Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weekend Update

Blog Upgrade

Earlier today I upgraded to the new version of blogger. I don't think that'll make a big impact on the way it reads, but there are some new features that have potential cool. I'll try to put those to use.


Last week I successfully got tickets for the October 9th screening of Inland Empire at the New York Film Festival. The film's gotten a mixed reception from its Venice screenings, it sounds like Lynch is taking the more subjective cinema he developed in Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr. and is pushing it even further. Watching Mulholland, I've always wondered what it would be like to have a film that was all like the post box chunk of that movie. Considering Inland is three hours, that could be too much of a good thing, but I trust Lynch. If Fire Walk With Me was outright booed at Cannes, while Wild at Heart won the Palm D'Or, you've clearly got to take festival audience reactions with a grain of salt. I think that's one of the big problems with the festival scene, one bad screening for a movie like Inland or The Fountain, with 500 people in attendance, can multiply into a lot of bad buzz before release. Luckily I'll be going in pretty much clean for this screening. I've only seen a couple of photos from the film, so the visual experience will be totally new.

The TV Season Begins

This week sees the debut of the new show I'm most looking forward to, Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I'm also going to take a look at Jericho, a post apocalyptic drama. I want to try to see more shows from the beginning, recently I've been waiting for a show's buzz to build before sampling the first season on DVD, but I really enjoy the week to week viewing of a great show, and hopefully something this season will make it. I've already been watching Weeds and Nip/Tuck. Next week has the premiere I'm most looking forward to, the start of Gilmore Girls' seventh season.


After two episodes of Nip/Tuck, I'm getting closer to dropping the show. I think this season is an improvement over last year's hyperabsurdity, but the show is really suffering from the fact that it's based on shock value rather than character development. There's not that much left that they can do to top what's already happened. I'll be surprised if the show is able to maintain even this quality through the season.

New Music

I listened to the Scissor Sisters' new album this week. The first single "Don't Feel Like Dancing" is classic, and there's a few other good tracks, but it had a bit too much semi-country flavor. I prefer the shiny club aesthetic of the first album, but admittedly, that's after one listen, it's always tough to follow up on a near perfect album like the Scissor Sisters' first. I also listened to Outkast's Idlewild album, which I was pretty impressed by. It got knocked around by the critics, and I would concede that it lacks the cohesion of Stankonia, but there's a lot of really good songs in there. That said, I would like to see them drop one more really good album together. And the album that's still impressing is Justin Timberlake's FutureSexLoveSound. The production is unbelievable, Timbaland and Timberlake are like Wong Kar-Wai and Tony Leung, the perfect match of creator and performer.

Toronto Film Festival

The TIFF seemed to have so many films playing, it's hard to keep track of major trends out of the festival. Reaction to The Fountain seems much the same as it was at Venice, but I'm still confident in the film. In certain art film circles, there seems to be a reluctance to engage with material that doesn't have a layer of irony over it. If Little Miss Sunshine got the most buzz out of Sundnace, it's pretty clear that festival audiences don't always have their priorities straight. Part of the problem is that seeing so many films means you're probably exhausted and will prefer a zippy comedy to a slower paced, challenging film. Buzz on Kim Ki-Duk's Time is mixed as well, it seems to be a return to the darkness of his earlier work. That should crop up on Region 3 DVD pretty soon. I've already got Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's Invisible Waves on the way. I was shocked to see that the star of that film, and his previous, Last Life in the Universe, is the same guy who was in Ichii the Killer, Vital and Funky Forest. He seems to dominating Japan. The other film that sounds really cool from Toronto is Miike's Big Bang Love: Juvenile A, which sounds really experimental. I've got some more Miike in the Netflix queue, he's a filmmaker I've really got to see more of.

Upcoming Dates of Note
9/22 - Science of Sleep Released
9/24 - The Flaming Lips at Hammerstein
10/9 - Inland Empire at NYFF
10/20 - Marie Antoinette Released
10/25 - Seven Soldiers #1 Released
11/22 - The Fountain Released

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