Brief Brief

8 September 2009 at 21:28 (Uncategorized)

Apologies once again for the lack of posts of late. The spouse and I took the GRE on Saturday, so that all-consuming endeavor ate up much of last week. Luckily, we both scored well, reaching our goals for the test. We’re hoping to never take the GRE again, but in this wintry economic climate, it’s difficult to know what to expect. I have a few ideas percolating for more substantial entries, but for the time being, I thought I’d point everyone to some interesting news items in the world of cinema.

First, my predictions about The Road (discussed in a previous post) appear to be confirmed by the Variety review of the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival last week. Reviewer Todd McCarthy derides the film, and more specifically, the direction of John Hillcoat of The Proposition fame. Of course, with over a month between now and the US release, the film could undergo changes to improve it. McCarthy could also turn out to be plain wrong in his assessment. Nevertheless, that McCarthy confirms my suspicions based on the trailer does not bode well for the final product.

Speaking of Venice, the same aforementioned reviewer gave writer/director Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime a glowing review. I welcome this news, given the uneven results of Solondz’s two previous films, Palindromes and Storytelling. In Life in Wartime, Solondz returns to the intertwined narratives from Happiness, recasting the characters with completely different actors a la Palindromes (though somehow, Rich Pecci remains as the one constant in the Solondzverse as Mark Weiner). McCarthy states that Life During Wartime “reels off one riveting scene after another” and “stands as both a unique sort-of sequel and a film that requires no prior reference points; it’s entirely satisfying either way, though even richer if you recall the antecedent.” What more could one ask for from a sequel?

One more news item (completely unrelated to the previous two): the New York Times featured a piece about Jennifer’s Body and the rise of horror viewership among women (thanks, Annie, for the head’s up!). Of course, the marketing folks in the industry figured out this demographic long ago as a 2006 article in Variety demonstrates, making the Times piece a bit out of step with the trend, but I appreciate the serious consideration that the writer gives to the possibility that girls and women may see something feminist in these slasher films (the obligatory mention of Carol Clover awkwardly supports this point). Still, I find the piece frustrating in that it ponders the mystery of girls’ fandom of horror films without ever bothering to ask any actual girls why they like Saw (Diablo Cody and Karyn Kusama as adult women cannot speak for the present-day fans). I guess it’s more fun to speculate on the mystery of the fickle teenage girl fan than to actually interview a flesh-and-blood one.

As I said, I promise something a more substantial soon! ‘Til then, check out these items and of course, peruse the archives. Cheers!



  1. Annie Petersen said,

    Just wanted to note that while McCarthy panned *The Road,* it’s been well received at both Venice and Telluride, as Anne Thompson points out here: Also include a nice interview with the screenwriter.

    • c8ic8 said,

      Thanks for the link! You’ve revealed that I’ve not done my research–as I say, it’s been a crazy week. I’m glad to hear that it’s been praised by some critics out there and will have to post a retraction!

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