Friday, October 20, 2006

"We're actors, not figments of your imagination!"

Terry Gilliam’s Tideland is getting some fairly harsh reviews so far, blasting it as a series of self-conciously “weird” visual images anchored in very little narrative. It’s hard to tell if the critics are right, based on the movie’s trailer, which is a series of self-conciously “weird” visual images anchored in very little narrative. But that may end up being a very, very good thing.

I haven’t really expected much of Gilliam lately. Twelve Monkeys was fun to watch, but was far from the subversive mainstream mind-fuck it is occasionally hailed as. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was like two interesting movies playing simultaneously – one a clever and breezy goof on Hunter S. Thompson by Johnny Depp, the other a volcanic lesson in real character acting by Benecio Del Toro. Plus Gilliam never set a consistent visual tone, which is strange for a former animator known for the look of his movies. Aside from the inevitable freaky-deaky, psycho-fornia set pieces, a lot of the incidental scenes seemed shot by an assistant director on loan from some hack Toronto-shot SF series.

The Brothers Grimm was one of those works that contain all of the most obvious things you liked about an artist, but seems to use them only in a desperate attempt to distract from a hollow core. The kind of thing that makes you start wondering if the earlier works you loved so much were all that good to begin with. This is known as a “Rushdie.” Or maybe a "Costello.”

And yet, I'll probably go see Tideland. If it's a mess, it'll be an interesting one.

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