Saturday, February 04, 2006

Life & Opinions

Serenity—I've never cottoned to any of Joss Whedon's projects. Friends with great taste swear by Buffy (and some even by Angel), but something's not clicking with me. So it's hard to explain why I netflixed Serenity, a film that grew out of Whedon's canceled show Firefly. The first couple sequences are quite intriguing—an idyllic setting shades into nightmare; we find out it's in the mind (a memory?) of a girl under scientific observation/heavy security; the girl is busted out of her confinement by her disguised brother—but this scene too turns out to be not quite what we think—it's a holographic account that's being watched by someone else. This sort of intense carpet pulling reminded me, favorably, of Brian de Palma's Raising Cain. Then these narrative hijinks pretty much stop, and it's a straightforward science fiction adventure that grew increasingly tiresome for me. Maybe you have to love these characters before the movie begins.

Speaking of carpet-pulling: I highly recommend Michael Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy, which I also approached with some trepidation. (Not only do I not click with Whedon; I feel like I heretofore haven't quite figured out Steve Coogan, based on 24 Hour Party People and Knowing Me, Knowing You.) The impossibility of filming Tristram Shandy is quite the point, and I was reminded strongly of Irma Vep. I seem to recall that IV ends in a screening room (or at least that we see shots of Maggie in which the film is actually altered by the director's hand, scratchmarks and the like)—there's futility here, too, but overall the tone is playful, the characterizations at once casual and well-thought-out.

Today's photo comes courtesy of Dizzyhead Arlo.


Blogger Jenny D said...

I am hoping to see TS on Wednesday at the Angelika... mouth-watering...

I must be the only science-fiction-and-fantasy-loving person in America who has never seen a single episode of Buffy or indeed any Joss Whedon project. Not out of deliberate avoidance--in fact I think I have at the back of my mind that if I ever have major depression or get bedridden from some mysterious illness or otherwise incapacitated from getting hold of trashy novels I could just get the whole series of Buffy and watch it from start to finish with blind and obsessive and in the end rather bored devotion--just b/c of not being at all TV- or movie-oriented.

11:40 PM  

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