Sunday, September 30, 2012

About the Slowdown

You may have noticed the posting volume has declined a bit in recent weeks. My social calendar has been strangely full, and I'm trying to balance having a job finally and being in a relationship with setting aside the time to write for the blog- I can't pull all-nighters to get articles up anymore, and of course I have to have seen or read something in order to blog about it. On top of everything I do have other writing projects that I want to move forward, but I'm going to try and keep up some pace of substantive posts here.

In Theaters: Killer Joe

Killer Joe poster via

A movie like Killer Joe is one I feel compelled to support almost out of principle, because anyone braving the NC-17 rating in this day and age is clearly taking some considerable risk. Never let it be said that William Friedkin has mellowed with age. As with Bug, Tracy Letts adapts from his play, and the results are just as disturbing but in an entirely different way. It's a classic crime thriller in form, but the tone hints at something else altogether, a slippery blend of drama and black comedy that doesn't fall back on the genre's usual beats. Instead it goes to some uniquely terrifying and memorable places, and makes something fresh out of a well-trod genre.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Theaters: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild poster

It's notable that the two best films this year so far are about children interpreting the world through their own fantasies. Beasts of the Southern Wild isn't cut from quite the same cloth as Moonrise Kingdom but it invites a similar level of immersion; in order for it to work at all you have to accept its reality as true. For this reason it's hard to actually judge the film; it plays by its own set of narrative rules and asks the viewer to take it or leave it. But it is absolutely what it sets out to be, and offers a compelling vision of a society on the fringe of what most of us are familiar with.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Frasierquest 5.4: The Kid

Roz gets another surprise.

Frasier: You get to share your life with a remarkable little creature... who only lives in the present, runs around naked without the slightest bit of shame, and can entertain himself for hours just staring at a shiny object. Isn't that wonderful?

Roz: Isn't that Bulldog?

Roz got some very surprising news last time, and now we move from farce to fallout. "The Kid" is a title with two meanings, referring both to Roz's unborn child and the father, himself only college age. (Incidentally, way to go Roz.) It's a graceful handling of the subject matter, which, while not as controversial as it used to be, was probably sensitive nonetheless. And it's a real moment of maturation for Roz as a character, as we finally see her handle a genuine crisis and incipient life change. All in all she takes it rather well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Random Movie Report #111: Message From Space

Message From Space poster and Amazon Link

There's a reason I keep returning to the subject of early attempts to cash in on the success of Star Wars. I'm a fan of Star Wars as you might imagine, and I'm even one of those strange ones who finds artistic value in all six movies, but one saga of heroism, mysticism, and laser fights and exploding spaceships can't possibly be enough. So when I discovered a Japanese ripoff made and released one year later, having taped it off TV back when late night programming was not devoted quite so much to infomercials, I was in heaven. Many, many years later and I haven't been able to track down the DVD which Amazon claims exists, but there is Netflix, and as theoretically sophisticated as I have become in the interim, Message From Space remains a hoot and a half. Shameless in its filching of George Lucas' style, yet with a local flavor all its own, it's a film that makes very little sense and has a lot of things just happen because nobody could think of a better idea at the time, but damn it's pretty.