Sunday, March 12, 2006

And speaking of "sucked"...

Subject: Cinema
...I watched the recently-released DVD of "Thumbsucker". It had some buzz as being one of those nifty "indie" projects that had the potential of being like the "next Sofia Coppola" or some nonsense like that.

I dunno. It all seemed kind of forced to me. Way more contrived than most, and only just barely escaping the faux-depth that a student film would labor under the delusion of. I've complained plenty in the past about not being interested in watching whiny tales of teenage angst/anxiety/inner-struggle anymore, and well, here it was all over again.

I followed it up by dipping into my collection for something that actually didn't suck, but I can't say I really got a lot out of it either. Francois Truffaut's "Stolen Kisses" is a 60's French farce that's part of the "Antoine Doinel" series, following the antics of the hapless Parisian loser Antoine as he is kicked out of the Army and tries to find a job. Amusing, but if there was a point, it was lost on me. I guess I wasn't quite in the mood to let myself just escape into it, and I don't think it did an awful lot to help. It seemed to be a set of character studies more than anything. Also, it's the first time in a long time that I watched something set in Paris and I didn't find myself longing to go visit; it's like it was depicted as just another "normal" backdrop. Curious.

Finally, also in the "didn't suck" category, I had a chance to DVR "Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai", Jim Jarmusch's quirky Jersey mobster vs. an urban twist on the Bushido code, starring Forrest Whittaker as a very large African American hitman with a strong samurai bent. I've seen a couple of Jarmusch's films in the past, yet without looking them up, I don't think I can actually name any of them off the top of my head. But his films have a very strong indie sensibility that "Thumbsucker" can only wish it had. But it also definitely leans toward "quirky", and it might be hard for some to get into his style.

And "Ghost Dog" seems like a difficult-to-get-into film by it's description. And also it's rather staged; there's a lot of "intentionally-obvious" symbolism and a blatently-announced homage to "Rashamon", the Kurosawa film I found the most annoying for some reason. But there are enough hooks and quirky/funny details, and even fascinating-yet-simple moments of dialogue that make it worth going along for the ride. It's worth a rental, at least.

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