Monday, July 26, 2004

Weekend Round Up

The Farrelly Brother's Stuck On You is, if not their funniest work (that honor still belongs to There's Something About Mary), definitely their sweetest. If all of their previous films (which also include Dumb and Dumber and Shallow Hal) have demonstrated a nice knack for straining their gross-out, taboo-bursting brand of humor through a charming brand of sweetness, Stuck On You seems to me a kind of apotheosis of their work in this area. 

And we were on a bit of a Matt Damon kick this weekend.  The Bourne Supremacy seems to have forgotten to balance its bad-assness with the kind of gee-whiz goofiness the first one  managed so nicely.  This one isn't necessarily bad, and bringing Peter Greenway, fresh off Bloody Sunday, was an inspired choice even if he does go a little haywire with the edits in a couple of the action sequences. (Whose getting a fist to the jaw there?  Do I care?)  Booting Franka Potente in the opening 10 minutes seemed cheap and the ricketedy cogs of the vegence plot it puts into motion gets the thumbs twiddling in ho-hum expectation.  Still, there's an inspired, highly physical car chase to end the film where the right dude gets his necessary comeuppance, and we dug that.  And Cathy gets the high five for spotting the lovely Oksana Akinshina, who makes her first screen appearance since she was put through the ringer of Moodysson's devastating Lilja 4-Ever, in a silly little coda where she's given about 4 minutes to fear for her life and then cry.  

Moodymann's new one, Black Mahogani is his best since Silent Introduction.  Kenny Dixon (a.k.a. Moodymann) trims the fat off of his previous and oftentimes tedious immersion into lengthy sound collages in favor of a seemingly newfound focus on his sublimely dusted house grooves.  The album's first 4 songs make up a soulful sweet, led by the woozy vocals of Roberta Sweet (no pun intended) and culminating in the 12 minute track, Runaway, which builds up and winds down repeatedly.  On first listen, Black Mahogani already seems like a classic- highly distinct, unabashedly accessible and laying down slice after slice of genuinely soulful house.

Also watched Elephant, Gun Van San'ts not so loose adaptation of the Columbine high school massacre.  It's not entirely successful, but the first 40 or so minutes are near perfect, full of long, gliding tracking shots nipping at the shoulders of various students walking through high school.  It all feels suspended- haunted and dense with tension.  The sound design on the film is a marvel, as voices are constantly submerged only to come into sharp clarity and everywhere  deep, cavernous thuds  seem to ricochet off the hallways.  And  hallways haven't been this creepy, this infused with dread, since Lynch's Twin Peaks.  At the 40 minute mark, the student killers enter the building and it's barely possible to watch the screen after this.  We see the massacre, and it's horrific with a minimum of gore, though I'm not entirely convinced it was necessary for us to see.  Still, as a piece of agitprop, this is probably more successful then Bowling For Columbine.

We leave you with this: 

The Don Martin Dictionary

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