Sunday, November 21, 2010

Viewing Log #60: Vitalism dialectics [11/15/10 - 11/21/10]

by Ryland Walker Knight

Top right
—On your way up to poetry

  • The first half of the first season of Mad Men [2007]. When we all lived in Berkeley, we watched the pilot and I was beside myself with (obtuse and undue) disbelief at how on-the-nose all the anachronisms were, how the jokes felt forced. And I kept bad mouthing it, wrote it off. And I still hate its weird cultural cache. But because of a certain someone I decided to go for a second try. And it's not bad. But I still don't get why people, including so-and-so, think it's so great. Jon Hamm's something, sure, but it's not all that cinematic (slick art direction isn't image-making, really) nor is it written all that well. Yet I am entertained. I cannot front on that front. It's easy to gobble up on rainy days. I'll have more to say, maybe, when I finish the season. I'll have even more to say, I imagine, once I get a few talking points (or just plain pointers) from that goof who goosed me onto this path. For now? It makes perfect sense why Christina Hendricks got famous. (Hamm, too, duh.)

  • 30 Rock "College" [wr: Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, 2010] I thought she was saying, "Lizzard." Was she saying, "Lizzard"?

  • Sauve qui peut (la vie) [JLG, 1979] Love the aesthetic, as ever, and wish I could make a feature with this much freeze-frame "animation," but I just don't think it's all that interesting; nor do I think it's any great leap beyond, say, Vivre Sa Vie in terms of ideas. The real treat, as I can tell, is Nathalie Baye's fits and fights and her tank top at the breakfast table. Also, her first appearance on the bike is one of the more beautiful things I've ever seen in moving images precisely because he (JLG) arrests it so.

  • Unstoppable [Tony Scott, 2010] Yet "purer" than Pelham, as Danny said, because of its focus; yet obviously more mobile as well. But at bottom this thing wins due to its actors and their charisma as much as the all-over always-moving cover-everything Scott style I adore. It's a good time, Chris Pine's got a good career ahead, and Denzel's getting fat. See it in a theatre while you can. But don't think too hard on it ya loons.

—We go where?

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