Archive for July, 2008

Hiatus Time

Heyyy internet.

So I’ve tried to put off the part of thesis writing where you totally panic and write like a maniac as long as I could, but that time is officially upon me. This means you won’t be seeing updates from me until the end of the summer.

Hopefully the next time I talk to you I will be plus one masters degree. Wish me luck!

Weekly Movies, June 30-July 6

  1. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Pedro Almodóvar, 1990): You know? This is, more and more, still not my favourite Almodóvar. There are parts of it I like, but the main story is still: boy likes girl, boy kidnaps girl, girl eventually validates his kidnapping attempt by falling in love with him (!). The thing is, yes, it exposes how lame most love stories that have this kind of plot are by making his actions the product of actual psychosis, so there’s that. It’s obviously meant to make the spectator question the heroine’s choice, but it still is the least fun for me to watch. However, it is important that there’s a whole meta-story where she’s an actress and they’re making a movie and the director of the movie-within-a-movie (whose name, “Maximo Espejo,” means something close to”Great Mirror” in Spanish) — and he says something about how hard it is to tell the difference between a love story and a horror story, which is obviously the point here. It always comes down this question about where the parody line ends and the glamourizing line starts, and that’s obviously going to be different to different viewers. I dunno. I don’t think it’s a resolvable question.
  2. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (Sara Sugarman, 2004): This was…surprisingly good. I think it has been established that I will watch anything with Lindsay Lohan, so when this came on, I decided to watch it. It’s about a 15-year-old girl whose mom moves her from NYC (obviously Toronto) to a smallish town in New Jersey. Immortal voice-over line, paraphrased: “Your parents tell you to have hopes and dreams, and then they make you move to New Jersey.” The thing I loved about it is, it’s kind of a treatise in favour of self-invention. The heroine’s birth name is Mary, but she randomly changes it to Lola; her mom keeps calling her Mary though…until (spoiler!) the end of the movie, when she is starring in a modern reinvention of Pygmalion as Eliza Doolittle (another story about self-invention, of a sort), and her mom’s like “You are a Lola.”
    I love how Lindsay Lohan movies are already ironic in hindsight.
    Anyway, all her clothes in the movie are like these elaborate costumes. Like, she goes on a hunger strike when her mom won’t let her go to a rock concert, and she dresses as Gandhi. And she has this amazing mourning costume when her favourite band breaks up, with like, black balloons. The word for this is camp, and it is glorious. Better still, in the movie, she suffers basically no negative consequences for any of her actions: she does feel bad about telling her friend her father was dead to seem “more interesting,” but other than that, nothing! When she gets arrested and her dad has to come to the police station to get her out of trouble, he then lets her go to a loft party at a drunken rock star’s house. When she goes on a hunger strike, it works! She changes her name purely through the power of her own will! Lola’s awesome: she sees reality as negotiable.
    I love you, Lindsay Lohan!
    I have to come back to the spectacle of contemporary My Fair Lady again. Okay, so the school “orchestra” plays on laptops. And the songs are reworkings of “Living For The City” by Stevie Wonder and “Changes” by David Bowie. It’s hilarious. The cast is pretty solid too: her best friend is Allison Pill, who was in Pieces of April and Dear Wendy, and seems to billed pretty high in Milk, the Gus Van Sant Harvey Milk project that’s supposed to come out this year. And Megan Fox is the villain: Lohan’s triumphs over her getting the lead in the school play, meeting this rock star, and beating her at Dance Dance Revolution.
  3. Wanted (Timur Bekmambetov, 2008): I have a whole bunch of different opinions about this movie, and they mostly conflict with each other. I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy the hell out of it as an action movie, but ideologically, I had some problems. It’s been (justly) compared to Fight Club and The Matrix a lot, which is completely fair, in that the aspects I loved about it were the same that I liked about those movies. As an action movie, it’s successful because the stunts are all spectacular and ridiculous and wonderfully stylish. Like, curving bullets! Flipping a car and totally shooting someone through their sunroof while your car is in midair! I was giddy with glee at this stuff. It’s a really fun movie to watch, and I did enjoy it. But, uh, I had some ideological problems with it, in that it’s basically a wish-fulfillment fantasy about reclaiming your masculinity and not being a put-upon office worker. (Mildly spoilery stuff follows.) Continue Reading »

Weekly Movies, June 23-29

I spent too much of this slowly sipping beer and trying to cool down to watch many movies. This week, I’m for sure seeing Wanted.

  1. Kika (Pedro Almodóvar, 1993): This, I still think is hugely problematic, but I finally think I’m looking at it right. One of the big things it’s about is different femininities, and all the to-be-looked-at-ness and vulnerabilities they can entail, which is going to be buttressed with a patchwork of theory in my thesis soon. I also finally found a version of it in the right aspect ratio and that made a huge difference as compared to the horrible video tape versions I had seen thus far. Authenticity and mirrors
  2. High Heels (Pedro Almodóvar, 1991): This is still one of my favourite of the Almodóvars. My favourite bit is the news reporter’s on-air confession to her husband’s murder, which really freaks out the sign-language interpreter. She does this whole speech about how once she realized he was dead, she started taking pictures of her and her husband’s apartment, which she shows to the audience. And when the police comes, she asks them for a minute, so she can say “That’s all for now.” Victoria Abril, her Chanel, and her armchair
    The best part? The floor director, who totally is freaking out this whole time? It’s Javier Bardem! Before he was famous!
    Great Reaction Shot
    I love his reaction shot here. Oh, and there’s a drag queen. You can’t totally tell without the movements, but the gals in the audience are totally mimicking all her movements. Fans