Monday, March 30, 2009

On the road.


I've been terrible about updating over the last few weeks and my only excuse is that I'm finally moving. I'm actually in a tiny coffee shop in Ashland, Oregon right now surrounded by dreadlocks and juggling hippies soaking up the sun's "energy".

The Other Sanders and I are meandering our way over to 101 today to do some scenic cruising down the coast before arriving in my new home, San Francisco, tomorrow.

We brought a wicker basket full of picnic treats and a red and white checkered blanket, so it should be romantic.

Wish us luck and I'll get back to posting, later this week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My first guest writer speaks on CHASING AMY (72)

Well then, I've finally pressured one of my nerdier movie friends in to writing something about a film in the Criterion Collection. Let me introduce you to my poorly named friend, Benjamin Bateman. He's a brother of a friend from college who's been making my hours working the coffee shop a little bit more enjoyable with his fervent love of movies and talking about movies and talkin' about comic books and all things nerdy.

He's wanted to write on this little blog for a while now, and when Chasing Amy (72) popped up, he jumped at the chance to discuss his thoughts on a one time indie darling, Kevin Smith.

Treat him nice, he put some good effort in to this little piece and I couldn't be more excited that he took the time to do so.

I'll put up my thoughts on this film in the days to come.

Take it away Bateman.


Why the hell is Ben Affleck famous? I’m sure I’m not the first, and I probably won’t be the last person to raise this question, but I really don’t think he’s ever been particularly good in any movie. In the past, I might have tried defending his honor by saying something like, “he was awesome in Dazed and Confused,” or, “What about Chasing Amy (75)?” I might have even plugged Shakespeare in Love, or his iconic action star quality in Armageddon; The point is, none of these examples showcase any discernable talent (save the slight creative props I’ll give the guy for Good Will Hunting). However, post 03’ 04’ (Daredevil, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Paycheck, Surviving Christmas {a rough 2 years}), he’s gotten some attention for his portrayal of George Reeves in 2006’s Hollywoodland, and his recent direction of 2008’s Gone Baby Gone. Suddenly the world is willing to embrace this unlikely Oscar winner all over again, and all I can do is applaud his persistence. My hat’s off to you sir.

The point of my writing this however, isn’t to trash ol’ Reindeer Games, but is to write a review of the aforementioned film, Chasing Amy (75). My pal Noah Sanders is on a bit of a quest to conquer a mountainous challenge in the form of film watching, and Kevin Smith’s 1997 romantidramedy is next on the list. To begin, I’ll just say that akin to so many other nerds, I grew up as a huge Kevin Smith fan. Maybe it was the constant socially irrelevant, but sub-culturally poignant satire he specialized in, or just the charming nonsense of Jay and Silent Bob, but regardless, I was hooked by age 12. I probably watched Clerks 30 times that year, and I was so excited about these movies, that I just couldn’t wait to tell everyone about them. Unbeknownst to me, everybody else already was sick of “Kevin Smith the artist” by 1999. They were all content with “Kevin Smith” the dick and fart joke guy.

To briefly describe the plot of this film; Chasing Amy (75) is about two best friends (Jason Lee and Ben Affleck) who work on a successful independent comic book together. They meet a lesbian comic book creator (Joey-Lauren Adams), and Ben Affleck Falls in love with her. After some emotional struggle, they begin dating, but ultimately run into problems because of the Affleck’s problem with Adams’ past. The interesting thing about Chasing Amy (75) though, is that it holds quite a bit more emotional weight than any of Smith’s previous works, both positively, and negatively. While Clerks was just a day in the life of a slacker, and Mallrats was a fairly mindless ode to comic-book lore, Amy bravely dove into the romantic-comedy genre without letting go of it’s immature roots. In trying to accomplish something so much more meaningful with this film, he invited criticism for the first time from people aware of the relatively poor quality of his actors, and indy friendly style of his team. As good as he is in some scenes, Affleck is equally terrible in others, and although Joey Lauren Adams actually lived through a very similar real life situation to the plot with Smith before ever making this film, she just annoy’s the shit out of me more than impresses me. The stand-out performance comes from Jason Lee, as Affleck’s morally/sexually conflicted best friend Banky. Lee’s signature brand of aggressively sarcastic humor charmed all of us in 1997. and even won him an independent spirit award for this role, but despite his talent, he was never able to portray any other character after this.

The script in this film is laden with all of the Smith cliché’s from dick and fart humor, to star wars humor, to drug humor, but still has a few tightly written scenes, with enough truth in them to invite applaud. Also, because I watched this movie so many times between the ages of 12 and 16, I never really addressed the intense emotional conflict in a real way until now, and I have to say that I was more impressed than I remembered. Kevin Smith is undeniably a fat, sappy product of Hollywood sentimentality, and even more hilariously, he’d be the first to admit it. Chasing Amy (75) was the first attempt at making the kind of film that Jersey Girl ended up being, and although it feels a little clunky at times, it still ends well, and has a satisfying touch of heart.

Thanks for reading kind audience. My name is Ben Bateman and I am a friend of Mr. Sanders. While I’m not sure who actually reads Noah’s rambles, it still feels good to write something, and in honor of this review, I’ll be starting my first blog, called “5 a week,” this week. The idea will be to watch five films a week, which I haven’t seen, and review them daily. Each week will have a theme, which corresponds with the film choices. Week one is titled “Knowing; The fall of Nicolas Cage.” Feel free to stop by.


Tomorrow: Chasing Amy (75), my perspective.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A final day of work and why I haven't watched CHASING AMY (75) yet.

Another milestone in the big move occurred today: my final shift of work at my coffee shop. I don't want to get al sentimental and deep about this move, though those thoughts are certainly bouncing around my head right now, but a few things chanced upon the old brain matter today and I thought I'd share.

No matter how excited or sad or broken up you (or maybe just I) believe people are going to be about you departing a place of employment like a coffee shop when it comes down to it they're not going to care that much. I wish I could even remember all of the customers I saw on Monday who promised they'd come in and say goodbye, who told me they'd be bringing the whole family, or a baby for a picture (I'm not joking), and I have to say that in terms of regular customers today was one of the slowest.

I guess I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I thought the loyal customers would be a little more broken up, a little more eager to talk and shoot the shit, hell, a little more loose with their money and the tip jar. Instead, today was just a regular day, maybe a little sadder, maybe a little slower, but all in all just another day at Fuel Coffee.

What I've come to realize is that this is just the surest of signs that no matter who you are or what you've done or what impacts you've made, your departure is just a small break in things, and soon enough, even maybe when you're still there, that break seals and life just keeps flowing on past. It was, quite honestly, a sort of somber realization today. Everyone is living there lives and me leaving, as much as it seems to be this huge deal to me is, to everyone else a slight deviation, a brief change before things get back to normal.

Two more days in Seattle folks, just two more days.

No Chasing Amy (75) today folk, for a few reasons. One, I'm waiting on my first guest writer to either send something tonight, or not, so I can just move past and write it up myself. Two, I already packed the film and I'm struggling to locate it again. And three, I've been busy drinking, carousing and socializing in light of the upcoming departure. Movies are hard to watch when I'm intoxicated, don't judge.

Tomorrow though, Kevin Smith's "masterpiece" discussed.

Thursday: Chasing Amy (75)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Things are things and LE MILLION (72).

My room getting emptier by the day folks. The furniture is almost gone (aside from my dinged by sturdy desk that the good, but pony-tailed folk at Goodwill would have none of). Nearly 3/4th of my possessions have been spread across various music stores, book shops, and thrift stores. I've whittled down the material aspects of my life in to what will fit in to one large blue Eddie Bauer duffel and a cardboard box only as tall as my waste.

To say the least, it's a strange feeling. A strange, but excessively exciting feeling. Up to this point in my life, I've always viewed myself as somewhat of a collector. I collected books and accumulated nostalgia and basically filled the open nooks of my life with a bevy of crap that over the last week of my life I've rid myself of. I always had a place to keep this pile of goods, so, as I think we all do, I did. Now though, I'm moving in to Alex's room. We're sharing a space that affords me a plastic bin and a half, two drawers, and whatever we decide about the newly purchased avocado colored desk. I literally can not bring the three hundred books I'd garnered (at least a hundred of them never read), the stacks and stacks of t-shirts I never wear, the assorted junk my family's annual X-Mas bonanza has afforded me. There just isn't space.

Thus, it's gone. Spread to the wind. What came out of this, aside from a lightening of my material self? The knowledge that I no longer need to own this much shit. There a was a moment when I was standing in Half Priced Books waiting for the book guy to give me an offer, where I actually felt sad - sad that my books, many that I'd never read and probably never would, were being sold. And it kind of disgusted me. Things are things, they should never be that important to us.

One of many lessons I'm learning from this enormous change in my life.

I want to start actually talking about the films, placing them in the context of film history (as much as I know at least) so maybe they'll be more interesting to you. Rene Clair, the director of Le Million (72) was a film director at the beginning of the 1930s, a time when sound was first becoming an actuality in cinema, and like many of the directors of his day, he wasn't excited about the usage of it in film. Film was a visual medium, a collection of images that told a story - sound, music, sound effects were better reserved for cheap theatrics. But, as we all know, time changed and sound became the thing to do, but you can still sense that Clair doesn't see sound as a norm, but more of an experiment.

The film revolves around a poor artist and an hour and half long chase for a missing lottery ticket worth a million dollars. Le Million (72) isn't a huge, brainy film, it's an extended chase scene, but in the hands of Rene Clair it transcends its meager aims. Clair uses sound as a paint brush, eschewing the majority of his typical dialogue, instead choosing to fill the quiet spaces with singing and sound effects, a collage of noise and conversation that helps to build the cobble-stoned streets of Clair's Paris. Everybody always mentions this but there's a Chaplin-esque (Chaplin was actually almost sued for his theft of the general concepts of this film later on) fight scene on a rickety opera stage, that Clair chose to overlay with the bustling sounds of a football game. It was revolutionary, and choices like these are what made this film so far ahead of its time.

The 1930s are long gone, and digging in to the films from that era can be a bit tedious, but Le Million (72) is a gem.

Wednesday: Chasing Amy (75)

Monday, March 23, 2009

What's In Store #3!

Alright! I've got ten minutes to pound out something movie related before my dear mother scoops me up for a fancy dinner and a little bonding time before I hit the road this weekend. I finally, FINALLY, wrangled my way through the shit show that was the last five or so movies in the collection (I'll have a review of Le Million (72) up tomorrow) and now I'm ready to preview just what's coming up.

I know, you beautiful people want me to dance around like a clown and reveal deep secrets about my personal life in these times of transition. But for once, you'll get movies, and you'll like it.

Bridget Bardot

So, here's what's coming up:

#75. Chasing Amy dir. Kevin Smith

It's shocking that Kevin Smith has a film in The Criterion Collection, I fully agree. But that said, this is Smith's most mature (not saying a huge amount), most adult comedy and I'm glad to have just a taste of good old fashioned modern day humor to help wash the palate the boulders I surmounted over the last two or three weeks. In more personal news, this was the first Criterion film I ever owned. Sweet nostalgia, the nectar of my dreams.

#76 Brief Encounter dir. David Lean

David Lean is the man who in the late years of his life directed monstrous epics like The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. This film on the other hand is a tiny, yet influential picture about a town between two places and the illicit romance that blooms there. It's beautiful black and white and tells a pretty sad little tale about love and loss. I've seen this one but am truly excited to be digging in to it again.

#77 And God Created Woman dir. Roger Vadim

Bridget Bardot just has to have it. That's what this film is about, that and how her insatiable lust throws an entire tropical village in to a frenzy. Do you need to know anything else?

#78 The Bank Dick dir. Edward Cline

W.C. Fields was one of the comedians of his time. A slapsticky ball of wry humor that absolutely slayed back in the 1930s. I've never seen his picture, but in third grade I did play a corrupt bean merchant named W.C. Chesterfield in a riveting production of Jack and the Beanstalk. All I remember is that I had a fake beard and there was a long monologue that I screwed up time and time again.

Alright, that's all you get for now. I'm much much much more excited about this selection of films than I was by the stoddering mindblast that was the last five. Bristling with excitement in comparison.

Tuesday: Le Million (72)

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm a political faker and again, thank god THE MAGIC FLUTE (71) is over.

I was watching Obama pick brackets on television over the last couple of days and let me tell you I was excited. President of the United States of America picking his fucking brackets just like an everyday Joe. I didn't actually see Obama on Jay Leno but again, President Obama not just sitting on his high shelf, ensconced in the Oval Office, no, here's our President talking to Jay Leno like a regular old celebrity. Excitement, coursing through me, I suddenly realized as excited I am about all this big-TV hoopla, I'm pretty much a dullard in terms of what Obama is actually doing as the President of the United States, and if he's doing it well at all.

And I'm not shitting on Obama at all, I'm shitting on myself. I told myself during the election that I was going to get myself political. I was going to follow the news about what Obama was doing in terms of the country, the world, the economy, the environment - I was pumped to be a part of the change and new world we as Americans were entering.

Of course, inauguration came and went and it's almost two months in to Obama's Presidency and as always I know almost nothing about what he's doing or how well he's doing it. Nope, I'm just sitting at home, a little boozed, cheering about the fact that he filled out a bracket. And I don't think I'm alone in this. I'm sure if you polled the people who voted for Obama, you'd quickly find that the pre-inauguration clamor has faded off in to the the type of political inertness we've come to accept as normal in America. I browse the New York Times in the morning to see what President Obama is doing, but if somebody asked me his stance on say, well, anything I'd probably fumble and give a sort of "shit if I know" type expression.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, uh, well, shit, I don't really know. I'm half asleep after eleven hours of work and this was the idea that popped in to mind. Obama makes me smile because he's always on television fulfilling my need to see a President engage with pop-culture on a more consistent basis, but when it comes down to it, I'm a huge political faker. And this is, er, something I'd like to change.

You know what else I'd like to see change? How bored I am with the last, er, five films in The Criterion Collection. I'm obviously not as huge a film scholar as I thought, because from Cocteau to Scorsese to Ingmar Berman, I've been nearly asleep at the wheel for the last five films. The Magic Flute (71) is no exception either.

Oh no, this is a Dutch operatic adaptation of a Mozart composition, a Dutch operatic adaptation of a Mozart composition filmed to seem like its actually being portrayed on a theatrical stage. It's also two hours long. I tried, extremely hard to like this film, I did, I mean it. But at the end of the day I'm very obviously two things: one, an uncultured boor who can't abide the la-la-las of intelligent music like opera and two, excessively bored by melodrama. I found myself drifting in and out of this film more than any other in the collection. I wasn't outraged at it's pretensiousness, I wasn't baffled by it's strange plot, and I wasn't turned away by it's atrocious images - nope, I was just completely uninvolved.

The only character/subplot that I enjoyed, but didn't so much understand, was the romantic lusting of Papageno, the bird-catcher who gets drawn in to Pamino/Pamina's quest to, well, find each other. He's obviously the groundling fare, the broad, sexual, laugh-out-loud comedy intended to please those who can't stand sitting and watching two hours of opera about fucked up love. That being an exact description of myself, I really like his storyline. He was jovial and entertaining, quite good at singing, and was a welcome break from the plodding doom and gloom of the rest of the film. Also, Papagena, his lady love, was a startlingly attractive woman and it certainly helped me get through several moments in the moving.

One final thought and then I can bury this film for good, somewhere dark and deep in my churning brain: Scandanavians have some sort of strange fascination with suicide as it seems like every character, Papageno included, tries to off themselves in the name of love. It's strange, and I wonder if the blandly friendly facades of my Scandanavian friends hide deep, dark, suicidal thoughts.

At the end of the day, I'm just glad we can all move past this one.

Monday: What Comes Next pt. 3

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not even two seconds of THE MAGIC FLUTE (71)

Well last night, hot and sweaty over the fact that I'd posted one hundred times on this here blog I decided to celebrate by immersing myself in a literal whirlwind of Criterion goodness. Because my desk is almost entirely useless to me now, I'd seat myself on my uncomfortable, and soon to be gone, futon and burn through The Magic Flute (71), then take a breather, have a beer, and shoot directly in to Le Million (72). It's a short one, so maybe I'd have time to dig in to Kevin Smith's sketchily deemed-classic Chasing Amy (75) before the sweet arms of sleep wrapped themselves around me.

I was psyched, a big Criterion nerd-out to ring in the big 100 post.

Then the phone rang and a good friend of mine from high school was interested in a hitting up a local, movie-themed taphouse for some beers and nostalgia. I waxed back and forth, sipping on a cheap can of crap beer or four, before agreeing - I'd be home slightly early and I'd certainly polish off The Magic Flute (71) before drifting in to slumber.

Three dark beers later, I'm sprawled out, face crushing my already warped glasses, Scandinavian opera singers serenading me to sleep.

Long story short, I didn't do a lick of Criterion watching last night. Hell, I've got a little over a week before I depart Seattle indefinitely, this might happen a bit.

Keep reading though, I'll try to keep it entertaining.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Post 100 and THE MAGIC FLUTE (71)

Wow. One hundred posts. That has to be something to celebrate. It's taken me nearly four months of almost-daily posting to reach this point and to say that I'm a bit proud of my tenacity and actual dedication is an understatement. I've started quite a few blogs in the past (Haiku Filth, an unnamed blog that Tom Cruise Sanders and I started about local shows in Portland, and, uh, other ones) but all of them have careened to the wayside after a while, victims of laziness and self-conscious, and very true fear that no one was reading them.

Criterion Quest is different though, and I'll tell you why. Every day I wake up and I know that no matter what I'm doing for the day, be it writing, making coffee, running, dressing up in a golf outfit and shaving a mustache and then throwing a frisbee blindfolded, I have a movie that not only I want to watch but I need to watch. I have a goal, a dim, dim light at the end of a very very long tunnel and I can't help but be excited to at least have a few faceless friends (that's you guys) joining me on the journey. And I know, people aren't always excited about my dissection of an early French silent film, or my bitching about my cold, but I get the feeling that those who read this little endeavor of mine are actually enjoying it and that, coupled with my obsessive and near life-long need to watch every Criterion film before I die has kept me going.

I hoped you've enjoyed reading these first 100 posts, because I've certainly enjoyed writing them. Here's a tip of the hat to the first 100, and a delicate curtsy to the next 100.

Thanks for sticking around.

I always connected Ingmar Bergman with dark, weird films about the intricacies of relationships, filmed in stark close-ups with some of the great Scandanavian actors of their time. I always imagined that his movies would be difficult to plow through as they'd be so emotionally wrenching you couldn't quite bear to go on. I've always thought that Ingmar Bergman (the absolute darling of The Criterion Collection) was a brooding man, his works filled with fucked up people and their terrible decisions.

I certainly never imagined that Ingmar Bergman was in the field of making smiley, silly adaptations of Mozart's The Magic Flute (70). But, it turns out, he is.

The Magic Flute (70) was put in the old computer last night when I had a bit of free time between shirking responsibility, packing, and drinking and boy oh boy was I surprised. For some reason, I'm sure I'll never figure it out, Bergman decided to film an actual theatrical version of the opera, with all the cheesy, hammy facial expressions, bargain bin costumes and overdone light work, we've come to love out of theatre. Thus, this tale of a Prince searching for his unknown lady love with the help of a bird-catcher and a pair of magic flutes and a trio of smiling boy spirits is almost humorous in its adaptation. I found myself actually this film as it progressed, drawn in to the odd theatricality of it, laughing out loud at some of the choices made by the actors, especially Papageno (Hakan Hagegard) and his strange, strange facial padlock.

It's why I love the Criterion Collection, they bring to light these films from directors you pigeonhole in to one category, films that utterly change the way you think about the film, the director and his whole filmography. For a giant film nerd like myself, it's actually very exciting.

I've got no idea where this film is going, but for the first time in two weeks I'm actually fairly excited to find out.

Thursday: The Magic Flute (71)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Time is moving on and WATCHMEN.

It's a strange morning for me. I woke up today to the long-awaited news that Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the city's longest running and largest newspaper was closing the door on its print publication, continuing onwards solely as a digital paper. Eyes wide, all I could think was: times, they are a changing.

Seriously, this is one of the larger papers in America and it has finally succumbed to the crushing force of the internet and the even more debilitating presence of one of the country's worst recessions, well, ever. This isn't a localized event either, San Francisco is losing The Chronicle and Denver is well on it's way to losing The Star. More and more and more of this is going to happen as the years progress and folk become more adjusted to peering at newspapers on there computer screens. This is akin to vinyl becoming 8-track becoming cassette becoming CD becoming .MP3, we are literally living through one of the most monumental technological changes, well, ever. The printed word is going to cease to exist at some point, and when glass-brained robo-scientists of the future look back, this, The Seattle P-I shuttering its doors in favor of the cyber-realities of the internet, will stand out as the first event that signalled the beginning of the end.

And I for one am sad. Newspapers are beautiful things and in twenty years when my children are plugging in to wall sockets to brain-gest their daily helping of local news, I'm going to standing off to the side, remembering the days when I could sit in my living room and welcome the day with a neatly folded newspaper.

To all those who've been affected by the loss of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, I'm pouring out a drink or ten for you tonight.

I let the hype of Watchmen die down a bit before I went to see it. I was in San Francisco when the film released and sitting through two hours and forty minutes of comic book nostalgia seemed like a monumental waste of time. Also, my dad, a long time comic book nerd in hiding, had been foaming at the mouth about this comic book epic since he finished the graphic novel and I couldn't let the mustached fellow down. Thus it was almost two weeks after it's initial opening that my pops and I sat down in a near empty theatre to peruse a filmic adaptation of one of the great comic book stories, well, ever.

And all I can really say about it is ... I enjoyed it. I wasn't blown away by the adaptation, I didn't revile it, I just thought it was a solidly put together piece of comic book film making that did a fairly good job of bringing the themes and narratives of the graphic novel on to the screen. Honestly in retrospect, I don't really know why I wasn't more blown away by the film. Zach Snyder has done an exemplary job bringing the sense of history and depth so prevalent in the comic books to life on screen. This film pulses with the shared memories of these sad sad characters. Every screen is filled to the brim with images and allusions to events of the past and I couldn't help but be impressed. Also, Snyder has done a fantastic job of bringing his herky-jerky style of speed-up/slow-down fight scenes to this film. The fights always seem brutal, never overly comic, and I can't believe there's been a better use of wire-work in a American film to date. I found myself flinching and smiling through out.

I guess at the end of the this mammoth, dark, indy comic book film I just couldn't shake the thought that Watchmen never needed to be made in to a movie. Sure, film geeks of the world have been clamoring for something, anything from the Watchmen film camp forever, but I just don't know if it needed to be made. The most exciting merits of the comic exist in how literary and dense it is, a true epic of comic book storytelling. Sure, the movie has its sense of epicness as well, but the loose ends of this picture need to be tied up at the end. Main characters have to die and find love and we need a final shot that captures the essence of the film - it's Hollywood baby, that's just the way it is. The comic book on the other hand did a fine job of creating these spaces throughout where we could imagine what had come before and lose ourselves in the history on display. Here that history is secondary to the story, a series of easter eggs that the slap-happy viewer will scour in slow-motion on his nine hour directors cut. I always felt that in the comic book, the world and the history of that world were the main character and the people and stories who moved with in were just a part of that character. In the film though, these characters are the main story and the world is just something to marvel at.

I enjoyed the film, I just wasn't blown away.

I promise, back to Criterion Collection tomorrow.

Wednesday: The Magic Flute (71)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just under two weeks and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (70) finally bites the dust.

I sold my first piece of furniture today. A huge bookshelf that in the past has held my disgusting collection of books I haven't read was pawned off to the good Ross ... something or other. And it is both satisfying and just another sign of how completely different my life is about to become.

I'm at just under two weeks before I pack up all of my belongings and hit the road and let me tell you I am a ball of conflicting emotions. Excitement, happiness, sadness, nervousness - nearly every emotion I could have crackling through my body right now is pretty much gut punching me on a daily basis. My room is a cluttered mess of books and clothes all needing to be taken somewhere for sale or donation. My social calender has to the potential to be fuller than it has, well, ever as my friends and foes from across the Seattle spectrum are checking in one last time before I hit the open road. My computer, my sweet sweet desktop computer that has treated me so well in the years past has been sold to my equally transitory brother. And most exciting of all Alex, sweet Alex, just purchased an avocado colored desk to fill the space of a sea-faring chest and to give me a bit of room to write and collect my thoughts. I could not be more excited.

I'm sure this will be the main source of all my blathering as the week(s) proceed, so please bear with me, I'm a little nervous and I tend to ramble when so.

As much nervous energy might be coursing through me right now, I was finally, FINALLY able to power through the last hour and ten minutes of Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ (70) last night. It's a strange film, way too long, and paced in a way you might call glacial and my biggest fault came with where Scorsese chose to focus his attentions. The title of the film, The Last Temptation of Christ (70) describes the final forty minutes of the movie and Jesus' choice not to stay on the cross, but instead to succumb to Satan's offer of living the life of a normal man. Thus, you see Jesus having a child, you see Jesus getting old and raising a family, and of course you see poor Jesus' sweet little world falling prey to Satanic forces. My question is why did Scorsese feel the need to spend two hours prior to this showcasing the life and times of Jesus? I wanted more of this final temptation business, what Jesus' life as a man was like, but instead I got treated to a humanistic portrayal of the Son of God ... that took me almost two weeks to finally get through. Nonetheless, I'm grateful that I made it through this film and even more grateful that I can mark another Scorsese film seen.

I'm still in the midst of a long haul here folk, but after Bergman's opera, it starts to look up a bit.

Tomorrow: The Magic Flute (71)

Friday, March 13, 2009

There's a force trying to stop me and CHOKE.

I was almost positive that I was going to power through the final forty five minutes of The Last Temptation of Christ (70) yesterday afternoon. Came home from my job at the record label, tense and ready to power through these final, synthy, boring, religious moments. Ready to just keep my eyes completely open and let Scorsese's vision of Jesus Christ wash over me and than completely out of my system. I was ready I tell you, ready as anything ...

But I left the disc at work. I can't even imagine what would've prompted me to take the disc out of the computer and put it anywhere, but something, someone, somehow dug in to my wee little brain and planted the idea. Thus when I went to view the movie at a later time, I was shocked to find that it was absent, a fond memory sitting atop my co-worker's desk.

So, no final discourse on The Last Temptation of Christ (70), sadly, that'll have to wait until Monday. Sigh.

Instead I spent a solid portion of my night slogging through the recent adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's Choke, a movie I really thought I would like. It features Sam Rockwell, one of my favorite actors and I'd heard fairly positive reviews about it. I'm not a Palahniuk fan, but Fight Club stands as a favorite of mine, and hell, maybe this film would take the twisted words of the writer and do with them what's been done before. And to a certain degree actor-turned-director Clark Gregg does that. He manages to adequately bring what I know of the story to screen, sex-addict tries to cope with his issues through love (or something) while graphically screwing every woman he meets along the way. I just don't know if Palahniuk's story is that interesting or that complete. This film just sort of rambles along through a series of disconnected sub-plots that idly pick at the main character's flaws and his attempts to find solace from them. By the third ending of the film I was so tired and bored and distracted by text messaging that I just called it a night - a rare action for me when it comes to movies.

My other beef with the film was the sentimental cord that ran through it. I can't imagine that the original piece of writing had the sort of mushy shmuck piled up in it like the film does. As if Gregg wanted to soften the blow of the sheer graphic nature of the piece by adding in a sappy storyline about love and the search for family.

The best parts of the film are the ones just mired in filth. The flashes of sexuality that plague Sam Rockwell's Victor Manicini everywhere he goes. His chronically masturbating best friend. The entire scene where Victor gets a hand job from his co-worker in the barn of his place of employment. There's dark, disgusting humor here, I just wanted more of it.

There's something to recommend here, it's just sparse. Sam Rockwell is always a pleasure to watch, but this just isn't the greatest of films.

Monday: I swear to god, The Last Temptation of Christ (70) finished

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tucker Max, asshole and still, not quite finished with THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (70)

Does anyone else know who Tucker Max is? He's a blogger-turned-author who released a book last year entitled I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell.

Read a bit of his bile here.

And he's also a complete and total asshole. I don't know the man-child personally, but I picked up a copy of said book at the airport the other day (I'll be honest, the cover mentioned sex, I was intrigued) and was absolutely disgusted by what lay within. This is East Coast frat-boy shit taken to a new level, a series of missives detailing the truly vile sexual encounters this douchebag has had with a shocking number of women. I'm not one to poo-poo anyone for what they're writing, but the sheer presence, and popularity of Tucker Max and his craptastic brand of blogging.

It angers me first because this sort of hyper-chauvinistic bullshit in this day and age makes me nauseous. As if women in this world need another reason to doubt themselves or their looks or their brilliant minds, but seemingly the good folk at the Hudson Booksellers at Seattle-Tacoma airport believe that the stories of anal sex gone wrong should be up for grabs for any bored idiot perusing their aisles. I've bandied about my fair share of sex-encounters gone wrong in my life, but somehow Tucker Max, even in the short amount of reading I did, dips too deep in to degrading the women he's screwed. It's disrespectful and at least to my very-unsensitive viewpoint, disgusting. Are woman just up in arms about this shit? Does Taylor Max get loogies hocked at him everywhere he goes? I certainly fucking hope so.

On top of that, it pisses me of that this shit ends up in the bookseller of a major airport. The Christian Right spends their whole stupid year trying to get Harry Potter pulled off the shelves, but doesn't seem to mind that their fourteen year old children can read about the time Taylor Max shoved coins in to his sex partner (I totally made that up, but I'm sure there is something similar in this book). Come on! Are we serious here? This is the kind of shit that needs to be pulled from shelves. I'm not advocating censorship, but if the Christian Right is going to be assholes, as they surely will, and they're going to want to fight some ill-intented battled, can it at least be against someone who everyone hates? I wish.

Jesus Christ.

The Last Temptation of Christ (70) is probably going to kill me. I might need to take a full break from Criterion after this film. I can only sit in my crappy leather office chair for so long, drool hanging from my mouth, listening to Willem Dafoe spout off against the moneychangers, the Romans, the old religions, the devil, himself before my head starts to pound. I barely made it through twenty minutes last night before drifting in to a fitful slumber rife with flaming archangels and big-toothed Jesus.

Last night, Jesus was chit-chatting with Neurotic Judas (Harvey Keitel) about dying in Jerusalem and I just assumed that I was nearing the end. Checked the amount of time left on the old film and was shocked to see there was still an hour and a half remaining. The tufts of hair I pulled out in disbelief still litter the floor of my room.

I am going to somehow make it through this movie by the end of the week. I have to. It needs to be ejected from my system. But until then, expect more of this lurching criticism.

Friday: Still, The Last Temptation of Christ (70)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


More musings from my ride on the supposed "Sexiest Flight On Earth":

1. I wonder if more people have joined the Mile High Club as a passenger on Virgin Air? When you step on the plane it's not just lit, it's "blue-lit". The boring lights of airline pasts are no longer with us, this is like the coke-den at your favorite L.A. night spot. And to compound the effect even further, there's a low level of pleasant, mind-numbing electronica pumping through the speakers. You feel relaxed, everyone's face is washed clean by the lights, there's gentle, almost romantic music spinning ... and the place offers a fucking chat option. I'm surprised that instead of vomit bags they don't offer condoms and lube. Or that the bathrooms don't feature padded sinks and bars to prop your self up against. I want stats.

2. Also, across the board almost, I found the flight attendants (both male and female) to be far more attractive than before. Gone are the saggy faced holdovers from generations past, these are good looking ladies and lads, sporting hip outfits, cooly monotone voices and the swagger of youth. Sure, I mean with the blue-lit coke room effect fully blasting my visuals, these ladies and fellas could've been 45 year old ex-sex workers and I wouldn't have noticed for a minute.

3. Virgin Air keeps proferring this "state-of-the-art" entertainment center where you can watch television and movies and "chat" with your new "friends" on the airline and people have told me about in the past and I was at least somewhat excited. Turns out the thing's a sham. Not only did I have to embarass myself to the maybe-attractive flight attendant by asking her for a soda and inquiring about the "video game thing" but when I tried to watch sports on my departure flight all I get was fuzz and threatening messages from the Dish Network. If I wanted fuzz, threatening messages, and coddling about video games I could just stay at home in the warmth of 6818 Linden.

This small problem aside though, Virgin Air was if still entirely a cheap-o airline, a refreshingly different flight. I recommend it, especially if you're feeling frisky.

I thought after two beers and a long day in SF that I'd be able to power through the last hour and forty minutes of The Last Temptation of Christ (70) no problem on a sexily lit airplane hovering above the world. That was a poorly thought out plan. I got twenty-five, thirty more minutes in to this slightly snooze-worthy tale of Jesus Christ and his apostles and nodded off, but did muster a few thoughts about the film in the process:

- I don't really know the point of making this film. Sure, it's sort of a human telling of the Jesus myth, but I don't understand how I'm supposed to view it. I don't turn to Scorsese's films for religious enlightenment, but this film is chock full of biblical platitudes about Jesus love and God's warm hands and all that shit I gave up on long long ago. How exactly am I supposed to take this film though? I thought, because of the massive controversy that followed this film to the theatres that I'd be watching a movie that showed a different side of Jesus. For the moment, and I still have, sigh, an hour and twenty minutes of the film left, it's just a pretty telling of Jesus's life. Does this change? Does any body have an answers?

- Scorsese and Willem Dafoe sort of portray Jesus as a new-agey huckster in this film. There's a scene where Jesus is trying to convince the Nazarenes to be his people where I felt like I was just watching Trinity television. It made my stomach roil, hell I wanted to throw a rock at him. He's all big teeth and shiny eyes, trying to draw me in to the embrace of the lord. I almost had my cell phone out so I could call Willem Dafoe and donate some money to the Lord, but pulled back just in time.

- I don't believe I've ever seen a more entertaining portrayal of Jesus changing water to wine. All shit-eating grin and cockiness, Gabriel's synth beats pounding in the background - this film is ridiculous.

Alright, hopefully, lord help me, I can finish this film tonight.

Thursday: The Last Temptation of Christ (70)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Every two weeks.


I'm in SF. I watched Bottle Rocket (450) last night but due to the structure of this blog I'm not going to say anything about it until I'm fifty years old. I might have to work something out in terms of watching these all in order.

Nonetheless, the time spent on Bottle Rocket (450) ate up the time I didn't want to spend getting all religious with The Last Temptation of Christ (70), thus, all you get today is two brief paragraphs and a insincere "sorry."

So ... sorry.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Virgin Air pt. 1 and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (70)

I'm in San Francisco right now. Flew in last night on a Virgin Airlines flight and couldn't have been more surprised/baffled/confused at the sheer, well, sexiness of the flight. If you've grown up over the last twenty years, flying has become more and more an exercise in aggravation. Small seats, unfriendly and unattractive ticket ladies and stewardesses, bad to no food, and a stale sort 80s corporate aesthetic that does nothing to capture the former glamor of the skies. Virgin Airlines, seemingly realizing this, has taken bull by the horns and transformed their flights in to little airborne pockets of modernized youthfulness.

Alex had recommended, as she refers to them, "sexy flights" and in the interim between putting down a ten dollar double whiskey and boarding the plane, I sketched down a few observations about this bizarro world airline:

1. Sexiness is on display from moment one. The ticket counter is a maroon red and it's staffed by relatively youthful people. One guy has corn rows, another is smoothly dressed and coyly giggles as he helps me with my credit card transaction, the third smiles at me and it actually, gulp, feels genuine. Where does Virgin find these folk? I didn't know Sea-Tac had this kind of population.

2. They're playing music at the counter. Not even tinny, four-note renditions of classical favorites, or Muszaked renditions of your favorite Beatles songs - no this is actual, top-40 music blasting from unseen speakers in the walls. Even stranger? It's rap music. Big, bass heavy rap music, rife with curse words and rhymes. It drowns out the shrill protestations of a small, old, angry woman. I'm shocked - attractive people and better than average music? What exactly have I gotten myself in to?

3. Virgin Air doesn't divide their boarding line in to elitist sub-sections dedicated to
'First Class" and "Middle Class" and "Steerage Class", oh no. The good folk at Virgin Air have decided that each and every person, regardless of the amount of money you forked over for your flight actually get to walk across a cheaply thrown down red carpet. Makes me feel like a less attractive Brad Pitt. I'm already excited for the prospect of free Cristal, chunky lines of blow, and beautiful people showering me with compliments.

4. I wonder: when they announce that along with old people, first class and babies, that anyone who "needs a little more time getting on the plane" can I just saunter up and get on the plane claiming that I'm slow? Do I need a disability or a wheel chair or can I just offer that my way of doing things moves at a more retarded tempo and that I might slow up the rest of the plane? I'm trying it ... one of these times.

Alright, I'm going to leave you hanging on the edge of your seat, 'cause this metal bird gets even sexier once I board. Stay tune, "Virgin Air pt. 2" next time.

First off, The Last Temptation of Christ (70) is not the best movie to be watching in small, steel cylinder 30,000 feet off the ground, surrounded by other human beings. There's a lot of nudity and blood shed and screeching noises that found me watching most of the film with my hands wrapped around the screen.

I've seen this film before and it was difficult for me to slog through it the first time, so I thought that forcing it in front of me for two hours on a plane and I might be able to enjoy it. And, to some degree, I have been. It's a passion piece by Martin Scorsese, his look at the life and times of Jesus Christ not as a savior but as a man. Scorsese wanted to make this film for years and years and years but couldn't find a studio edgy or trusting enough for him to make it. In the mean time he put together what's considered to be his worst film (After Hours) and one of my favorites of his, The Color of Money. And like all passion pieces it has some truly strange choices. The music for this epic sword and sandal piece is created by none other than 80s electronica god ... Peter Gabriel. It's a strange sound, stark landscapes matched by slappy funk bass and synth. Can't say it would've been my choice for music but somehow it works.

This is a decidedly arch, decidedly 80s take on the Jesus story and if you're not feeling dour 1980s religious tales I'd turn away from this. I'm not quite done with flick yet and I think it needs to be seen as a whole, so I'll get out my thoughts on it on Monday.

Have a good weekend.

Monday: The Last Temptation of Christ (70)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I don't think people actually care about the movies and finally the end of TESTAMENT TO ORPHEUS (69)

I've been hearing a bit of chatter from those who read this blog (which surprisingly, is a decent number) that people don't really care about the films I'm watching. This is understandable, a lot of these films have been viewed by a small selection of academics over the years and the students they've force-fed them to. Honestly, that's probably about it. I can imagine there is a only pocket of people still living who've taken it upon themselves to slog through the entirety of Jean Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy and I bet most of those people weren't pleased with the experience. I don't love all of these films, but I certainly love the process of sifting through them, learning about them, figuring out why film is the way it is today.

And I totally understand, from someone who grew up on the Die Hard movies that most of you could give an absolute rat's ass about my thoughts on Akira Kurosawa's High and Low (24) and I'd like to address this concern in a couple ways:

1. I'm going to take a bit of a break every third or so films in the collection and actually watch a movie that's been released in the last couple of years. I promise, you get sleepy scanning over my thoughts about these movies, I'm in a sort of perpetual coma after viewing some of this flicks. And jumping from boredom blast to boredom blast leaves fairly incapacitated in terms of movie watching. I think the addition of some untested modern films will help me appreciate these movies better, and in turn, make you, my beloved readers just a little more interested in the second half of my daily rant.

2. I'm thinking about including some other information. My thoughts on breaking news in terms of movies, my thoughts on movie trends in general, my general snark on what's polluting our movie screens each and every week. It probably won't be for a bit, but I'm thinking about upping my daily post to 2 instead of one. I'm going to have a bit of free time on my hands after my SF move and I'm going to funnel it in to writing, and hopefully this blog will benefit from it.

Your guys thoughts? Opinions? Ideas?

Pop the bubbly and put on your party hats because I finally, FINALLY, slogged through the last installment in Jean Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy and though it didn't do any lasting harm to me, I can't be happier to be completely finished with it. Symbolism and visual imagery aside, these movies were not ones I spent a lot of time with, and call me a terrible film watcher, but Jesus, there were stretches in these films where I was praying for a DVD error. I'm done though, finished with Cocteau for the foreseeable future and I'll drop some quick thoughts on you and we can, to everyone's relief, move on.

Testament To Orpheus (69) is a crazy film because it's the last film Cocteau ever made and it's pretty much a farewell to his friends, his art, and the public. The film follows the director as he sits trial for his film and is then sentenced to a life of immortality, one which he hopes to avoid through a series of time-travelling trials. This is the entire life and work of Cocteau on display for us and him to pick at and when, sigh, disappears in to a roadside rock at the end of the film, a bloody red flower the only memory remaining, I honestly felt a little sad. It's a strange and somewhat brilliant way of looking at what we've done in life and how these things will be remembered, and to throw these up on the silver screen for all to see, well, it's kind of moving. Especially at the very end of the film, Cocteau has disappeared, the aforementioned flower is held by two, awe-struck policeman (pondering if they should ask for the director's autograph), when a screaming convertible full of beautiful teens goes screeching past. Down goes the flower and in a blast of dust, the last remains of Jean Cocteau and all he's done, are blown to the wayside. Cocteau knew that as soon as he stopped making films, the next wave of something else would make him irrelevant and I think it's pretty fascinating to see him deal with it in such a public.

Again, not my favorite three films in the series, but there were certainly aspects of the films I enjoyed. I took these bullets for you my friends.

Friday: The Last Temptation of Christ (70)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Movin' ain't easy and TESTAMENT OF ORPHEUS (69)

I'm moving. You might've heard.

I'm also the hugest procrastinator of all time, so as the moments and minutes fade away and my time in Seattle draws closer and closer to an end, I've done pretty much nothing in terms of moving. Last night, a little panicked and perhaps a little jacked up on coffee, I decided I'd accomplish two things. Both failed, here's why:

1. I have two computers. One huge and at one point the source of all things Noah Sanders. Well, as I'm moving in to a room with another person, I'm trying to downsize huge things, thus the big IMac is getting hocked to a new owner. Last night I went about trying to turn the damn thing in to an empty slate, only to realize that the "restore discs" I was supposed to have were probably subject to one of my "clean the room, garbage can" binges I tend to have every once in awhile. Thus, I sat in front of my computer, stewing in my ignorance, fist-shaking at Apple 'cause they couldn't talk to me right then and there. Anybody need an older IMac, a little loved, but still functional as the day she was born? I'll take food stamps and shiny objects in pay.

2. I'm trying to piece together a resume so I can make good on all the contacts and references I've been offered in the last few days (no joking, good people of Sea-town have really came through for this guy). So I sit down last evening, still wrought with panic, and try to update the old resume so it looks like I'm consummate coffee professional, and it takes me twenty-five minutes to remember what kind of machine we use at the coffee shop I spend almost my entire life at. It takes me another twenty-five minutes to eek out the line, "Skilled with customers" and then I'm done. Thus, I sat in front of the computer, heart pounding, back sweating, resume an incomplete mess.

Now, one might think these mirror some inability for me to make drastic changes in my life. But I'd like to say, no thank you sir, they only mirror my stupidity and inability to do anything early unless forced by gun. I'm stupid, not wussy.

Jean Cocteau has somehow broken down my barriers against boring, because I'm actually enjoying the first hour or so of Testament of Orpheus (69). Sure, it's still a film about a man on a journey to discover what it is that draws him and his art together, and sure, it still features after-school crafts special effects and some intensely philosophical dialogue that swan dives over my head, but I'm not itching to turn the damn thing off either. The reason for this is because, Jean Cocteau stopped making films after Testament of Orpheus (69) but instead of just putting out a puff piece and then retiring to a life of golden bathtubs and underage French mistresses, Cocteau instead wrote, directed and starred in a film that analyzes his own life as a filmmaker. The characters from The Orphic Trilogy all make appearances here, but in varied, almost exposed ways. We are looking at Jean Cocteau as the subject of scrutiny and each of these characters becomes a reflection of his reasoning behind creating film. Cocteau is actually quite a skilled actor, and I found myself laughing out loud at some of his wide-eyed asides. I'm a sucker for this sort of meta shit, so hearing Jean Cocteau defend his art form to two characters he created, gets me all sorts of, well, excited.

I'm telling you, this is still not the most fascinating of trilogies, but hey, at least one isn't gut-punching with me boredom.

Thursday: Testament of Orpheus (69)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Woody Allen is a dirty old man.

I took a much needed break from The Criterion Collection last night (this Cocteau is really taking it's toll on me) to indulge in a movie not only made before 1980, but one made in the last year.
Woody Allen has been a favorite director of mine for many many years. His work in the 70s, 80s, and even a few splashed in the 90s and 00s, have been as influential and important as anything every put out. When I first started digging in to film, Allen's name was always the one I was most drawn to. I couldn't help it, neurotic comedies about a bespectacled dork fumbling his way through love - seemed right up my adolescent alley. Thus, as much as I appreciate that this prolific man continues, at the age of 70-something to release two or three films a year, I've got to say, the master has fallen.

Vicky Christina Barcelona wants so badly to be the meandering comedies of Allen's past. It's a slow-rollin' excursion through love and lust amongst all the dramatic beauty of Barcelona feature a trio of three of the more beautiful people acting today. It has Allen's sort of neurotic, idea-based dialogue, it has his drifting camera, and it even has a sort of nebbish narration to help explain the inner feelings of these actors. It's got everything a Woody Allen film should have - and it falls completely short.

It just doesn't have the cynical, neurosis-filled heart of old Allen films. It's empty. Barcelona looks great, all of these beautiful actors seem to be really enjoying themselves, but at the end of the film I just had nothing to say. I wasn't disappointed, I wasn't angry, and I certainly wasn't bowled over. I was just sort of stunned by how mediocre the more romantic elements of the story were portrayed. The love square that exists in the movie isn't hard to watch, these are beautiful people living lives we can only dream of, it just doesn't have even a modicum of spark. The artistic "spirit" communed on screen here seemed superficial and fake, the love forced, and the dialogue (though classic Woody Allen) out-dated and stilted. I couldn't grip or connect with the characters like I could with Annie Hall or Hannah and Her Sisters, I just sort of ploddingly watched their interactions and admired the scenery.

This isn't a bad film, it just isn't a good Woody Allen film.

On another note, does any living person have a better shtick than Woody Allen? He's 74 years old and he's found himself in a position where he just surrounds himself with the most attractive women of the day and is paid ludicrous sums of money to do so. You're a wiley old bastard Mr. Allen, and my jealousy swells and pulses.

Wednesday: Testament of Orpheus (69)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Things on my mind and ORPHEUS (68)

This is a late post preempted by another ten hour day pulling espresso shots for pea-brained morons. I've been having problems stringing together coherent single thoughts in terms of my writing lately, so I'm just going to rattle off a few thoughts about, uh, things I've been, well, thinking about:

1. A thankfully soon-to-be former co-worker of mine used the term "shizzy" today, as in, "Oh man, I heard that, and I was like shizzy" or "oh, whoa, shizzzzzzy." I believe this red-eyed co-worker of mine may partake in a pretty healthy dose of "hitting the bong", which is just fine, I just thought I'd heard every stereotypical bit of stoner chatter this world had to offer. This kid is a bit younger than me, and I wonder if after I cancelled my subscription to "Bongz and Thongz" Magazine, if the whole stoner lingo took a turn towards "shizzzzy" and words of its ilk. If so, I'm glad that I've stepped even further away from a stoner culture I was never much a part of.

2. I don't know if anyone else saw it, but someone actually left a very coherent, very academic seeming, very negative comment on my Blood of the Poet (67) post. Sure, he vehemently disagreed with everything I said, but at least he had an opinion and stated it. And I'd love if each and everyone of you followed in his footsteps. I don't want this blog just to be a soap box for me to stand upon, blathering my opinions to the world. And yes I understand I'm usually talking about a host of movies no one but myself has seen, but I'd love for this to be more of conversation, a discussion of movies and there worth. Or, I can just mouth off some more about stoner co-workers and why I hate silent films from the 30s.

That said, the second film in this Orphic Trilogy by Jean Cocteau, Orpheus (68) is so much more enjoyable than Blood of a Poet (67). It's filmed nearly ten years after the first film, and the advances in film techniques and technology in general allow the film to transcend above the other. I've said it before, Cocteau's a master of surreal imagery and this film has them in spades. The strange upside down wall-walking, the way the mirror gloves suction themselves around the poet's hands, the strange tribunal that judges them all - this is one strange movie. But it's so much more enjoyable than Blood of a Poet (67). There's so many similarities between the two movies - an artist, obsessed with discovery, embarks on a journey behind the world of mirrors - but this film has a narrative line that draws everything together and, at least for me, it makes it so much more bearable.

There's strong relationships between the characters, and I could find connection and reason to care about what they were doing. The myth of Eurydice and Orpheus revolves around Orpheus becoming so obsessed with his art that he ignores Eurydice until she dies. So saddened he follows her to the underworld but can only save her if he promises to never look at her again. Strangely enough in this film, the section where Orpheus can't look at Eurydice is played like a 1950s sitcom. I couldn't help but laugh at Orpheus's besotted anger at the sheer inconvenience of not being able to look at Eurydice.

Again, not a film I'm enthralled with, but one that at least makes me somewhat interested in viewing the third film in this trilogy.

Tuesday: Testament of Orpheus (69)