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December 08, 2009


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Hm. Well, I hope I disagree. I haven't read the book either (I used to listen to a radio show where a guy read books to his audience, and he read THE LOVELY BONES, but I've retained almost nothing from that) so I have no dog in that particular fight, either, and I liked KING KONG more than I've gathered most people did. But if I were to mention one serious drawback to KONG, it would indeed be the tonal shifts (as well as narrative shifts, but that's something else). Naomi Watts was game, but so was everybody else, and yet they can only do so much.

So we'll see. Also, I've heard very good things about the novel WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, so maybe I should read that soon.

James Keepnews

As if Eno's current work weren't problematic enough, now he can rightly be denounced as "you masher!" I get the sense PJ addressed some of this in your interview, i.e. certain emphases around songs like "Baby's on Fire" gave Mr. E. license to get all pomo wit it. Something tells me we're not getting a "Music for Films, Vol. 5" and nice for us..."The Lovely Bones Were White as Tinsile," maybe?


I honestly wasn't that interested in the film (given its subject matter) until you mentioned the Eno score. And now I'm kind of intrigued. Glenn, have you read the new bio? I saw it the other day and was tempted to pick it up, but wasn't sure if it was worth it.

And while I share your feelings about Jackson's tendency towards awkward tonal shifts (even in films of his I really like, such as THE FRIGHTENERS), I have to admit I rather liked the KONG soft-shoe. It's silly, but in the midst of all the CGI action, that silliness was kind of a nice breather. And the first hour or so of KONG is spectacular.


Any film that features the righteous guitar solo from "Baby's On Fire" receives my automatic gratitude for merely existing.


The same happened to me with Inglourious Basterds and the Morricone cues, although they were the original ones.

Glenn Kenny

Taptup: Yeah, but Tarantino's movies are such pastiches that the effect tends to enhance the greater whole, if you're inclined to roll with it. And as I said before, it's going to be a pretty small minority of the viewing audience that recognizes the material here.

Fuzzy Bastard

I'll be curious. The tonal shifts have always been something I loved about Jackson, from MEET THE FEEBLES (which is sorta all tonal whiplash) to the LotR movies to KONG. But it definitely worked better in an epic like LotR, or a wacky joke like FEEBLES, than in KONG, which was good but overstuffed. And the more realistic bent of this might make Jackson's directorial intrusiveness (like Tarantino, he's almost constantly nudging you saying "Isn't that cool!") a bigger problem.


Agree wholeheartedly with your take on the film, but mostly just want to express my astonishment that "Long Cool Woman" is a Hollies song. I've assumed my entire life it was Creedence—that's gotta be the best Fogerty impression of all time.


I can understand your frustration, and I had some frustration with the film myself - I particularly missed the sharper characterizations of Ruth and Lindsey that were in the novel. But here's the thing; this is ultimately Susie's story, and Jackson got us inside Susie's head, her thoughts, and brought out her voice. And I do think that deserves respect. And Saoirse Ronan was terrific.

Also, I didn't mind the Eno music - I rather liked it. In some ways, it was pretty atypical for him.


....like a heifer to the SLAUGH-ter...

(Okay, maybe that's an unfortunate choice, given the subject matter. But it was going through my head.)


I have to rewatch Heavenly Creatures, and soon; I was thoroughly seduced by it when I saw it the first time and as far as I remember, the tonal shifts that are introduced along with Kate Winslet's character are apt because they accentuate the frenzied, teenaged disappearance into fantasy worlds. Not so with LB, the inverse HC, so to speak.
Agree with you, GK (sorry! Will forgo the abbr. from now on), that the tonal shifts are problematic. The movie never really coalesces into a whole; too many strands that feel weirdly disconnected.
Finally, I found that the low-level lit scenes accentuated the digital qualities of the Red Camera, not something I entirely I approve of.

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