Saturday, August 3, 2013

Film clips

It’s mid-summer and the dog days have arrived. Kind of feels a little like that in the world of film. I’ve seen nothing too spectacular lately. Caught Almodovar’s I’m So Excited! two weeks ago at the Main in Royal Oak. The reviews haven’t been overwhelming though nominally positive and I guess I’d place my checkmark in the same column. Campy, complete with bisexual airline pilots and a trio of gay stewards –  well, come on, gay flight attendants were ripe for this treatment! – the story all takes place on an airplane flying from Spain to Mexico with a somewhat bizarre cast of characters in first class. This is Almodovar in all his utter baroqueness and camp. And yes the attendants break out into the Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited! But, unfortunately, I was a little less so. The subject was fine. I just wished it could have been elevated, so to speak, in every campy way.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the Coen Brothers’ next effort, Inside Llewyn Davis, about the Greenwich Village folk scene before people like Dylan and Phil Oaks arrived. It’s based on the memoirs of deceased singer Dave Van Ronk, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, and stars Oscar Issac, Carey Mulligan and John Goodman.

This Friday I’ll be heading to the Detroit Film Theatre to catch Museum Hours, Jem Cohen’s feature starring Canada’s Mary Margaret O’Hara, set in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Art Museum. A chance encounter between two strangers leads to a meditative dialogue inside and on the streets of Vienna about art and life and everything in between. Love this kind of stuff! Reminiscent of Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami 2010), the Hawke/Delpy Before trilogy (Richard Linklater), and Louis Malle’s My Dinner with Andre. (Speaking of which, the DFT has a doc about one of the characters in that 1981 film, Andre Gregory, later this month.)

I really don’t like to read too much about a film before seeing it. If possible I like to be completely surprised, going on my gut instinct. But when it comes to Woody Allen, I don’t want to know anything about his next movie. Such is the case with the just released Blue Jasmine starring Cate Blanchett, coming – and it can’t be too soon – to a Detroit area cinema.

I was very sad to read that The Attack (Ziad Doueiri) (July 8 post) has been banned by the Arab League, which means it can’t be shown in 22 Middle Eastern countries. Seems the movie by the Lebanese director takes too much of a nuanced tone between Arabs and Israelis and that wasn’t good enough for the League, which obviously doesn’t want its citizens to make up their own minds.

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