Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dead Ant. Dead Ant. Dead Ant Dead Ant Dead Ant Dead Ant Dead Ant...

Three movies I've rented and watched this week that I liked:

The first two messed around with linear storytelling. L&D of PS is a must for anyone who is even remotely a Sellers fan. It used a ton of unconventional techniques to tell the story (making great use of the propensity of Sellers to play multiple roles in the same movie), and there were even more creative methods left on the cutting room floor; some are shown in the DVD extras. Some might call it gimmicky; I still think stuff like that is cool. I hadn't realized that there are a number of (reportedly inferior) Sellers films from the early 70s that have not seen the light of day in years, and have possibly never been on video.

Primer was the first-time effort of a guy who was a math major in college, worked as an engineer, and decided to take a stab at movie making. His film was said to be made on a budget of $7000, making use of the talents of his family, neighbors, school buddies, etc. in front of and behind the camera. It dealt with the ethics and consequences of time travel and explored all those things that might go a teensy bit wrong that could lead to who knows what. Roger Ebert, among others, loved it because he couldn't quite understand it (it won awards at Sundance) but others hated it for the same reason. After watching the movie and the two commentaries, I read about 10 or 12 reviews and still didn't understand everything that happened or find anyone else who did. I still liked it, but if you are one of those people who has to understand everything, you might want to take a pass.

I like time-paradox movies. One of my faves is The Final Countdown which sent my imagination spinning in junior high school. There are some neat ideas too in the Fantastic Four's Time Variance Authority storylines. (OK, there are other Marvel characters who deal with them too, but we all know it's primarily a concept associated with the FF, at least in this cosmic timeline.) And speaking of time paradoxes, among the DVDs I look forward to renting soon, the new, expanded edition of Donnie Darko is toward the top of the list.

Primer had some Blair Witch qualities to the production, which was fine with me. As I mentioned about the kids who remade Raiders, I admire creative people who just give it a stab, if even they do end up with a few rough edges. Primer, Clerks, Blair Witch Project, Melvin Goes to Dinner, and their indy siblings all get points from me just for being different.

The Green Butchers kept to linear storytelling but encourages the viewer to put their squeamishness about cannibalism of innocents aside for an hour and a half. It was a Danish black comedy that shared certain (certainly not most) aspects of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, but without the moral correctness of the cannibalism involved in TCTTHWAHL. These two loserish butcher's assistants realize that they have a wildly popular product after one marinates the leg of an accidentally frozen electrician and it gets served at their grouchy ex-boss's dinner party. Hilarity ensues.

On the topic of cinematic consumption of human flesh, only 13 days until the long-awaited Land of the Dead.


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