Monday, July 18, 2005

if the trailer's a'rockin'...

A History of Violence
New Cronenberg. Yay. Ed Harris. Double yay. Viggo Mortensen always looks like he should be doing softcore porn on Cinemax but he's a good actor so he gets a yay too. Can't wait for this one.

King Kong
Jack Black's delivery is such that he will probably never be completely believable in a dramatic role. The shot of his face when he notices Naomi Watts' character is just silly. He's a funny man playing straight and that's perfect because this is a film that seems to have a good handle on it's own absurdity. Also, big monsters, big noises, gooood.

My only real problem is Watts as the damsel in distress. It is the most important flesh and blood character in the film and I'm not sure I buy Watts in the role. She's pretty and is a good actress but you have to believe that she is someone who could drive a giant monkey crazy with lust... this is key. I'm thinking of someone like Laetitia Casta (if she could act and speak english coherently), Gisele (ditto) or Jennifer Connelly. Oh well... we'll see...

Last Days
The last in Gus Van Sant's trilogy of minimal, factually-based films about death (see also Gerry and Elephant). This one imagines what happens in the last days of a tortured rock star's life. Supposedly, that rock star is a fictional character named Blake but anyone who watches 5 seconds of this trailer (or sees the posters for that matter) can probably figure out who it really is.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I don't really cherish the idea of seeing people and events that were important parts of my youth being turned into movies... especially this person and this event. On the other hand, this looks and sounds so authentic its freaky. Also, the fact that this is a Van Sant film means that it will most likely be more subtle and tasteful than the possible film version of Heavier Than Heaven that keeps getting talked about. This is going to happen more and more the older I get. I should probably just get used to it like everybody else did.

There is something very powerful about the image of the scruffy, lonely guy in a dress wandering around his mansion with a shotgun... and the "another day.." line.

One thing that bothers me... I can see the point of having Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth in there but she really can't act for shit.

The Brothers Grimm
I haven't paid much attention to this movie until now and I'm intersted only because its a Terry Gilliam movie. The plot seems to be a coctail of other Summer movies (take a little Frighteners, throw in some Van Helsing, stir) but once again... its Gilliam. The "she's my daughter" exchange is funny. The "a tree! a tree!" one is not. We'll see.

The Skeleton Key
This excites me on some deep, reptillian, they-don't-them-like-that-anymore horror movie level. Why did Kate Hudson do this? I thought she had decided to go the "stardom means never having to do anything but romantic comedies" route. Anyway yay for her. I'm looking forward to this.

The Gits
This documentary follows the life of Seattle singer Mia Zapata, her band, the Gits, her brutal rape and murder in 1993 and the long, ultimately successful search for the killer.

Zapata was a compelling performer and its a heartbreaking story and one that's not as well known as some others (see above). That's really all that needs to be said. I really want to see this.

Firefly is a perfect example of fanboy revisionist history and how you only want what you can't have. When the show was on nobody thought it was good. Yeah Fox ran them in the wrong order but no matter what order they would have been presented in the show still would have been bad. The "its in outer space but its like the old west (dude!)" premise probably wouldn't make to the air as an SNL sketch but here was an entire hour-long show all about it. Its a show that only made it past the pitch because of the success of creator Joss Whedon's Buffy and it was clear from the first episode that it was a turkey.

Then it gets cancelled and a dozen voices cry out in protest, but don't you get the sense that the loudest voice was Whedon's? A little internet cult develops, not because the show was good or they miss it but mainly because internet fans just love a cause. Whedon talks about a film that will tie up loose ends (whatever) and prove to a mainstream audience how great the show was but who was he really talking to? The general idea now is that Firefly was a great "lost show" but really...Whedon wanted this film to be made more than anybody else.

This movie looks dumb. It will be interesting to see exactly how many people (if any) go to see this after all the (admittedly small) fuss. Its worth noting that the name "Firefly" appears nowhere in the trailer. At least someone along the line was thinking clearly.

One day I'll get around to compiling a definitive list of reasons why all film schools should probably be burned to the ground. Its still forming so I can't really put pen to paper just yet but I know that Lars Von Trier will be on there somewhere. Some people don't like him because his work seems anti-american to them but I don't care about any of that. He's a clueless (read an interview with him sometime) stylist who's biggest "statement" to date has been exchanging one set of pretensions ("hey look at all the crazy shit I can do with my camera!") for another ("hey look how I barely use my camera!"). Boring. At least if his films were more obviously hateful (or if he'd actually been to America) it would be more interesting.

But pretension can be wonderful when it's entertaining and visceral (see Darren Aronofsky, early David Lynch). Von Trier's work is just lifeless because he really has nothing to say. The point is how he's saying it. Its like watching Bob Ross paint, except without all that cumbersome personality and jovial, hippy charisma.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Michael Dahlquist, 2 others killed in car crash

from The Perfect Face For Radio:

"Yesterday around lunch time Doug Meis, the drummer for Exo and the Dials; John Glick, the guitarist for the Returnables; and Michael Dahlquist, the drummer for Silkworm all died in a car accident in Skokie. They were coming back to work from lunch and were hit by someone speeding while talking on a cell phone (which is now illegal in Chicago)."

What a waste. I'd like to be able to have some kind of point with this post but I don't except to say that this is very upsetting. Silkworm is one of my favorite my bands. Best wishes those who died and to the families they have left behind. Below is the first Silkworm song I listened to after I heard the news.

Apparenty the the woman who caused the accident was trying to commit suicide. She now faces three counts of first degree murder. Link

The Chicago Tribune has an in depth story online about the deaths in which Silkworm bassist Tim Midgett says the band is now over and that Dahlquist "can't be replaced". Link

Silkworm - "Xian Undertaker" [MP3, 5.7MB, 128kbps]

-Thread on the Electrical Audio forum-

-Thread on the Silkworm forum-