Sunday, 12 October 2008

Southland Tales And South Park Indy 4 Episode

This one will ramble incoherently.

I finally saw Southland Tales, the Richard Kelly follow-up to Donnie Darko. Despite a critical mauling, I found it to be pretty damn good. It's kinda like Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, in that it has a certain style and outlook that will either be addictive or alienating. It's completely tied to the outlook of one person so it is distinctive. Ina few years I think it'll be a big cult movie.

Southland Tales is a response to the patriot act in America, an absurdest, sprawling tale through LA, on the eve of the 2008 election. It has crazy actors, right-wing nuts, Marxist extremists, porn stars, a big brother computer watching all, the war in Iraq that creating drafting, and a strange new energy source that replaces oil. It's also a mystery, about what happened to an actor who mysteriously disappeared for a few days in the desert. There's a lot in it and I won't say much more about the plot. It's a film its best to see without knowing much about. It's got this weird atmosphere, an obsession with doubles, duality, lies. Sometimes its a bit literal in the script but the atmosphere makes it work. It does have a relaxed view of its own parallel world, never over-sells it.

The film seems influenced by other's work but not in an annoying way. There's some obvious ties to DePalma and Body Double (with actors who don't know what they are, porn stars, artifice and reality obsessions tied to pop culture that alienates people, as well as a musical number half-way through the film), Alex Cox with Repo Man (with the end section) and Death And The Compass (a stylised film investigating a fascist regime, with outsiders tied to the corrupt, alienating system, a mystery tied to lead character) to John Carpenter with In The Mouth Of Madness (a book that tells the future, so that the lead character keeps finding his future and clues from it before it happens), to both They Live and Escape From LA (both satirical views of LA, They Live attacking the establishment from the down and outs and Escape From LA with the end of America coming while the lead character wanders through an absurdest, self-absorbed hell-hole) While I spotted influences like this through the film they never took over and felt forced. The film felt tied to its director's obsessions.

Southland Tales stars The Rock (who's interestingly weird throughout, with lots of nervous tics), Sean William Scott (who's surprisingly good, very focused as a depressed character) and Sarah Michelle Geller (as an idiot porn star, again far better than I would have expected from previous work). It has a lot of other character actors, including Wood Harris from The Wire and Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live (as a pair of entertainer/Marxists).

To South Park. I'm not sure who has seen the already notorious episode, where essentially George Lucas and Steven Spielberg rape Indiana Jones (to suggest how some movie-goers felt like watching the new film). We had a Deliverance and The Accused parodies. We have George Lucas tonguing Indy's nipples. Spielberg as the hick in deliverance who does the squeal like a pig deed. A stormtrooper is buggered. It's really childish but also very funny.

Now I wasn't too bothered by Indy 4. A lot of people were. I also liked two of the Star Wars prequels. I honestly thought it was about on par with last Crusade, had more imagination than last crusade but a weaker script and dialogue. I don't think it deserves the hatred it getting in places, is being attacked because of how good the first two films were. Compared to films like Tropic Thunder or The Incredible Hulk, it looks pretty damn good. I actually liked the Mayans and the aliens, liked the nuclear town. I very much like the fifties setting, with the red menace, alien obsessions (even though its was inter-dimensional beings), which felt very George Lucas. Liked the killer ants and psychic villain. Didn't like the ease in which Indy escaped from situations, especially at the beginning, or that the film took forever to get going. But it was fine.

Especially when compared to sequels to other great films.

Dirty Harry. Four sequels. All Awful. Unwatchable trash every one.

Die Hard 2 and Die Hard 4.0. Awful bastardisations of the first film and its characters. Die Hard 2 is especially terrible, is barely watchable. Only With A Vengeance is any good, and that falls away near the end.

Alien Resurrection and the 2 Alien Vrs Predator films. Aren't these films a disgrace on such a great original.

Terminator 3. Terrible. Just ignores the characters and set-up from the first two films and spits in the eye of the audience for much of the running time.

Lethal Weapon 3 & 4. No plots. Just people jabbering loudly and shooting a lot. Nothing makes much sense. Horribly sentimental and borderline fascist with the utter glorification of the cops.

Halloween Sequels. Nothing else needs to be said.

There are many more but I don't want to get into that. It would get depressing. These are the ones that come to mind fast.

End of rambling blog.

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