1.Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid — a bit of nutty film borrowing and half-baked genre quips. With some real peanut lines like ‘put on yer best dress and I’ll go shave my tongue’ and the arrow in head of ‘Can I use her underwear to make soup?’ Daffy without the lisp. Light and gratuitous.
2. Also Winterbottom’s In This World. Neither doco nor fictive drama, you feel he nonetheless wants to finger the refugee issue in a big way. But like a bad crime movie without motive, I couldn’t see why the two leads should want to leave — it seemed more a trifle on their fathers’ behalf to want something better for them. There’s occasionally stunning photography, and it feels incredibly real and all, bustling about on trucks and buses through the desert — a real delight for DV advocates and devotees. But that absent motivation means we don’t get into their heads, into their implied desperation. So the real-doco/fudged narrative divide comes to cover the confused theory and execution of the film. It becomes strangely un-affective, which is not an ideal effect for a refugee theme. Though I now know how to cross the Channel with only a piece of 4x2.
3.Final Fantasy – the Spirits Within has some amazing set and background animation, some absolutely convincing & suggestive artwork. But the human characters looked like extras in an action video game by today’s standards of animation. Animation standards date faster than expired Macca’s burgers. Also, and no doubt unintentionally a result of the superclear digital sound, the actor’s voices had about 3 to 4 times more character than their animations — never a contrast so clear. I just fell in love with the machines and sets and landscaping and ghost-like rendering of the spirits. Forget the standard-issue plot and enough ‘take my hand!’ last minute scrapes to make Arnie tinkle. In fact, Arnie’s voice would’ve been right at home here, no need to inflect to Japanese animé. But then again, if Sean Connery can be made to look Japanese in You Only Live Twice…
4. I flicked over from Linklater’s Slacker just to see Thora Birch reveal lovely fullness at the window of American Beauty. Such rich expand of forehead, columnar neck… Anyway. Slacker was a rambling runaround to ultimately say very little about US slackers mired in ennui — therefore saying it very well. The theories were entertaining in their diversity. Funny to see so many people, well educated and on the cusp of genuine intelligence, still totally unable to make a unified personal action, a coherent mode of life. But then again I’ve got a weakness for the conspiracy theory as an (at times) desperate attempt to make sense of the world and its (relative) powers. So still an inaresting first film. Nuttiness balanced by the strange fraternity of the nutters.
5. Also, at last, Bande à Part. I don’t really want to talk about it — I will sound academic. Not his best or fullest expression, but Karina is completely different here. Development of the total Jean-Luc Cinema Godard mode. JLG as image-poet, writer-poet, source-text and reference poet, editing poet, montage and sound-poet, humour and car-poet, thought and essay-poet, and all in all, cinema-poet. Lots of gags.
I am now keen to see Sylvia Sidney in You Only Live Once.