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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Welcome to LA

Posted By on 11.28.07 at 03:58 PM

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I could be Christopher Lambert one day. —Richard Kelly on Southland Tales at MoviesOnline

It's like if someone took mushrooms and read the Book of Revelations and had this crazy pop dream. —Kelly again in Cinema Scope magazine

So here's what I'm suggesting ...

Look at the PR photo above from Southland Tales. If you find it at all intriguing or seductive, for whatever reason—the plasticene glaze of Dwayne (formerly "the Rock") Johnson's discombobulated hero, the implied commentary on presidential candidates (or are they all simply androids?) of our immediate telegenic future, the body-doubling shadowy shadowlessness of the cartoon image—then Kelly's new movie, a "controversial" hit-and-miss satire of airbrushed political dada and contemporary Hollywood glam, is probably for you. If not, then sayonara or hasta la vista or however the SoCal junk glitterati are kissing each other off these days, in Venice Beach, at the Santa Monica Pier, etc. But medium cool, man—like Electra Glide in mint or watermelon or some other pastel shade of zero dimensionality. Because I like the damn thing, I really really do ...

A lot of "inspirational" antecedents have been trotted out—by Kelly himself (Kiss Me Deadly, Blade Runner, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World), by critics of varying insight and ax-grinding capacity (Scott Foundas's nod in the direction of Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days and Alex Cox's Repo Man seems especially astute)—though for me it's mainly a matter of Ubu-inflected charivari meltdown: e.g., the shaggy-dog shambling of Cox's Walker or Steve DeJarnatt's Miracle Mile or the Korean Save the Green Planet, which may be the best analogue of all. Or (shudder) Joel Schumacher's largely unendurable Falling Down—except I'm not trying to scare y'all away.

But Kelly wants to be Christopher Lambert on mushrooms, and I say go for it. "I love LA," he rhapsodizes, "the madness and eccentricity. ... There's nothing you can't find in this city." Or in this cockeyed movie either.

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