The vagabond capoeira fighter Besouro Manganga died when he was only 27, but that was enough time to establish a legend that made him Bahia’s very own Robin Hood. João Daniel Tikhomiroff’s film doesn’t worry too much about getting the facts straight. Instead, the high-flying Besouro struggles against The Man in a manner that suggests he’s the missing link between Enter the 36 Chambers and Black Belt Jones.
Archive for June, 2009
Summertime and the living is easy in Portugal, where a family folk group head to the Pardieros festival to perform. The charm is a little deceitful in Miguel Gomes’s film, which begins as a documentary and then plays a dramatic hand. Its Cannes screening inspired both walkouts and lavish praise, with comparisons made to Jia Zhangke and Abbas Kiarostami. Not bad going.
Star Yang-ik June makes a memorable debut as a filmmaker. He’s a hard-headed thug whose world is one of shakedowns and brawls. Life gets upended when he meets a high school girl who quickly gets his number. Yeah, it’s a formula we’ve seen many times before. As the trailer indicates, though, our protagonist’s world is a little more hardcore than most.
A young couple are on a Mediterranean holiday that turns into a measure of how much they love each other. What starts out as a poolside frolic ends up with knives drawn. Winner of Jury Grand Prix and the Best Actress Silver Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.
MIA Kathryn Bigelow does the Iraqi war, via a bomb disposal unit. The way she blows sh*t up makes Michael Bay look like a rank amateur. Too bad the trailer makers had to over-do it with the slamming nondiegetic sound FX.
“All I know is it’s a mental hospital.” “… For the criminally insane.” Martin Scorsese is regularly acclaimed as one of America’s greatest directors. So why has he been making such shitty movies? The Departed gets worse and worse with each re-viewing. And why has the premier chronicler of New York relocated to Boston? Squally is going to hazard that Scorsese is indulging a certain jones, using these Beantown-set tales to flex his generic muscles and indulge his love of B pictures. Consider The Departed a sort of Underworld, U.S.A. on a medicine cabinet stocked by Balco. So what to make of this take on Dennis Lehane’s thriller, which the studio clearly doesn’t know what to do with? The trailer is pure corn: giving away most of the plot, showing off some crummy special effects, and bristling with devices straight from the Hammer horror stable. Leonardo DiCaprio is the Boston cop looking for an escaped Shutter Island inmate. A hurricane traps him and his partner on the island, and lets Scorsese slam plenty of doors shut. Stop waiting for Scorsese to top Goodfellas and just revel in the nonsense.
Wow. It was very strange reading some of my favorite comics blogs this morning and learning they had linked to my Gary Panter post. I guess I should do these reports more often. Too bad MoCCA only comes ’round once a year.
Thanks to those who have linked to me and those who have left encouraging comments. Here’s a few more things I’ve gleaned from today’s reading.
The great Comics Comics blog has the audio from the Panter and Santoro talk up.
I’ve been an Evan Dorkin fan since listening to him pull a Don Rickles on the Inkstuds guys. A hilarious interview which is a must-hear. Here he sums up his thoughts about the festival. Bottom line: It was hot and lacked personality. And was hot.
Bigger isn’t always better, but it’s also easy for me to say, because I’m not 22 with comic stars in my eyes and insatiable energy and excitement. But here’s what bothers me about the Armory, take it with however much salt you’d like, because obviously some folks loved the new venue. Or liked it. Anyway: the show lost it’s personality. No, seriously, that sounds stupid, but it’s true, in my mind. It lost it’s identity, and it’s killer app, in a similar way to the way SPX faltered, for me, when they monkeyed with the days and chopped the Sunday get-together. I didn’t even love the get-together, it wasn’t why I went, just like the parties were never a reason I went, but they helped define that show and make it special. MOCCA is still special for a lot of folks, I’m sure newbies and first-time exhibitors were in heaven. A hellish heaven, but later for that. I don’t discount that opinion, I don’t discount anyone thinking contrary to what I’m laying out here. My blog, my opinion, keep that in mind. Okay, so, instead of the lovely Puck Building with white walls and light and an intimate atmosphere, the Armory provided a darker, gymnasium style con floor that made the layout look exactly like a flea market. God-awful lighting that made everything look sallow (but helped mask my awful shaving mishap scar, som,e folks said, so, hey). And…no air conditioning.
Quite a few interesting things here: Dorkin cites organizational problems and mentions the late start. Saturday started an hour late, although I think it ended late as well. No reason was given for opening the doors at noon-ish. I thought it may have had to do with traffic issues preventing exhibitors from showing up, as there was one of New York’s street festivals going on in Lexington. Dorkin has other ideas.
One more piece of business. During the show, I picked up a wonderful “Family Map” for the Metropolitan Museum of Art drawn by John Kerschbaum. An excerpt of it is above. It is dense. It is brilliant. It can also be downloaded here. Kerschbaum is probably best known for Petey and Pussy. He’s looking to get the promotional poster blown up to a larger size and sold through the Museum’s bookstore. Shoot these people an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claire Denis’s rootless cinema alights on a Parisian train driver and his family. Her films are immersive experiences that trailers don’t do justice. What we see is an interracial city ignored by most of the French national cinema and a use of gesture that transcends language. And is that the Commodores’ “Night Shift”? This could be something very special.
Sometimes the expectations that you have color your reception of a movie. Up was a perfect example. Warned about the film’s dark content, I came to the conclusion that protagonist would die at the end. I also became convinced that the sequence at Paradise Falls was a dream, and that the movie would end with Carl waking up in a ruined house. That made watching the movie quite thrilling. But the non-realization of any of these notions was just a little disappointing.
So it was that when I watched The Hustler for the first time in a dog’s age, I was convinced that Fast Eddie Felson loses in the final contest with Minnesota Fats. The sense of impending defeat makes the movie an even rawer experience.
Gaspar Noe: Even his teasers are exercises in frustration. Cannes reports say the film is about the last five minutes of a Tokyo drug dealer. We’re guessing that’s him cradling the porcelain god.