Friday, March 2, 2012

David Gordon Green's strange career




My oh my how the mighty have fallen. Just around 12 years ago a total no name of a director David Gordon Green debuted his first feature film George Washington to wide and -albeit over the top- acclaim. The film, about a group of rural urban kids in a the mid-west who try to cover up a tragic mistake, even made Roger Ebert's Top Ten List that year and had people comparing Green as a sort of up and coming Terrence Malick-like talent. The follow-up just 3 years ago was All The Real Girls which pitted Zooey Deschanel and Paul Schneider as shot struck lovers in -again- a rural mid western town. It also got great reviews and further advanced word that Green was the next Malick. What with the way he would shoot a particular scene and explore the deepest and simplest parts our very nature. Pretty deep stuff and incredibly artsy too. Gordon Green followed that one up with another simple slice of life Undertow and finished off this incredible run of praised films with Snow Angels in 2008- a scathing and dark look at the dark underlinings of a small town, the film was filled with divorce, murder, a lost child, adultery and a desperate stalker. It's a knockout of a movie that only grew better with repeat viewings.

This is where Gordon Green started to make our heads scratch. He followed Snow Angels with Pineapple Express. I'll admit it a good, funny, memorable movie but definitely not something I ever thought Green would end up doing ditto the follow-up which was the much less successful Your Highness. Yea you heard right Your Highness, a film that made my worst of .. list last year and represented career lows for all involved including Nathalie Portman and James Franco. A trend was starting to show. The "stoner movie". Gordon Green has resorted to making raunchy, stoner movies that don't have anything at all to do with his first four subtle feature films.

His latest came out just a few months ago. The Sitter is mindless, brainless fun yet we expected so much more from him. In it a newly thin Jonah Hill has one messed up, crazy night accompanied by these little brats that try to spoil the party. Of course drugs is involved so are other illegal activities. Yet where are the handprints that first made Gordon Green such a hot commodity in the indie circuit? Has he sold out? Should we even blame him for going to the other side? It's such a strange turnaround for a career that promised so much in the way of artistic prowess. I haven't given up, especially since Gordon Green is just a mere 37 years old, and this odd career is -I'm sure- only going to spring up more surprises.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Image



If ever there was a film director that has created endless, unforgettable, surreal images in cinema it's Jean Cocteau. Take for example his film Orphee loosely based on the story of Orpheus, an incredibly strange journey into a dark, twisted world created by Cocteau. I wasn't too sure what was happening half the time but the images and story structure here are remarkably done, so's the crisp black and white cinematography. Not a movie for all tastes but a real treat for cinephiles.

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