(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+