By tully | Indiewire March 7, 2007 at 6:49AM
I'm an absolute nerd. I can't stop going to movies. I've been in a bit of a limbo state between the CA run and what is about to happen in Austin, so rather than being productive (though I am writing music), I've decided to see as many films as possible. A brief recap of the past few days...
THE WIRE: SEASON 4 -- I won't even begin to get into this right now, for words can't express how breathtaking an experience it was to watch the entire fourth season (all thirteen episodes) in a day-and-a-half last Thursday and Friday. Placed together, seasons three and four of THE WIRE make for the greatest work of art of the century. That cannot be debated or argued. More on this if, and when, I can formulate a presentation that is more than just giddy handjobbing.
ZODIAC -- I thought I was going to hate this movie for too many reasons to name (namely the repulsively juvenile FIGHT CLUB). Shockingly, I thought it was really, really impressive. What keeps me from calling it a modern classic is the story itself. No, not the fact that there was never any true tension (I quite liked that approach). No, not the fact that it was way too long (because it didn't feel long to me at all). Take away the virtousity and top-notch acting (Ruffalo and Downey were their typical awesome selves, and I am still on board with Gyllenhaal) and what you have is a standard TV movie-of-the-week from the 1980s. If you really think about it, this thing is g-e-n-e-r-i-c. Plus, I can't stand the casting of super-recognizable faces in smaller roles (James Legros, Ione Skye, even Chloe Sevigny). It automatically pulls me out of the film and detaches me from it. Perhaps that's my baggage, but I can't shake it. As much as I was blown away by the technical presentation, there was never a point at which I was no longer cognizant of the fact that I was watching "a movie." Which is what I liked about it in one sense--it really had a classic Hollywood feel to it--yet it kept me from being truly moved. Or maybe that wasn't the point. Either way, this was an example where having low expectations paid off. ZODIAC is quite impressive.
Today was a serious doozy. Check out this shit...
GREAT WORLD OF SOUND -- It was very exciting to see the finished version at this morning's ND/NF press screening at the Walter Reade. Now that I have seen it, I can confirm that Craig Zobel's GREAT WORLD OF SOUND is the best new American film of 2007. This is how movies should be made, my friends. GWOS is so intelligent that it simultaneously inspires and intimidates me. By blending stylistic influences from the past (SALESMAN, CALIFORNIA SPLIT) with distinctly modern techniques (hidden cameras, doc/fiction combinating), Craig Zobel has created something wholly inventive and new. But the best part is that the style and approach have nothing to do with what makes GREAT WORLD OF SOUND so special. This is a painfully honest film about how difficult it is to make one's way in a world that is harsh and cruel. Yet it is also laugh-out-loud funny. It really is a remarkable achievement. A little birdy told me some good news about distribution, but until the little birdy tells me that I can tell you, I'll just have to keep my mouth shut.
FLANDRES -- I caught tonight's screening of Bruno Dumont's Cannes runner-up at the IFC Center. Man, I REALLY liked it. I realize that this is an issue of personal taste, but I found the sound and image to be quite hypnotizing. I would say it falls somewhere between the outright pretension of HUMANITE (which I loved, by the way) and indescribable insanity of TWENTYNINE PALMS. The post-film Q&A was hilarious. Dumont is like a parody of a pretentious French auteur. For those who weren't in attendance, according to Dumont, the film presents an internal landscape, but you can't show the internal on film, so you have to use the external, so you shoot external landscapes, and you use that to convey the internal landscape that the film is actually about. Um, yeah.
VENGEANCE IS MINE -- It's serial killer week in New York City movie theatres. Shohei Imamura's 1979 film doesn't genre-hop, it genre-POGOS all over the fuckin' place, and I mean that in the best possible way. I was sure that I had a bit of a snooze somewhere along the way (it was a long day, not the film's fault), but discussing the trajectory afterwards with Mr. Jesse Sweet, we both agreed that maybe we hadn't snoozed, after all, for we seemed to be on the same page with pretty much everything. It's just one of those films that moves at its own strange pace. This is my first Imamura film, but it certainly won't be my last.
I think from this point forth the postings will be all about SILVER JEW and SXSW and March Madness. Hurry up, Friday morning, it's cold as a mugg up in this mugg. I need me some Austin, Texas!