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I watched 'Sing'...the new CGI one with the singing animals.
It was surprisingly much better than I thought it would be. There were a lot of cliches I was expecting that they avoided, and the music was good. Pretty funny and with a message that was not vomit-inducing.
Just watched the new GITS live action movie. Mostly purty colors and action then a philosophical and narratively challenging film, but at least it was made by people who care two shits about the franchise unlike other films (ahem ahem avater the last airbender)
Last edited by itavin (04-16-2017 02:34:57 PM)
Also saw The seventh seal today and it was not just purty colors and action but was a philosophical and narratively challenging film about religion, death and your purpose in life, and how to keep your humanity without a set of rules to guide you through life.
Watching Johnny Guitar again, and aside from being a crack movie, I think most Utena fans would find lot to like in it, from the exploration of gender roles to the way petty jealousies and past traumas fuel decisions in subtle ways that seem inexplicable at first.
Finally got out to see La La Land.
It is... a pretty little soap bubble of a film, which hype and critical acclaim has thoroughly squashed.
Like, it's okay on its own. It's fine. Pretty good, even, if you're into that kind of thing.
I mean, aside from how weirdly appropriative the (white) male lead is about jazz. Like NO ONLY I APPRECIATE ITS TRUE GENIUS. And there is the jazz-splaining scene, where he explains to the (white) female lead what all these crazy black folks is up to.
And it's got this heavy "oh, if only we could go back to the good 'ole days when we didn't have to worry about class and gender and race and we could just sing vapid love songs" sort of vibe too.
So okay, I guess it's actually kinda weirdly racist. Reminds me a bit of when I heard someone do a review of The Jazz Singer. It's not Birth of a Nation, but god forbid we showcase an actual black person performing music from black American culture. Except there's John Legend, so points there? Except he's... kind of arbitrarily cast as a villain, despite never saying or doing anything wrong. He makes the leads fight and that's... bad... somehow? Even though he doesn't do it intentionally? And is never anything but professional?
GOD DAMNIT FILM WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE JOHN LEGEND A VILLAIN?
Also, hot damn do I not have a reason to give a shit about these people. They only ever want things for themselves. And the world of the film is strangely accommodating of that. I mean, the male lead comes the closest, with his pretensions to "save" jazz music, presumably for everyone, but OH MY GOD the less said about that the better. And just... they have no obligations to anyone but themselves, they have no reason for doing anything except that matches up with their never-to-be explored ambition, just... fuck 'em.
Which, well, it would all be fine and good if this was some little indie flick. It would be cute. And pretty. And look, they watched a movie once, isn't that nice? Don't you feel good that you watched the same movie?
But it doesn't really hold up to the Big Picture context, because it has exactly jack squat to say about anything. If it's trying to be a cynical look at the movie business, hoo boy does it fail at that. The ending doesn't go all the way to happily ever after, but, well, [everyone gets exactly what they wanted at the beginning and they don't seem to regret it any, despite the leads not ending as a couple for... no apparent reason.]
And folks, this is a Hollywood entirely without grit. No one does drugs! There is no crime! (except for a mis-parked car) There are no troubling pressures to look or act a certain way or darker implications or scummy hiring practices! Hell, there is no Screen Actors' Guild, and certainly no labor disputes. I'd be surprised if this incarnation of Hollywood even had a porn industry. It's less Hollywood and more a Disney-fied dream of Hollywood. So, cynical? Not a bit, really.
The thing that kills me, with that movie, is that there is a good story, or a good take buried somewhere in the question of white guys trying to "save jazz"
Taj Mahal has been very open about not doing "woe is me!" numbers because he knows his audience is substantially white and he's not going to sing, "woe is me!" to a bunch of white people.
The Blues Brothers is largely two movies and a handful of abums about two white dudes trying to save black music. But, they make an effort to present actual black people/characters who are less deluded than they are, and certainly, who understand socio-econiomic realities differently than they do.
IIRC, there's a terrible episode of Quantum Leap about a white boy who understands jazz like no one else, and he's got to convince the stodgy old black folks, as you do.
This isn't a subject that hasn't been tackled before, in entertainment and real life. It's not as if there isn't something worth talking about there. But, it ain't in La La Land. Heck, the music isn't even that good in La La Land.
But, the people who made it, they were doing talk show rounds, insisting no one has done a musical in "forty years" and how important integrity is to them, referring to jazz and other traditionally black forms of music as "lost" or asking how many decades it's been since someone has even done a jazz album or a gospel album, and if they hadn't done that, I wouldn't call it white supremacist, erasure-at-full-bore bunkum, but... they did, so I will.
Basically, they really do believe this:
"oh, if only we could go back to the good 'ole days when we didn't have to worry about class and gender and race and we could just sing vapid love songs"
Compared, to use The Blues Brothers again, with, "What's one more old nigger to the Board of Education."