The Southland Tales and The Brown Bunny

April 14, 2009

I’m watching this (The Southland Tales) movie whilst packing to move flat and let me tell you, watching this movie whilst doing something else really isn’t how it should be watched. Even now that I’m watching it with my full attention it’s still very disjointed and hard to follow.

The Southland Tales is by the director of one of the worst movies that has become cult ever, in my opinion of course. That movie is Donnie Darko and the director Richard Kelly and gets to be called terrible because of it’s, in my opinion, lack of originality. It seemingly attained cult status because it was quirky in comparison to most popular movies but retained enough ‘sanity’ to entice your average Tom, Dick and Harry.

Either way, I did not realise that Kelly was the director when I started watching, however, after becoming suitably confused I became suitably interested and really wanted to enjoy The Southland Tales. It has a brilliant cast mixed amongst a terrible cast which confused me as brilliantly funny comic actors go toe to toe with babysitting wrestlers and half beat singers.

The film got an amusing reception at the Cannes Film Festival and got given one of the most amusing reviews I think ever by Jason Solomon in The Observer saying.

“Southland Tales was so bad it made me wonder if [Kelly] had ever met a human being”

and

“sprawling, plot-less, post-apocalyptic farrago”

which gave him the

“sinking feeling that this may be one of the worst films ever presented in [Cannes] competition.”

Reading the wiki article and you see the following quote:

“The most disastrous since, yes, The Brown Bunny.”

from Roger Ebert about it’s performance at the Film Festival. This got me on to The Brown Bunny (imdb) wikipedia page which brings such amusement it’s unbelievable, to think that everyone is a critic, and that they are all right about such an atrocious movie, I really do have to watch this movie sometime soon. When Ebert commented on the worst movie in Cannes history he was called a fat pig, which can’t be seen as being the best retort (a short note, if your skill is attacked it’s best to either defend your skill or attack the other persons skill. Attacking their weight or look amounts to saying “I’ll get my dad on you”, or just plain defeat). As a parry to this scathing insult to Ebert’s physique he came out with my favourite paraphrasing of Winston Churchill to date.

“one day I will be thin, but Vincent Gallo will always be the director of The Brown Bunny.”

I leave you with this, watch the movie, enjoy it, if you can, and then watch The Brown Bunny, but afterwards, watch something a little more lighthearted that you can laugh at for being funny, like, The Benchwarmers. You could always watch something seriously good like The Man From Earth.


Watchmen

March 17, 2009

I’ve been waiting for Watchmen to be released for quite some time. For those who don’t know, as most of you probably don’t, Watchmen is an adaptation of the brilliant (an understatement) graphic novel by Alan Moore. As with most adaptations, it’s not completely true to the original text. In fact, there are quite a lot of changes, but having said that, and having thought about it long and hard, I have to admit that the movie is very close to the original text. Far closer than most movies ever get and the movie is a good two and three quarter hours long.

For the movie to be completely true it would probably have to be released as a series of movies, maybe 6 or so, each being about 2 hours at least. This is because there are so many side plots, time jumps and things that are explained so well through the medium of comic but which are nigh on impossible to translate on to the big screen without creating a mammoth. An example of this is the psychologist who, in the movie, appears very briefly but in the comic the psychologist passes Rorschach daily. His plotline interacts with many of the other complex plotlines which eventually all come together at the end.

The psychologist goes through trials and tribulations in his marriage because of his apparent kindness and need to help other people.The movie introduces this character very briefly as a means to show you things about Rorschach, but then he’s gone. It’s almost as if he’s only there so as to make the movie feel more complete to fans of the comic book, which is something that annoyed me. There’s no real way of putting all of this into the movie without giving the psychologist character his own movie, or a large chunk of a movie and if you think that there are at least five of these characters you get to a story of about six hours or more. I don’t want this to become a rant on why I disliked the movie.

It’s obvious I’m a seething fanboy who wanted the completeness and quirkiness of the comic to come across in explicit detail and it’s just not something that’s ever going to happen. Either way, finally, I can say I’m pleased with the result, with things to be desired of course. However, something that was brought up with me was what your regular John Smith would think of it. They’re probably not going to get any of the references to the psychologist, or the journalists. They won’t see Rorschach pottering about because they just don’t know that they’re meant to be looking for a creepy fellow with a sign. It also, unfortunately, seems that they don’t get very much of anything else from the movie, or the people I have heard about don’t.

I’d love to hear what other people thought of it who had not read the comic book as, at a guess, I think everyone who has reviewed it would probably have done a bit of research on it and read the comic book.


The Bridge – Movie

February 16, 2009

I’ve been wanting to see this documentary called The Bridge for a while, and my lovely lovely girlfriend bought it for me for Valentine’s day. Not really the type of thing you’d buy someone for valentine’s day, but for me, it was wonderful. It has always really intrigued me that people commit suicide as I love life so much (if not outwardly then inwardly) and feel it’s a deep shame when people give up their life for whatever reason.

The documentary could easily have gone wrong, and it’s not the type of thing you’d pick up, read the back of and say ‘oh, that’s interesting and sounds tactful’. I’d actually wager that you’d probably go the different route and comment ‘that’s tactless and a bit vulgar, why would these people film people committing suicide and not help them’. It is however very tactful, interesting and even quite eye opening, for me at least.

The Golden Gate Bridge is apparently considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world and it’s not wonder why, from the way this documentary shows it it’s a beautiful sight and in the mist is incredible. Although I prefer the suspension bridge in Clifton, Bristol the Golden Gate Bridge is a lot larger and considered the number one place in the world to commit suicide. The Bridge says that in 2004 24 people committed suicide off the bridge, though the number is more likely to be larger due to people jumping during fog or at night time. Though currently the bridge is shut to pedestrians at night time.

The movie follows one suicide primarily building a character around the person and revealing the most dramatic footage of this one jumper. It’s not surprising that the majority have great depression but what’s interesting is that a few people being saved are caught on camera. One mad, a photographer, takes photos of a woman climbing over the edge, and only as she’s about to jump does he realise what he’s doing, grabbing her by her collar and pulling her to safety. One of his comments being that afterwards when she was being taken away by police, she looked back at him and he thought she was angry for him having saved her (how do you deal with that, you feel like you’ve done a good thing and yet you’re hated by the person you think you’ve ‘saved’).

It’s a documentary that is interesting to watch and I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in psychology or depression.