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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Southland Tales

I like strange. Strange is good.
The music of artists like Bjork and Bis, the writings of the late Ivor Cutler, the art of H.R. Geiger, all strange and all wonderful in their own special way. Therefore it should be no surprise that I rate the 2001 movie 'Donnie Darko' extremely highly.

This is why I was so looking forward to Saturday night.
The Demon was out larging it and staying at her friends house in Glasgow, so yours truly had the whole evening to himself to watch 'Southland Tales', writer/director Richard Kelly's first film since the afore mentioned 'Donnie Darko'.
I remember seeing the trailer for this film last year and thought it looked very interesting. It then seemed to slip off the radar, but thanks to the wonder of On-Demand TV from Virgin Media, Saturday nights entertainment was assured.
Here's wikipedia's description of the film:

"El Paso and Abilene, Texas have fallen victim to twin nuclear attacks on July 4th, 2005 – a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions which has sent America into World War III. The PATRIOT Act has extended authority to a new agency known as US-IDent, which keeps constant tabs on citizens – even to the extent of censoring the internet and using fingerprints in order to access computers and bank accounts. In order to be able to respond to a newfound fuel shortage in the wake of global warfare, the German company Treer designs a generator of inexhaustible energy which is propelled by ocean currents, called "Fluid Karma." Unbeknownst to them, the generators alter the currents and cause the Earth to slow its rotation, ripping holes in the fabric of space and time.

In Los Angeles, a city on the brink of chaos overshadowed by the growth of the underground Neo-Marxist movement, we follow the criss-crossed destinies of Boxer Santaros, an action film actor stricken with amnesia; Krysta Now, ex-porn star in the midst of creating a reality tv show; and twin brothers Roland and Ronald Taverner, whose destinies – on one evening – become intertwined with that of all mankind."

Now that sounds just my kind of thing, and when you combine that with a cast comprising Sean William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, John Lovitz, Mandy Moore, Kevin Smith, Miranda Richardson, Janeane Garofalo, and of course Justin Timberlake to name but a few, then I'm already sold.

It's now 12 hours since I finished watching this film and I still have no idea what it was about, and when I say "no idea what it was about" I don't mean that I found it difficult to follow. No, I sat staring at the TV screen like a dog that's been shown a card trick.

Don't get me wrong, there's fine acting going on, especially from 'The Rock' who is probably the best thing in the film, but I honestly have not got a clue what the fuck was going on. Sure, there's the obvious condemnation of The War On Terror and the 'Big Brother Is Watching' culture so prevalent in the US, but the story is just SO disjointed, SO vague, SO plotless, that I'm not surprised that from a $15 million dollar budget it's only managed to recoup less than $400,000 dollars in its US release. Honestly, it makes George Clooney's 'Solaris' seem like a teen comedy in comparison.

Trust me when I tell you that whoever came up with the synopsis for the film mentioned above earned every single penny of their fee, because that sure as shit ain't the film that I watched last night. I really wanted to like this film but I honestly think that even George Michael after a night on Hampstead Heath with his crack pipe would struggle with this one.

Mr Kelly, for future reference please use the key bellow:

Strange = Good

Abstract plotless shite = Bad.

2/10 (that's one point each for John Lovitz and Kevin Smith)


Posh Totty said...

Just passing by via the black box, so thought Id stop in and say hi :o) Xx

Inchy said...

Thanks Posh, and welcome aboard.

Steve said...

Damn. That's a major disappointment. Donnie Darko is up there with the biggies in my book so my expectations for this latest outing was pretty high. Sounds like it fell at the first hurdle. Or fluffed the baton exchange.

Inchy said...

Steve, it was a disappointment and I also think it takes some of the shine from Donnie Darko. It makes me think that Richard Kelly was just lucky first time around.

downhill dad said...

To be fair Donnie Darko is probably one of the worst films ever made, so why you should think this film would be up to much is beyond me. Next time you have a night on your own get any Al Pacino film on - you can't go wrong.

Inchy said...

Ah DD, welcome back. I thought you were maybe in jail or had emigrated. Are you still milking that wrist injury?