a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Philadelphia Film Festival: Wednesday, April 14

Kept brief this time:

Nine Souls (Toshiaki Toyoda, Japan) My ass never hurt more in my opinion. Lazy attempt at a Takeshi Kitano knock-off (albeit minus the gore), with a cadre of prison escapees trapped by a filmmaker with a prowess for deadpan wackiness but without the power to lace them with decent jokes. (Sample: guys eat at a restaurant; are 20 yen short; a minute later, one of them runs back with 20 yen; now they can pay in full; yawn.) Those who bolt a touch after the sheep-fucking scene miss both plenty more of the same, as well as the most sadistically protracted ending this side of ... nothing; it takes the cake. Also: four-leaf clover symbolism. Additionally: a key symbolically "opens" a city. Who dubbed this the best of the festival again? C

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky, USA) Berlinger and Sinofsky unleash their stuff upon the aging metal titans. Terrifyingly Spinal Tap-ish but also absorbing in that Berlinger/Sinfosky way, though their respect for the band keeps them from exploring the most interesting part: that of once-edgy artists dilluting their talent through the use of therapy (here, a $40,000/mo. “performance enhancer”). According to fans, St. Anger is a travesty, and the lyrics -- some of them penned by Phil Towle, it looks like -- attest to that. Throughout it all, B&S sit on the fence, too worried to make a move. Still, I was never remotely bored. B


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