Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Year One - New on DVD

There are no words to describe how grateful I am that I didn't waste $11 plus the price of popcorn and a soda to see this film in the theater.
Two words: boy movie.
What I was reluctantly hoping for was a Nacho Libre revival...remember, back when Jack Black was still funny? Instead, what I found in Year One was a typically manic performance without substance; a blind attempt at letting the old joke ride...and watching it as it falls off the horse.
Jack Black plays a cave man who eats fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and subsequently gets himself kicked out of his village, followed by sidekick Michael Cera (Juno). All sorts of ridiculously inaccurate biblical parody then transpires amid a gross-out torrent of fart, poop, and hit yer woman over the head jokes.
I thought about turning the film off several times, particularly when Jack Black picks up fresh dung and eats it. I am generally not one to give up on a film, and I made a commitment...a very very long 90 minute commitment. I kept thinking about several friends who had seen the film and recommended it to me as funny...surely there must be something note worthy coming up, I kept telling myself. But alas, no. Eating poop was the highlight for Jack Black.
In keeping with the theme, however, I can find no argument that this film falls into the category of cinema as art. Though there were some notable performances, Oliver Platt as the High Priest, for example. Platt was indeed funny, original, and possessed a wonderful sense of comedic timing.
Film and the people who have been made into celebrity by populating film sometimes exists for only one purpose - to make some money for the studio. By in large we don't mind this, after all these money makers star some of our favorite screen characters, played by our favorite screen actors and all in all we are entertained. I for one like to feel as though I learned something (anything!!), or at least am left with some questions when I finish watching a film. Most of the time, even the films whose primary purpose is to entertain and bring in some revenue manage to say something, either cultural commentary or artistic nuance. Not so with Year One. Maddening, I say, to watch such a film and be so very disappointed by it.
The only plus side of getting a film like Year One on DVD is the outtakes. Those are always funny!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why Blog??

I know, I know. Isn't writing a blog about film a little passé at this point? Isn't every self-appointed expert on cinema blogging their thoughts on the latest releases? Perhaps. And so be it. So why start blogging now? My answers is this:
I have a couple of college degree's, one in Art History and the other in Film Theory. Despite a vigorous campaign spurned forward by my ravenous desire to talk about art and cinema AND have someone pay me for it, I have found that volunteer positions have been the best I could muster. Now that I have moved back to the Washington, DC area after living in Dublin, Ireland for several years, I am unable to put this expensive education to good use, partially due to the change in location, but mainly because the economy is so very very poor at present. Writing film, book, and festival reviews for Film Ireland Magazine in Dublin last year was a turning point in my writing metamorphosis. Evolving from a purely scholarly method (and therefore highly referenced, researched and written with unattainable jargon), to an opinion based form of writing which included a looser sensibility and ostentatiously colorful language, felt for me like a personal Renaissance.
Why the blog? Simple. I love film. I love everything about it. The gathering place of the theater, the suspension of disbelief, the departures from reality coupled with the deeply human narratives that connect all people, the music, the colors, the views of our world from places I will never be, the hope, the heartache, the grief and the joy. Most of all I love the art. And I love to talk about the art.
Hence the blog. I love to talk about cinema. I love to talk about the art of the cinema and I love to talk about the texts and subtexts presented in the cinema. While some of my friends find this tolerable, others think I am taking it all too seriously. Frankly, most others don't really want to take such a conversation past a certain level. Cinema has the power to expose uncomfortable, vulnerable and exploited areas of our minds, hearts, governments, cultures, and families. The devil is in the detail and often the detail is what we forget to notice.
I will write this blog because I can write in any style, in any voice, with any words I please. And though no one might read it, I got to say it!!