Entries Tagged as 'Meta-fiction'

‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (1961)

Dbreakfast at Tiffany's (1961) Has anyone ever appraised this films as anything but a sunny Audrey Hepburn vehicle? It’s one hour and 55 minutes of dissonance. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard play two characters who are, by all appearances middle class yuppies living in Manhattan during the early ’60s. But this would be a mistake.

In the eponymous Truman Capote novella it is clear that Holly is a high-end call girl and Paul a gigolo. Blake Edwards’ film supresses the gauche details by making Peppard and Hepburn squeaky clean.

The juxtaposition between who these two characters appear to be and how they earn their money percolates in and out of focus as the story proceeds: [Read more →]

‘The Thing’ (2011)

Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s ‘The Thing’ (2011) is nominally a prequel to the 1982 film of the same name by John Carpenter. Carpenter’s film was a remake of remake of Howard Hawks’ ‘ The Thing from Another World ‘ (1952), itself an adaptation of John w. Campbell’s novella, “ Who Goes There? ” (1938).

Despite the fact that 30 years separate both Heijningen’s prequel and Carpenter’s remake, that intervening 30 years was not enough time for Universal to figure out what made the first 2 films into the classics that they are. [Read more →]

“Boardwalk Empire” (2010)

Boardwalk Empire is this Fall’s new HBO drama starring Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Johnson (1883–1968), Atlantic City’s Prohibition-era Mayor. The combination of boardwalk Carney hijinks and organized crime here make this into vintage HBO — an interesting cross between Carnivale and The Sopranos . Martin Scorcese directed the 70 minute pilot.

The unsurprising thing is that it works really, really well. The Prohibition-era paradigm shift is similar enough to our own era of ascendant faith to make it relevant. The first scene features Buscemi’s Johnson speaking before a local Temperance group and the environment is as colorful and bannered as a Baptist tent revival. As colorful as Johnson’s life of whoring, dealmaking as the mayor and political boss of New Jersey’s Sin City. [Read more →]

‘The Notorious Bettie Page’ (2005)

 The Notorious Bettie Page' (2005) The Notorious Bettie Page is  good in an intellectually satisfying way, bringing order to the typically messy subject of art, pornography and when, where and how one crosses  into the other. Typically, a film like this would be done as a straight biopic, but what Mary Harron and Guinivere Turner have crafted here is no less complicated than Rashamon (1950). No, seriously.

Listen up — Turner and Harron have carefully constructed a four-dimensional portrait of a woman who was, initially, a rather innocent studio model. She was good at what she did, attractive and at ease with her body in a way that made nudity easy. She was many things to many people, even as those fantasies and figments overlapped and contradicted on another.The modelling was so easy, that distortions such as S&M, Fetishism and role-playing were a bit of a joke to her, even as she posed for pictures by the notorious Irving and Paula Klaw . [Read more →]

John Byrne’s ‘Next Men’ (1991)

Re-reading this right now. My memory could be awful or I could have missed an issue or two back in ’91-’93 (me:DC-Chicago-DC-Paris). But, WOW! Byrne’s been keeping me guessing here, down to the last 2 chapters: I have a notion about where it’ll end up, but things are proceeding in a good, unpredictable pace.

The series is only about 35 issues long (#0-#30, plus the graphic novel 2112 ), but Byrne does a very good job of turning it from a Clonus Horror tribute comic into a story that eats time-travel, holodeck incidents and alternate-reality tropes alive. In fact, it’s elegant in a way that I wish ‘Inception’ (2010) had been. [Read more →]

‘The Fifth Patient’ (2007)

While I watched The Fifth Patient , I couldn’t help but think that the gamesmanship of writer/director Amir Mann resembled that of  Memento (Christopher Nolan , 2000).  Both films use amnesia as a plot-point and in both films there’s a point at which overthinking gets in the way of understanding the movie.

Nick Chinlund is John Reilly (a ‘ Reilly, Ace of Spies ‘ reference?) involved in some double-agentry that the audience hasn’t been informed of, and the character goes through several changes about what he knows and what he may or may not know. Malheuresement , I feel that Amir Mann hasn’t done enough to win my sympathy for Reilly and his predicament.

Why has Mann chosen Africa as the site of Reilly’s imprisonment? The Middle East would have been a more timely place for the story to occur,  with the subtext of extraordinary rendition. Mann gave away currency and revelence when he chose to site his drama in Africa. [Read more →]

Top Ten Lists: 2000-2010 – Sci-Fi

Just this past week, I stated seeing ‘Best of’ lists all over the place, specifically, the ‘Best’ science-fiction of the last decade. Typically, such all of the lists I found looked something like this:

1. ‘Children of Men’
2. ‘Moon’
3. ‘District 9′ [Read more →]

‘Shutter Island’ (2010)

[ WARNING :Uncharacteristically, this review is all SPOILERS, but this film is so well put together that you should consider my spoilers a feature, rather than a bug.]

Operation Paperclip Nazis working in criminal sanitariums off the coast of Washington State? Mind control? A WWII veteran and widower with PTSD? Visuals by David Lynch.

It’s 1951 in this film and the most unfortunate thing about Shutter Island is that Scorcese and writers Stephen Knight and Laeta Kalogridis decided that it’s okay not to make sense. They decide to just let go. Film is a visual experience and flourishes are flourishes, so why the fuck not? If your local cinemat can affor to spend $750k on a new 3D projection kit, you can sit and watch Martin Scorcese orchestrate some crazy in 2D. On Shutter Island, the Eater Eggs and Red Herrings run thick, wild and free. So wild, that you may want to pause and consider throwing a few back, before deciding which ones you want to take home to eat. [Read more →]

‘Watchmen’ (2009)

With the publication of Watchmen in 1985, comic books took a sudden, dark and grity turn, similar to police drama after Steven Bochco’s ‘Hill Street Blues’. Like Grant Morrison’s ‘Doom Patrol ‘, and later, ‘ The Authority ‘ and Marvel’s ‘ Ultimates ‘, ‘Watchmen’, the book is not about about capes and tights, but rather the misfits who choose to pursue auperheroics. In ‘Watchmen’, Alan Moore seizes upon the idea that great power might produce monsters — individuals devoid of values and restraint even as they fight the ‘good’ fight.

Terry Gilliam attempted to bring ‘Watchmen’ to life twice, once in 1989 and a decade later, in 1999. He gave up because he felt that the story couldn’t be adequately covered in 2 hours’ time and that the material might be better dealt with as a miniseries, Though there is no Gilliam ‘Watchmen’, I credit ‘Watchmen’ and it’s alternate-apocalyptic 1985 for the rich visual landscape of thr film that Gilliam went on to produce in the mid-’90′s, ’12 Monkeys’ (1995). [Read more →]

‘District 9′ (2009)

district_9 All the reports that I’ve read have said that director Neill Blomkamp and Wingnut Films elected to do ‘District 9′ while they were in a holding pattern while they were waiting on a green light from Microsoft to do a live-action adaptation of the Halo video-game.

Imagine a couple million dollars of filmmaking equipment, and empty studio and several tens of state-of-the-art technicians waiting on some Seattle lawyers, and you get the idea. though the film is a little more substantive than  that. [Read more →]





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