Ah, reduced to Steely Dan choruses for headlines. We must need a nap. Or a bourbon.
So what’s with this movie, which has lasted 50 years? Is it camp? Is it
classic? Is it both? Is it inspired? Is it ridiculous? It was loved in
its day, and it has been loved ever since, but for its true qualities
or for the initial spell it cast? Watching isolated moments can provide
no insight into these questions, because "The Ten Commandments" is like
an opera. It exists in a heightened universe that must be entered
gradually and experienced as it unfolds. Thus, there’s no way around
it: In order to give this movie its due, it must be watched, all 220
minutes of it, though it’s OK to fast-forward through the intermission
and entr’acte music.
Paige Newman at MSNBC seems to be fastest on the draw with a Spring Movie Guide…though given this swollen summer of blockbusters that edges up into May and through September, we’re probably going to restrain ourself to picks and previews from that season at IFC News.
Via BBC, "Film-makers Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou are to join the team designing the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Zhang will lead the team, largely comprised of other Chinese impresarios, while Spielberg will be a consultant." Feh. We got nothin’, folks.
The filmmaker’s aesthetic is a rebuke to commercial filmmaking conventions that were practically set in stone from the early days of sound. Malick’s goal is to deny us the usual anchor points, to make the experience of watching his films as much a blur of emotion as our own memories or dreams, and to suggest that the world is not really driven by individual will, as both drama and Western social myths suggest; that we may be less actors than acted-upon; that instead of individuals driving a narrative, perhaps narrative (a story in fiction, or historical events in the real world) drives individuals. Malick’s filmmaking turns this philosophy into rhapsody.
"An Inconvenient Truth" is not likely to displace the boffo numbers of "Ice Age" in Variety‘s weekly grosses. It is, to be perfectly honest (and there is no way of getting around this), a documentary film about a possibly retired politician giving a slide show about the dangers of melting ice sheets and rising sea levels. It has a few lapses of mise en scÃ¨ne. Sometimes we see [Al] Gore gravely talking on his cell phoneâ€”or gravely staring out an airplane window, or gravely tapping away on his laptop in a lonely hotel roomâ€”for a little longer than is absolutely necessary. And yet, as a means of education, "An Inconvenient Truth" is a brilliantly lucid, often riveting attempt to warn Americans off our hellbent path to global suicide. "An Inconvenient Truth" is not the most entertaining film of the year. But it might be the most important.
"Are we looking for ourselves?" he says. "For a national identity? We don’t have a battle for independence or a Trafalgar. So to some extent ‘Kokoda’ serves that purpose. And if ‘Gallipoli’ was about the birth of an Australian identity, ‘Kokoda’ is its adolescence."
And in the LA Times, Bruce Wallace writes about the first conference on Charlie Chaplin in Japan, which took place last month, Chaplin’s continuing popularity in the country ("Ono also argues it was Chaplin’s melancholy that appealed to the
Japanese. ‘They would say: ‘Don’t you hear the sad song coming from his
soul?’ ‘ ") and the renewed interest in the intriguing life of Chaplin’s longtime assistant Toraichi Kono.
+ ‘Ten Commandments’ at 50 — brilliant, inept and baffling (SF Chronicle)
+ Able to leap buildings in a single bound (MSNBC)
+ Spielberg and Yimou join Olympics (BBC)
+ Player piano (The House Next Door)
+ OZONE MAN (New Yorker)
+ A return to arms (The Age)
+ Mr. Kono and the Tramp (LA Times)