Last Thanksgiving, I saw an avant garde video installation at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof. It was installed in the large, dark, open space behind the reception desk where the trains used to pull up to the platforms. The space has been a museum for a while now, housing carefully and sparsely displayed modern art (think, a can of Pepsi sitting on a white plinth) — but in this case less is just right, it really takes a lot of brain power to pour some of that stuff into my head.
At the advance screening for Isle of Dogs I attended, there were several moments within the film that got laughs, gasps of delight, and rounds of clapping from the audience. As of this post’s writing, Isle of Dogs sits at 93% on Rottentomatoes.com. It is a stop-motion movie about dogs with an amazing voice cast, a creative if not super complex story, and a delightful look. I should have liked it.
I did not.
Maybe it’s because I’m not a Wes Anderson devotee and am not inured to his unique voice, comedic flourishes, or banter. I enjoyed The Life Aquatic and outside of that I have few impressions of his films, other than they employ bright colors and have a lot of neurotic people struggling to manage family relationships.
Although Isle of Dogs did many technical things very well, it did some pretty major things poorly. The story is not charming or heartwarming enough to compensate for these missteps, and ultimately the whole thing felt like the film version of an ill-conceived rainy day craft project.
Apologies for missing my second entry last week – my review of 2014 British horror movie The Forgotten will be posted NEXT Monday morning. I’ve been traveling for work lately and unfortunately between that and lots of other stuff (fighting practice, the gym, writer’s group, family stuff, friend stuff, life stuff) I haven’t had the mental energy to sit down and really dive into a movie. But more reviews are coming! Horror movie month is TOO IMPORTANT for me to fall down on the job!
In the meantime, please enjoy this delightful music video about Russian history*.
*It was a joke. I am kidding. Putin hasn’t destroyed the Earth with his fire dance moves… YET.
Hi all! Today I’ve got something really special – my dear friend Achariya Rezak, writer for hockey site SB Nation and master of Jungian archetypes, wrote a review for sci-fi short ‘Real Artists.’ Please enjoy! She’s included a link to the original Ken Liu story, too!
Title: Cameo Wood’s Real Artists is a Jungian romp through the politics of creation
When I read Ken Liu’s short story, I was immediately struck by his ability to translate our modern discomfort with the uncanny valley into terms of movie making. His short story is about the meta-process of filmmaking, told through the eyes of a “real artist” (“Real Artists” is the title of the film and the short story) Sophia, who has spent her whole life loving — and wanting to work for — a certain film company. Cameo Wood’s twelve-minute short based on this story adds yet another twist, layering on an additional intensity to this parable about creation.
Sometimes I try to help new or independent filmmakers reach a wider audience. I do this of my own choosing and without receiving or expecting any payments or favors in return. I do not do this for everyone, but feel free to ask!
Recently my good friend Achariya put me in touch with filmmaker Cameo Wood about reviewing the sci-fi short Real Artists. I’ll be honest, a science fiction short starring a black woman and an Asian woman, written and directed by a woman, based upon a Ken Liu short story, about a filmmaker who gets her dream job? Take me there!
With that mix of components, it would have been easy for me to just rubber-stamp the movie as ‘Great! This checks all my boxes and you should give the filmmakers money!’ and move on – but I wanted to be sure I gave it a proper, objective look.