Sunday, February 15, 2009

artful lighting and light-art


The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford.

What a mouthful of a title. What kind of idiot marketing squad came up with that one? I mean, yeah, it's probably based on a book or something, but sheesh. On the other hand, it is a good description. It speaks to the idea is a story about Jessie James, one of the most famous, interesting, colorful gunmen from the wild west...and we are going to tell you a story about him getting killed, in cowardly fashion, by some chump named Robert Ford.

Really, in that sense, it's a perfect title.

This god it's quite awful. Really it's quite beautiful for about....40 minutes. If you rent this movie, watch it just after the point of the train robbery, then shut it off and save yourself 2 hours. There are some lovely shots, really quite beautiful, but they are all in the beginning, then the rest of the movie just repeats these same style of gets old fast. But great use of light and clever lens tricks.

Pitt is passable, his usual self. And yes Casey Affleck is fast becoming the best screen actor of his generation. (have you seen the film his brother directed, Gone Baby Gone? He's great in that movie). Even his stellar performance can't hold this movie for nearly 3 hours.

It's not the material-Jessie James, his enigma, and this wannabe "coward" who idolizes him-there is plenty of good stuff here. But the slow pace, the heavy handed stylized shots, and the lack of action and thin dialog just drag this attempt at an art house western down.

1.5 Molos


I caught the show at Western Bridge the other day, Light seeking Light/Untitled (a brink if infinity), which essentially is a bunch of work, some of which is rotating, from the collection that is up this winter. I shall not go into great detail here, but I'd say you should got check it out. It's worth it to see the piece by Anthony McCall (Pictured above). McCall's work is not smart, clever, or unique-it reminds me a great deal of going to see laser shows at the Science Center when I was in high school-that smell, of the smoke machine. Such an odd smell, kind of a good smell, but what exactly is that substance? In any case, the work really is just a nicely done laser show. Simple, elegant, and peaceful. Worth a look.

There are several other strong works in the show worth seeing. I wasn't all that interested in the centerpiece of the show: Mary Tempel's faux shadow wall painting. It's a clever trick, and well executed, but the imagery wasn't interesting or visually pleasing enough for me to have more than a simple-hey you fooled me for a second-type of reaction.

3 Molos


I haven't been hearing a lot of new stuff yet this year, but the kids are all way into the new Animal Collective record, and I have given it a listen myself, and I actually like it a lot better than previous efforts of the band. It falls into that kind of multi/eclectic instrumental noise mess indie rock, like say, Broken Social Scene. Done well, though, and with a stronger sense of purpose this time around. It's called Merriweather Post Pavilion. 3.5 Molos

New Vetiver comes out this week, I'm sure that will be a lovely album.


Not James Bond said...

I think you're too hard on Jesse James. I agree, the pacing is tough. Especially when you go in expecting a hard-hitting western. But I think it does amazing stuff. Despite that--I'm glad you're blogging again!

Molo said...

Well, if they had cut away about...1 hour, and gotten rid of the voice-over, I might have enjoyed the film.

For the record, I did not expect a hard-hitting western, by any means. I can dig a slow movie. Hell I really enjoyed "Gerry", and that movie is just 2 guys walking in the desert, lost, for like nearly 2 hours. Also featuring Casey Afflect.