Archive for November, 2013

Effing Wu

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Deadwood is a terribly uneven series, but the brilliance of the writing remains constant even though the third-season slog of episodes seemingly phoned in from some off-path motel Milch might have been staying in. Even when it bores, Deadwood is brilliant, due largely to Milch’s poetry (and, for all I know, the legion of writing assistants who assist and embellish). Regular viewers of network TV (which is beyond awful) simply won’t “get” Deadwood. It moves way too slow, the dialogue verges on indecipherable, the hero is a borderline idiot, there’s too many characters to keep track of, and there are few if any satisfying moments– Bullock kicking the crap out of Hurst’s sadomasochistic advance man being one of them. Warned that Hurst will seek retribution, Bullock snarls in gleefully satisfying hero-villain mix (in my paraphrase), “You draw a map and let him know where to find me. And tell him… I’ll be waiting.”

Huzzah, kids.

Avengers Et Cetera

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Most everything I had to say about Marvel’s The Avengers, in a review I wrote in May of 2012 but forgot to actually post, was summed up by film critic Jim Emerson:

A movie like “Marvel’s The Avengers” doesn’t need critics and critics don’t need it. Of course, it’s perfectly reviewable in mainstream journalistic / consumer guide terms (story, character, action, effects, acting, etc.). My own hunch is that it’s not going to be subjected to much in-depth critical analysis. Not of its aesthetics, anyway. Somebody might write about how it changed the movie business (if it does), or study the mythology of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” or examine the technologies used in making it, but they’re not going to study the filmmaking, which is serviceable but little more. There just isn’t all that much going on from shot to shot (I’m a fan of Whedon’s “Buffy,” but he isn’t that kind of director). As M. Leary says in a piece at Filmwell on the movie’s fleeting references to theism, “The primary purpose of the film is to be awesome, and it certainly accomplishes that.” No need for criticism if that’s all there is to it. Somebody says “It’s awesome!” and somebody else says “No it’s not!” and that’s the extent of the discussion (which has nothing to do with movie criticism). We’re simply back in Monty Python’s Argument Clinic, where there’s no argument, just contradiction in the most simplistic terms.

—Jim Emerson, Scanners With Jim Emerson