Thursday, June 5, 2008

He's ba-a-a-aack!

Posted By on 06.05.08 at 04:29 PM

More or less. Bloodied but unbowed ... or at least bloodied.

Though perhaps the hardest thing about gimping around in a 24-hour truss is the restricted movie diet. No DVDs or superplasma TVs to ease you through the famine—or at least ease me, since we're nothing if not Luddites at our house—and the only alternative is schlepping out to one of the commercial sit-down theaters in town. Which proved to be almost impossible, since I really wasn't able to schlepp or sit.

Just a pair of new releases then—Iron Man and Redbelt—in the space of four convalescing weeks, along with despairing thoughts on the parlous state of our hypermuscular movie culture. Is this the best our commercial future has to offer, guys lurching around in metal containers or pummeling each other half to death? But at least Downey's Iron Man flies straight and true, with brute acceleration and inertia, like a Japanese bullet train or a packet of supercharged ions in a particle collider—which makes him/it inorganically intriguing, the lack of flexibility and flow, or of anything resembling ordinary human motor coordination. And if anyone still wants to argue that Academy Award cinematographer Robert Elswit was somehow responsible for all the mise-en-scene goodies in P.T. Anderson's echt Stroheimian There Will Be Blood (see comment log here), then take a look at his pedestrian work for Mamet in Redbelt, or the earlier, run-of-the-mill Heist (not to mention Savage Steve Holland's How I Got Into College—arguably the most excruciating filmgoing experience I've ever had, with or without a truss). Yet another indicator of who controls what at the level where—aesthetically, auteuristically—movies start coming together. Maybe convalescing's good for something after all ...

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It'll still be a while before I'm up to full movie speed, but thanks to everyone for the kind words and encouragement. Also for the unkind words, expressed or unexpressed, since every last bit of attention helps. And now back to the cinematic trenches—let the arguments recommence!

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