Friday, April 25, 2008

What I Give Up

Two videos today, cataloged here in place of my own writing, because I get home at night too tired to think.

And now, just because I was thinking of it, the coolest music video ever made:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dieter Dengler Needs To Fly

If facts were the only thing that counted, the telephone directory would be the book of books - Werner Herzog

I'm pretty sure I need to see Rescue Dawn again too. Maybe before Gone Baby Gone. I watched it in some earlier stages of my return (still pending) to normal human feeling. Full-body exhaustion, weakness, chemical withdrawal, and similar fun slices of lemon pie have made every viewing of a movie since November a kind of Zen-like, stoned overdrive. The movies mean a lot to me right now, and I interpret them through a lens of memory and regret (try quitting smoking while breaking your back at menial labor. Near as I can tell, that, on top of other things I'd already been grappling with, has been the culprit of my shortcomings lately).

Which brings me again to Herzog's previous film, one I didn't think of very often, until lately. It's a more or less plotless movie about trapped men, bonded slowly in insanity. That insanity is caused by the need to survive. Memories of cheeseburgers, home and freedom are all simply memories to those men.

When I was uhh... five or somethin', I was looking out the window, with my brother... and we see this fighter plane was coming right at us. I was not scared. I was mesmerized! Because for me, this pilot was this all-mighty being from the clouds. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be him. I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to be a pilot.

Dieter Dengler, as portrayed by Christian Bale, gives that description of a pivotal childhood moment, one that echoes a crucial scene from Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, where the thirteen year old protagonist sees American fighter planes fly over the camp he's interned in.

That thirteen year old protagonist was, of course, played by Christian Bale.

This is certainly a coincidence, as Rescue Dawn is based on fact (Empire of the Sun is based on a memoir). But Herzog doesn't care much for the difference between documentary and narrative, reality and unreality, and I'd prefer to believe it was supposed to happen that way.

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
The Darjeeling Limited
In Bruges
Rescue Dawn
Eastern Promises
3:10 To Yuma

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

Gone Baby Gone

Mind. On. Brink.

Things Keeping Me Going:

Renewing Synapses vis. smoking cessation.

Ishiguru's The Remains of the Day

HBO's John Adams, with Abigail coming off as much less of a bitch than I've heard (but we all knew I'd go for her)

All the freakin' music. Viddy well the charts, down where it says 'charts'.

My 2 new Gigs of RAM.

Things too crazy to handle:

My synapses renewing vis. smoking cessation (or maybe not. I just know my body's changing to something new)

The never-ending exhaustion I've been enduring since November.

The Future.

The Past.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

4 Capital Letters

Hate to post two videos in one night, but So Me is my hero.

Uh Uh Uh

If you haven't seen Persepolis, you really, really should.