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September 23 2007

(SPOILER) Advance screening of Southland Tales last night in Austin. Everyone's still confused, and some are still angry.

Also http://twitchfilm.net/site/view/fantastic-fest-report-southland-tales-review#extended, and http://moviedigs.blogspot.com/2007/09/southland-tales.html

I'm confused and I fear some might be angry at the lack of a spoiler tag.
Sorry, I didn't think.

But can this movie be spoiled? Apparently those who have seen it are still looking for clues.

I'm undaunted, myself. I still want to see it, several times. And then the DVD, and then the Cannes version on DVD.
Yeah, I'm with dreamlogic. I don't think any amount of reviews is going to spoil this. There's just too much movie.

And I am looking forward to it. I love movies that make me think. And think. And think again.
Well, it sounds intriguing to me...
Deamlogic wrote: "Everyone's still confused, and some are still angry. "

The linked review and it was very complimentary. He liked pretty much everything and that which he didn't care for, he apologized for. Makes me want to see it a little more. SMG as a porn star "with all the best lines in the film"
Looking at the two reviews, it looks like Richard Kely is trying to be Robert Altman, with colliding plot lines rather than colliding conversations. I'm still interested in this movie, and am hoping it comes my way soon. At least we know Dwayne Johnson is someone who's at least willing to try off-beat roles, considering his Disney movie coming next week.
Good to know Kelly didn't dumb anything down so audiences would immediately "get it." Sounds almost Lynchian in a way and I can't wait to see Sarah in another movie.
Sounds like the perfect cure for a year of cheese and blockbusters! Can't wait!
Are any of them armed?

This one is probably going on my rent list- if only because it sounds like there may be a need to rewind to figure out what's going on...
Everyone's still confused, and some are still angry.


That may be the best phrase ever to appear on the front page but why are they still angry?
I was there. I saw it. Howdy from Austin!

From my informal poll of folks afterwards, it definitely seemed to divide the audience, with Harry's review on AICN representing one end of the spectrum, but the majority of people I talked to congregating on the other side. I'd have to say both points of view are valid.

It is definitely a film that demands repeat viewing... but I think it's questionable whether it earns the right to make that demand. Some may say yes, most will probably say no (which, come to think of it, is probably true of most movies, but I think it's a bigger problem for this movie.) I'm glad I saw the film, but have no intention of ever giving it another two-and-a-half hours of my life (nor am I particularly motivated to read the three graphic novel prequels).

As madmolly says, it will definitely "make you think" - but it didn't make me _feel_. And what it does make you think isn't always what's intended (like, what's Janeane Garofalo doing there? Why are Wallace Shawn and his sidekicks dressed and acting like they're in another movie? What time is it?) I would also agree with madmolly's assertion that "there's just too much movie"... but probably not in the way she meant that. And to Tonya, it's not so much an issue of whether audiences will "get it", but more a matter of whether or not the movie is _worth_ "getting". (I often wish more filmmakers asked themselves that question.)

Summarily, I would call it a fascinating but flawed cinematic curiosity. It's a really weird, inventive, stylishly crafted movie that has no right to exist in a rational universe, and while I'm kind of tickled that it does, it may just be too ambitious and disjointed for its own good. There's just so much going on in so many directions, it feels like several movies* thrown in a blender set on "Liquify". (If you like that sort of thing, Merry Christmas.)

Sarah is an absolute hoot to watch, though - as are many of the other actors, most of whom are cast radically against type... but to the point that it's distracting, and sort of takes you out of the movie. (Over and over again, though it did crack me the heck up to see Christopher Lambert appear out of nowhere as an arms dealer operating out of an ice cream truck.)

And yes, btw, I am a fan of DONNIE DARKO (particularly the superior Director's Cut.)


(*Strange Days and Wild Palms come to mind.)

[ edited by Robogeek on 2007-09-23 19:21 ]
P.S.: This was the debut public screening (if not official premiere) of the new, finished version of the film.
why are they still angry?

Beats me. I still read angry comments about Donnie Darko - "it doesn't make sense, and it shouldn't have been made, and Richard Kelly should die and go to hell." Even if DD doesn't make sense (I would argue it that it does) I don't know why that would make some people angry. But it does. And the level of vitriol directed at ST after Cannes was breathtaking. Go figure.

Thanks, Robogeek. I appreciate your being fair, even though you didn't like it. No vitriol is nice.

I still don't know if I'm going to like it, though I love the books.
Huh, I didn't know it was one of those movies. Those on-set photos of Sarah from a while ago made it look like it was gonna be a Clueless-type movie.

I liked Donnie Darko, but everyone is comparing this to David Lynch (whom I hate), so I don't know what to think.

Just watched the trailer. I guess it's an accomplishment to have a movie whose main star are two teeny-bop singers, a professional wrestler, the star of Dude, Where's My Car, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and not have it turn out to be immediately considered the worst movie of all time. ;)
Thanks, dreamlogic -- though I didn't/wouldn't say I didn't like it. I didn't love it, but didn't hate it. I found it fascinating, but also frustrating. Can't really say that I liked or disliked it, as there were a lot of things I liked and a lot of things I disliked.

Does that make any sense? Or did this movie truly fry my brain? ;-)
And to Tonya, it's not so much an issue of whether audiences will "get it", but more a matter of whether or not the movie is _worth_ "getting". (I often wish more filmmakers asked themselves that question.)

I hear you. I'm probably more saying that because of the pandering to audiences that goes on in mainstream filmmaking; what I call cookie-cutter filmmaking that leaves nothing to your imagination. I'd much rather be frustrated by a film's "narrative" and "busy-ness" than be ten steps ahead in the plot and fuming at the utter lack of respect the filmmaker had for my imagination.
Robogeek,
I wish more movie reviewers had your wit. Don't know if I'll like the movie, but I sure enjoyed reading your opinion of it.
Personally, when I watch a movie like Eraserhead or Being John Malkovich or the Life Aquatic, I think to myself, "This certainly is different. But what's the point?"

Maybe I'm just jaded and cynical, but whenever things don't fit into my normal idea of narrative storytelling (which I think is fairly broad), instead of assuming I missed something and rewatching the movie, I just write it off as the director being unnecessarily pretentious and try not to dwell on the movie.

Maybe I am missing out on good films, but life's too short to be concerned about some disembodied concept of "good" if it doesn't actually entertain you. I'd get more entertainment out of watching "Not Fade Away" for the tenth time than trying to sit through Blue Velvet again and wring some sense of it if I wasn't feeling it the first time.

But Donnie Darko had the perfect amount of detactment from reality in order for me to enjoy it without bogging itself down. So I won't write off Southland Tales based on the trippy trailer just yet.

[ edited by dingoes8 on 2007-09-23 22:41 ]
Nothing wrong with entertainment, of course, dingoes, but don't you ever find that you missed something special that you didn't quite get at first? Some things that require more concentration than others prove worth it, don't they? I for one don't assume that when I don't understand a movie or any kind of art immediately, it means that someone has been pretentious. I think maybe you don't really, either, since your willing to give this movie a chance!
I'll still see it, if only for Kevin Smith as a paralyzed war vet. Plus, I like weird shit. Doesn't mean I'll like this particular odyssey of weird, but I'll give it a shot.
I liked Donnie Darko, but everyone is comparing this to David Lynch (whom I hate), so I don't know what to think.

Oh dingoes8, for shame. Hate Lynch? Really? *tsk tsk*
Personally, when I watch a movie like [...] Being John Malkovich [...], I think to myself, "This certainly is different. But what's the point?"


In the case of Being John Malkovich, I think the point is just to be the awesome movie that it was. It's the movie that made me start following Charlie Kaufman's career (he's the writer), and I've never regretted it. He is, hands down, the best film writer of the last 15 years. In my humble opinion.

I agree about Lynch though. I really can't stand his work. It's intentionally bizarre yet captures emotional nothing.

Kaufman, on the other hand, is sometimes bizarre, but his movies are filled with emotion-- absolutely wracked with it. Not just that-- his movies are driven by it. Look at Being John Malkovich or Eternal Sunchine of the Spotless Mind-- those movies are, at their core, driven by an intense sense of loss, and love, and you feel it in every line of the movie.

I better stop gushing now. But I think the guy is just that good.
Of course Charlie Kaufman is that good. I've seen Eternal Sunshine, and I should get the DVD. It's great, and Jim Carrey should have gotten more credit for his performance. I just hope Kelly's movie also has enough emotion to keep it going, and express the points he wants to make.
Does that make any sense? Or did this movie truly fry my brain? ;-)

That's an either/or? You can't make sense with a fried brain? If so, I'm toast.

Oh, no offense meant, toast.
I hate AICN and Harry Knowles can't review to save himself - as proven by this little paragraph:

The film is a lot to consume on an initial viewing, but imagine it like this. Richard Kelly has set out to create a film of the same ilk as CANDY or SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5 or the original CASINO ROYALE. These have always been controversial films for a very niche crowd. Films so packed with detail and nuance that to the average viewer it becomes simply a mess, but upon further inspection, you can find a method to the madness.

He set out to make a film like the original CASINO ROYALE? Which by Harry's measurement is "packed with detail and nuance"... BWAHAHAHAHA! "Method to their madness"? HAHAHAHAHAHAAH.

Fanboys will say anything to justify their love of something.
None taken, dreamlogic. Wasn't there that old anti-uh, substance ad, with the egg : "This is your brain...This is your brain...on toast" ? No. wait.....

Re Lynch: His stuff is attractively weird, and I am always initially drawn in, only to feel, in the end, that something central is missing.

[ edited by toast on 2007-09-24 11:40 ]
Yes, that's what it said. And there was a hand gesture that went with it, a sort of boogie-boogie with the fingers, and a chant of "uncool, uncool..." Or maybe that was the problem that it was against. Who can remember now?

Anyway, I'm still expecting ST to be excellent, or at least interesting.
Everything I've read about this movie (including many of the negative responses) make it seem pretty great to me.

[ edited by sungoesdark on 2007-09-24 10:06 ]
"I guess it's an accomplishment to have a movie whose main star are two teeny-bop singers, a professional wrestler, the star of Dude, Where's My Car, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and not have it turn out to be immediately considered the worst movie of all time. ;)"

....that is some funny shit.

Like barboo, I also enjoyed your review, Robogeek. Thanks!!

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