Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tarantino, The 'Basterds' and Cannes

Premiering his new film -Inglourious Basterds- at this year's Cannes film fest, Quentin Tarantino comes back to the fest that made him once cinema's bad boy- with his Palme D'Or Winning Pulp Fiction. What's happened since ? well for one, he followed up that crime classic 3 years later, with the very good -but not great- Jackie Brown. He then vanished. Not coming back till 2003 and 2004 will the Kill Bill films- two amazingly filmed tributes to the dying grindhouse genre he once loved in the 70's. Uma Thurman became a fashion icon with her yellow jumpsuit and Tarantino was back at the driver's seat of cinema's heaven's. He followed that film off with another grindhouse tribute Death Proof- I was underwhelmed but nevertheless entertained by that film, especially it's final 'car chase' sequence.

His new film called Inglourious Basterds stars Brad Pitt as he leads his dozen jews during ww2 to kill as many Nazi's as possible. Pitt's colonel wants every jew to bring him back 'a dozen nazi heads'. This sure looks like Tarantino territory but the reviews have been mixed- the film comes out august 21st and will likely made tons of money but where's the Tarantino we once knew ? He's never repeated the classic dialogue and classic energy that he onced infused in Pulp Fiction, but I do believe that is the whole point. He doesn't want to reproduce another Pulp Fiction, instead he keeps challenging himself with new and different challenges, some work and some don't. I personally cannot wait to watch Basterds, it looks like something different and -as far as Im concerned- Tarantino has never given us a boring film.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

'I wanted to see you, to see if I'd want to see you'

Nearing it's 50th birthday, Jean Luc Godard's Breathless has had such an enormous impact on cinema as a whole. Shot on hand held camera for a partly $50,000, the story might be simple but it has singlehandedly changed the way we look at movies today. The film is -pure and simply- all style. It's use of jump cuts is so revolutionary that it is still being used heavily to this day in almost every film and music video around. It's not just the 'jump cuts', Breathless crushed the idea of what a movie chould be like in the very same way Tarantino re-energized movies in 1994 with his influential Pulp Fiction. No offence to all purists but many movies before Breathless were stale and -at times- very stiff with almost no auteuristic style. It helps the beautiful Jean Seberg helps ignite this film with sexual eroticism and the amazing Jean Paul Belmondo completely crushes french stereotypes and brings rebellious force to his character- their relationship is what makes the story work while Godard's direction and style is what gives it its beating heart.

It's been called many names including 'meaningless' and 'aimless' but it's detractors forget about how influential and -yes- meaningful it's impact has with every single director today. Forget about history for a second and you'll see just how entertaining this movie truly is. That final scene is crushing to watch, it's the ultimate betrayal of a relationship. There's no better scene to describe the power and force of this film than that one. Patricia sits and ponders what she has done as her boyfriend Michel gets arrested and awaits what will likely be the end of his life as a free man. Did I mention how in love I am with Jean Seberg ? A life that went by too soon and a beautiful actress that was never been better than in this movie.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Von Trier's 'Antichrist'- what's all the fuss ?

Director Lars Von Trier is a talented man- 'Breaking The Waves' is just incredible stuff with a sacrificial performance by Emily Watson, Dancer In The Dark' -featuring an astonishing performance by Bjork -is out of this world and 'Dogville' with Nicole Kidman is as original as any movie she's ever done. But boy is the man weird, Bjork vowed to never act again after having to endure his intense direction and he's pissed off practically the entire film community with his eccentric antics- not to mention that he repeatedly proclaims himself 'The best film director in the world'. Now here comes his new film, playing in competition at Cannes, and it might just be his most controversial and gruesome film yet. Audiences booed loudly and audiences tried to overcheer the boos at its press screening just a few days ago. the question that's on everyone's mind is simple; what the hell are people fussing about ? New York Magazine has a sneak peek and I kind of understand what all the fuss is about now. Beware there are spoilers below :

So far, no review has gone into gruesome details, though, from what we gather, here’s how it goes down, more or less: After knocking him unconscious, Gainsbourg bores a hole in Dafoe’s leg with a hand drill and bolts him to a grindstone to keep him from escaping. Then, she smashes his scrotum with some sort of blunt object (the moment of impact happens slightly below the frame). We don’t actually see his testicles become disengaged from this body, though it’s apparently implied. Next, she brings him to a climax with her hands and he ejaculates blood (yes, it’s shown). But that’s not all! Later, in an extreme closeup — lensed by Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle! — Gainsbourg cuts off her own clitoris with a pair of scissors.

umm ok, I don't know what to say. I guess many people can interpret this any way they want to interpret it and I won't give my opinion on this matter till I actually see the full movie but this is disturbing stuff and something that -even for a man like Von Trier- is hard to digest.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

'I'm the Berlin wall. Come and tear me down'

Today's Image comes from John Cameron Mitchell's tremendous Hedwig And The Angry Inch- about a transexual overcoming all obstacles after a botched sex change operation which left him/her with an angry inch of flesh. It's a musical.

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