Thighs Wide Shut Thighs Wide Shut

Friday, November 2

Music Men In Black
& White & Red All Over

The life and times of musicians have always provided prime material in which to make a film from, entertainmentwise and of course, awardswise. That's been especially true these days with such hits as Ray [TWS review] and Walk The Line [TWS review], which worked well with both audiences and academy members. Howevs, those two flicks were purty by the book, a simple A to Zzzzzzzzz examination of an artist, with not much real insight and more importantly, creativity. This year's crop have broken from that boring mold and are redefining the music biopic as we know it. While Edith Piaf's tale, La Vie En Rose [TWS review], was a bit on the straightforward side, it was still far more compelling than the cinematic takes on Mr Charles and Mr Cash's lives. Luckily for Bob Dylan, Ian Curtis, and Joe Strummer (and for us), three unique directors, with great gifts for sound and vision, tackled their lives in not the most conventional ways. All three of these films may hit theaters this fall, but all three will linger in people's memories for many years to come

I'm Not There
Another Side of Bob Dylan, And Another, And Another...
Trailers & Mo

Warning: you will not walk out of this movie knowing any more about Bob Dylan than you did before you walked in. This film is not a history lesson, but more of a history suggestion, letting you try to figure out what pieces of the puzzle make up who Bob Dylan 'is'. And that's the problem of making a movie about Bob Dylan, cause there are so many 'is'eseses that it's impossible to create a linear path from yesterday to today. Enter director Todd Haynes, who recognizes that issue and decided to split the pie of Dylan into 6 slices of his persona (Cate Blanchett as '65 Dylan may seem like a contrivance, but her bit steals the show. Only Richard Gere's piece feels a bit undercooked). This hodgepodge of impressions may irk some Dylan diehards looking for a complete portrait, but who really cares when this results in one of the mos creative love letters to an artist ever committed to celluloid. Like with his brills Velvet Goldmine, a kaleidoscopic ode to David Bowie and the glam rock era, Haynes isn't interested in revealing truth, but instead evoking a certain time and a place by recreating/reimagining it in a mos freewheelin' way. One could say that his films are heavy on style and light on substance, but Haynes' style is his substance. He's probably the single greatest homage-r going. Remember Far From Heaven? It was made in 2002, but show it to someone with no working knowledge of film and they might juss mistake it for one of the Douglas Sirk films from the '50s dat it's trying to emulate. I'm Not There works the same way, and Haynes really outdid himself by not only painting different Dylans, but by using different palettes for each of his canvases. By copying others, Haynes has created something wholly original, and in the process, become an artist in his own right

All The News That's Fit To Mint: do yerself a flavor and read or re-read this NYTimes Mag article on Haynes and I'm Not There

His Pride For Joy... Division
Trailer & Mo

If you've seen 24 Hour Party People you already know the whole story about impresario Tony Wilson and how he put Manchester on the map with the help of a lot of memorable music. But there are plenty of stories within Wilson's story that are worth investigating on their own. Such is the case of the short and most turbulent life of Joy Division's lead singer, Ian Curtis. Sean Harris perfectly portrayed him in 24HPP, and in Control, a film solely about Curtis, he could have easily expanded on what he started. However, the role was turned over to another gent who's head popped up in 24HPP, Sam Riley, who played Mark E Smith of the Fall. Although he looks more like Pete Doherty than Curtis, Riley hands in the best performance by a man I've seen all year (if yer wonderin which woman is tops, look no further than Marion Cotillard's work as Ms Piaf, cause that shiz was beyond bestness AND thunderdome!). Riley is the heart and soul of the entire picture, and the heart and soul he's taking on is a mighty black one. He's so convincing as Curtis, that images of his dour and helpless facial expressions are still haunting me a week after seeing this film. While Riley works wonders in front of the camera, it's the man behind the camera that deserves major kudos. Anton Corbijn, a renowned photographer (that Joshua Tree cover shot) and music video director (Nirvana's 'Heart Shaped Box'), makes the most of his feature film debut here, beautifully capturing all the ugliness of Curits' life in stark black and white. Can't wait to see what's next for both actor and director, for this love will never tear me apart from either one of dem

Groping Groupie Groupings: Riley's on-screen mistress is also his off-screen kisstress. Say hello hottie to Alexandra Maria Lara. You might remember her as Hitler's secretary in Downfall

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten
Sittin Round The Fire Roastin A Marsh Fellow
Trailer & Mo

Looking for a killer documentary on the Clash? No probs, since one was made seven years ago. It's called The Clash: Westway to the World, and if you're any kind of fan, you will mos certainly enjoy it. Yearnin for a bit more? Thought you were, and yer effin lucky cause Julien Temple, the man who did right to The Sex Pistols with The Filth & The Fury, gives the Clash's dearly missed main attraction a telling tribute. Joe Strummer may best be known as the leader singer of one of punk's finest groups, but don't you dare pigeonhole him like that in front of his circle of family, friends and fans (cept Paul Simonon who, for some reason, is noticeably absent). This diverse group of peeps sit around reminiscing at many a campfire, not to bury him, but to praise him! That's right, campfires, which at first seemed a bit gimmicky for an interview technique, but its later revealed that Strummer was a big fan of that type of gathering where all were equal and could say whatever they wanted. Along with the kind words of others, Temple deftly pieces together a complete picture on his subject, mixing in plenty of hot tunes, personal home movies, photos, and pop culture goodies (like the ye olde film versions of Animal Fram and 1984, along with if...). Between this and his TF&TF, Temple is mos def tops when it comes to rawk docs. Hell, he's even replaced my other temple as my current house of worship

Not So Easy: whilst Temple may be the man when it comes to the doc and even music videos (Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin'), his fictional work could use some work. One of his 'best known films is Earth Girls Are Easy

John Grisham's Jizzum (aka Verdict): all three be Breast In Show

I'm Not There opens on November 21st, Joe Strummer opens today, and Control is currently playing at select theaters across the country

until next thyme the balcony is clothed...