Monday, August 25, 2008

A Light Week

248. I was taking a drink when it happened, so when May Canaday walked across the screen near the beginning of Brick (2005, directed by Rian Johnson), towing her cooler full of body parts behind her, I wound up with a sinus full of cranberry grape juice. I didn't quite spray it out of my nose, but it was close. Director Johnson was the film editor on May, which explains some of the similar feel this film has in the early going. Both films are in touch with a kind of adolescent anomie, translated to the screen as a kind of existential dreamscape. I mean, the high school confidential entered this realm a long time ago now with films like River's Edge, so I'm surprised it took as long as it has to mate this sensibility with the existential dreamscape of film noir. It works surprisingly well. I mean, I occasionally laughed at the hardboiled dialogue, but I think that it was intentionally funny. Droll, but intentional. The movie is singularly fortunate to have Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead. He sells the dialogue with authority. Gordon-Levitt is one of the best actors currently working. I mean, he makes me want to watch a Gregg Araki movie, for Pete's sake! That's charisma.

249. I'm slowly getting around to last year's Best Picture nominees. After watching Michael Clayton (2007, directed by Tony Gilroy) this weekend, I have only Atonement left yet to see. This one isn't bad. It's a legal movie recast as a thriller, in the manner of John Grisham, and it's a chilly one, at that, but it gets by on the strength of its performances. George Clooney is excellent in the lead, but the movie belongs to Tilda Swinton, as a very nervous corporate villain. She deserved her Oscar. But then, I've been a fan of Tilda for years. Tom Wilkinson goes a bit over the top, but this is balanced out in the supporting cast by the late Sidney Pollack, who is superb.


Renee said...

Agreed about Levitt. We recently had a JGL mini-film fest, we like him so much. I have yet to see Stop-Loss, but it's on the list by virtue of his presence alone.

Brick is fine. I enjoyed The Lookout. Didn't much care for Mysterious Skin, but I guess that's your Araki right there. I just realized he's in a bunch of stuff coming up, including Akira...I'm not a fan of the anime, but now I'm curious.

DeAnna said...

I'm sure I've told you this only like a zillion times, but I adore Gregg Araki. Actually, I've always loved Araki, or the idea of Araki, but used to despise his films with one exception, Splendor, which we've owned forever. Well, I've been revisiting his stuff that I used to hate and I'm a totally different person now apparently. He totally cracks me up!!! I had the opportunity to see The Living End on the big screen recently and it was great. Much funnier than I remembered along with being rather moving at the end. Has my world view shifted that much in the last decade? His stuff used to infuriate me, now I find Nowhere a riot interspersed with 'oh my is James Duval HOT.' I think Araki is insane at times, but maybe there is a shared bit of insanity these days because he amuses me.

Or maybe it is a crush. He was sorta hot talking about his movie, Mysterious Skin, when I saw him at SIFF. Oh well. I still think, if you haven't, you should totally see Mysterious Skin. I cried. I found it very powerful.

Oh and I love Brick.