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

Friday, December 03, 2004

I'm seeing the Pixies on Saturday and you're not

New discovery: apparently, if you get a good night's sleep before a full day of work, you start out great but increasingly, as the hours wage on, fall apart, heading home physically and mentally fatigued. However, should one drink the night before -- not enough to get slobberingly drunk, but enough to mutate into a cackling fool who keeps harrassing people about Anthony Mann westerns -- you'll be in the dregs for a couple hours only to vastly improve, hitting your peak towards the seventh hour and leaving work refreshed and ready to conquer the evening. Try it sometime.

(No, this will not turn into a blog about the pangs of the office drudge.)

As ever, I only have enough energy to throw a couple useless words at what I've been watching of late. I neglected to mention these two, but Peter Brook's The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (1967) (I typed that whole thing from memory!) and Bob Fosse's All That Jazz (1977) make strangely comfortable bedfellows. (In fact, they're playing together.) Sure, Brook never finds the appropriate cinematic equivalent for theater...but neither does he get as cloyingly gimmicky as Shirley Clarke did with The Connection (with the reel changes implemented into the script and everything). Not to just settle for something, but you don't need extra huffing and puffing when your film's teeming with nutcases making a disgrace of the French Revolution, and at the same time sending up post-Rev society as barely different than before. (Must finish that Foucault someday.) Pretty much works as a horror-fest, though it's not as tic-heavy as it sounds; Glenda Jackson still squeezes in her authorative-ness into the blinks and mouth-danglings, while Patrick Magee makes for an intense de Sade, every bit the antithesis of Geoffrey Rush's quip-master. The Fosse, meanwhile, is pretty much hollow: he never delves deeper than surface complaints, though it has a phantasmagoric spectacle quality that's undeniably thrilling -- which basically sums up Fosse. Roy Scheider, as usual, does his underrated best.

Remember Me, My Love (2004, Gabriele Muccino) is passable slop. I'll let you wait till the review next Wednesday, but here's a preview: I let loose a potentially foolhardy mini-diatribe about D.W. Griffith having more relevance today in television than film. Trenchant or stupid?

Also, check out this Slate article on Richard Dawkins. Not sure why Holt's thinks he's "not much given to humor." Does he not know that, second to Stephen Jay Gould, he's the least dry evolutionist? I'm not going to make a meal of it, but something mystical has been going on of late. First, I finally buy Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker, years after reading about it in the Soderbergh/Lester book Getting Away With It*. As I plow through it, the asinine evolution vs. creationism debate springs back to life. And just as I buy his debut, The Selfish Gene, he's out with a new one.

* A magnificent source of literary recommendations. Along with Dawkins, they namedrop Martin Amis' The Information, a couple works by the byzantine post-modernist Donald Barthelme, and the, for me, life-affirming Pictures From an Instiution by Randall Jarrell.


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