Wednesday, August 09, 2006


"I'm so excited about the sublime quietude of contemporary Taiwanese cinema!"

Let's check in with Slothra's DVD game:

Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang): The first DVD transfer of this Chinese beast was put out faster than a brush fire in the middle of a water convention, and as a result it had the editor's KFC grease in some of the shots; it was nearly unwatchable, but Criterion just released a new one that they pulled Cindarelly tedium shit on, so you can finally catch the serious knowledge. I've only seen it once, so I don't wanna get too Mount Rushmore, but Yi Yi (translation: "a one and a two") is one of the best movies I've seen in long time. It's an epic family medodrama that's not really epic and certainly not melodramatic. In most scenes the camera barely moves. Sometimes, the subjects of a scene will walk away from the POV, into another room or into the background, to the point where they're no more significant to the composition of the frame than a lamp or an opossum. It has funny parts, but you don't remember any of the lines. At the beginning of the movie, the little boy of the family tells his father that he wants to help people know the half of the truth that they don't know. Later, after you will have forgotten this line, the father discovers a bunch of photos in the kid's room of the backs of people's heads. I may have pumped my fist when this happened, like I was Kirk Gibson. Rating: Thomas Jefferson

Heat (1995, Michael Mann): With Miami Vice out, which I'm not sure deserves my 10 bones, I thought I'd go back to this DeNiro vs. Pacino circus from Michael "grey suits w/o ties" Mann. Wow, Mr. Mann cannot write a story. With Collateral, and even The Last of the Mohicans, guns and crazy actors keep the movie going so when a stylistic sunset or skyline shot comes up, we don't want to throw rotten watermelons at the screen. Heat, on the other hand is a like an old caddy with an ill paintjob and polished chrome covering an rusty, farting engine. It looks good, but its way too long and and it breaks down on the way to the porn shop. Gawdy, clunky fucker. The movie is basically an excuse to get Travis Bickle and Serpico in the same room, and it feels like one of those times (observational humor warning) when two of your good friends from separate places meet each other and while you think the two of them together should create a vocanic eruption of charismatic hanging out-ness, it's just regular and kinda awkward. Mann knows action though, so we do get some AK cop killing choreography with Val Kilmer spinning around a lot with his backswept blond ponytail. A slightly post-pubescent Portman is in this too, as a totally obtrusive and unnecessary subplot/back-story thing. She appears twice, cries, and then tries to kill herself. At the end, one of the Corleones caps the other one, then holds his hand as he dies, because after all, even though one is a cop and one a robber, they're really the same. They look at the stars and the credits roll, while I scoured the house for some large fruit with which to pull a Gallagher on my TV.
Rating: Calvin Coolidge

The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy): This is scheduled to be remade by Neil LaBute. A lot of people have told me to see this, gets the 'cult film' label. Its tone is light, and much of the acting is borderline cartoonish, which is interesting, considering the movie is about pagan sex romps and human sacrifice. There's lots of singing and folk music in the movie, including a recurring tune about barley rigs. During a sort of chase sequence a can of funk is opened up on the soundtrack, which makes sense because the Average White Band is Scottish, and black people are often chased. The twisty-wisty ending is cool, and there's some exorbitant zoom-in shots that will remind you of Kung Fu and its mysterious power.Rating: Ulysses S. Grant

part two coming soon.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

You're not exaggerating at all about "Yi Yi" .. it is easily one of my favorite movies of all time ... the entire sequence when our hero visits Japan to meet with the video-game guy is just transcendent