Thursday, April 22, 2004

Needed: One (1) Saturday Coachella Ticket

If anybody knows someone who needs to get rid of a ticket...

I'll pay up to $150.00 for the ticket.

Just plain tired of checking EBay every fucking twenty minutes and getting constantly outbid by a bunch of tools. Who woulda thought a festival at a fairground would sell out?

And why did I promise to get the ticket like a stupid errand boy?


Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Cannes Lineup Announced

The festival Competition and Un Certain Regard lineups have been announced. Tarantino heads the jury, presiding over a competition that includes the blah (Shrek 2, new Tony Gatlif), the controversial (Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11), the known quantity (the well-liked Motorcycle Diaries, the not-so-well-liked The Ladykillers), the intriguing (the new Kusturica and Kore-eda), and the assuredly likable (the new Agnes Jaoui).

A few disappointments: I would've liked the new Almodovar, Bad Education, to be in competition. Instead it'll open the festival. And surprisingly, Zhang Yimou's latest martial arts epic is playing out of comp. Fest programmer Fremaux deprived us of the interesting sideshow trying to guess if old school swordsplay junkie QT would dig Zhang's CGI-ladened genre update. (I'm guessing Quentin wouldn't have bitten.)
Another surprise: neither of the Ozu homages by those festival godheads Hou Hsiao-hsien and Abbas Kiarostami made the cut. Not that either stood a chance with this jury.

Then there are the key films. My favorite Korean filmmaker, Hong Sang-soo, has made the competition for the first time with his new film. Unlikely to win any major awards, but it'll be interesting to see if Hong can advance his elliptical, structurally playful style, or if he's one of those Asian filmmakers content to make the same movie over and over.

Olivier Assayas' Clean, about Maggie Cheung fronting a rock band, is a strong prize contender. And I don't see any way that it won't be unbelievably awesome.

And the biggest news is that we won't have to wait until 2007 to see 2046, Wong Kar-wai's "sequel" to In the Mood for Love. It's natural to think that Tarantino will be pushing for Wong, whose Chungking Express QT was instrumental in getting distribution. Tarantino will have a chance to reverse the greatest crime in awards history, when the risible Dancer in the Dark got the Palme d'Or over both In the Mood and Yang's Yi Yi at Cannes 2000. But 2046 still smells like Ashes of Time to me, a film beloved by Wong Wankers and pretty much nobody else. Maybe Wong'll prove me wrong, but as a Wanker, I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

Update: After reading these (barely comprehensible) IMDb comments and fanboy gushing of this magnitude for Park "JSA" Chan-wook's Oldboy, this appears to have the inside track for the Bigass Palm. It also sounds like a kickass movie.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Kill Bill Vol. 2 (Tarantino): A-

Fuck artistic development. In Kill Bill Volume 2, QT finally brought back exactly how I felt when I first saw Reservoir Dogs. Volume 2 is pure old school Tarantino, unmistakeably the crafted from the guy who made fanboyism not only cool, but meaningful. When Tarantino's at his best, he doesn't just create cool scenes loaded with obscure movie references that make fanboys drool with delight (the Corbucci and Chang Cheh homages here and the entirety of Volume 1). Nor is his gift merely adding clever footnotes to movie cliches (favorite touch: Elle flushing the toilet), though he's possibly the best filmmaker on the planet in doing that. He's at his best defying expecatations and hitting you with an emotional payoff against all odds.

But you know what? I don't have anything to say about Tarantino's artistry. Best I'd just point you in the direction of two reviews that do adequately describe QT's unique powers and how it shapes Volume 2's movie-specific pleasures, courtesy of Manohla Dargis and John Powers.

Yeah, maybe we'll see a mature, Eric Rohmer riff from QT next time out. In the meantime, I'm gonna save my bucks for the 2 volume Kill Bill DVD.

Added! Do not miss QT's interview with Powers, in which he opines that Passion of the Christ is fifteen times more visual (!!!) than Night of the Hunter, that a four hour cut of Kill Bill will eventually be released, and that if he had released Kill Bill as one feature, he woulda trimmed "Useful as an elbow right here" (aka, take off your hat, Budd) and much of the Pai Mei section. Those were my two favorite parts in Volume 2, I suppose, not counting the Elle/Bride showdown. So maybe cleaving the movie in two was the right decision after all.