Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Reviews: Sounds Like, Southland Tales

I’m on a roll with horror director Brad Anderson. If you’ve seen the Machinist and didn’t think it was that great then I know you didn’t seen it in the theater. It was an engrossing experience, bleak and horrifying on the big screen and I shocked when people evn argue that it is not a horror film.

I was excited when I saw that he had directed ‘Sounds Like’ an episode of the show The masters of horror. I have been mostly disappointed by these episodes outside of Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns, Coscarelli’s Lansdale adaptation and Dante’s Homecoming. Dante’s one was funny so I’m not sure that counts. Miike’s Imprint was disturbing but was ruined by the English language.

Anderson’s Sounds Like was the best offering yet, again he shows his skill at making the audience uncomfortable. It was a great little horror film,well acted, written, directed and like I said disturbing. A + for Brad Anderson can’t wait to see what he does next.

The other film we watched that same night was Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko follow-up “Southland Tales”. While this was being filmed there was a lot of geek buzz generated based on the cult status of his first film and the strange casting that included Justin Timberlake, The rock, Buffy, Connor Mccloud, Dan from Night Court and about half a dozen SNL veterans. This should have been a clue that Kelly was making a satire but the movie was released like a wet fart.

Not the film’s fault. It’s a strange hybrid destined to be misunderstood by most viewers and panned by critics who would object to it’s non-traditional pacing. Take one part Phillip K. Dick, one part David Lynch and a dash of Pink Floyd’s the wall and you have Southland Tales. Kelly manages to spin a Sci-Fi plot around a satire that manages to get a lot of targets. Left wing radicals, Right wing politicians, pop-culture of every kind and most of all the patriot act.

In an alternative 2007 the America that survived a dirty bomb attack is the home to a movie that manages to be interesting and boring at the same time. Everyone did a wonderful job expect maybe director Richard Kelly. Maybe the movie is brilliant and I don’t get it, but Kelly breaks every screen writing rule there is. This should be a good thing, original and inspired but if he didn’t have DD in his past this would be rejected everywhere.

Does that make it bad? No, But do I care about the characters? A few. Is the pacing there no, there are moments that drag, all that sad I going to give this movie a skeptical thumbs up. My biggest problem with this movie is my fear that Kelly’s career might be like a balloon. Donnie Darko filled it up with air and southland Tales may have popped it. Hope not.


Patrick Roberts said...

Dwayne Johnson and J.Timberlake are surprisingly talented actors; but i'm still trying to figure out what Southland Tales was about... maybe it's really obvious, i.e. life in Los Angeles is blurred, clutter, flashy and not always meaningful.

David Agranoff said...

It's a satire of the whole post 9/11 world in general. that is what it was about if you ask me.