Monday, February 12, 2007

A few Masterpieces

The New World was far and away the best thing I saw this weekend. An earth shattering masterpiece full of beautiful, quiet moments and wonderful visual clues. I haven't seen anything else by Malick, but obviously I should go back and take a second look. It immediately invokes Hiroshima Mon Amour, with its use of poetic naration, though The Proposition uses a similar device, but not to this extent. The New World is the sort of movie that might exist if sound hadn't been introduced to the movies until decades later. There is a complete lack of exposition, and a general sparsity of dialogue, instead the movie is a series of images and sounds, juxtaposed with poetry. It is an sensuous experience, rather than a cause and effect story. I absolutely loved the movie from top to bottom, but I would suggest reading Matt Zoller Seitz or Walter Chaw for a more in depth analysis. Interesting side note, the actress playing Pocahontas, Q'Orianka Kilcher, was 14 when the movie was filmed. I thought that the love scenes between her and Colin Ferrall was beautifully suggestive, rather than explicit, little did I know that was probably due to a legal concern.

I beg you to watch this movie. It is the best thing I have seen in a very long time.
I also read six of the ten story lines in The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman (I read: Season of Mists, Fables and Reflections ,Brief Lives ,Worlds' End, The Kindly Ones- twice, and The Wake . It was beyond fantastic. It was so good that I had to go back and reread the last story arc again, which is no mean feat because it checked in at 13 chapters and approximately 400 pages. It is already my favorite graphic novel series and I just wish that someone could do a movie version justice (let's see how The Watchmen turns out before we greenlight some fresh blasphemy). The Sandman is dense with mythic, religious (is that redundant?) and literary allusions and the coolest details you can ever imagine (like the dream library of all the books never written, a sample: Bestselling Romantic Spy Novel So I Wouldn't Have to Go to Work Anymore, by you while you were commuting on the train). In Walter Chaw's review of Pan's Labrynth he says: "I can't dream like he can dream." That is the long and the short of it. The Sandman is the story of the King of Dreams and his 6 siblings, and it whirs through Hell, the Dreaming, Earth, Greek legend, Hades (distinct from Hell), Norse legend, legends that never were created, witchcraft, the future, the past, and ultimately becomes about people and choice. It is a cosmic series that boils down to its central character's growth, without ever sacrificing the magic on the page. The end of the series is so perfect that it demonstrates again that it is possible to set impossible expectations and beat them (another example, my favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude). Endings don't have to be cheats, and I am holding my breath that "The Sopranos" manages to do as well in that regard.

Go rent The New World and hit your local library for The Sandman, you won't be disappointed.

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