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.


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.


Saturday, May 15, 2010


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.