This Week You Will Feast Your Eyes On:
- Sundance shortcomings
- new horror
- old horror
- fake movies
- cheesy jazz
- the celebrity slugfest of the century!
Take a gander at scb0212 and Miller, contributing to the FAR! Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
ReverseShot‘s Juan Barquin begins dispatches from the Sundance Film Festival, but before talking about the movies themselves, has some thoughts on the festival itself:
Despite various filmmakers who have debuted works at the festival vocally criticizing Sundance, the festival has proven there are limitations to how institutions show their support for the communities they dare to platform. That their response to the Daily Beast’s question for comment begins and ends with talk of inclusivity, but it speaks volumes that it omits any direct action or even a condemnation of their home state’s anti-trans bill. Without making any official statement about the dangerous politics that harm those they claim to support, and reducing virtual accessibility for those who cannot travel to Utah (by keeping certain films as in-person exclusives and vastly limiting accreditation passes), it forces someone like myself covering the festival (remotely and without official accreditation) to question why exactly the festival deserves my money, my time, and my voice.
Little White Lies also has coverage of the festival’s films, including this review by Esther Rosenfield for Jane Schoenbrun’s new look at isolation and media:
As the film goes on, though, its disparate horror elements coalesce into a gut-wrenching portrait of anxiety and repression. Surreal agents of terror surround Owen: Fred Durst is terrifying in his brief appearances as Owen’s father, his stony silence and fleshy face recalling a Lon Chaney monster, while cult comedian Conner O’Malley channels his off-putting brand of humour into the familiar malevolent energy of a bullying coworker. The world around Owen seems increasingly hostile, and the film’s bright, deep colors begin to feel like they’re taunting him. Even scenes from [in-movie children’s show] The Pink Opaque go from a kid-friendly Are You Afraid of the Dark? style of horror to something genuinely nightmare-inducing. I Saw The TV Glow creeps up on you, holding your focus so intently you hardly notice when it begins to fray at the margins.
The visual effects in Tetsuo serve as an uncanny reminder of the visceral ‘realness’ of its subject matter. The characters are misshapen hunks of metal, with metallic spikes and machinery emerging from all parts of the body in an exceptionally gory yet stylistically driven manner. Tsukamoto stated that “we built up the costume gradually, adding bits and pieces until we felt it looked right.” This iconography is more common in animated Japanese productions, and in this sense, the presence of these traits in a live-action production seems as gratuitous as it is terrifying. As stated by Harrington, “‘Tetsuo’ is live-action – very live – and all the more disturbing for it.” At every second the audience has these viscerally horrifying and experimental visual effects thrust upon them, often in extreme close ups or fast movements with the intense score by Chu Ishikawa creating a sense of heightened urgency. The score in question was intentionally made to sound like “beating iron” on request from Tsukamoto to Ishikawa. Ishikawa was discovered from an industrial noise outfit and contributes massively to its deliberately harsh tone of blatantly aggressive energy.
At GQ, Charles Bramesco provides a taxonomy of real movies that seem like fake movies:
30 Rock fake – It sometimes feels like all of reality trickles down from Tina Fey’s modern-classic sitcom, built as it is on the prescient bet that culture will only get broader and dumber with time. Across seven seasons, a smorgasbord of faux pop culture conveyed a dismay and affection for lowest-common-denominator swill: schedule-filler unscripted programming, DOA awards bait shelved by its studio, zillionth sequels, Tyler Perry output, TV movies sponsored by Pride Bladder Control Pads. Their unauthorized Janis Joplin biopic Sing Dem Blues, White Girl: The Jackie Jormp-Jomp Story had a bead on the David Bowie treatment Stardust a decade before its producers failed to secure the music rights, and the hornt-up Survivor spoof MILF Island could sue TLC’s MILF Manor for royalties. But wherever people who consider themselves artists compromise the integrity of their work, wherever the C-list meets the D-list, wherever the bottom of the industry’s barrel gets a good scraping, flashbacks to 30 Rock follow close behind.
It’s the centennial of “Rhapsody In Blue,” and jazz pianist Ethan Iverson pulls the knives out to cut its cheese for the New York Times:
The essential element here is rhythm. African and Latin diasporic (especially Cuban) rhythm has rarely been understood or truly respected by American institutions connected with symphonic repertoire. Gershwin didn’t help this issue with “Rhapsody in Blue”; nobody but the pianist has to play more than a few bars in steady tempo. The composer explained: “Jazz, they said, had to be in strict time. It had to cling to dance rhythms. I resolved, if possible, to kill that misconception with one sturdy blow.” … To this day, the training of American conservatory musicians prioritizes pure tone production and mechanical facility over a basic dance beat.
Apparently… Larry David attacked Sesame Street‘s Elmo on live television? Vulture‘s Rebecca Alter breaks down the celebrity spat and the underlying unspoken issue:
Something finally snapped when Elmo went on the Today show to discuss his viral fame and promote his birthday party. As Savannah Guthrie tried to throw it over to Al Roker with the weather, Larry David stormed the set and did the Iron Claw on Elmo. Craig Melvin and Hoda Kotb could only look on in fear, cowering from Larry David’s famous Hulk-like strength. When Guthrie took on the typical Susie Essman role of telling David, “You’ve gone too far this time, Larry,” his defense was, “Somebody had to do it.” He later apologized. What disturbs me most about this clip, besides Larry David going full Will Smith on morning television, is how Elmo’s dad, Louie, was standing right there, and he did nothing to intervene. […] Sesame Street has done movie parodies before, but I never expected it to take on Force Majeure.