Category Archives: films

Gonzo

“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” – Hunter S. Thompson

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4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days

In the spirit of the ongoing merriment at Cannes, I decided to update with the trailer of last year’s Palme d’or, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days:

It’s a shocking film, this one. Deceptively simple, too. Sort of a master class in how indie films that want lots of static shots should be done. Because I forced 4:30 upon myself last year while crashing a soci class, I’ve come to really despise unnecessary static shots, and indie films that have no idea how to use silence and static shots to move a story forward.

-end of rant-

Roy Andersson

I have a Swedish friend who can say Roy Andersson’s name the way it was meant to be pronounced. It sounds really cool. The Swedish language, in general, sounds very cool, don’t you think? If you agree, that would be one reason why you might enjoy Roy Andersson’s films.

Other reasons would include: the way his work is like visual poetry, laden with metaphors and rhyme and rhythm; his beautifully stark sets, which, through their ceramic-and-cement coldness speak of the human yearning for warmth; his dark humour; how the pallor of death that stains the faces of all his characters contrast against how painfully alive they are, how his vignettes say so little and so much at the same time.

You just have to watch his films to understand it.

Here is a trailer for his film Songs from the Second Floor.

And here are a bunch of commercials that he directed. He was a commercial director first before becoming a filmmaker. Ingmar Bergman once called him the best commercial director in the world. (My favourite’s the last one, the one for the Social Democrat party.)

The Wackness

So now it’s time for 90s nostalgia. Hurray.

“It’s the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop and wafting with the sweet aroma of marijuana—but change is in the air. The newly-inaugurated mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is beginning to implement his anti-fun initiatives against “crimes” like noisy portable radios, graffiti and public drunkenness. Set against this backdrop, Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) spends his last summer before college selling dope throughout New York City, trading it with his shrink (Ben Kingsley) for therapy, while crushing on his step daughter (Olivia Thirlby). Famke Janssen, Mary Kate Olsen,and Method Man round out the cast in this edgy, bittersweet, and funny coming of age story.”

You read that right – Mary Kate Olsen is in this film. But you only see her about twice in the trailer, so it’s not terribly dangerous to your health.

The music is really good!

A Nazi film

Listen to Mark Kermode’s rant against The Hottie and the Nottie. It is infinitely more entertaining and insightful than the film.

The Hottie and the Nottie Ok I can’t believe I just corrupted the sanctity of this website with a still from this film.

Anyway go listen to Kermode here. You have to have Real Audio installed.

Choice quote:

“The way it demonstrates that beauty is on the inside is that the Nottie goes to a plastic surgeon and is eugenically changed into a Hottie. And then the horrible, creepy guy who loved Paris Hilton in the first place, discovers that he might actually fancy the Nottie — but only, only after she’s had intense plastic surgery. So clearly, this is a Nazi tract.”

And that’s not even the best part of the review.

The Band’s Visit

The Band\'s VisitThe Band’s Visit is one of those rare films that creep up on you and catch you unawares. You were expecting maybe a raucous, slapstick-filled festival that will remind you all about the transcendental power of music to bring warring factions together. Inter-religious dancing, perhaps, between Arabs and Jews that will leave you with a reassurance that there is still hope in the Middle East.

But from the very first shot, it’s clear that you’ve set your expectations way too low.

Stuck in a dead desert town in the middle of Israel, a ceremonial police band from Egypt is taken in by Dina, a restaurant owner, an uber-cool, sexy, strong Jewish woman whose presence as the only female lead overpowers all the men in the film. There are no hotels in the town, so she lets a couple of them stay overnight at her house, and persuades one of her regular patrons to take the rest of the band in.

What follows is a night that most of the characters will likely forget as they move on with their lives, but which will stick with you as one of the most charming, warm and hilarious films you never expected to watch. It’s about love kindled and lost, betrayal, awkward friendships struck for no reason other than boredom, disappointment, regret, music, and yes, hope, with lots of laughs thrown in for good measure.

I don’t know how you’ll manage to procure yourself a screening, but do it.