At The Multiplex:
JARHEAD **** I don't know if I enjoyed this so much because my expectations were ridiculously low (after the Oscar-clamoring turd that was ROAD TO PERDITION as well as all the pre-release backlash), but I really don't have anything negative to say about it. I mean, yeah, we've been there and done that, I guess, but at least this one was saying something different, capturing the anticipation of war without providing the wuh-pow impact of actual combat. Which is the point. Which is why many people were disappointed. Which is why I wasn't. Which is why I'd actually recommend it. Which is saying something. Seriously, I dug all the performances, I liked the look, I thought the musical selections were great. I don't know, it just felt assured and right to me. That said, I would still recommend OPERATION: DREAMLAND over JARHEAD if you want to see an honest, objective portrait of soldiers trying to figure out what in the hell they're doing in the Middle East.
SAW II * No Elwes, no genius. Just major bunkness.
In other news, I thought you'd like to know that I had a major epiphany this weekend and just like that... I'm back to myself again! Thank fucking Christ. I was terrified there for a while. Which isn't to belittle the heaviness of the past few weeks, nor the romance itself. I stand behind everything I said, wrote, and felt. I'll be lucky to feel even 4% of that impossibly glorious magic again in this lifetime. It truly was one for the ages. I will reflect upon it with a disbelieving, reverent fondness for many years to come. Though, that said, the main point is that the terrible poison is out of my system. And so, for the very moment, I am simply content to be a lonely soul, reading words, paying off my debt, finishing the film, and.... (drumroll)...
reattacking my Netflix queue!!!
Seriously, if I'm not working through at least three DVDs a week (which I wasn't doing for a few months), I know that I need to reevaluate my current position. This weekend, I destroyed the three titles that had been sitting on my dresser for the past however long. And, as it always does, it made me feel like I had truly accomplished something with my Saturday and Sunday. Sad, but I love-love-love it. Here's what I watched:
HOPE AND GLORY (1987) *** John Boorman's nostalgic portrait of WWII-era England had some really nice moments, but there was a slightness to it that kept me from crawling into the screen and joining it completely. That said, there really were a lot of nice naturalistic performances and memorable bits to be enjoyed.
GILDA (1946) **** I have a confession to make. This was my first full dose of Rita Hayworth. I know, shame on me, how dare I call myself a man, who do I think I am, why don't I just retire from the business, etc. But that aside, I now fully grasp the hype. YES, PLEASE. Overall, the film is really sharply written and wonderfully executed, though the revelation at the end that she was actually an innocent sweetheart the whole time seems pretty bogus to me. That trick was a goddamn VAMP, yo. Still, I can't wait to see more of Miss Hayworth.
Z (1969) **** Another one I'm ashamed to admit I haven't seen before now, but at least I got around to it, so leave me the fuck alone! This is a shining example of a film that could be potentially overwhelmed by its style, but somehow it never is (a current favorable comparison is GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK). Actually, it's one of those cherished few in which the style adds even more tension to the drama on a completely subconscious level. In this case, almost every shot involves a camera sweep/push/move into a static position, but unlike showier directors, most people wouldn't recognize the movement. Though they'd certainly feel the tension. Not to mention one of the most breathtaking endings in movie history.
Back to reading about Vincent Van Gogh and realizing that some people have got it way, way, wayyyyy worse than I ever will...
Oh, also, today's Painting Playlist. I know that means a lot to you all:
Sufjan Stevens "Illinoise"
Sufjan Stevens "Seven Swans"
Smog "A River Ain't Too Much to Love"
Regia "The Art of Navigation"
The Streets "Original Pirate Material"
Neutral Milk Hotel "On Avery Island"
Mr. Lif "I Phantom" (which was interrupted by "Fresh Air")