hamster: made worse by a cocktail of over-the-counter cold medications and too little sleep. Meanwhile – that queue gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.
I did get to see, in a private screening, V for Vendetta which is, no kidding, the ballsiest excoriation of Bush Jrs’ administration that I’ve ever seen (and entertaining, too) – also Lucky Number Slevin and a very cool documentary on musician Daniel Johnston. A good week: with the exception of The Hills Have Eyes (go here for my review of the original) - I liked all the films I saw.
Watched Hills, by the way, with a packed screening audience that cheered (some stood) for every single slaughter of a bad guy. I don’t wanna’ give too much away, but sufficed to say that Aja hates Americans with a singular passion and has created a film so contemptuous of the folks he gets a rise out of that it’s not only pointless, but very much a part of the problem. It’s hard to know how to react when four-hundred people whoop in joy when a German Shepard rips apart a helpless guy in a wheelchair – but it’s pretty easy to react to a filmmaker who shoots such a scene with heartening music at the end of a patriotic payoff. Too pointedly, he makes the avatar of “right” a guy established as a “wussy” Democrat at the beginning while the Republican archon has his .45 used messily against his own wife and daughter. I thought of Straw Dogs a time or two and, you know what, this ain’t no Straw Dogs.
No one here gets out alive, I guess, when the pussy is a sociopath and the psychopath is ironic. A hateful little screed that, a lot like High Tension, would’ve done well with a lot less bestial, ill-thought-out vitriol and a lot more reasonable consideration. You wanna’ successfully tear down this government’s ideology? Take a page from V for Vendetta. The greatest shame is that Aja is actually a pretty good technical filmmaker. Now, if someone who’s seen it will give me some thoughts about the treatment of women in the film. . . I’m exhausted.
Moderated a nice discussion post-screening of Paul Greengrass’ Bloody Sunday: a film that only gets more topical day by day (and I’m finding, more’s to the point) that there’s less disagreement with my politics these days. The polls seem to bolster that grassroots observation. In any case, Bloody Sunday is dead brilliant. I’d forgotten how good and hope to dig up his earlier flicks (not Theory of Flight) – most of them ITV documentaries and docudramas produced in a similar vein.
This week: scheduled for an interview with Wim Wenders – a director that I adore beyond all reason though, curiously, I never liked what is perhaps his second-most-lauded film: Wings of Desire. Begs the question – what “classics” do you not get/like? (Add Casablanca to my list, too.)
Here’s this week’s screengrab: