Archive for November 30th, 2007

“August Rush”: The best comedy of the year..what? It’s not a comedy…oh…

November 30, 2007

August Rush

Before I begin, I want to give a warning to parents who intend on taking there children to see August Rush, especially if that child is a daughter. Make sure you explain to them that if you meet a young man, whose perhaps handsome, on a rooftop some starry night and one of the first things he tells you is he talks to the moon, to run the other way. The guy is probably crazy. And certainly don’t have what could be a one night stand on said rooftop for the sake of romanticism. Some moments are probably not worth getting caught up in, and there in lies the flaw of this goofy, senseless movie. It’s goofy…and senseless. If your kid is a boy, tell him to give it a try, tell him to say that he talks to toilet bowls, it would make just as much sense, and might actually work. As far as this movie is concerned.

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“No Country for Old Men”: Anton Chigurh the Wolf

November 30, 2007

No Country for Old Men

More SPOILERS!!!

Since writing my last post, A Critical Response, I’ve made a correction to it, though now I wonder if it was needed. I used the confrontation between Moss and the Mexican who is asking for water as an example of Moss’ denial of the existence of the devil, i.e. Chigurh. Moss actually answers in return, “There ain’t no wolves,” and not, “There ain’t no devil.” The problem is that I don’t speak a lick of Spanish and he says “lobos”.

But a response to my post, that pointed out this error, on Emerson’s Scanners from someone named Dane Walker got me thinking. There is a lot of talk about wolves not having come to the site of the drug deal, or having come to the drug deal. I wonder if there’s something written somewhere about wolves’ relationship with death…ah, the joy of internet…

“The word “wolf” itself has a very negative meaning: The Swedish and Norwegian term for wolf is varg, in Icelandic vargr, which not only means wolf but also is used for a wicked person. The Gothic word vargs (warg in Old High German, warc in Middle High German, verag in Anglo-Saxon) stands for murderer, strangler, outlaw, and evil spirit. The verdict “thou art a warg” declared the culprit an outlaw. Those people were banished forever from human society and were forced to live in the wild. “

The wolf it seems has a very negative standing in mythology from blowing down the three pig’s houses to having demonic origins. The whole write up I ran across about the mythology of wolves can be found here… It would seem that when Moss says “There ain’t no wolves”, he very easily could have in an ominous way and in a way he didn’t realize he was doing, talking about Chigurh, or in a stretch…the devil. Ed Tom and his deputy take note that wolves haven’t come, but perhaps it did, in a stretch, in the form of Chigurh. But maybe it isn’t so much a stretch. Emerson speaks of Chigurh working on a mythological level, something I whole heartedly agree with. So maybe it’s not so much of a stretch.

Jim Emerson has replied to my post on his own site.

No Country for Old Men: A critical response

November 30, 2007

No Country for Old Men a critical response

There are SPOILERS here! 

I find that sometimes to further infiltrate the skin of a movie one must read other’s interpretations to help resolve ones own thoughts, and then to create a dialogue. Jim Emerson at Scanners has recently put forth many posts about the Coen Brother’s latest film No Country for Old Men, and I’ll let him say many of the things I could say, as I agree with most of what he puts forth, which can be read in its entirety here. He states with eloquence some of the ideas that permeate the film and some of the problems he sees in other critics interpretations of the film. He begins with this assesment before moving into the film itself.

“No Country for Old Men” has been called a “perfect” film by those who love it and those who were left cold by it. Joel and Ethan Coen have been praised and condemned for their expert “craftsmanship” and their “technical” skills — as if those skills had nothing to do with filmmaking style, or artistry; as if they existed apart from the movie itself. Oh, but the film is an example of “impeccable technique” — you know, for “formalists.” And the cinematography is “beautiful.” Heck, it’s even “gorgeous.” …

But what do those terms mean if they are plucked out of the movie like pickles from a cheeseburger? How is something “beautiful” apart from what it does in the film? (See uncomprehending original-release reviews of “Barry Lyndon” and “Days of Heaven,” for example, in which the “beautiful” was treated as something discrete from the movie itself.) When somebody claims that a movie overemphasizes the “visual” — whether they’re talking about Stanley Kubrick or Terence Malick or the Coens — it’s a sure sign that they’re not talking about cinema, but approaching film as an elementary school audio-visual aid. When critics (and viewers) refer to the filmmakers’ application of “craft,” “technique,” and “style” (can these things be applied, casually or relentlessly, with a spatula?) without consideration of how these expressions function in the movie, we’re all in trouble. A composition, a cut, a dissolve, a movement — they’re all manifestations of craft (or skill), technique (the systematic use of skill), style (artistic expression).

 Great points before he goes further into the themes of the film.

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