Friday, May 11, 2007

May 11th Log

2007, Mike White, United States
1st Viewing, Theater

After writing some successful scripts (including School of Rock, which is a film I absolutely love!), Year of the Dog marks the directorial debut of Mike White. The film is a “quirky” comedy, but more then anything it could be regarded as an unsettling comedy. The technical direction of the film (center framing, and individual close-ups) is a bit distant despite White’s collaboration with talented cinematographer Tim Orr (most know for his outstanding work alongside David Gordon Green). The films greatest strength lies in the genuine lead performance of Molly Shannon, who alongside White’ script never treats the character as mockery or disrespect. Above all the film embraces outcasts and individuality in a way that is both disturbing and touching. Though she is convinced otherwise by her family (an overprotected, suburban sister-in-law and brother) and coworkers (including her friend who endlessly pushes relationships upon her), Peggy finds her own freedom and happiness within herself. Year of the Dog is a film that at once is unsettling and inspirational.

1997, David Mamet, United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

Pulitzer Prize winning Playwright David Mamet is a brilliant screenwriter! The dialogue of all his films are completely fresh, and have a rare quality. The Spanish Prisoner is no exception. Every word spoken is outstanding. Sure, it's a bit unique from anything else, in cinema, but it certainly captivates my attention. The Spanish Prisoner, like Mamet's greatest masterpiece House of Games, resembles the work of Alfred Hitchcock in it's psychological games it plays with the both the audience and characters of the film. We're never really sure what's going on, and when we think we do, we soon discover we're wrong. The film is constantly questioning who and what can be trusted. The end my leave some holes or flaws, but the strength of the film lies in the setup. The Spanish Prisoner is an overall highly enjoyable and interesting display of intrigue, and top notch Mamet-esque dialogue, as well as many of his usual ensemble cast members (including Ricky Jay and his wife/muse Rebecca Pidgeon.

>>> For the first time in awhile I did not watch an Ozu film this Friday, but I will be watching Floating Weeds on Saturday night.


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