Tuesday, May 30, 2006

this week's netflix - part two

Brokeback Mountain: Even with all the hype and stupid jokes, this film was still incredibly heartbreaking and impressive. The Crash win seems all that much more of an injustice. I felt Anne Hathaway's performance was underrated, and the way Ang Lee handles movement through time should be a primer for all directors who make sweeping epics from this point on. Beautiful.

What an odd and remarkable film. Lily Tomlin's promotion during her introduction for Robert Altman's lifetime achievement Oscar got me to finally move Nashville up the queue. The story of a country music benefit in support of a political candidate is pretty bizarre and chaotic in an very engaging way, but what was most striking was the primacy of the character of the crowd to the exclusion of what I've become so accustomed to in contemporary film: the celebrity close-up. Definitely worth seeing if you haven't.

Bee Season:
I was seriously doubtful that a film adaptation could capture the rich interior lives of Myla Goldberg's characters, and sadly, my doubts were realized. Scott McGehee and David Siegel did get one scene perfectly right - the magical world Miriam built in the storage unit - but otherwise, the awkward kaleidoscope montages did not fill in for deep emotional complexity. Read the book instead.

Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus:
I can't say I didn't enjoy this somewhat pointless documentary of the American South, driven by music and religion and Jim White in a beat-up hotrod. It just seemed like something put together to amuse Andrew Douglas and Steve Haisman's friends and not a film for wide release. The Harry Crews bits were the best and made me even more eager to check out his new novel.

Bukowski - Born Into This:
Now this was a compelling documentary. The footage of Bukowski from various eras of his life portrayed an everyman poet grappling with age and gathering wisdom. I felt some of Bukowski's perversity and vulgarity was downplayed in favor of his more accessible work, but the narrative structure of the film and Bukowski's charisma made the two hours fly. Guest appearances by Tom Waits in the documentary and DVD extras didn't hurt. (My favorite Bukowski poem was posted earlier here.)

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