Saturday, June 18, 2005

Days 6 & 7

Thursday, June 16

(s) Goodnight Irene (Sterlin Harjo, 2005) 16

5th World (Blackhorse Lowe, 2005) 22

These two films made by Native American's might be of interest to others from that culture, but to an outsider, they're meandering, unfunny, bland, and unimaginative. The first was only 15 minutes and focused on a Native American elder, a young Native American and a 20-something caucasian in a hospital waiting room. From the opening shot it was clear this was going to be one of those "bridge the gap" type films with the old, the new, and utterly clueless and it pretty much was. I think both films touched on the lack of cultural identity of younger Native Americans, now more engrained in American culture thus less aware of the beauty and complexity of their own. 5th World had a bit more to say regarding tribal relations and the difficulty of pursuing relations with other Native Americans because of blood lines, etc., but otherwise it's a typical road film where the young lovers chat, drive, watch tv, chat, screw, visit relatives and the like. By the end it's rinse and repeat - nothing I hadn't seen done significantly better in several other independent films.

Leaving Las Vegas (Mike Figgis, 1990) 69

Obviously fantastic to watch Cage in this performance after a fascinating Q & A where he surprised me by coming across as a very intelligent, well-spoken man who makes deliberate choices in what characters he plays and how he plays them. This might not explain stuff like National Treasure, but he made an interesting case for pursuing action films in the last 7 or 8 years. The film is a tough one to watch and Cage's mannerisms and speech patterns bring across what is possibly the most believable alcoholic I've seen on screen. It's not without its rough patches - a few weak parts in the script and slightly contrived actions to keep everything headed in the intended direction - but as a love story about two people so alone that they're willing to accept each others demanding terms, it's a lot better than I just made it sound. At times it veers into the "hooker with the heart of gold" territory yet never succumbs to the easy route of having either of them defeat their addictions.

Friday, June 17

Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, 2005) 67

Review to come.

Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002) 60

Again, another great choice for screening after the Q&A as this features Morton's most impressive and intense performance to date, one that demands more from her physicality in bringing across a sense of loss and confusion without feeling the least bit rehearsed. The natural feeling of her performance is key in making her enigmatic search for identity and acceptance worth all the work. It seems random throughout, but it's more about the culmination of all her experiences following her boyfriend's suicide (not a spoiler since it's known in the opening scene) than an A to B to C plotting of the normal "find yourself" films. The fact that she is unknowable and her thoughts and feelings always just out of reach are what makes her interesting and I got more out of simply watching her be than I would have from seeing her journey easily plotted or explained. A difficult and demanding film and though it doesn't completely work, it hits some brilliant notes along the way.

Saturday, June 18

Me and You and Everyone We Know
(Miranda July, 2005) 65

Review to come.


Blogger jeff_v said...

You saw the Miranda July film twice? What caused it to slide two points of criticism?

8:47 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

A belated reply since I let this collect dust for a good month or so:

I saw it a second time mostly because the scheduling worked out that way. I only had time to see the Wenders interview (not Land of Plenty which followed) since I had to get to the airport and this was the only good option before that. Gabe left in the morning, so it was a decent way to kill some time and not spend $10 to see one of the awful non-festival films playing at the theater.

As for the two points of criticism, little changes like that are almost completely intuitive. I suppose the excessive quirkiness bugged me a bit more and in the end, I felt like my original score was high. If you're asking why not 1 or 3 points, obviously I can't give you answer. How do you decide between 7.5 or 8.0? I'd imagine one makes more sense than the other without having to rattle your brain for more than a couple seconds. After using the 100 pt. scale for a while, most films easily fall into a 2-3 point range without much trouble and no, there's not much of a difference between a 65, 66, or 67.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:36 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home