11-07-08 - Reviews

The Bird People in China - quite magical; a sort of allegory, in the style of the magical realism books; somewhere between an amazing adventure and a daydream. It does come off the rails a bit (the repeating of that song over and over is very tiresome), but overall I found it delightful and mesmerizing. Partly because the setting is just so ridiculously beautiful and other-worldly. It's by Miike who is now one of my absolute favorite directors (Last Life in the Universe, Gozu, Audition). Most of Miike's work seems to be shitty mass-market Yakuza flicks for the Japanese market, but he's also got some of this really weird surreal stuff that I love.

Spain : On the Road Again. Hello!? Gwyneth Paltrow? WTF is this bitch doing here? She's a boring drag, she has zero charisma, she knows nothing about food or Spain, she's really not very attractive either, they're fucking driving around in Mercedes and having retarded conversations about nothing. They're showing me Gwyneth Paltrow getting a fucking spa treatment at a fancy hotel, WTF!? Ugh. I like Batali and Bittman, and I am in love with Spain right now, and I love food travel shows, but please please just focus on the men and the food.

Fleet Foxes. I know I reviewed this before, but I want to write more. Fleet Foxes are often now smuggly described as what would've happened if the Beach Boys hung out in the woods. Yeah, that's sort of true, but the songs are far more bare and raw and emotional than the Beach Boys. Yes, the four part harmony is similar and just as magical, but Fleet Foxes uses it better, because Robin's voice on its own is so beautiful and earnest, then when the four part harmony kicks in it's like an angel's chorus, it's literally a dopamine explosion inside your head as it hits some primal happy nerves. I find the Fleet Foxes album shares a lot with the Arcade Fire actually in terms of the raw exuberance, the ecstatic joy of music. The songs tell of all the moods of the country. You feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere living in an ancient pastoral life. The hope of the sunrise on a country morn. The lazy freedom of strolling through the fields on a hot summer day. The insular closed in togetherness of long country nights. The stark loneliness of snowed in winter. The darkness and mystery of the deep woods. The occasional visit to far away friends, the connection to family through the generations, and all the quiet time for contemplation in the rain.

A Streetcar Named Desire - Finally saw the movie. I've never read the play or anything, but I've seen the Simpsons musical spoof of Streetcar and so many other references that I knew all the lines and pretty much exactly knew the story already. It's actually quite amazing. The thing is, the direction is horrible, it's so cheesy and over-wrought, as horrible plays tend to be, and all the acting is just atrocious - *except* for Brando. Everyone is stuck in this ridiculous theatrical style (and early movie style) of over-acting, and Brando is just there, totally casual. His first scene he just barely mumbles out the words as if he couldn't be bothered to enunciate. He's so natural, and the contrast of how bad everything else is just makes it even more powerful. Brando's like a quivering ball of masculine energy, it's a perfect role for him, but the movie is only mediocre. Fortunately he did make one great movie in his virile youth before he turned into a fat old weirdo - "On the Waterfront" is the rare classic that holds up to modern viewing.

1 comment:

AK said...

Creative spelling of "ecstatic." ;)

It's too bad the movie version of "Streetcar" is so ridiculous, because the play on its own is really quite amazing. Tennessee Williams is one of my favorite playwrights.

old rants