Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Again, credibility. Pimping Criterion, and QUICK NOTES: MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES.

Again, the SF Weekly has deemed a bit of my writing fit for their webpage. I admit, it's a bit gushy. I just can't help it, the show was fantastic and all I could do was say nice things. Don't blame me for a rare bit of positive energy.

WAVVES @ The Rickshaw Stop

Would love to hear your thoughts on it if you have a second. Please, head-punch me with honesty. I need it.

I love Criterion, seriously just about everything they do, including there smaller, lesser known Eclipse Series. It's a collection of smaller, lesser known films (be it obscure chunks of well known director's filmographies or just movements in film no one has ever touched upon, or the collected works of directors a little outside of the mainstream) that Criterion sells at a lower price. They're a little more bare bone than Criterion's main line, but that's okay because a good deal of the time you end up with collections like Nikkatsu Noir. I talked about Tokyo Drifter (39) and Branded To Kill (48), absolutely bonkers bits of old Japanese filmmaking that take the sort classic American gangster film and mix them with bizarre colors and free jazz and perversion like only the Japanese can. Well, this little box set collects five lesser known films from the Nikkatsu Noir genre that birthed those amazing films and I just wanted to make sure you knew it was out there.

Seriously, I haven't seen this yet, but I can promise if you're up for some weirdness, this'll sate your need.

Alex and I have sort of been on a non-stop bender of documentaries over the last few months. Mainly, we've been consuming Errol Morris en masse, but we've slipped in a few bits of, uh, other stuff here and there. Including this disappointing film Manufactured Landscapes. A few quick thoughts about it:

1. Alex kept referring to the film as the modern day Baraka. The only thing I remember about that film is being painfully hungover and it's strange mix of rattling drums and beautiful imagery soothing my alcohol bludgeoned brain. This film was a sort of sprawling bit of ass-kissing aimed at incredibly talented photographer Edward Burtynsky and sure there's big beautiful shots like in Baraka, but literally half this film is either still images or Burtynsky talking about the environment. I can't say either film made a huge impression on me, but this one even less so.

2. Again, Burtynsky, super-talented filmmaker, kind of a ponce as a person.

3. Thought Burtynsky claims it isn't, this film is sort of a giant middle finger to China and all it's environmental waste. Oh wait, that's what Burtynsky does by the way, he takes pictures of landscapes so drastically affected by environmental damage that they've become something entirely different. Not shockingly, many of these landscapes exist in, well, China. If I was Burtynsky, I'd be digging a bomb shelter and loading his rifle, the Commies are certainly coming to get you.

4. I'm pretty sure every cent of money spent on this film was thrown in to the opening ten minute tracking shot of some sort of giant mile-long factory in China. It is absolutely beautiful, but after that, everything else is sort of sub-standard. The audio sounds like it was recorded in a closet and honestly, a good portion of the film is still clips of Burtynsky's photo work. If only the entire film was beautiful music and these sorts of shots, I'd be a happy little man.

5. I never really knew what this film was aiming at nor who did what with it. Was it a giant homage to Burtynsky's work? Or was Burtynsky actually directing the film? Was it a film about his work or was it a film about the devastation we as a invasive, corrosive, virus have beset the Earth with? If the film was good I might've gone back and tried to figure this information out, but it was not, and thus, I will do no such thing.

Final thoughts: Eh. If you want pretty, give it a go. If you want a good documentary, try something else.

Wednesday: Gimme Shelter (99), I fucking swear.

1 comment:

t.d.g said...

great Last Night review. concise, assertive, as blunt as i imagine the wavves play, from your description - write like the band you saw play.

good shit. keep it up.