Sunday, October 02, 2005

heep see

Recent movies:

The Saragossa Manuscript (dir. Wojciech Has)- Having caught this once before when Captain Trip and Scorsese brought it round to the revival circuit, I could barely recall the title all these years until just recently, though it appeared to be a different edit than either Jerry Garcia or myself remember. The notes mention his appreciation not only of its surreal, circular, interlocking (story within a story within a story within a story...) dream nature of the movie (which is about as trip-structured as any movie I've ever born witness to) and a particular scene wherein a guy keeps moving his bed so as to not have Death stand at the foot of the bed. That scene's not here, and I swear at the movie's end (when I saw it in the theater), it returns all the way to the beginning, to the first soldiers who come across the manuscript, thus completely the journey back to its outermost rings.

Double Trouble (dir. John Paragon)- Turning away from the boring Yankees game on a Saturday afternoon, I stumble upon this early nineties gem. It must've been a knock-off of Jean-Claude Van Damme's Double Impact (full disclosure: I saw this 'twin' movie in the theater and at least three other times) with the Barbarian Brothers playing mullet-topped, neckless, unable-to-put-their-arms-down ripped, Raiders mid-riff tee wearing, svelte-waisted good/bad brothers. It really makes Van Damme's twin movie play like Dead Ringers or something arty in comparison. An obliviously absurd action movie masterstroke (in the brain-crippling sense).

The Black Sabbath Story- Okay, I skipped the whole story just to watch the early live footage. Ozzy, in his somewhat awkward, babyfat, just kinda weird Birmingham lad days, is hypnotizing. By the time of his acid and coke-crazy success period, where he claps along far off the beat and does embarrassing air guitar moves in Elvis-white jumpsuits, he's dreadful. And "Snowblind" kinda loses its edge when he yells "COCAINE!" at the end of every verse.

La Dolce Vita (dir. Federico Fellini)- Maybe I will give it all up to be a publicist.

Short Cuts (dir. Robert Altman)- Captain Planet and his Planeteers? Jeez, the early Clintonian-nineties never felt more antiquated and distant.

Mother and Son
(dir. Alexander Sokurov)- Realize I had already seen this gorgeous, austere movie a few years back (must be getting old). What kind of lenses were they shooting with? The opening scene seems to be a tableau, angled oddly as if a plane. The colors are painterly, exquisitely textured, with landscapes that have infinite depth, and yet there is a distorted flatness and fuzziness as well, almost dizzying in its toggle between the two dimensions. The shot of chilly Russian winds moving through the golden fields of wheat is but one of many perfect shots.

Grizzly Man (dir. Werner Herzog)- Okay, Treadwell was batshit (feeling the heat of fresh bear shit in amazement but one small indicator) but Herzog was right in his appraisal of the man's nearly-unrealized cinema talents. The unintentional capture of nature (meaning, without him fixinng his hair in the shot or pretending he is some sort of action hero) on the shots of humanless trails, with the wind at play, bending boughs and grassblades is evocative, poetic, the accidental amateur equal of Malick, Tarkovsky, Sokurov.


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