Saturday, February 13, 2010

Time & Dustiness of the 80's (& Blade Runner)



Watching a movie from the 80's is always a fun treat, mostly because I get to check out which have aged and which -like fine wine- have gotten drastically better in time. For this dreary decade in film, the 1980's represented the worst in cinema and not many truly timeless works of art. One can think of Robert Redford's Ordinary People which won the Oscar and New York Critics prizes in 1980, only to be seen as an untimely document today- with its soapy dialogue and hollywoodized vision. There's also the BIG epics of that decade such as Reds, Gandhi & -yikes- Chariots Of Fire- all of which have aged as well as a bottle of Bailey's liquor out in the heat.

All this bitching could make someone think that there was only bad to be had but then I think of Scorsese's impressive run, Woody Allen's prime, Spike Lee's best film, Oliver Stone at his political best and James L Brooks' solid melodrama's- But then there's Blade Runner. Where do I start? It has a huge following and for many represents the apex of what 1980's cinema was about. I clearly don't. Ridley Scott's epic Sci Fi drama has aged horribly. With its 80's costume and hair to its not so great dialogue. This darkly literate tale of Machine vs Man is good but definitely not great. In other words, it is just what critics thought it was at the time of its 1982 release- average. The director's cut a few years ago slightly helped by taking out the clumsy narration and adding an extra layer to its climax (is he a robot. isn't he?)

No doubt I'm gonna get a mouth full for these comments & I'm surely only backed up by a few. But what Blade Runner hypes up isn't necessarily substantial enough to warrant all the fuss decent folks have been clamoring about for close to 2 decades. Scott has made far better movies in his career. Watch Raging Bull. Do The Right Thing. Blue Velvet. As far as iconic, relentless & ageless cinematic masterworks of this particular decade.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nothing and everything


If only there was something worth watching or something to look forward to. So far 2010 -the start of a new decade- has been limp with not a single good movie to brag about. Then again I expected it, especially after a busy November and December. Nothing good will come out at least until February 19th -that is unless you look forward to that new flick Valentine's Day- when Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island is set to embark nationwide.

A Scorsese picture is an event for any movie buff. I am an avid follower of his -like anybody else- and believe the advance buzz this one has been getting. I recently caught his take on Celebrity fame, 1983's King Of Comedy starring an incredible Robert Deniro and a deranged Sandra Bernahrd as celebrity stalkers and end of civilization like people. It's an overlooked gem in Scorseses' canon and definitely worth a look for all its twisted narrative turns and a self referential Jerry Lewis mocking himself & his celebrity.

It's culture shock for anybody to see Deniro and Bernhard talking Lewis and asking for a ransom (a spot on his show) but like anything Scorsese does this is still a relevant and scary funny look on our society and the twistedness -if that even is a word- of fame.

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