Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Easily one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever seen, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Cure is one of the most deconstructive films ever made, taking established Japanese psych-thriller tropes and turning them on its side (i.e. a lot of its subversion of what goes on in Akira Kurosawa's High and Low). It's as analytical of modern Japanese procedural society and superstition as much as Hausu is critical of 1970s youth culture and their ability to ignore the impact of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it's not as funny.
Then again, making a film about a detective who goes mad because of a hypnotist wouldn't really lend itself to comedy unless if Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu made it.
Watch this film get reevaluated over the next few years. Right now, everybody's focused on the mystery story part of everything whereas it's all about the atmosphere. I'm not talking about locations, clothing, the chill music from Jonny Greenwood, the first time Can's ever been licensed in a mainstream film soundtrack (Deep End, while one of my favorite films, is not as mainstream as this), or even the fact PT Anderson's directed this.
I'm talking about the entire point of the film. You see, that mystery is there to fool you into thinking this film has a plot. However, the plot is that we're witnessing the 1960s go away. All along, we see vestiges of cultures being used not to give awareness to other worlds, but to make people all giddy inside and say "yeah, I ate at a Japanese pancake house." We see women being used as objects and objects being treated like inanimate beings - it is the beginning of the Dude's musing that "Jackie Treehorn treats objects like they were women." It shows the patheticness of being so addicted to drugs that Doc is unable to function without his cocktail - the birth of Jordan Belfort's promotion of drugs as performance enhancement. It shows a world growing less and less Billy and Wyatt and more Alex P. Keaton. This is all punctuated with a whodunit about the disappearance of two people representative of the 1960s - and shows the two paths people were expected to take: to be utterly pathetic and out of the world like Mickey Wolfmann just to be manipulated to appropriate more neighborhoods and cultures into a little piece of Americana called a hotel...or to be a total businessman and incorporate even a drug empire.
Pynchon's point is not to tell a funny story about a detective case gone hilariously wrong. His point is to tell a story about society becoming more conservative and more businesslike as it is scared out of freedom with a Manson Scare - a Red Scare but for liberals, you know. Inherent Vice is a journey into a world where people are thought of inferior for being part of another culture - where businessmen, neo-Nazis, and lecherous dentists work side by side. A world where sex is a commodity, where hippies are scum, and where your heroic police detective eats all the pot from your ashtray. This is the ultimate transition film - where hippies and cops became so scummy that people became scared of both and retreated into their own paradise of "everybody is white and happy and American." This and the criminally underrated and underwatched Electra Glide in Blue.
oh my god yes
OH MY GOD YEEEEEEEEES
I haven't been this excited about a film since Gone Girl. That was Saturday.
This is proof that 2014-15 is shaping up to be the game-changing year in modern cinema. With films like this, Boyhood, 22 Jump Street, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, A Most Wanted Man, Edge of Tomorrow, and Birdman flooding the markets, I'm glad that cinema's on the right track for once. Not bad for a year that also gave me Colton Burpo's Incredibly Specific Vision of Heaven (which is somewhat valid - SOMEWHAT), Sexy Portuguese Jesus, and the Newsboys' Violent Murder of God. Maybe we need some bad eggs in a year of groundbreaking cinema. This really must be what 1939, 1967, and 1994 felt like to people that were aware at the time. All of these great films that come OUT OF NOWHERE - hell, even getting some critical stink-eyes with their newness - and they just rock our world.
As for Interstellar itself, I'm glad that there's something more hopeful and schmaltzy in Nolan's repertoire after years of open endings and dead clones of magicians and disappointing Batman twist endings. Yeah, it's pretty mainstream as heady sci-fi gets, but come on! 2001: A Space Odyssey had more mainstream sensibilities and YET you people praise it for its Robert Wilson-like patience and iconography. Why not do the same here? Granted that Nolan might be cutting in on some of the Kubrick action, but he ain't shabby as a Kubrick worshiper. A lot better than Gaspar Noé, that's for sure - and a lot less shocking and nihilistic too.
So Earth is dead. And we need that old guy from Dazed and Confused and Fantine to save the world. They team up with the man who tried to turn Joaquin Phoenix into a rapper for metanarrative purposes and not-Morgan Freeman and go into space. Unfortunately, they waste 23 years by accident, which turns Mr. Dazed and Confused's daughter into the floating mother from the Tree of Life, which proves once and for all that when you get older, they don't stay the same age. Along the way, they meet a suicidal Will Hunting, who's pissed that he has a stupid planet to watch over (which looks really David Lean-like in terms of empty alienatingness) and go into a black hole for the betterment of humanity. Does it work? Don't ask me - watch the film yourself.
The plot is great - like the good ol' heady sci-fi of the '60s and '70s. No shocks and technical thrills like Cuaron's Gravity (which still looks great, by the way), no faux-Altman over-schmaltz like Apollo 13 (yeah, yeah, it actually happened - it's just that maybe that old lady was right about the film being too hopeful; the situation IRL was insanely tense), and none of that Edge of Tomorrow "the aliens are evil and stuff" high space opera stuff. This is just humans in space - the realism that Ridley Scott strove for in the Alien/Prometheus duology, but with that Grant/Naylor insistence that aliens not overflood your human-based story. You get your Rimmers (your delayed messages from the friendly folk at NASA), your Krytens (TARS es mi esposo), your Cats (Selina Kyle), and your Listers (the Lincoln salesman) - it's like Red Dwarf, but with more seriousness and 100% less smeg. Of course you're not gonna see sci-fi pushed to its limits here - because in a realistic story like this, you don't want to push sci-fi too hard.
As for how to see this, WATCH IT in IMAX, preferably IMAX 70mm. I insist that you watch it with a large IMAX screen with a loud sound system so hard that it'll probably destroy the Mall of Georgia itself. It's $18, but it's worth it. Definitely worth your money.
Now whether or not you like it, I dunno how you'll feel, but I hope you do like it. Because it's not bad. Because it's pretty good for a sci-fi film. That and Edge of Tomorrow. For entirely different reasons.