Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Seen in September 

Jon Hamm walks to the set of Mad Men via The Rolling Stone

Mad Men season 4 cont'd
Oh Don Draper, when will you learn? Covering one lie with another does nothing but put you deeper in the hole. Maybe that's okay if the hole you've dug has plenty of pretty secretaries, a full liquor cabinet, nice suits and swell New York restaurants.

Weeds, Season 1
More Kevin Nealon please. This show of an upper middle class white lady resorting to selling pot to keep paying her bills (a lease on a Land Rover, an oversized Cali-McMansion and a house keeper) hasn't quite clicked for me yet. There's not enough urgency in her situation nor enough difficulty. Like Jesus, I can see the appeal but I'm not sure it's something I'd line up for (ok, I stole that line from "Community", a show which I miss).

The Headless Woman
A strange enigmatic film. A woman, Veronica, hits and kills a dog while driving on a deserted road. Yet she is convinced that she has killed a person. We see her behaving strangely and trying to carry on though in an almost disembodied state (a hint at the title perhaps). Her husband tries to calm her but is unsure himself. When the body of a boy is discovered in a canal near where the caninacide occurred, Veronica believes it's the person whom she killed, despite evidence to the contrary. Apparently the movie carries many subtexts concerning Argentina's political past and Argentinian's complicity in the violent events that took place and their willful ignorance of those crimes. How would you know any of this? The film gives you nothing to work with. I refer to the character as Veronica, yet I only know that from reading a review, a review that seemed party to a whole lot more information than the film actually contains. It's almost impossible to know who is a husband, a brother, an in-law (cousin?). The director has said the film was inspired by a recurring dream of feeling responsible for someone's death and it's easy to see as the film has an odd surreal feeling. Like a dream it floats along often with little exposition, unrelated scenes follow after a tense build-up with little consequence, complicated familial relationships remain unexplained, and the whole thing ends unsatisfactorily.

Death of a Cyclist
An upper class but poorly paid math professor and his wealthy married mistress hit and kill a cyclist while returning from a rendez-vous. To keep their affair secret they leave the accident without reporting it. Beautifully filmed, this story apparently tells of the societal discontent of 1950's Spain. Apparently a lot of Spanish films are about class separation and past politics (The Headless Woman, The Secret in Their Eyes).

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Incredibly theatrical production full of swashbuckling stunts that generally bored the Hell out of me with its hammy acting. Do British forests have long vines you could swing from? Oddly, the script from this film is the oldest written version of the Robin Hood myth.

Lord of War
Nicholas Cage is great in this story of a gun runner (loosely based on a real gun runner, Viktor Bout, currently incarcerated in Thailand) who becomes incredibly successful at this highly immoral business because he's "good at it". The movie does a pretty good job of mixing political rhetoric & reality in a fairly entertaining narrative. Of course, Africa comes out looking like the most horrible place on the planet though I think the idea was to show it as the most exploited place on the planet. At times the plot seems entirely unbelievable until you read anything about Viktor Bout.

Friends With Money
A film I've wanted to see since seeing Please Give, from the same director. Let's call it an experiment. I've been watching it via Netflix on my laptop and iPhone. I've watched from the couch, in bed and from the dining room table. Why? I don't know why it took so long to watch. Probably because it is sort of hard to watch. I really like how Holofcener can turn comedy into complexity on a dime, and make awkwardness touching or hurtful. It's funny how rare films are like this but still it doesn't feel like a chick-flick nor is it easily labeled. Really enjoyed it. Scott Caan played a perfect arsehole perfectly.

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