August 20, 2004

Friday Media Misc 

posted by Scott @ 2:21 PM
Three Kings is coming back in theaters soon. Most people dismissed the film as a corny George Clooney action vehicle when it was orifginally released (with 'Marky' Mark Wahlberg and Ice-Cube to boot), but I think that was more a problem of how it was marketed. In reality, the film is a delightfully nuanced snapshot of early nineties Iraqi society and the first Gulf war hung on a standard heist plot. I always appreciate films that use generic plots to import weirdness and/or complexity (most recently the amazing In the Cut)--things that normally turn off mainstream audience if presented directly. Beyond being incredible prescient, Three Kings is also beautifully shot with off putting camera angles and a perpetual grainy filter that both serve to underscore the moral ambiguity of the war and the actions of Clooney's unit. This definitely makes a theatrical re-release a plus.

John Sayles is coming out with a new film next month that examines the American political system through the rise of a fictional Colorado Governor with major family connection. It's an obvious dig at Bush, but I'm glad that it isn't limited to that overcrowded subject. At least that's what this NYTimes piece claims. In any case, I've loved almost everything Sayles has made so I'm eagerly anticipating this one. Best Sayles starter film, Men with Guns. Or Matewan, which stars a young Will Oldham.

Slate has a quick review and some good mp3 clips of two intriguing San Francisco musicians that really defy easy categorization: Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom. If forced to I'd label Banhart a gympsified Dylan and Newsom an Appalachian Bjork (her lyrics are absolutely captivating). I caught them earlier this summer in Chicago and Newsom especially is utterly compelling live. People I know either love or hate their stuff but it's worth a listen.

Speaking of music, Zorn posted a test to see when you've gotten 'old' based on when you've become out of touch with the yearly summer hits. It's a cute test, but I don't give it much credence because I think it's odd to measure being young by what crappy yearly summer hits you recognize. I'd argue that being old is when you DO recognize those hits. There's nothing lazier and old-manish than just letting whatever the radio spoons out to you be your summer soundtrack. No real music lover gives a hoot what the radio is playing, especially in the last 10-15 years.

This article on Arrested Development from a few weeks ago is a must read. Basically, those Emmy nomination saved this brilliant series from cancellation. Fox is notorious for pulling the plug on great shows that sputter initially in the ratings--see Andy Richter Controls the Universe (doesn't it kill you to watch him in that neutered comedy now on fox) and Undeclared--and apparently Arrested numbers were incredibly low. I usually piss and moan that these awards never get anything right but this time they've saved a gem of a show. Best moments of the show: Job riding around on a segway, Buster blending into the wallpaper, David Cross's never-nude bit, and the stair truck.

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