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July 30, 2010

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Oliver C

I think it's actually very telling (though not remotely in an encouraging way) that Hollywood takes notice of Australia's bittersweet, Oscar-nominated 'Babe' and responds with the likes of...'Cats & Dogs'.

Do they play 'Who let the dogs out?' at any point on the sequel's soundtrack? Call it a wild guess.

Glenn Kenny

@ Oliver: The viewer is, against all odds, spared "Who Let The Dogs Out." However, the improv stylings of the aggressively unfunny pigeon-voicer Katt Williams, whose off-the-cuff self-generated racial stereotypes are even more offensive than those of the 'hood bots in "Transformers 2," more than makes up for that "lack."

Brandon Nowalk

Glenn, how worth grappling with is Centurion, exactly? By which I mean it's On Demand today, and I'm free, but it's $11 in HD, so, whaddyathink, worth it?

P.S. I saw Demonlover a few days ago, which I mention because I can't get it out my head and because you are, to my knowledge, one of its biggest critical supporters, an it-getter to borrow a Colbertism. Now there's a film worth grappling with.

Tony Dayoub

I'm definitely watching CENTURION tonight... in the comfort of home!

Glenn Kenny

I don't want to say too much about "Centurion" until my MSN piece on incredibly gory movies that's pegged to it comes up, but it's fun...a brisk, knowingly crass B picture. As for "demonlover," yes; I remember when it came out people talked about it being kind of alarmist; nowadays it hardly seems alarmist enough. It's of a piece, too, with Assayas' new and exciting "Carlos," which I'll be writing about for the Daily Notebook soon.

The Siren

You, Mr. Kenny, are a big old softy, that's what you are. That is probably the nicest pan this movie will receive.

Should any of my reviews or essays earn your ire in future, I know now how to deflect. I shall grab a small random dog with big eyes and floppy ears, hold it in front of my face and chirp, "LOOKATTHEPUPPY!"

Brandon Nowalk

Re: Demonlover, exactly. Some of the reviews I've read since talked about the ending being unearned, and lots had problems with the entire second half. Which is, well, the point. As I read it, it's not so literal and direct as, say, Ebert seems to think it is (not to incite any criticizing criticism). It's an obvious metaphor, and one that strikes me as quite prescient, and not just in the facile "mass America doesn't really care when their state perpetrates violence in their name" reading.

From my limited viewing, Assayas seems like Claire Denis' much angrier, much crazier cousin. Can't wait for Carlos.

bill

Is the uncut DEMONLOVER available on DVD in the US? And is there that much difference? I have a copy, but I realized after I bought it (used, for cheap) that it was the rated-R version, so I haven't watched it, for fear I'd be wasting my time.

lipranzer

I'm one of those people who finds it annoying how cats are the villains in most movies (being a cat lover), so even if these movies were marginally good, there's no way I'd check them out.

The picture you have above, however, is great.

lazarus

Since my eyes first went to the cat in this pic, I was going to ask Glenn if his was a Russian Blue (like mine) before I realized that the pigeon was wearing a shoulder bag and that this was, in fact, a screencap.

Am I the only one who was hoping for a better reception for Charlie St. Cloud? I really liked Burr Steers' debut film Igby Goes Down and thought that maybe he was working with Zac Efron again for reasons other than simple studio demographic politics.

Oh well.

Looking forward to your word on Carlos, Glenn, which I've just acquired myself and hope to watch this week.

D Cairns

I think the cuts in Demonlover were brief, mainly affecting scenes of animated violence in movies-within-the-movie. So it would be better to see it uncut, but the censored version is by no means ruined.

I.V.

lazarus,

Same here re: CHARLIE ST. CLOUD (though I'll probably go see it when it comes to the $4 theater). No fan of IGBY GOES DOWN, but really like about half (that is, everything without Thomas Lennon) of SEVENTEEN AGAIN, which is a relentlessly depressing picture if there ever was one.

twitter.com/pdfreeman

I haven't seen either Cats & Dogs movie, but yes, Shirley Bassey did record a cover of "Get This Party Started" as part of a generally excellent 2008 album that also includes a version of Grace Jones' "Slave To The Rhythm."

bill

I saw a trailer for CHARLIE ST. CLOUD in front of INCEPTION, and about 45 seconds in I leaned over to my wife and said, "Is this real? Is this for a real movie?" You see, at that point I still had some hope.

joel_gordon

I've also held out slim hope for CHARLIE ST. CLOUD, wondering if Steers would live up to the messy-but-honest brilliance of IGBY. But he's not the only promising director of the past decade who has hitched his wagon to the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL cast. I never saw BAND SLAM, but it was by the director of CAMP, which both depressed and intrigued me. This is what Netflix is for, I guess.

PaulJBis

IMO, for all the critical handwringing about "Demonlover", its main problem was simply a miscalculation at the script level. I haven't seen it in a few years, but...


SPOILERS FOR "DEMONLOVER"


...from what I remember, the ending (with Connie Nielsen, the executive-commercializing-with-porn turned herself into a sexual object on a website) was clearly meant to be a surprise, an ironic twist. The problem is that, in order to keep that surprise, the whole second half of the movie (from the moment Connie Nielsen commits the murders and thus opens herself up to be blackmailed and turned-into-a-sexual-object) had to be told in such an elliptical way that IT MADE NO SENSE, and so, when the ending came, I had already mentally checked out of the movie. Basically, it was the old Hitchcock dilemma of 15 sec. of surprise vs. 15 min. of suspense.

A bit pedestrian, I guess, but I honestly think that's what threw many people off. Pity, too, because the first half of the movie was so good. And of course, as time passes it looks less and less alarmist and more prescient...

Brandon Nowalk

PaulJBis,

Ah, that makes sense to me. Ebert said something similar about the ending, and I thought he meant the very ending (SPOILERS) with the kid in the suburbs. As for the fate of Connie Nielsen, what do you mean it made no sense? You just explained it.

That said, the elliptical nature of the second half (which is even there in the first, only less so) was powerfully effective for me, fueling the film's argument that we're increasingly detached from reality nowadays. I don't blame anyone for being so seduced by the intense but relatively straightforward first half that they're disappointed by the rest, but to me, the central turn takes it to a whole 'nother level.

Helena

Oh, it's a shoulder bag! I think I was mentally overlaying the crow in in Chris Morris's Four Lions with a bomb strapped around it. But it's just a bag. Makes sense, for a family film.

PaulJBis

I didn't mean that the ending made no sense. The ending was great, and of course it tied neatly (and ironically) into the film's theme. What made no sense was the route Assayas took to get there. Basically, there's no way to follow what happens in the plot during the 2nd half.

It's something that I've seen happen with other screenwriters too: protecting the twist ending at all costs, to the point of sacrificing narrative coherence. An example that comes to mind (although it's a very different kind of film, of course) is "Abandon", directed by Stephen Gaghan.

Jeff McMahon

Mr. Kenny, you just made me much more enthusiastic for Centurion.

Chris O.

@Jeff, Brandon, etc. - Neil Marshall screened "Drums Along The Mowhaw," "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon." "Fort Apache," "Ulzana's Raid," "Southern Comfort," "The Warriors," "Figures In A Landscape," "Last Of The Mohicans" for "Centurion." http://www.aintitcool.com/node/45857

I may have to do an On Demand double feature of "Centurion" and "Valhalla Rising," which I still haven't seen yet.

Jeff McMahon

I liked this quote from that AICN interview:
"One of the easiest and simple tricks is to shoot widescreen ratio - 2.35 : 1 This instantly doubles your budget".

Dan Coyle

Apropos of nothing, This is What You Want... This is What you Get is a great album, particularly "The Order of Death" which features the title lyric.

Peter Nellhaus

I thought that was Tommy Kirk as the car driving Shaggy Dog.

Glenn Kenny

@ Peter: Indeed it was. Wonder if anyone else will notice. In my defense, I don't think I've actually SEEN the film since 1965 or so. Is that out on DVD, I wonder?

Tom Russell

@Glenn: I'm pretty sure it got a DVD release-- whether it's still in print or not is another matter-- because I remember seeing THE SHAGGY D.A. on DVD and I have a hard time believing it'd get the DVD treatment and SHAGGY DOG wouldn't it.

Speaking of Disney's live-action films (forgive the tangent), a little while back I saw THE PARENT TRAP again for the first time in a long time. When I first saw (and re-saw) the film in my childhood, I remember being bored out of my skull whenever Hayley Mills wasn't on-screen: what is the deal with all this mushy stuff between the mom and the dad? But now that I am an adult, I found that mushy stuff really appealing, and the two adult leads had a real chemistry and sense of history about them. It was really wonderful and, in a way, life-affirming, seeing those two wounded, stubborn people falling back in love again.

I kinda wish that when people talked about family films working on two levels, one for children and one for adults, they meant something like that, and not that the script was loaded with pop culture references.

The First Bill C

THE SHAGGY DOG got the deluxe DVD treatment ("The Wild and Woolly Edition") some time ago, complete with a horribly colorized version and a commentary track by Tommy Kirk and others - http://ividdiedit.com/viddied/display.php?review=shaggydog

lazarus

Attn: Los Angeles readers

Not sure if this has been mentioned by anyone yet, but the new Rivette opened yesterday at the Playhouse in Pasadena. I'll be surprised if it lasts more than a week, and while it may shuffle over to the Sunset 5 afterwards, I'm not taking any chances. Going to see it ASAP.

nrh

The Shaggy D.A. is a masterpiece. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot." The roller derby. Amazing. How many kids really understand what a District Attorney does anyway?

Peter Nellhaus

"The Shaggy Dog" is available on DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Shaggy-Dog-Wild-Woolly/dp/B000CR7RH0

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