Monday, November 26, 2007

Dylan pic

I found I'm Not There to be a good film. One that overreaches a bit and so full of arcane data on Dylan as well as allusions, illusions and narrative arches that it is not fully engaging. Still an interesting film; and the music is great.
Below I have gathered a few choice lines from reviews by critics around the country.

- I’m Not There is a palimpsest – earlier language transformed by newer variation, a text of scribble-scrabble atop fever dream and solipsistic acting out, a kind of pop-cult graphomania, hyper-texting, evocative and pungent moments suggested by the lyrics and words of Dylan... It’s a weave of Dylan–not Dylan, a conflagration of surrealist provocations, a blasted secular religiosity. The final image is furiously apt, suggesting a Dylan who needs not breathe to motor onward.
Ray Pride Orlando Weekly

- Anyone can make a bad movie, but it takes a good filmmaker to make one as bad as "I'm Not There." Todd Haynes, who directed and co-wrote it, takes a misbegotten idea and pursues it with the kind of zeal and imagination not available to mediocre filmmakers.
Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

- Among its many achievements, Mr. Haynes’s film hurls a Molotov cocktail through the facade of the Hollywood biopic factory, exploding the literal-minded, anti-intellectual assumptions that guide even the most admiring cinematic explorations of artists’ lives. Rather than turn out yet another dutiful, linear chronicle of childhood trauma and grown-up substance abuse, Mr. Haynes has produced a dizzying palimpsest of images and styles, in which his subject appears in the form of six different people.
A.O. Scott New York Times

- For all its narrative doubling and loop-de-loops, however, the film is ultimately a rather mundane, literal piece of inventive hodgepodgery.
Nick Schager Slant Magazine

- Rabid Dylanistas may appreciate it somewhat more than the great unwashed, but even those who recognize every stray reference will likely experience the film as little more than a vaguely playful blur.... I’m Not There is so relentlessly academic that it comes more into focus the further away from it you get. At which point it inevitably looks quite small.
Mike D'Angelo Las Vegas Weekly

- All right, I confess. I was bored and confused most of the time, but I plead ignorance as a critic to the many nuances of Mr. Haynes’s pop cavalcade of Mr. Dylan’s golden oldies, enmeshed as these are in Mr. Haynes’s hopelessly and interminably cluttered mise-en-scène.
Andrew Sarris New York Observer

Sunday, November 11, 2007

AFI Festival 2007

I only saw ten films at The AFI Los Angeles Film Festival. Here the are in order of preference

[Alexander Sokurov] - An elderly woman goes to visit her son who is stationed in an Army outpost out by the Chechnian border. Forget the plot it's the subtle editing, intricate and faded sound design and the original reverence and sacredness shown for everything and everybody that makes this film a masterpiece. In any one else's hands it would be a bad comedy or a sentimental mess. In Sokurov's hands it's amazing cinema.

4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days [Cristian Mungiu]
- A young woman assists her friend in getting an illegal abortion in Communist era Romania. Tense, affecting, beautifully acted and well paced it's an understated but fine film.

Mr Warmth: The Don Rickles Project [John Landis] - An excellent documentary on the great comedian. Managers to let us see the man closer as well as get an understanding of Vegas in the 50's and 60's. Also plenty of good [politically incorrect] comedy.

Flight of the Red Balloon [Hou-Hsiao Hsien] - This is one of those nothing-much-happens-but-everything is happening type of films that Hsien is very good at. Juliet Binoche plays a frazzeled single mom with a young son. She has just hired a Taiwanese nanny who is a student filmmaker. The camera captures everything as though it were really unfolding in real time. And a lonely red balloon bops around every so often. Much better than it sounds.

Terrorizer [Edward Yang] - Edward Yang's 1980's feature about the terrorizers in urban living. Good taut film at once funny, sad and wise.

Operation Filmmaker [Nina Davenport] - What happens when an Iraqi film student is invited to the Czech Republic as a guest worker on a Hollywood film set? More importanly what happens when the shoot is all over? Is anyone responsible in taking care of him after the shoot? The documentarian thinks so and gets deeper and deeper into trouble.

Munyurangabo [Lee Isaac Chung]
The first ever full-length feature film shot in Rwanda was made by a Korean American attending school in Utah. Good film about two young men who head off to do a deed and are headed off for a while where they learn the value of life. The film won the Competetion prize for best feature.

Heckler [Michael Addis]
The idea is a good one; How comedians deal with Hecklers. However, the film is really about Jamie Kennedy's attitude toward critics who don't like two of his movies. True, some critics could be nasty.

Prince of the Himalayas [Sherwood Hu]
Costume action flic that stunk.

Searchers 2.0 [Alex Cox]
Just bad.