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November 12 2007

(SPOILER) First review of Southland Tales is out. The Associated Press gives it one out of four stars, saying it has impressive images...but a confused story. It will open Wednesday in NY and LA, and Friday everywhere

The reviews over the last week or two aren't universally praising the film by any means, but they do seem to be more favourable on the whole than what we saw at Cannes. While it seems to be pretty unanimous that the film is more than a bit confusing/jumbled, it would also seem that there are things to admire. I'm definitely willing to give it a shot. If nothing else, it sounds like Sarah's performance is pretty amusing.
Yikes I think I'll be avoiding this one...
Yikes, that's not a very positive review. At all. And even though I'm a big fan of 'Donnie Darko', these reviews do worry me. I'm still going to see the movie (if only because I'm probably going to be reviewing it myself as well - although I'm not sure I should now, having read other reviews already, something I usually only do after I've finished my own), but I'm not at all sure I'll like it as much as I was hoping I would. Even creating a great movie like 'Donnie Darko', does not guarantee that all future movies will be equally great.

Still, even if this movie fails in achieving its goals, it seems to me it's a pretty interesting failure, filled to the rim with an overdose of creative ideas. So who knows, Kelly's next movie could just as well be another masterpiece, even if 'Southland Tales' turns out to be less than succesfull.
Well the cast list sounds fantastic.
Does anyone know what the critics had to say about Donnie Darko?
Donnie Darko flopped at the Sundance Film Festival and was widely panned on release. However, I wouldn't really compare Southland Tales to Donnie Darko - they're very different movies.
I bet this movie will have a gigantic cult following.
I might be seeing an advance screening of this on Tuesday. I hope it's better than a lot of the reviews I've read.
Out here on the 7th of December so i'll soon find out for myself (same weekend as 'The Golden Compass' though i'm not sure how much overlap there'll be in the audiences, might not matter).

The thing that worries me most about 'Southland Tales' is the widely reported misfire that was the director's cut of 'Donnie Darko'. The theatrical cut was so good (IMO) that i've not bothered to see it but I remember reviews saying that Kelly had reduced DD by putting stuff in that he shouldn't have.
Saje, the director's cut isn't as bad as some would have you believe. I agree that it was completely unecessary, and it explained more parts of the story in the movie (losing one of the more fun aspects of Donnie Darko: the ambiguity which lead to many an online theory). But DD:DC is still quite a competent movie and I'd recommend it to anyone (I would just recommend the theatrical cut first).

As for 'The Golden Compass', that's probably going to be a huge hit (and I'm hoping it won't ruin one of my favorite books of the last few years, the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy is brilliant), while I'm guessing that 'Southland Tales' will be a hard sale, even if it does turn out to be a good movie. Remember almost nobody saw 'Donnie Darko' at the theatres either, and even though that has now become a cult-hit, it's still not a mainstream, household movietitle.
Ouch. Good thing for me I don't really care about reviews. Most of the time I think the opposite of the reviewer anyway. I'm so seeing this movie.
Good thing for me I don't really care about reviews. Most of the time I think the opposite of the reviewer anyway.

This is something I hear people say from time to time. I always wonder: how can that be, when reviewers don't even agree and opinions vary from review to reviewer?

The thing I find usefull about (good) reviews, is that the reviewer doesn't just say if he or she liked a movie, but why. Those arguments are almost always relevent, even if you disagree with what a certain reviewer concludes from them.

But then again, I write reviews (although I've been reading them for much longer), so I may be biased.
Entertainment Weekly gave it a B-. Interesting quote: "Southland Tales has a mood quite unlike anything I've seen: dread that morphs into kitsch and then back again. It's a film that tried my patience, and one I couldn't shake off."
One thing I've noticed in some of the bad reviews is the reviewer complaining about the film not knowing if it's comedy, drama, science fiction, or what. As a Buffy fan, that's not a drawback for me. I'd love to hear what Joss thinks of it!
The difference there, of course, is that in Buffy, while the show did regularly switch genres, it always played things straight and had one 'tone': the comedy mostly came from within the characters or their relationships or from situations consistent with the tone and feel of the rest of the Buffyverse. Dread morphing into kitsch, on the other hand, sounds like a different kind of beast. But I guess we won't know what the movie's exactly like, untill we've seen it.

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