SXSW09 – The Square/Monsters Of The Id/Ong-Bak 2
“I wanna know!”
It’s time again for the loss of sleep for 9 days in a row. But it’s all for a good cause: the melting of my brain with more and more movies…and a little music.
The opening night film was I Love You, Man…but I’ve already seen that, so why bother wasting a slot. And it turns out that I’m glad I didn’t.
Directed by: Nash Edgerton
Written by: Joel Edgerton/Matthew Dabner
If there was any other phrase for it, I would use it. But there really isn’t. “Pitch Black Comedy” is what comes to mind. Basically, if Fargo (which I still love with all my heart) had balls, it would be this movie.
A married man has an affair with a younger, married woman. Her husband has a barrel full of money and she wants it. She talks her sugar daddy into stealing it and having her house burned down to hide the fact that it was stolen. Everything goes wrong. And by everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Is it karma? Is it bad luck? Who knows? Whatever, it makes for a bleak and funny movie with a couple of basically likable characters getting caught up in some pretty deep shit.
You want to know just how dark this movie is? At one point there’s a baby involved. And you seriously wonder where they’re going to go with it. This movie goes places that American movies just don’t dare to go. The Aussies don’t give a fuck, and it’s great.
They showed Nash Edgerton’s short film Spider before the film. I saw that one in Telluride a couple of years ago and it really sets the mood for the feature. PLUS, there’s a quick reference to it, so watch for that.
I highly recommend The Square. I didn’t have a lot of interest in it before, but now I’m glad I saw it.
Directed by: Dave Gargani
The 1950s were a strange and crazy time, maybe a bit crazier than we ever really think of them being. Crazy enough to create one of the best batches of sci-fi this world has ever seen. And I never realized how few of them I had seen.
David Gargani’s documentary about 50s sci-fi films may not be the greatest doc in the world, but it raises a lot of good questions and reminds us just how cool those old movies were. Through interviews with current scientists (including Homer Hickam who was the subject of October Sky) and filmmakers we learn about what heroes scientists were at the time. Every kid knew the name of Dr. Wernher von Braun along with his entire crew. Now, try to name a scientist who isn’t Stephen Hawking.
It’s a sad state of affairs and I blame the movies. And the fact that scientists today only make food additives.
Actually, I blame the fact that we’ve lost faith in any institution with any kind of respectability. Not that we’ve lost that faith unjustly. They’ve screwed up and we’ve told them to shag off. That means that kids don’t look up to the scientists and don’t want to be scientists when they grow up. Of course, this means that we lose an entire generation of science. So, there you go.
Anyway, the movie was a lot of fun and had some really interesting viewpoints. I say, see it.
Directed by: Tony Jaa/Panna Rittikrai
Written by: Panna Rittikrai
A few years ago, I saw a movie that, while it didn’t change my life, made my life a brighter, happier place. Tony Jaa showed me what pain really was…and I LOVED IT!
Then there was The Protector…and he showed me what cinematic pain really was. And I didn’t like it so much.
Now, unfortunately, he’s out to do it again.
Ong Bok 2 starts off…um…nowhere near the first one. This is something of a prequel…but it has nothing at all to do with the first film. Not a sausage. It seemed like they forgot what movie they were making until the very end. Then, suddenly, they said, “Oh shit! This was supposed to be a prequel!” So, they show the idol for three seconds in some weird, tacked on voiced-over shot as if that makes it alright.
This movie is about a boy who was meant to be a king. He is forced out of his village and into slavery. He gets taken out of slavery because he fights a crocodile and becomes a martial arts master with a group of bandits. Then he goes on a quest to find the man who killed his family.
Strangely, though, NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENS!!! There’s a lot of fighting, some of it very cool. (I especially liked Tony’s homage to Jackie Chan and his drunken boxing.) But then there’s this really weird, convoluted “story,” a 10 minute dance sequence and a romance that shows up about half way through, but never seems to mean very much at all to Tony’s character. In fact, I don’t think he ever even interacts with the girl after the character grows to be portrayed by him.
This is quite possibly worse than The Protector. (It even has some ridiculous elephant scenes just like that movie. I had no idea that all you had to do to train an elephant was slap it on the forehead…or that they would allow you to fight on and around them.) Tony Jaa has never lived up to the potential of Ong-Bak, and that is really sad. The guy has a LOT of talent as far as martial arts goes. But his movies are just going downhill faster than the little girls backstage at a Jonas Brothers concert.
Tim League (who said that, if we didn’t like this movie, then we’re stupid) says that they’re shooting Ong-Bak 3 right now. I dunno. Maybe it will tie the two movies together like a nice rug…but I doubt it. This trilogy is now a useless mess.