Archive for October, 2008

“Blindness”: or a case of the Blind leading the Trusting

October 12, 2008
You have no idea how much this picture makes me giggle.

You have no idea how much this picture makes me giggle.

When an actor signs themselves over to a director like Fernando Meirelles, who made the exquisite City of God and the far less interesting The Constant Gardener, they are giving their trust to this director’s vision. Hoping that in the end there will be meaning in the images and breadth given to the performances. The actor, while having the whole arch of their character in mind, has to focus down on each and every moment and trust the director to put those moments together as a whole. Unfortunately Meirelles’s take on the award winning book Blindness, is simply ridiculous.

I would call it a melodrama, but it isn’t, it’s more like a Soap Opera, as situations become dramatic for the sake of being dramatic. A virus that leaves its victims blind, seeing a washed out white landscape instead of darkness, randomly infects a Japanese business man, and quickly spreads to the people he comes in contact with. Mark Ruffalo, simply called the Doctor treats the Japanese business man, and just can’t put his finger on the cause of the the sudden blindness. Maybe it’s psychological he pontificates to his wife, Julianne Moore, simply called the Doctor’s Wife. Like The Happening earlier this year, there’s no reason given for the sudden attack on humanity, which would be fine if the film’s messages and themes weren’t overtly obvious at some points and so convoluted at other points, and if the film was a bit more intelligent with it’s representation of what happens to blind people.

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“The Miracle at St. Anna”: Yes, it’s worse than “The Happening”

October 9, 2008
Mm-hm; Lookin' for miracles.

Lookin' for Miracles, mm-hm...

The only miracle that surrounds Spike Lee’s new ineptly made, self indulgent film The Miracle at St. Anna is that it got made in the first place. I remember reading articles in which Spike Lee was whining about not being able to make the movies he wants, even after his hit Inside Man. Mr. Lee, with all do respect, there’s a reason why you almost couldn’t get this movie made…because it’s hardly a movie at all. When I say “movie” I mean a length of time in which a story with either a cohesive plot or theme develops resulting in the audience reaching an emotional catharsis. St. Anna contains neither of these and with no emotional involvement is far too long at nearly 3 hours.

You’ll have to forgive me if some details escape my memory, because they aren’t worth looking up… Sometime in the 80’s an African American bank teller kills a random man with a German Luger from WWII. He’s taken to prison where a wet behind the ears newspaper reporter is given the opportunity to question the bank teller about an Itallian artifact (the head of a sculpture) that was found in his closet. The only thing the bank teller is able to say before we go into a stream of flashbacks losing all sense of coherent time and space is, “I know who the sleeping giant is.” In the first 10 minutes we already have four major threads of plotline given to us with supposedly equal emotional importance: the head of a statue, the young reporter, the murder of the man, and the sleeping giant.

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Through a Caffeine Haze: Live Art as Consumption

October 8, 2008

I’ve started writing a blog or two on the website for the theatre company I’m Artistic Director of, Theatre Unleashed. The link is here, but I’ll be posting them here as well.

Friday, September 26, 2008…

Anifty graphic for a show that's no longer...

A nifty graphic for a show that's no longer...

There’s an excitement that builds when a film is coming out that you really want to see. Weeks in advance you find yourself not being able to wait for that opening night. Personally I avoid trailers, especially tv advertisements as crucial plot points and action scenes are thrown at you before you realize what’s happening. I want to experience those films the way a director or writer wanted me to, for the first time. But when you see the film, unless it was a masterpiece, the excitement goes away – the experience is ultimately fleeting. You may talk about it for a day or two, but suddenly the next big film is on your radar and you’ve forgotten the name of the movie you just saw as as you try to tell your friend how great it was.

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Fist Fights over “The Tempest” or Keeping Shakespeare Relevant

October 8, 2008

I’ve started writing a blog or two on the website for the theatre company I’m Artistic Director of, Theatre Unleashed. The link is here, but I’ll be posting them here as well.

Monday September 29th…

An amazing graphic for a show that's gone.

An amazing graphic for a show that's gone.

Two main stage shows down, another opening in three weeks.

Strike was down and dirty and done in two hours leaving everyone pretty much exhausted. Though elated over such a great run.

I didn’t want to keep anything. You see these theatre companies with rooms and rooms full of things that they’ll never use again and at some point it was all in the decision to keep that one thing.

Decisions.

We had our first group of students fill half the house last night…had to add extra seats to accommodate other patrons. A Q&A followed, I watched from the side as a minor debate brought on by a smart student ensued concerning a line that in some versions belongs to Prospero and others to Miranda. Miranda is speaking to Caliban in this instance and telling Caliban that she taught him how to speak, in other instances its Prospero (some scholar decided the first way was wrong and changed it.) While it will probably never be known precisely as to who Shakespeare intended this line to go to, it brings up an interesting argument, one that ranges from Biblical scripture translations to the Bard himself. Do you look at something and find the literal (logical?) context for it, or do you make an artistic decision that goes against the grain of logic and literalness.

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