Monday, May 01, 2006



The Triplets of Belleville: weird, in a good way, with grotesque animation that resembled nothing so much as Beavis and Butthead, and a wacked-out, but suprisingly linear and coherent story. If this had been around when I was back in college, we would've sat back about 1:30 in the morning, turned down the sound (it's practically a silent film as it is), cranked up Iggy Pop or something, and, uh, eaten Oreo cookies.

The American Friend: based on one of Patricia Highsmith's popular Ripley novels. I've never read any of them or seen any of the movies based on them (The Matt Damon vehicle The Talented Mr. Ripley is the best-known.) The day after I watched this, Roger Ebert wrote about another adaptation of the same story in his Great Movies feature. This one was a slow-paced Wim Wenders deal starring Dennis Hopper (!). Yeah, yeah, it's a post-modern deconstruction of the traditional Hollywood thriller, you have to pay attention to what Wenders isn't doing, fill in the blank's like jazz, playing around the melody. I'm with Tony Wilson -- jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does. Train, money, knife, murder -- whaddya want, a road map? Put the monkey on the building!

American Dreamz: less a satire than a slice o' life, circa 2006. The president is a dolt -- check. TV is dumb -- check. Americans are shallow and obsessed with money and celebrity -- check. Despite that, the rest of the world slavishly envies and copies us -- check. I laughed out loud, but I kept wanting more. Not mean or sharp enough to be great, or even effective, satire. The legendary Billmon says it better than I ever could.

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