Monday, September 04, 2006

little miss sunshine: funny and smart, smart and funny

'little miss sunshine' is, i suppose, what they call 'this year's sleeper hit' - a beautifully observed comedy in the truest sense - something about what real life is really like. i won't say much about the plot, other than it's a very dysfunctional family (or maybe it just seems that way - i've only encountered a couple of families that seemed functional) on a road trip. as is usually the case in this kind of film, the journey is the destination, but the joys and sorrows of this journey manage to take in a critique of the american dream, father-son relationships, ambition, teenage angst, the sexualisation of almost everything in our society, and ultimately the truth that it is in broken moments when we are both most human, and possibly most lovable.

it's also profoundly funny.

but it's that last point that stays with me - when we are most broken, we are perhaps most able to be ourselves. at the same time, when we it seems like we have lost everything we held most dear, that's when we can make an exuberant gift of our usually hidden abilities to take risks. if this sounds ambiguous, it's because i'm trying not to give away too much of the go see it and let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

where has wim wenders' mojo gone?

saw 'don't come knocking' last night - new film by wim wenders and sam shepherd - great pedigree, great photography and music, great territory - lonely man wandering through the american west - that both wenders and shepherd have worn well before.

so it was sad to see that, as with many other older directors, the late vintage wenders only made me want to return to his earlier films - at least two of which - 'paris, texas', and 'wings of desire' - can be legitimately called masterpieces. both of them deal with the sense of being 'outside' the mainstream, of not being able to 'fit in', making serious mistakes, and trying to atone because of them.

'don't come knocking' just doesn't convince. wenders, like woody allen, and, i fear, martin scorsese, appears to have got caught in a rut of doing only things that he has done better this token, you could make a case that steven spielberg is one of the riskiest directors working in the mainstream today - consistently challenging himself to do something new. if only someone could persuade woody allen to slow down and make fewer films, or wim wenders to make a non-narrative film in ireland, or scorsese to forget catholicism and gangsters for a while...