Some random thoughts after seeing The Social Network:
The way the film is structured is particularly impressive. I’m not necessarily referring to how it covers several timeframes and weaves them together seamlessly, nor how the screenplay deals with flashbacks — the Sorkin/Fincher team does a fine job of dodging expectations for an even bigger payoff. (One scene in particular left me wondering why Andrew Garfield was telling a story instead of showing it — and then the way scene paid off made it particularly clear.)
The way that certain characters are paralleled is similarly strong — it’s oddly reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in the way that different characters’ interactions with one another echo or invert certain other interactions.
As Edward Champion’s review points out, this is in many ways a film about misogyny, and a dissection of what, exactly, emerges out of a certain mode of thinking; of what, specifically, can emerge from a distrust of women, paranoia, technical savvy, and social awkwardness.
One qualm: despite being a fan of both actors’ work here and elsewhere,Â the Jesse Eisenberg/Rashida Jones scenes never quite clicked the way the rest of the film did (though there’s one exchange that’s something of an exception to that). Their final scene was one of the few times that the film felt conventionally structured to me. To an extent, the “social network” of the title is mirrored in the film’s structure, which never feels overly plotted and does, in fact, reflect a…well, you know.
That said: the last shot of the film is terrific, and perfectly done.
Also? There’s also something a bit unsettling about coming home from watching this film and immediately…going online. And then checking Facebook. There’s more going on in this film than I’d expected, and I suspect I’ll end up posting more thoughts here in the days to come, especially if I end up making a second trip to the theater to see it once more.
He is, unsurprisingly, a big book nerd-fine, the word he uses is “bibliophile”-loving them both for what they contain and what they are as objects. “We are animalistic creatures,” he said. “We need talismans.” He said he went into debt so that he could have an entire house that serves only as a place for his books, with seven libraries in seven rooms.
Saw the Neil Marshall-directed Centurion at IndieScreen via a Film Comment-curated part of the Northside Festival. (I may have exhausted my quota of descriptive modifiers for the night right there.) The very short version: it’s a good action film. The slightly longer version: It’s a good action film with an unfortunate tendency to throw in some relatively stock action-movie dialogue. (One character gets a variation of the “only two weeks ’til retirement” speech, which is unfortunate.) Michael Fassbender is just about able to sell any line he’s given, which is a fine thing. Marshall is more comfortable with one-on-one combat than with the film’s larger battle scenes, but that ends up making the film’s last quarter memorably visceral. And I really can’t argue with a film in which the last act is also the strongest.
Presently, watching the Knife Party at Niko’s, a short film (in three parts) written by my old friend Theo Travers. Good stuff — a twisty, tense chamber piece that uses its serial aspects well. First part is embedded below (thanks, Vimeo!); the other two can be seen here.
Has working as a director affected how you have adapted your work for the screen?
I usually prefer not to adapt my stories. An adaptation is a reading of a text and a writer’s reading is usually less surprising and interesting. $9.99 was a great experience but I don’yt believe I’ll write any more adaptations in the recent future.
I reviewed the film Crazy Heart for Flavorwire. My thoughts on it were somewhat mixed.
Writer-director Cooper – here adapting Thomas Cobb’s novel – introduces the less savory aspects of Blake’s life with a heavy hand. That includes early scenes in which Blake handles a bottle of his own urine and drunkenly fishes his sunglasses out of a pool of vomit. Bad Blake is a mixture of admirable work ethic and disreputable habits, but the low vocal register in which Bridges suggests decades of hard living and unhealthy habits is much more striking than these small moments of degradation.
A few years ago, I posted around these parts about the filmmaker Michael Almereyda, who’s made a few films of which I’m pretty fond. What got my attention at the time was his film Happy Here and Now, which brought together low-key science fiction and a pre-Katrina New Orleans. Apparently, he has an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s novella “Five Fucks” in the works, under the title Tonight at Noon — something that definitely has my interest piqued.
In the works the last time I blogged about Almereyda was a film called New Orleans Mon Amour. From reading this article, it sounds like it’s done, and can be seen via iTunes, or the streaming services offered by Amazon and Netflix. (Amazon will also burn a DVD-R of it for $19.99.) All of which has me curious to see whether anyone out there has seen it — the one review I could find was on iTunes, and was on the brief side.
Last night, I went to the PPOW Gallery to see a screening of Michael Kimball and Luca Dipierro’sI Will Smash You, a film consisting of short scenes of people smashing objects (or, in one case, smashing a concept) for assorted reasons. In most cases, the smashing functioned for the person performing it on both a philosophical and a physical level. Some were hilarious, others were bittersweet; I will admit that the record nerd in me nearly cried when one of the objects to be dispatched was revealed to be HÃ¼sker DÃ¼’s Zen Arcade, on double LP. What worked nicely was Dipierro and Kimball’s ability to capture moments of contemplation just after people’s objects were destroyed; the looks, somewhere between relief and contemplation, were what stood out the most for me.
Also, a lot of things get smashed. Including a paper-mache head. Full of fake blood.
Also screened were excerpts from the pair’s next film, 60 Writers / 60 Places, which looks to feature both neatly composed shots and writers occasionally unnerving nearby people with their prose.
“You demonic concubine.” -The teenage reincarnation of Trotsky (Jay Baruchel), addressing the head of the school board in The Trotsky; screenplay by writer-director Jacob Tierney
Right about now might be the time to mention my strange obsession with Trostky in drama, which is the likely result of having directed a student production of David Ives’s Variations on the Death of Trotsky (from which this post takes its title).
Jacob Tierney’s hilarious The Trotsky follows Leon Bronstein (the phenomenal Jay Baruchel, in a star-making performance), a precocious Montreal teen who fervently believes himself to be the reincarnation of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. He’s determined to duplicate every aspect of Trotsky’s life, including being exiled, at least twice, and ultimately assassinated. His most pressing issues right now, though, are finding his Lenin and an older wife, preferably named Alexandra.
It goes on to discuss, well, this:
One of the most appealing aspects of the movie is that it is unreservedly Canadian and packed with very specific, slyly funny cultural references, ranging from gags about the French-English divide in Montreal to Ben Mulroney’s ancestry.
Can’t really argue with absurdist Canadian political comedy, I’d think.
I realize it’s an odd thing to be peeved about a particular detail in a bad review, but: this Scott Foundas review of Away We Go (co-written by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida) is one of the most frustrating pieces of criticism by a normally solid critic that I’ve encountered in a long while. Steven Elliott’s rebuttal makes a few rational points in terms of how the film’s balance of (creative) power likely worked. And David Edelstein’s review, while not exactly glowing, is at the very least not in the vein of MALE CO-SCREENWRITER IS AUTEUR / FEMALE CO-SCREENWRITER IS AFTERTHOUGHT that Foundas effectively invokes in his review.
Update: I should clarify that I’m agnostic towards the film, as I haven’t yet seen it. For me, the frustrating thing about Foundas’s review is the way in which it looks at the film more or less entirely as A Film by Dave Eggers — and what I’ve read about it suggests it’s as much in line with some of Vendela Vida’s preferred themes as with those of Eggers. I’m not frustrated that Foundas disliked the film — I’m frustrated that he does so in a way that ignores a good portion of the collaborators involved.