by Ryland Walker Knight
- La Cienega [Lucrecia Martel, 2001] Way jumpier than either of the features that follow, though there are hints at the oblique framings and unique off-screen spaces that follow. (The final five minutes are quite a calm harbinger.) Always interesting, too, to see how smart ladies figure desire in their films. Here, there's all kinds of confusions like incestuous temptations and teenage infatuation (along an LGBT line) that fudge relationships typical to a swamp: it's a muddy pool.
- Oddsac [Danny Perez, 2010] I'm starting to believe that some of my will to dancing and late night envelope opening is a form of psychedelia. That is, though my only fun with hallucinogens (so far?) was a mild mushroom munch in the Grand Canyon, the kind of shared experience of mass dancing (and movies, hell) is a plight to find some transcendence amidst muck. Oddsac is full of muck, and easily "darker" than the most recent Animal Collective music, but it does end with a lyric-chant of "I'm happy" over and after a food fight all flashbulbed and flour-covered. And there is some structure to all this silly play. However, it's hard to shake the idea that these are just some dudes having a goof (a blast) and calling it art. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but sometimes the mood feels thin. Thin or fat, though, all that "avant-garde" imagery—optical printing and computer-generated phosphenes—is truly affective. Everything in the video operates on affect. There's no real pathetic appeal. And I dig that. But, given its picture of some emotional underbelly, it's not exactly a vibe I want to sit with, whiskey or weed or whatever else's around, for 52 minutes in the dark. I'd much rather have it on at home while I imbibed and inhaled and ingested to my heart/stomach's content. Still fun to see big, and from the front row, sipping and smiling.
- Holy Girl [Lucrecia Martel, 2004] # How do you get a diagonal to feel so weighted and weightless? Sacred and profane, indeed.
- Lost "Ab Aeterno" [S6E9, Tucker Gates, 2010] A really fun episode full of mythology we could have predicted, or that I did. Just didn't add up to much. Slightly more back here.
- Robocop [Paul Verhoeven, 1987] # Smart and funny and brutal, like all great satire. It's even rousing, but I guess that shouldn't be a surprise since it's a "classic" now and still watched for its violent thrills more than its comedy. Or so it seems? I can't speak for anybody but me, duh, and it's just my sense that Verhoeven's Hollywood films live on, when they do, simply because, nevermind the smarts it takes, he likes pumping movies full of pulp and gore and sex.
—Across the water, the sky