Saturday, April 14, 2012

Virtual Connection

Happy Here and Now (2002) - Almereyda
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Never seen internet age portrayed this intriguing and gentle. Almereyda succeeds where Wenders has been failing over and over again with his mushy, pretentious films about human disconnections in a world saturated in technology. Amelia (Liane Balaban) comes down to New Orleans to look for clues in the disappearance of her computer obsessed sister (Shalom Harlow). With the help of her cousin Bill (Clearance Williams III), she attempts at tracking down down her sister's videochat correspondent, a philosophizing cowboy named Eddie Mars (alternatedly played by Karl Geary and David Arquette). Almereyda diddles with ideas like avatars, youtube and internet relationships playfully, using Fisher-Price b&w camera and other medium and laid-back philosophizing. Watching this, I feel like everyone (including me) has been paying too much attention on negative aspects of the internet. Yes we might not know our mysterious friends that well. Yes the universe is larger than we are and may crush us, but sharing ideas and exchanging thoughts are what counts. Let us be happy here and now.

Hawkeyed Badassery

Get Carter (1971) - Hodges
This was on TCM last night and it was the reason I stayed up until 2am. The godfather of all contemporary revenge flick, ain't it? You can see its influences everywhere from Scarface to countless Nic Cage movies. And of course it's Michael fucking Caine.

Caine plays Jack Carter, a small time crony hell bent on finding out just who killed his brother. His no-nonsense, hawkeyed badassery slowly but surely penetrates the tight lipped small time organization and easy broads alike. But its Hodges' abrupt style in dreary industrial, row houses set England that makes the movie great. His paralleling action sequences are not that of smooth, time defining, showy nonsense we are now used to by talentless hacks but has real sense of rhythm and purpose. The phone sex scene (with sexy Britt Ekland of Wicker Man, no less) is obviously way ahead of its time. And of course the legendary ending at the muddy beach.... They don't make 'em like this anymore.


Midnight in Paris (2011) - Allen
The last Woody Allen movie I've seen was Sweet and Lowdown. Dunno, lost my interest along the way I guess. Someone gave me a copy of Midnight. Finally opened it up and watched it. I knew what it was about. I knew what to expect. And I had my reservations. It took me a while to start enjoying it. Owen Wilson is still Owen Wilson, I don't care what anybody says. Allen's dialogue doesn't hit my funny bones as hard as before. His routine edit of setting up jokes and cutting for laughs doesn't always work. A lot of the jokes fall flat and feel corny as hell. Many actors seem very uncomfortable in their roles, especially Léa Seydoux. But the film about being nostalgic about the past while embracing the present is still excessively charming. Loved Adrian Brody. But I don't think I will seek out other recent Allens actively any time soon.