Saturday, April 05, 2008

What'd I Miss?

Seeing Jef's Original/Unoriginal checklist on a weekly basis has reminded me that I want some kind of regular feature to write. Jef's cataloguing of films that come from a source vs. films that spring fresh from a screenwriter or director's head is an informative, funny time saver for me.

Jef's feature has a simplicity that would be dogged by my unstoppable neuroses. I would immediately start laying out my notion of the transmogrification of previous materials alchemizing a new and sometimes better, purer work (more original for being an update!).

That, however, would be too complex for such a feature, and thankfully, Jef doesn't muddy up the works like I would.

'Round these parts, muddy those works up I will, chiefly bringing front and center the perennial and but recently turned forty years old 2001: A Space Odyssey

This is a film which, by Jef's basic standards, is unoriginal, being gleaned from the Arthur C. Clarke (RIP) material eventually released under the same name. I've never read it, but Kubrick never left a work in its original state. He went Meta on its ass over what was always a long and freakishly psychic process.

The fact that Clarke was writing his book while Kubrick was shooting the film (from Clarke's primary short story, The Sentinel), and that Kubrick was also working (who knows with what fidelity) from a screenplay that he and Clarke had both worked on, leads one further into a quandary of who got it first.

Which leads me finally to my reason for posting, which was Kubrick's comment from an interview in which he rose to defend his film from its early critical (and often NY based) lacerations:

..I would say that there are elements in any good film that would increase the viewer's interest and appreciation on a second viewing; the momentum of a movie often prevents every stimulating detail or nuance from having a full impact the first time it's seen. The whole idea that a movie should be seen only once is an extension of our traditional conception of the film as an ephemeral entertainment rather than as a visual work of art. We don't believe that we should hear a great piece of music only once, or see a great painting once, or even read a great book just once. But the film has until recent years been exempted from the category of art—a situation I'm glad is finally changing.


I would say that of all the films I've seen in the past few months (it being the whirlwind of a year that it's been for excellent films), I definitely have a list of 'em I believe should be viewed more than once:

No Country For Old Men
Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days
Michael Clayton
Atonement (Love it or hate it, it might be worth seeing again simply to figure out whether you love it or hate it)
There Will Be Blood
Persepolis
The Darjeeling Limited
Once
In Bruges
Rescue Dawn
Eastern Promises
3:10 To Yuma

And of course, the one I'm most anxious to relive:

Gone Baby Gone

4 comments:

David said...

we finally saw gone baby gone right before the oscar broadcast.

I was more than floored by Casey Affleck (I didn't know he could do that). I mean I always thought he was pretty good... but jesus.

I was (expectedly) impressed by Harris and Amy Ryan. But the movie left me wanting overall. I have limited knowledge of the actual process of crafting a film, but I felt like Affleck directed the hell out of it... like he directed it to death... and then directed it some more... and then there were some nerve twitches in the feet so he shot it again. Interestingly, the one actor in the movie that totally disappointed me on all levels was Morgan Freeman. I feel like that must have been the day affleck decided to take a break. He was just so excited about having Morgan Fuckin' Freeman in his movie that he was like "do your thing, big pappa." Freeman is great... when he is reined in by a confident director. Otherwise he just morgans and freemans all over the place. and this was maybe his worst acting in a good movie (still better than Chain Reaction).

michael persad said...

still my favorite movie of the last year. i think it was highly underrated and unfairly disregarded by the oscar committee.

michael persad said...

not that i give too much of a fuck about the oscars. i mean, out of 7 nominations (godfather 1 and 2, dog day afternoon etc.) pacino won for scent of a woman. that's an 'oops' award.
disregarded by the people is what i should've said previously.

Plaid Avenger said...

Yeah, but I think word of mouth is going to pick up on it. Maybe. We should have more loud conversations in bars and restaurants about it.