LOG: Straw Dogs

A movie about the fucked-up world. The most truthful thing I have seen all year. Peckinpah, your melancholy is your genius.

Bittersweet bait and switch on the happy ending. Where is home?

I'm headed for the liner notes.

"Heaven and Earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad of creatures as straw dogs.."

-Lao Tzu


NJAFBIT: The Happening

If ever there was a candidate for NJAFBIT, it's this.

Sadly, this already looks so vague and empty, like Body Snatchers crossed with War of the Worlds on Valium. You know you're in trouble when even a red band trailer has a hard time selling the hard stuff. This looks really weak. I can already see Shyamalan making some flimsily-veiled, preachy, dickheaded discourse on the disconnectedness of people in the internet age, etc. etc. etc.. Anyway, they already made that movie. It's called Pulse. Netflix it, for God's sake.

"We lost contact." *sad piano chord*

"With WHOM?"

".. With everyone."

I get it. Please, PLEASE spare me. Please tell me you've learned from your last two MAJOR mistakes and are actually going to offer up a decent script this time (doesn't look like it.) And spare me another twist ending. As if it's not bad enough that you only seem to know how to make one kind of movie. The schools of copycats you spawned after "The Sixth Sense" are doing it better than you at this point.

If Shyamalan blows another one, I will be really upset. If it sucks but makes money anyway (which still seems possible, somehow) I will be even more pissed. And Mark Wahlberg isn't going to help matters. M. Night, I hope I'm wrong, but.. what the fuck are you thinking??

Better than Lady in the Water and The Village, worse than Unbreakable and Signs.

Or, complete and utter bullshit.



ARCHIVE: from Idiot Ego Issue 2
(reprinted without permission)

David Mamet gets my vote for America's most undervalued dramatist (Pulitzer Prize duly noted.) Edmond is one of his earlier works, first published as a play in 1982, and it displays Mamet as his most fearless and relentless creative apex. It's intense. It makes Glengarry Glen Ross look like a Century 21 training video.

The part of Edmond belongs to William H. Macy, who studied in college under Mamet, and who has been working with him in films (State & Main, Spartan) and on the stage for more than twenty years. You can count the number of films which have given Macy top billing on one hand, an it's a shame. This is absolutely his show. The rest of the cast, including several other frequent Mamet colaborators (Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon) and some newer faces (best credit ever: Mena Suvari as "Whore") are basically reduced to excellent background noise. It is worth noting that this is the second time in as many years that the visage of Macy's naked hindquarters has been permanently commited to celluloid. Fearless. The film is not directed by Mamet, who has directed many of his own scripts in the past, but rather by Stuart Gordon, whose work has rarely extended beyond the realm of horror (Reanimator.) Thankfully, it does not suffer for it.

Don't fool yourself; Edmond is no psychopath. I'm not even sure you can call him an anti-hero. Rather, he is a man, reacting (as he must) to the maddening binds and restriction of western civilization. He does and says some terrible things. But... for the right reasons? Mamet seems to pose the question: Who is more despicable? Those who deny themselves these type of actions under the guise of "humanity," or those who give in completely and risk letting it destroy them? Edmond is, as much of Mamet's work, a rumination on one of life's essential catch 22's: the impossibility of true freedom in a bureaucratic world. Must we be automatically dismissive of certain undeniable human and animal instincts? Right or wrong, Edmond Burke cannot do this, and he learns the rewards and consequences of relenting to the machinations of your deepest, most primal (perhaps truest?) urges and desires.


LOG: The Orphanage

Del Toro light. But as a spooky-house/weirdo kid movie, this is quite nice.

There is a long and fairly glorious tradition of A list directors producing B grade horror movies, good enough to hold your interest, shake you up a little, and that's about it. I'm thinking of Spielberg (Twilight Zone, Poltergeist) or Zemeckis (Tales From the Crypt, The Frighteners.) And far as throwaway horror movies go, I'll take something like this over yet another J-horror rehash any day.

Just one question, though.. Wasn't The Others (also by a Spanish director) exactly the same movie??