Jul 17, 2009

Poetry, Two Movies

Not sure why, but a Cowbird for the two movies seems right, though I give each a 3--for doing something new?

First, about poetry:

Yesterday I stumbled onto a Dan Chiasson review of Frederick Seidel's poetry, and both had the kind of excitement that's often lacking in poetry and talk about poetry--bold but plausible statements, lines, and images, ideas you cannot dismiss even if they seem extreme or mean, and cleverly turned phrases by the dozen. I'm eager to get a book or two by both those guys, so I wonder if anyone out there has a comment or recommendation. I'm embarrassed that Seidel has escaped my attention till now.

Movie Reviews, 1 (low) to 4 (high):

Whatever Works, Woody Allen's newest, starring Larry David. 3.

I'm not a huge Woody Allen fan, though I've liked some of his work. I liked Whatever Works in spite of overwriting and overacting in the the female lead's stereotypical rendering of the dumb southern belle. If you remember A Streetcar Named Desire fairly well, you might have fun seeing Woody's uses of it. Or that might just be grating.

As always, I found a lot of the supposed wisdom of Woody Allen to be very ordinary, if not trite--and certainly repetitive. In the mouth and antics of Larry David, the best lines and gestures are terrific, but there's also a lot of dead weight (no pun intended--oops. See the movie).

Bruno, the ballyhooed follow-up to Borat. 3.

If you liked Borat well enough to see Bruno, I don't think you'll be disappointed by the new show. Bruno probably lacks the substance (meaningful social criticism, for example, or implied questions about the role of spontaneity in art and definitions of art) that Borat might have had, and Bruno's best moments aren't quite as good. But I did find them funny, and so did others in the theater. My psychic jury will be deadlocked for a long time regarding the merits of these two films--if they're saying anything, do they have to say it that way? But apparently they are turning new earth, and anyone who can handle the notion of film as an offensive weapon should enjoy Bruno well enough.


Anonymous said...

And you must like Christopher Guest, no? "It's a Zen thing, like how many babies fit in a tire."

Banjo52 said...

That's a great grotesque line. I'm not a Guest groupie, but I really liked the 3 little movies, which I think of as a group: Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, and Mighty Wind. I think Best in Show might be my favorite--I like dogs, hate pretentiousness, tho' I know I'm guilty of it sometimes.

I haven't seen the Spinal Taps. Should I?

I checked IMBd for Guest's bio, and it was really interesting--British aristocracy, Jamie Lee Curtis, etc.

Once again, AH, thanks for a comment to think by.

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