It shouldn’t be any secret that Bob Dylan is one of my all-time favourite musicians. Inevitably I’ve already watched D. A. Pennebaker’s Dont Look Back years ago and only found myself appreciating his music all the more, but he wasn’t merely just a fantastic singer and songwriter. If anything, No Direction Home only reaffirms the light in which I’ve always seen Bob Dylan as over the years of great music that he has produced, he was a poet. And yet from all the highs and lows his career has faced, there was always something more about Dylan himself that makes him a fascinating enough case study, because like all the best artists he refuses to stop: always taking a new direction just as the film’s title would say, taking itself from a lyric from one of Dylan’s very best songs: “How does it feel, to be on your own, with no direction home? A complete unknown, like a rolling stone.” And maybe it’s that feeling of freedom that only granted Bob Dylan to express himself so powerfully without losing that touch of grace in his music.
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There’s something universal that lingers all throughout The Squid and the Whale which I find is what helps it elicit the power it contains within the brief running time it sustains. Something to which I ended up finding a whole lot more personal at the same time not only in the sense that it was on Noah Baumbach’s end but also on my own, for it hit rather heavily on a personal note everywhere I would have least expected it to land. Maybe it could be I was expecting too little, even for Noah Baumbach, but with The Squid and the Whale he has clearly left behind something that is so resonant it only touches me so deeply.
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I’m not going to deny how a certain amount of concentration is required for films in order to get a grasp of their ideas, but when I think of a film like Stay, the way I see it is that it feels more like a film that wants you to concentrate without necessarily earning any of it because it just presents emptiness all around. All I can ever pick up from every oddity arising from the manner to which Stay had been made only went on to annoy me more, because it never seemed justified. Instead, it struck me as Marc Forster attempting to ape on David Lynch’s style, and doing it so poorly to the point I’m just sitting there for every minute while it lasts reminding myself I would much rather be spending that time watching Mulholland Drive. Continue reading →
Shane Black decides to take stuff his own way with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang after penning screenplays for action films like Lethal Weapon and The Long Kiss Goodnight, he moves into a different territory keeping the wit that made the dialogue in his action fare so entertaining. You’re not going to often get dialogue that consistently moves at such a breezy pacing the way Shane Black lets all of it loose in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but with his own eye coming behind the camera, he knows how to get everything to the very best of its own ability. It’s an entertaining throwback to what we all love about film-noir, just the way I love it, having grown up around noir. Continue reading →