August 9, 2007

Four Movies in One Day

(I'm listening to Crowded House's "Four Seasons in One Day", which is bizarre symmetry, non?)

So, between 9pm on Tuesday night and 9pm on Wednesday night I saw four movies in the cinema. Isn't that crazy? I saw Inland Empire at 9pm Tuesday as part of MIFF, then on Wednesday I saw Black Snake Moan, La Vie en Rose (because I was bored in the city) and then Syndromes and a Century, also as part of MIFF. I discussed Syndromes and a Century in my MIFF Experience entry (I vaguely alluded to my thoughts on Inland Empire but I'm not ready to write anything substantial about it. It's just too much of a mindfuck). So I thought I'd briefly discuss the other two movies. Fun Fun Fun.

Black Snake Moan is an incredibly strange film, but not as incredibly strange as I had anticipated. In fact, it was downright tame compared to what I was expecting. What I wasn't expecting was actually charm(!) and sweetness(!) to go alongside all the nymphomania, blues music and scenes of Christina Ricci showing off her tits (shock! celebrity nudity - have the stars gone mad!?!) No, I really liked this. I liked it more than Craig Brewer's last film Hustle & Flow. Brewer, I've decided, must be really good with actors. He got great performances out of people like Terrence Howard (of whom I am most definitely not a fan) and Taryn Manning in H&F, and now he's gotten Christina Ricci back into the groove, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I adored the music, particularly Samuel L Jackson's moments (I know he played all the guitar, but was that him singing? Sure did sound like him). The look of the film was great and the absurdity (chained to a radiator) was well balanced. Overall, I just really got into the groove of Black Snake Moan - although I can guarantee it's not for everyone. B+

With La Vie en Rose on the other hand is complete and utter shit. Really. I can't believe the makers of this movie thought this was the best way to represent Edith Piaf's life. I actually found it quite insulting. Now Edith's a baby! Now she's old! Now she's a child! Now she's popular! Now everyone hates her! Now everyone loves her! Now she's married! Now she's a child! Now she's dying! Now she's dying again! Now she's never been married! Now she's got a baby! Now she's old! Now she's not! PICK SOMETHING AND STICK WITH IT!

And if the constant ridiculous shifts in time weren't bad enough, we have to put up with Marion Cotillard's weird performance. I'm sure Piaf wasn't the most... well, normal of characters, but was she this bizarre? Cotillard seems to always be pulling silly faces or slouching around or sticking her teeth out and contorting her body. Strange.

I liked the parts that were set in New York City, the interview at the beach and the final performance of "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" is amazing, but other than that the movie is awful. I just have no idea what anybody was thinking or doing any of the time. It's a perplexing movie because I can't imagine why they though (of all people) Edith Piaf was the one to give this off biopic to. I guess they thought that her life was just too cliche that they had to mix it up, but in the mean time they royally screwed it up.

I briefly discussed the movie with a nice old lady who was seated down from me. She was confused about Gerard Depardiue's character, which was at the time that everyone suddenly hated Piaf and then in the next scene they all love her again? I was mightily confused as well. The old lady commented "It sure was a lifetime and a half wasn't it?" I nodded dutifully. It sure was! D+


J.D. said...

I had Black Snake Moan on top of my DVD player for two weeks not doing anything. I really should give it another chance.

And I don't get it: Who are the people raving La Vie en Rose? The only online reviews I've seen are all negative. I'm confused.

Paul Martin said...

I had to write about Inland Empire that morning (because it was morning when it ended). I did get some sleep first, though. I didn't want to write anything in-depth, just an initial reaction. Yet that turned out to be over 1000 words. Briefly, I thought the film was of historic significance for its bravely cutting new ground with both the digital medium and in terms of surreal 'narrative' (for want of a better term). Or, read the 1000 words.

JA said...

I'm shocked you could watch other movies right after Inland Empire, Glenn. I think my head was swimming for a couple of days after seeing it.

I fucking hated Black Snake Moan. (See how I used vulgarity there? That shows how much I hated it!) Tripe. Ricci was great, though.

rural juror said...

FINALLY...someone who hates La Vie En Rose. All the adoration I hear about it being the best performance ever given has been pissing me off.

I still have no interest in seeing what sounds like a trainwreck

Paxton Hernandez said...

Re: Hating La vie en rose

"FINALLY"??? WTF? Nathe Rogers has been hating it for weeks.

adam k. said...

Indeed, Nat gave it an even worse grade than Glenn did.

The old lady story was funny.

I thought Inland Empire was too long and didn't make nearly as much sense in its surrealism as Mulholland did... seemed at times like a ripoff/rehash. But it had some amazing sequences.

"You dyin', lady."

And that final dance sequence! God bless David Lynch for doing whatever the hell he wants.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Well, in all fairness Mulholland Drive even seemed like a Greatest Hits of David Lynch at times. But, you are right. Sometimes it felt like a sequel to Mulholland Drive (I think it may just have to do with the linked Hollywood setting).

If you're at all a fan of Piaf just get the soundtrack. I own it (I had to review it for work) and I'd rather listen to that than sit through that god awful movie again.