Friday, November 9, 2012

The rest of the year

Hey gang.  I don't discourage political or religious talk on the blogs.  We should all feel free to write what we want, when we want.  There's no rigid standard to follow when it comes to posting, at least  not in my mind.  Personally, I don't really want to get into the political or religious talk anymore if I can help it, but don't mind y'all want to.  I think it's safe to assume that you all know my political and religious views by now, and if you are still curious about my take on some issue, just ask me in person.  I'm always happy to clarify when we can actually converse face-to-face.  I just don't want to get into anything heated and tangential online because I just don't care enough and hate all the misunderstandings that arise.  I'd much rather be talking film - something that makes me happy.

So, I'm gonna talk film.

Brando, there's plenty of films waiting in the wings this year that I'm still excited for too.  You pretty much named them all.  The only ones I would add are ones that I'm not sure are even opening this year (at least not in the US).  Everything else, you covered well.

COSMOPOLIS - I was disappointed that this had to come out around here right about the same time as THE MASTER.  I was always eager to see it, but it was never beating THE MASTER in terms of what I'd drive to Ithaca for.  Still, I'm hoping it comes out on DVD relatively soon.  I'm a Cronenberg dilettante.  I have seen most of his recent work, post-A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. Unfortunately, I think the only two films of his I've seen before this are VIDEODROME, NAKED LUNCH, and M. BUTTERFLY.  I can't remember VIDEODROME, I didn't like NAKED LUNCH (prefer the novel), and I like M. BUTTERFLY (but again prefer the play).  He's a really intelligent and talented director - there's no denying this.  I just wish I were more fluent in his work.  COSMOPOLIS looks and sounds great from what I've heard.  I haven't read the DeLilo story, but I like the idea of it being this nightmarish critique of capitalism.  Right up my alley.

AMOUR - I don't fault anyone for taking their artwork seriously.  I think it's important for one to
have an internal level of respect and deliberation over the work one is doing, especially if it is expressive and meaningful to he or she.  However, I will agree with Brandon that I am annoyed by folks who express this self-seriousness in a very public and sanctimonious way.  There's a newer band out today called Lower Dens that a lot of people seem to love.  If you look them up on you can see that they self-describe their first record thusly: "The record as a whole begs for an assessment of all the flaws inherent in our existence, and to imagine a better, more suitable, logical way for humanity to live." I haven't heard the record, and I can't say that I find the idea behind that statement to be untrue, but the fact that they needed to express it in such a smug way is so vexing to me.  When did their music become a philosophical thesis?  Let it be what it is without the intellectual posturing bullshit.  I believe in the importance of intellectual thought and rigor, but I would never use it to pigeonhole something I had created artistically.  Let the art speak for itself. (RANT OVER).

There's no doubt Haneke takes himself and his artwork seriously.  He intellectualizes his art unabashedly even as he succumbs to moments of violent and sexual spectacle (typically seen as unrefined representations).  I haven't really seen or read an interview with him, so I haven't gotten the chance to be as annoyed by him as Brandon.  All I can say is that he's toned down the finger-wagging and holier-than-thou attitude in his most recent films.  CACHE and THE WHITE RIBBON both exist in a sort of ambiguous nebulous unlike some of his other films that are more explicit.  AMOUR appears to be his furthest step away from any previous self-righteousness.  Many have called it his most emotional and humane work to date.  I already think he's a brilliant director and an assured formalist so I'm excited to see what he does when working on a more intimate and emotive scale.  Should be as great as everyone seems to say it is.

LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE - Kiarostami is one the greatest directors working today.  He's still on top form even after all these years in the business.  CERTIFIED COPY was a genius ripple in his career and perhaps a sign of even more fascinating and singular work to come. This film probably won't come out in the US this year, but whenever it does, it'll be near the top of my must-see list.

HOLY MOTORS - Sadly, I know nothing of Leos Carax's work either.  This one has be interested, but I concur with Brandon's trepidation over it.  Could be an unsettling piece of surrealism or could be a big mess.  I found INLAND EMPIRE to be the former though, so I guess you really can't trust me when it comes to avant garde art ;)

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS - See this one, Brandon.  You won't regret it.  It's a soul cleanser.  See METROPOLITAN while you're at it too.

DEEP BLUE SEA - I want to be more acquainted with Terence Davies too.  His most acclaimed films (DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES and THE LONG DAY CLOSES) are both unavailable on DVD in this country, so that's stymied any courtship.  I see that this one is on NWI, so I should really give it a chance.  Also reminds me of IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.  I've heard Davies described as a real poet from some, so I'm really interested in sinking my teeth into his work.  Vampire Jeff needs the blood of film poets to live forever.

LINCOLN - I had high hopes for this one the second it was announced that Daniel Day-Lewis and Spielberg would be teaming for it (who the hell didn't?). The first trailer looked awful and seemed to confirm any of the worst fears we could possibly have about it:  it's gonna be too sentimental; it's gonna be too patriotic; it's gonna be too exalting while glossing over alternative readings of history, etc.  It may still be all of those things, but at least the second trailer seemed to hint more at what I hoped it would be: a chatty procedural (I can't get enough, you know).  The early reviews seem to also confirm this.  I still won't mind any Spielberg flourishes, but I'm hoping here he's just nurturing things along like the elder statesman he is.  We'll find out soon enough.

KILLING THEM SOFTLY - Gritty crime film that uses the 2008 election and financial collapse as its backdrop to comment on the effects of capitalism, greed, and poverty?  You bet I want to see it.  Add in Brad Pitt and it's a lock. Would likely make a solid double feature with COSMOPOLIS.  Hope it isn't another LAWLESS either, but I have higher hopes for it.

ZERO DARK THIRTY - The trailer looks consciously dramatic and intense.  I hope that is the case and it isn't just the standard trailer affectation.  I don't know enough about Bigelow to be a fan.  I've only seen THE HURT LOCKER and found it to be well-made but disappointing (letting all that hype get to me again).  I probably won't see this one until it hits DVD, unless someone can convince me otherwise.

SKYFALL - I haven't seen any of Daniel Craig Bond films.  I agree with your thoughts on action and making us care though, Brandon, which makes we want to see CASINO ROYALE and this film at some point too.  Not high on my to-see list, but I'm intrigued.

DJANGO UNCHAINED - Obviously my most anticipated film for the rest of the year.  There's no way it'll disappoint.  All we gotta find out is where it ranks alongside THE MASTER.  Finally we get a Tarantino and Anderson film in the same year, pitting two American titans at the peak of their powers.  No matter who wins, we win.  Can't wait.

TO THE WONDER - Last one. I don't know when this is coming out, but it's Malick so I'm excited for it.  I'm guilty of loving the man unconditionally, so I'll probably love this one blindly too. Sorry in advance.

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