Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You Won't Miss Me



This film dares more and achieves more than the Joe Swanberg films (which are its close, mumblecore-inbred-cousins), travelling through an impressionistic personal journey with a young woman battling the twin demons of mental illness and unrealized (unrealizable?) acting dreams; unlike Swanberg's visions, there seem to be genuine problems and issues here (as opposed mundane drama circulating amongst young hipster boho's), and director Russo-Young also seems willing to be more cinematic than the average mumblecorps film. Ultimately, though, I did not like this woman (Shelley, the protagonist) -- I could not bear her nor muster compassion for her self-destructive and self-deluding narrative -- and so, in reflection, the innovations in the storytelling seemed as self-indulgent as she was.

++1/2

Friday, May 21, 2010

The United States of Leland


It's rare that I can find so many faults with a film (awkward transitions, heavy exposition in the dialogue, writerly voice protruding into the dialogue in ways both pedantic & exposition-y, too many two-shots, uneven handling of narrative time, loads of voice over) and yet, in the end, *really* like it. I liked the subtlety of the ending, the stellar performances all around, the stubborn refusal of genre-convention; in some ways this network-narrative tale of the underside of suburbia is studio/indie cinema at its best.

+++1/2

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Eraserhead


I'm not sure why it took so long for me to watch this classic, but it was one of the most off-putting, hilarious, brilliant, unnerving, enjoyable films I've seen. Henry Spencer lives in a shadowy, overwraught post-industrial dystopia and when his girlfriend reveals that she is pregnant, the two of them must care for a hideous squalling baby-like, alien-like creature which ultimately is too much for either of them to bear; but articulating plot does nothing to explain how perfectly Lynch captures real human interaction patterns & deep, desperate emotional urges & the way that fear trembles at the edge of almost everything that humans do together -- beautiful, absurd, hilarious, awful.

++++1/2