Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Catching Up - End of April Edition

It was a mistake to let the girls watch Battleship Potempkin with me. There's been a subsequent Bolshevik uprising in the house. I, who was once Tsar of this house, have been reduced to degradation and humiliation. The slave labor I had once enjoyed from my daughters has been smashed by their hammers and sickles, toys have been equally distributed, and allowances have soared to ridiculous rates. Red October came in April this year.

Seriously, the film is brilliant. It, alongside Birth of a Nation, was the film that taught me to love silent films. The visceral visual thrills of the film are hard to argue with. And, to be clear, even though I'm always wearing my "meaning glasses," I enjoy a well-crafted film as much as the next person, even when I can't get on board with a film's "meaning" or "message." My problem with Cabin had to do more with its construction than with its conclusions.

I watched both Demon Messenger and Seven Samurai on the same day that I watched Cabin. Seven Samurai is as good as it ever is, a true "classic" in every sense, maybe the best action film of all time. Demon Messenger, on the other hand, is very much an object of its time. I had plenty of problems with it, especially the sound design, but I found myself able to forgive its no-budget faults and enjoy its local humor and relevance.

Garden of Evil was a disappointment. Gary Cooper and Richard Widmark make this watchable, but there isn't much to care about here. Sergeants 3 has the same problems. A great cast and uninteresting action. Another disappointment.

Bedlam, on the other hand, has a great cast and delivers the goods. Things are never quite as "mad" as they ought to be, but a real degree of menace is achieved and the message comes through loud and clear, if maybe also a bit too clean and sanitized.

What about BSG? We're finished. The finale is emotionally satisfying and effective in tying together all of the show's dangling loose thematic threads. After 55 hours or so (my rough calculation based on average episode run time) spent aboard Galactica, I can report that I was pleased with the end of the show.

What about Girls? After two episodes, I can safely say that I'm not at all a fan. I am really looking forward to Ben's epic defense.

I am now going to lose a lot of hipster cred by admitting that I prefer Diablo Cody's writing to Lena Dunham's writing. I watched Young Adult this evening and was really surprised by how much I liked it. I can't help but compare it to Girls. There's naughty jokes and a woman behaving poorly, but there's also a real undercurrent of pain and confusion. Girls, on the other hand, feels too glib in its non-explorations of not "growing up." Young Adult refuses easy answers or tidy morals, but it also doesn't mind being soft for a moment in hinting at a more mature way forward. That it allows its heroine to maybe miss the point doesn't negate the point's having been made.

Finally, I watched Kill List, a "horror" film that got a lot of buzz last year. I didn't know anything about it going in except that it was a well-regarded recent horror film. I'm still puzzling out how I feel about the film. It's a mess, but it might just be a glorious mess. I can't write a thing about it without major spoilers. Avoid reviews and see this one as soon as possible. I especially want to know what Brandon and Jason think of this one.

EDIT: I forgot to write about Danny Rose! It's an enjoyable little trifle. I'm always impressed by Allen's use of music and his general sense of rhythm. Comedy and music are both fundamentally built on time and timing. Duration matters. Rhythm matters. Hitting that one note at just the right moment in the context of the whole.

1 comment:

adrienne said...

Diablo Cody's the better writer. No contest. You lose no cred with me.