Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July 24th Log

2007, Gregg Kavet / Andy Robin, United States

1st Viewing, DVD

When not taken too seriously Live Free or Die is an enjoyable crime comedy. Set in a small town in New Hampshire the film is aimed as a quirky low-brow comedy. The quirkiness works because of the dialogue and the performances. It is the type of film that could get tiring quickly, but the performances are strong and the dialogue witty enough to keep the film enjoyable throughout the 92 minutes. Written and directed by debut feature filmmakers Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin (former writers/editors of the hit show Seinfeld), the film tells the “legend” of local town criminal John "Rugged" Rudgate. Essentially Rugged is only a want-to-be criminal and if he’s guilty of any crime it is his perceived image and phony reputation. As played by Aaron Stanford, Rugged’s boastful criminal shtick comes across funny and Paul Schneider gives a hilarious performance as his clueless friend. The supporting cast also share in the laughs and I can never tiring of seeing Zooey Deschanel, who (though underused again) is radiant as always. It is especially great to see the All the Real Girls duo of Schneider and Deschanel together again (here playing arguing brother and sister- once again with great screen chemistry). The film lacks challenging depth or insight, but I don’t think it aims for much more then it delivers. Sit back and let the performances and dialogue win you over, and Live or Die Free can be a really fun and funny film.

1984, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japan
Repeat Viewing, DVD

What Japanese filmmaker Hiroshi Teshigahara is doing with this film is taking you into the artistry more so then the artist (influential Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi). Using fluid camera work and hypnotic sound and music, Teshigahara creates a lyrical and at times haunting mood that allows the viewer to be completely absorbed within Gaudi’s work. Teshigahara and his cinematographers and editors are controlling and detailing what is shown yet they craft the film together in a way that does not intrude and allows the film to be a rare experience. Heightening this is the films preference of mostly avoiding voice-over, instead using occasional subtitles. This film is a wondrous one of discovery because Teshigahara allows us to discover Gaudi work by taken the viewer into the world of it as can only be seen through cinema. The film ends with a final reflective thought from Antonio Gaudi, "Everything comes out of the Great Book of Nature; anything created by human beings is already in there."


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