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Sunday, May 16 , 2004
Morvern Callar
directed by Lynne Ramsay

I should know better than to go for review blurbs on a movie's cover, but I fell for it here. In my own defense, a friend told me the flick was worth checking out, so my blind following of The New York Times, Premiere Magazine, and Rolling Stone is not fully to blame. Morvern Callar's boyfriend has already killed himself when this movie opens, his slit-up body still dumping blood on the kitchen floor of a sparse aparment. He's written a note on the computer telling Morvern to send the novel he's completed to the included list of publishers. Morvern does just that, but not before changing the name of the author of the book from her deserter boyfriend's name to her own. That's a pretty damn good plot, yeah? The problem is that this, the most interesting part of the story, takes only 15 of the 97 minutes here... a true bore!

directed by various

I'm on a gigantic Pixies kick after getting my ass FULLY kicked by the band this year at Coachella Festival. The timing of this DVD couldn't be better, so a big thank you to the smart folks at 4AD. Included here: a fantastic live set from 1988, all the music videos the band made, and two good chunks of documentary. The live set is solid (visuals and sonics) and includes several fan favorites. The music videos are nice to have, but mostly pretty weak (including my vote for Worst Video Ever Made for "Velouria"). It's difficult for music videos to hold up over time, I suppose, and I'm sure the band was dealing with limited time, budgets, and other pitfalls of independents trying to play with the big boys. The tour footage is worth a look, but often like other band's tour footage: sleepy and poorly shot. But the crown jewel here is "Gouge", a 45-minute documentary built around interviews with key rock journalists and the likes of Bowie, Bono, Thom Yorke, PJ Harvey, Steve Albini, two dudes from Blur, etc. The short film traces the band from demo tape ("the purple tape") to the last studio album with live footage and intimate conversations with the actual band members sprinkled throughout. It's in "Gouge" that someone like me (who got into the band a few years after their breakup and missed all the press, adoration and other blow jobs handed to them the first time around) can really get a grasp on what actually happened here and how far the band's influence continues to stretch. The only disappointment with the movie is Kim Deal's absence from any of the post-breakup footage and interviews.

Monday, Apr. 19, 2004
Stone Reader
directed by Mark Moskowitz

Mark Moskowitz loves books in the old-style way. Books are sacred objects to him, and this documentary traces Moskowitz's detective work as he attempts to locate the author of an almost-unknown novel which had a profound impact on the filmmaker. While the movie-making itself is not stellar (the shots are often poorly framed, the editing includes plenty of filler shots that lend nothing to the story, etc.) the actual content here is obsessive in the best of ways, inspiring in far too many ways to count. I've been turning my brian around concepts and concerns with writing and publishing, and this movie came around at just the right time.

note: below you'll see 'previous' & 'next' links. please ignore these, cause this movie list page is a hidden link in a long series of 'blog' entries. i use diaryland for, and with diaryland, html control is very odd, yet somehow also very friendly. anyway, you might get lost if you start 'previous'-ing & 'next'-ing from this page... just so you know. best bet: rock the links at the top of the page.

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