Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dedicated to Mr. Fox

The reviews you've read are all true, this is a pretty damn good movie & it's actually done the impossible by making me view it twice in theatres. A Wes Anderson movie is always welcome in the film industry, what with a filmography -relatively 10 years old- that reads like an impressive one for any veteran out there: The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore & The Darjeeling Limited being the standouts. It makes sense that he would tackle Roald Dahl's classic Fantastic Mr Fox and make it all his own -from what I've heard keeping the spirit of the source. Without a doubt this IS an Anderson movie. The style, characters and narrative we have come to appreciate are all there.

It's made from stop motion animation and has an astounding array of one liners and zingers that cannot be fully taken in during a single viewing. In fact, 2 times isn't even enough to fully GET and grasp everything that is on screen. First off, the animation is beautiful and makes you want to just get inside this incredible world that Anderson has created. Not even the images I'm posting can actually justify the way it is all run. Secondly, I love the voice actors chose, George Clooney -him again- is perfectly cast as the dysfunctional father Mr Fox and Meryl Streep -wonderful in Julie and Julia- is pure class as the Mrs of the fox bunch.

The jokes are limitless. So is this movie's imagination.

There are folks who will take this movie way too seriously being that it is an Anderson picture and it follows the rather somber Darjeeling Limited from 2 years ago but I say go into it to just have a good time, it's his goofiest movie -even more than Bottle Rocket or the disappointing Life Aquatic- & if anything don't be terrified that you're going to a kids movie. This is far more adult than one might think, especially with the cast and director involved with the project.

What Anderson does here is look at the smallest, most intimate of details to give an artfulness that frankly lacks in most animated movies. It's breezy fun and I suggest you go a few times to fully grasp its pleasurable pros (1) The incredibly colorful animation (2) the insanely addictive jokes & (3) the goofy story of a fox that just wanted some damn chickens & -not to forget- Apple cider.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Charles Bronson & The Art Of Violence

In case you never heard of him, Bronson was imprisoned for armed robbery, his original sentence was supposed to be 7 years but because of his absurdly violent behaviour in prison- especially to the staff- he extended that stay to 34 years. All of this without killing a single person and for the majority of that stint being placed in solitary confinement.

I guess calling this movie art would be like calling a movie like 'A Clockwork Orange' art. They are both violent, nihilistic and rebellious- yet they both share an artful side that makes them singular art. Nicholas Winding Refn has made something that cannot help but grab your attention for its fist bloody 92 minutes. & what to make of Tom Hardy's incredible performance as notorious British prisoner Charles Bronson, this is the kind of performance inspired by Daniel Day Lewis' in There Will Be Blood- It's intense and incredibly cinematic in its unblinking harshness.

His performance is a classification of the 'Theatre of The Absurd' which doesn't at all undermine its prowess. Although many critics and bloggers -including myself- will call this movie such names as "intense", "intolerable", "violent" & " bloody", it is first and foremost a goofy -albeit violent- form of theatre -such as it is presented- with centerpiece after centerpiece and a very much episodic structure. In other words, it is the work of a filmmaker that frankly does not give a damn about how the movie translates to the mainstream, just as long as his vision stays intact with the finished product.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Martel's The Headless Woman

Looking at the recently released Film Comment and IndieWire critics polls, notice a movie that you've probably never heard of called The Headless Woman. Its roots reside in Argentina- which is director Lucrecia Martel's home country. His new film demands to be payed attention to, there is attention to detail like not other I've seen in a while.

Maria Onetta plays the titular character & she has just had a car accident. She stops her car for a second, looks back and see far away a dog lying motionless in the street. She continues driving and -at least based on this viewer's assumption- gets a kind of Amnesia that puts us in the same position as herself, not knowing exactly who is who. Not just that but she believes she might have struck a person in that very same accident.

If you think it's complicated, it's much more than you think. There isn't much story here, it's all about character and the social status of Argentina and The headless woman's guilt and isolation to come to peace with has just happened to her. The smallest details to reveal anything or everything come and go in the blink of an eye and I was awestruck at how such simplicity that can be so engrossing, especially on a tiring night such as when I saw it.

I remember thinking "man there's so much stuff to take here" & that's the kind of feeling this might have of many. Although it is told in such simplified terms, it is far from being simple. It asks -make that demands- for you to pay attention to its serene beauty and Onetta's incredible performance, which suffice to say is so good it will likely get ignored come Oscar time.

I'm about to wholeheartedly recommend this movie but be forewarned it is as artsy as anything around and will definitely not be as adored by everybody. It's a certain kind of film for certain kind of people, I guess I just was one of those certainties.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brittany Murphy RIP

With the news of Murphy's untimely death, there comes shock but there also comes a kind of bizarre tale of a girl that had so much potential but never had the time to fully achieve it. I'm reminded of her performance as a junkie in Spun-which given the possible circumstances of her death- gives a whole new relevance to an actress' brutalized potential.

I would rather not go into detail and instead say I was sadly struck with the news of her death. Watch her as Eminem's love interest in 8 Mile or in Robert Rodriguez's Sin City or even the misbegotten Spun and you will catch the fearlessness and infitie possiblities that were vanished away today.

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