Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Brandos's Locks

Marlon Brando may have been the greatest actor of all time, but this is a little ridiculous. Our celebrity-obsessed culture is getting out of hand, I think...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Revisit: Tout Va Bien

A New Yorker Films release 1972

Written & Directed by
Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Pierre Gorin

Examines the structure of movies, relationships and revolutions through the life of a couple (Jane Fonda, Yves Montand) in Paris.

One of the biggest problems I have with Godard is that his politics are often misinterpreted as sincere, concrete beliefs. It's easy to romaticize the iconoclast ideals of May '68, and unfortunately Godard's films are too often regarded as soapboxes for the student revolution. While he may be aligned with the left simply through his intellectual status, Godard himself would be the first to admit that he knows nothing of politics. Politics of the cinema, however, is Godard's fortee, and he uses his distinct ability to manipulate image and sound to playfully comment on all sorts of political manifesto.

No film may make this more clear than Tout Va Bien, in which Godard examines the rapidly changing politics of post-68 France. The film comically depicts both the bourgeoisie and working class, using multilayered sound, response style monologues, slow pans and other traditional Godardian tactics to render all politics into senseless jargon. The film is swift despite its heavy thematic undertones, and effective in portraying languages inability to communicate the complicated needs and desires of political advocates both right and left. Remember that scene in The Life Aquatic where the Belafonte is dissected through a side shot of all the cabins? Wes Anderson got that from this film.

Ten years later, this is what the French were up to:

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Review: Buffy Sing-A-Long

A Warner Brothers release 2002
Written & Directed by Joss Whedon

I've probably only seen about five episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While the whole WB teenspolision ravaged the rest of our country's impressionable youth, I lay idle, content watching cartoons. Teen dramas never interested me; they all seemed so superfluous, so forced, so melodramatic. I wanted bright colors and absurdity, not bumbling, awkward adoloescents like myself.

But I have to admit, there's something about the Buffy Sing-A-Long that finally makes me interested to see more. The Sing-A-Long features the musical episode, "One More with Feeling", in which the characters break into song and dance at the will of a musical demon, along with a suprise additional episode and, in the tradition of Rocky Horror, performances and goodie bags filled with tools for audience participation.

If you're too shy to participate or aren't a dedicated Buffy fan, the episode is still worth checking out. It's one of the better musical-based moments made for television. Creator Joss Whedon wrote and composed all the songs, each one catered to the cast and character’s strengths, and even shot it in theatrical widescreen to emulate old Hollywood Cinemascope musicals. The result is a surprisingly effective and fun episode that doesn't disrupt the story arch of the show.

Buffy Sing-A-Long plays once a month at the IFC Center. It's also going on a national tour, so check out the dates here.