Tuesday, May 19, 2009

People Talking About Films Too Soon

I like talking about movies. You like talking about movies. Critics like talking about movies. The all of us like talking about movies as soon as we've seen a movie, because our opinions all matter to us. Cannes is debuting a lot of movies, and a lot of critics are screening those films, and giving their blurbs worth of information on them. This way people who care to read find out what their most base first impressions are long before the rest of us will see what they've seen. Of these films Lars von Trier's Antichrist and Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro have been spoken of. And just what was said?
Opinions are running hot over Antichrist. Cannes isn't really an accepting film festival. They booed and hissed Synecdoche, New York for goodness sake. There are plenty of people outraged at the content of Antichrist, with its hate-filled characters, and depressing everything else, but there are those who were at least entertained while being bummed out and scared witless. What people had to say about the film:

Jeff Wells says "there's no way Antichrist isn't a major career embarrassment for co-stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and a possible career stopper for von Trier... it's an out-and-out disaster, one of the most absurdly on-the-nose, heavy-handed and unintentionally comedic calamities I've ever seen in my life."

Variety believes fans of past von Trier works "will find this outing risible, off-putting or both."

TheWrap thought the film turned "into The Shining meets Evil Dead with green politics, torture porn..." and decided that they "loved it, but might have been blind-sighted by the sheer audacity of its twisted conception."

And sometimes on-sometimes off everyman's critic Roger Ebert says "von Trier is not so much making a film about violence as making a film to inflict violence upon us... this is the most despairing film I've ever seen."

Heavy stuff. Sounds like controversy. Whether its an overreaction from the snoot and snib Cannes goers, or the film is that much of a mind-bender, its all up in the air until anyone outside of this select circle of viewers has a chance at it. Others in the audience deemed the film to be worthy of the hardest NC-17 ratings money can buy, and there's talk of laughter over a talking fox. I wanted to have a talking fox in one of my shorts...

Francis Ford Coppola wanted to make a small, personal film, out of competition from the rest of the films because it was just too indie for you too handle, Cannes audience. It would have blown your mind in competition! I was one of the first to say Tetro looked very 'meh', and I'm pleased to know I was right. Nothing personal against Coppola, but his ship sailed in the 70s. The reports:

Variety feels that "Coppola lacks the writerly flair to make the big scenes soar or resonate with multiple meanings or dimensions. Rather, they more often than not seem abruptly crutailed and somewhat unsatisfying."

The Hollywood Reporter says the film has "style to burn, eye-catching acting... and a story that harkens back to many literary classics... striking visuals, music, dance and classic drama... yet somehow the piece comes off as derivative but also original."

And Indiewire proclaims Tetro is "neither complete misfire nor triumphant return to form... if a first-time filmmaker had directed this... it might gain some notice for suggesting great things to come. Instead, on its own terms, the movie is only a mildly interesting entry in Coppola's thirty-plus years of work."

So, the film is made out to be pretty good, but a tired effort on the directors part. Good. My presumptions exactly. I've wanted Apocalypse Now-era goodness coming out of Coppola since Apocalypse Now, but he just never re-caught his stride. Let his offspring handle the heavy lifting, I suppose.

- Eric T. Voigt, Back to Be Home


  1. Cannes isn't really an accepting film festival? Because the people there who saw Synecdoche booed it? Really? That's it? Or why else isn't it accepting? Please, enlighten me. How is a festival an entity anyhow?

    And you wanted Coppola to fail just so your presumptions would be satisfied? Childish. I doubt you've seen every Coppola film since Apocalypse Now, and maybe they haven't been as good, but what do you want from the man? He can't churn out masterpiece after masterpiece to fulfill your confused standards regarding the kind of filmmaker he should be. And I'm not sure his "offspring" has yet proven herself capable of handling the so-called "heavy lifting," whatever that means.

    Much is wrong about this article. I should just stop commenting on your articles already. Why is it months until I can see you in person and duke it out with spoken words?

  2. Cannes is known, Kevin, KNOWN to be very mean spirited and derisive to films that show signs of cynicism, or darkness, and you know this, because me and Alex have complained about it at length. Maybe it was one of those times where you had to climb up on your high horse to avoid our comments.

    I wanted Coppola to exceed my expectations, but am pleased they may have been met, because that proves I'm a good judge of my own tastes. I haven't seen all of Coppola's films. Have you seen all the films of every director you have an opinion of? You're arguing a point that doesn't exist, because I have my opinion, and you have your opinion, and you're always pointing out that an opinion is an opinion. I think Coppola proved he had vast amounts of talent, and then failed to live up to it. The movies I've seen that he's been responsible for have not been good after the 70s. They haven't. I want from the man a movie I will enjoy. Don't you want that?

    I miss you already, Kevin, you big lug and your arguments that are as picky and specific as can be.

  3. Well maybe I was on my "high horse," which before now had always been referred to as my "pedestal." (Just sayin'.) Because I don't remember you guys complaining about this. I'm looking for more examples, please.

    And maybe it's just me, but I find it more pleasurable when my expectations are confounded and surpassed. That's right: I like being knocked off my "high horse" or "pedestal" or whatever every now and again.

    Kisses, baby. Stay cool.