Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Haven't blogged in a few days, but have been seeing movies. My Netflix queue is near its end, but some Independent Spirit nominees haven't made screeners available. Don't know if i'll get to see "Infamous" before the deadline.

Yesterday, went to see the first of the press screenings for Peter Whitehead's movies at Anthology. "The Fall": a semi-doc about the period of 1967-68 in New York City. The first hour or so is maddening: it's very self-indulgent, and it turns out that a lot of that section is fictional, an "improvised" story about a London photographer in NYC and his encounters with a Italian girl who is a fashion model, and some guy who drives him around. But the final half hour is riveting: Whitehead takes his camera and goes into Columbia University during the student takeover in April of 1968, and suddenly, there are these kids, all so impassioned, and there's an articulation of their point of view...

Friday, January 26, 2007

"The decider" is now "the decision maker" on Iraq: George W. Bush just shows his contempt for any idea of democracy, and reveals his true belief in himself as dictator. Plus more revelations about the utter shambles that have been wrought upon the notion of "civil liberties" show you how closely Bush is towards making the United States a fascist country.

Since Monday: went to the press screening of "Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams" and when i got out, Larry was frantically calling my cellphone. The boiler blew up! There was steam rushing out of the boiler and water was all over the boiler room. By the time i got home, Larry had turned off the boiler and was waiting for the Keyspan emergency crew. They got there about 9:15, two hours after Larry had called. They checked the the boiler, they couldn't tell us what was wrong, but they made sure everything was turned off so that the boiler wouldn't leak. Larry had already made an appointment with the Keyspan repair service. So the emergency crew told us to call Keyspan, to say that the emergency crew had been there but we still needed the repair service.

So the repair service was supposed to be there sometime between 8 AM to 1 PM Tuesday. No hot water, no heat for a few hours, but it wasn't so bad, but we were worried because the forecast was for the temperature to plunge below freezing by the end of the week. Of course, Larry was in hysterics worrying that the boiler couldn't be repaired and we'd have to freeze. Well, the Keyspan repairman came about 11 AM, it took about 45 minutes, turned out it was the valve, it needed to be replaced. (Last year, when we had problems with the boiler, it was the gauge.) The reason for the water wasn't because the boiler was leaking: the steam that was coming from the valve was condensing because of the cold air. So it wasn't really that serious, but getting a new boiler has been one of our plans for the last year... we're just waiting for the spring.

But having the service contract with Keyspan was one of the smartest things i did; as soon as we moved in, we had to contact Keyspan to come and turn on the gas, and when i called, the person i talked to asked if i'd be interested in a Keyspan service contract. That's been one of the most useful things i've done.

Because of waiting for the Keyspan repair person, missed the press screening of "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion" which i haven't seen since... what? 1970? Whenever it was. There are a number of Italian directors (Elio Petri, Pietro Germi, Mario Monicelli, Ettore Scola) who made some terrific movies in the 1960s and 1970s... MoMA had a retrospective of Petri's films, and i caught "A Quiet Place in the Country"....

Manohla Dargis has a wound-up of Sundance, and reading all the stuff about Sundance (every day, indieWire has a whole raft of articles/interviews/reviews) is just getting to me. I just can't even go into it.

However, i was glad that i went to the press screening of the German doc "The Decomposition of the Soul". It turned out to be engrossing, but what was nice was running into Jim Hoberman and Tony Pipolo.

Anyway, because i missed the screening of "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion", i stayed home and watched the first two Boston Blackie movies on TCM: "Meet Boston Blackie" and "Confessions of Boston Blackie". Have to say thought they were charming, and was glad i finally saw them. Those are the kind of B movie that are easy to overlook....

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Stephen Holden has an article in the NY Times on Scott Siegel; Scott and Barbara were always people Larry and i looked forward to seeing on the film festival circuit, but they haven't been going to as many screenings, now that Scott's been so active producing events for Town Hall, and Barbara's been so active with the Drama Desk Awards. But they were always really fun and enthusiastic.

A lot of information on various blogs. George Robinson alerts people to the upcoming screenings at Anthology of Lynne Sachs's videos; he has some really sharp comments on her work, and her work is certainly worth checking out. I was glad to have seen "States of Unbelonging", which i found very acute in its depiction of the emotional trauma associated with the current situation in the Middle East. George also recommends Garrel's "Regular Lovers" which starts a run at the Cinema Village; it certainly will be one of the most important films released in NYC in 2007, and it's only January! But Garrel's film has a sleepwalking, tranced-out beauty... very "underground". Anyway, George's blog is available at and also includes his thoughts on Ten Best lists.

Matt Zoller Seitz is now a stringer for the NY Times, taking over from Nathan Lee, who is now at The Village Voice. I'm glad to see Matt on a regular beat, his blog is always amusing ( because it's an ongoing online journal, with a number of contributors taking on (say) "Deadwood" and its signification, or doing a tribute to Barbara Stanwyck. Matt has been missed in The New York Press: he and Armond provided a wonderful counterpoint to each other.

Sundance has started, watched the first "Festival Dailies" on the Sundance Channel, strange to see Shari Frilot and John Cooper...

This week, went to the press screening for the revival of Jacques Demy's "The Pied Piper", forgot how much the opening is like a picture-book version of "The Seveth Seal", but the scene with the wedding cake in the shape of a castle, with the rats eating their way out from the inside... that remains a stratling scene. Ran into Jim Hoberman and Armond White at the screening... it was funny, there were three other people when i got there, and then Jim came, and we were talking with Stephanie, and she said she was waiting for one more person, and then Armond showed up. Of course! It was a Jacques Demy movie! I do think "The Pied Piper" is one of the better Demy movies, it's not quite totally successful (what i assume were budgetary restrictions made the ending, with the rats and then the children being led away by Donovan, seem to be rather desultory)... Jim had an interesting comment, he said that "The Pied Piper" was Demy's "Weekend", i.e., his vision of an apocalypse, the vernal, too-green landscape shrouded in the Black Death.

Went to the press screening of "Torta Bluma" and "2 Or 3 Things I Know About Him", the documentary by Malte Ludin about investigating his father's Nazi past, and the repercussions on his family (his mother, his sisters, his nieces and nephews, etc.). It was solid and engrossing without being really.... i don't know, i just wasn't drawn in.

But that was also my response to "The Trials of Darryl Hunt", which is an Independent Spirit nominee for Best Documentary. In the case of "The Trials of Darryl Hunt"... it was too long. There were talking-head segments which seemed to go on and on, though they really weren't that long. But in a news format piece, you need to get things moving, you need to edit the piece so that the information is presented with sharpness and concision. This didn't do it, so the piece seemed to drag, and the urgency seeped out. There should have been passion in this documentary, and it came across as tired.

Yesterday, went to the press screening of Kazuo Hara's "Goodbye C.P." ("C.P." standing for Cerebral Palsy.) This time, there were four people at the screening, one of whom was Ed Halter. We talked a little about Hara (talk about "guerilla" filmmaking!); "The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On" remains one of the most aggressive political documentaruies ever made. There's no question of "passion" in Hara's films: he's so in-your-face, and he drives his subjects crazy with his relentlessness. There are scenes which are just horrifying in "Goodbye C.P." because of that, yet there's also an honesty which is undeniable.

Two movies i watched for the Independent Spirit Awards were "Stephanie Daley" and "Steel City". They were both worthwhile, but that's not what caught my attention. What caught my attention was the fact that Amber Tamblyn was in "Stephanie Daley" and America Ferrara was in "Steel City". A little while ago, i watched "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" on TV, which also starred Alexis Bledel. And it mad eme think about the situation for these young actresses....

Amber Tamblyn went into "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" coming off "Joan of Arcadia", a critically acclaimed but soon-cancelled TV series; Alexis Bledel was (and still is) in "The Gilmore Girls"; America Ferrara had made her debut in the "indie" film "Real Women Have Curves". The other girl was Blake Lively (one of a gaggle of Lively children who are now acting). Watching these young people trying to find a way to prove that they're more than the usual ingenues....

Of course, i hadn't remembered that "The Pied Piper" was Cathryn Harrison's first movie. In the next three years, she would also star in Robert Altman's "Images" and Louis Malle's "Black Moon"; her father was Noel Harrison, who, after his ascent to stardom in "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.", soon gave it all up to go to a commune in Canada, where he concentrated on folk music, a total repudiation of the sophistication and urbanity for which his father, Rex Harrison, was noted. And his daughter, for a time, would be the flower-child muse for some of the more eccentric projects of the early 1970s.

Doug Cummings has the news that (finally) the DVD of Charles Burnett's "The Killer of Sheep" should be out this year. It's coming from Milestone, yet another example of the excellent work that they are doing. (Certainly, their release of "Winter Soldier" was a major cultural achievement in 2006, and they're bringing "The Troubles We've Seen" to DVD soon.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

So today was the followup on my doctor's visit, and my cholesterol is really high, and the doctor is going to put me on pills to try to take it down. This is what i've feared: that it's going to get to the point where i can't just control it through diet and exercise.

I feel horrible about this. I've tried and tried to watch what i eat, but it seems to be useless.

Anyway, i hate Netflix. I sent off "Steel City" and "Stephanie Daley", and the next movie on my queue was supposed to be "Infamous"... and yet now it's marked as Very Long Wait, while yesterday, it was marked Now. So that should have been my next movie. But now i don't know when i'll get to see it. Or "The Illusionist" (which had been marked Now over the weekend). This is driving me crazy. I was glad to see "Wristcutters" and "Four Eyed Monsters", but too many of these dreary dramas and i'll go stircrazy.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The other day, when talking to Stephanie Gray (i couldn't make it to her late night poetry/film event at the Poetry Project yesterday; Charles and Anthony were coming by), she asked me whether i'd be doing more extensive writing... similarly, every so often someone liek Wellington Love will ask me if i'll be doing a bigger piece on a specific film (if i happen to like it). But right now, there aren't many options. And (i have to admit) i'm not much of a scrambler. If someone wants to publish something of mine, fine. If someone gives me a deadline, i'll meet it. But i'm not going to try to push myself.

One reason is that the field is (now) so crowded: there are so many people writing about "film". And in the last few months there have been so many shakeups: the firings at The Village Voice, the changes at many of the daily papers, etc. Getting a job, and keeping a job, as a film critic is getting harder and harder, and i'm not up to the hassle. Two notes: 1) there are now a lot of Asian-Americans writing about film - Dennis Lim, Nathan Lee, Kristi Mistuda, etc. I wonder if any of them realize that i was the first to write for "mainstream" (i.e., non-ethnic) publications. 2) But what standards are people applying when they're writing about film?

Decades ago, when i would meet other people who were writing about film, i would often be appalled by their ignorance. The "canons" (such as they were) of literature, of theater, even of film... it seemed as if no one had the inclination to have any knowledge. Which is fine. What knowledge is required when confronted with something like "Rocky Balboa"? (Well, maybe the other gazillion "Rocky" movies.) And people would sniff at a movie and say "filmed theater" as if it were an insult to their rugged sensibilities. (But what do they think Dreyer's "Ordet" and "Gertrud" were? Or Griffith's "Way Down East"?) And so many people hold to the idea that the movie should stand up on its own, so they never bother to read the novel a movie is based on. (I just came across that "justification" recently from a critic from a major weekly.) In 1968 (1968, mind you), Pauline wrote: "There is a new generation of moviegoers which believes that a movie is sui generis and that a critic is betraying a literary bias - and thus an incompetence at dealing with film as film - in bringing up a movie's literary origins. Last year Brendan Gill discussed this problem in relation to 'Reflections in a Golden Eye,' and it recently came up in a symposium on movies at the New School for Social Research where the participating critics were dumbfounded to discover that some of the younger members of the audience did not believe that even Albert Camus's 'The Stranger' was relevant to a discussion of Visconti's film version." And to think that this view is perpetuated to this day!

But i've become so lazy: i'm not doing as much reading as i used to. Oh, every day, i do read the newspapers, and i read the various magazines and journals that come in, but i haven't just taken the time to read a bunch of books.

The other day, Larry and i were watching "Rent" on TV: we missed the beginning, but we watched about an hour of it, until the end. And it was so easy to see what was wrong, but it was hard to figure out how the material should have been used. What could have been done to create a movie out of "Rent"?

Friday, January 12, 2007

What is "alternative" media, and what is "independent" media? This is something i've been trying to figure out, but today, i simply veged out and watched various movies on TV. "Forbidden", the old Frank Capra weepie from 1932 with Barbara Stanwyck (the worst of the five movies they did together)... and there's no excuse, because Capra himself is credited with the damned story. "Cry of the City", the Robert Siodmak noir with Victor Mature and Richard Conte. Technically, it's amazing... but the (over)use of Alfred Newman's theme from "Street Scene" is so characteristic of 20th Century Fox in the late 1940s (it's also overused in "Dark Corner" and in "Where the Sidewalk Ends"). It's when you chime in with crap like that, that you know you've seen too many movies! (Another tune 20th Centruy Fox overused was "Over the Rainbow": it's used incessantly in "I Wake Up Screaming", and it practically drowns out "Junior Miss". That was something i could never understand: how the hell did 20th Century Fox get the rights to "Over the Rainbow" when it's from an MGM movie?)

Charles and Anthony came by, so they could do their laundry from their European trip. Three loads. And we watched part of "Real Sex" on HBO, and then watched part of "The Family Stone". I don't know why, but i was surprised that Charles hadn't seen it. Larry and i saw it during the Christmas season of 2005... that was a year when there were a lot of screenings in December, and we went to as many as we could. This year, there weren't as many Christmas movies, those hideously cute family comedies, at least, not many released through the "boutique" labels (Fox Searchlight, Warner Independent, Focus Features... now, The Weinstein Company)... instead, there were a lot of releases of dystopian fantasies (cf. "Children of Men", "Pan's Labyrinth"). These Christmas movies are usually so hideous, they get terrible reviews, and people try to forget they were ever made. This year, there was the one with Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick... i can't even remember the title. One of the worst of these Christmas "comedies" was the one (years ago) with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father trying to get a sold-out toy for his son... oh, that one was grisly! (I tried watching it on TV, and gave up; i can't imagine sitting in a theater watching it.)

But the whole idea of accents... it's like it's hard to explain, but Audrey Hepburn (as an example) just is totally unconvincing as a Cockney. Her accent (even in English) is ever-so-slightly foreign (she grew up learning English in foreign countries, i.e., Belgium and Holland, and her mother was Dutch). Jeanne Moreau's mother was English, and Moreau is fluent in English, but she certainly has a French accent. In "The Actress", when Jean Simmons sings that funny song to prove to her parents (played by Spencer Tracy and Teresa Wright) that she can "act", whenever she sings the word "camera", she doesn't say "camera" (short "a" after "c") the way an American would, she says "cah-mera" (long "a" after "c") the way the British do.

If Richard Burton really believed that Marlon Brando's greatness as an actor was limited by his (rather undistinguished) voice, whatever did he think of Elizabeth Taylor's voice? (But Stanley Kauffmann, one of Brando's great defenders in his early career, also singled out Brando's voice as a weakness.) And that's the problem: now, we have so many actors with voices which are just so bland and flat and uninteresting.

On Michael Giltz's blog (, he talks about the ratings of some shows. "Friday Night Lights" seems to be holding steady, in spite of the crazy instability of its scheduling; against all odds, it's a show that's finding an audience. But ratings were way off for the season opener of "The L Word". On IndieWire, there are the line-ups of the various guilds (Producers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild) for their awards. At this time, the highest grossing movie (among the nominees from the PGA) is "Little Miss Sunshine". "Dreamgirls" is expanding slowly, so it may overtake "Little Miss Sunshine", but so far, "Little Miss Sunshine" has been a real hit.

Yesterday, went to see "Becket". No, it hasn't really improved with age, and even nostalgia can't make it more than a stodgy and sloggy bog. But... to hear people like Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton, John Gielgud, Martita Hunt, Pamela Brown, Felix Aylmer, et al just speak... the kind of trained voices that these people have (which even most recent English actors don't have)... they can make any utterance just seem so musical. They use their voices as true instruments, with every tiny inflection so expressive!

There are so many things that have changed since i started seeing movies (when i was a child). As an English-speaking person, i was taught to appreciate English when it is beautifully spoken. One thing that has happened in the collapse of vocal training which has overtaken so much of the English-speaking theater is that the current crop of English actors are much better at American accents than previous generations. Even people like Michael Caine and Vanessa Redgrave... when they try American accents, head for the hills! Just horrendous! And people like Jean Simmons, Deborah Kerr, and Claire Bloom, no matter how long they've been in America, never shook that English elocution.

I'm trying to work my way through my Netflix queue; still have to see "Stephanie Daley". Probably will watch it later today. Watching "Forbidden" on TCM right now, one of Frank Capra's movies with Barbara Stanwyck. She gets to do her aging number, where she goes from her 20s to her 40s (she does this in "So Big" as well). It's so funny to think that, in the 1930s, people in their 40s were considered really old.

Cybill Shepherd has been making the rounds of the talk shows, publicizing "The L Word". She's been talking about her upcoming birthday (she's almost 60).

This week, when i was watching Lynne Sachs's videos, when the credits rolled, i was astounded at how many people she acknowledged for their help. Not because i don't think it's hard to make anything, but because it was a list of "the usual suspects"... people like Alan Berliner, Mark Street, Ira Sachs...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Already, have gotten e.mails from places like Action Center, about upcoming protests regarding Bush's State of the Union address. The dread i felt all day paralyzed me, and i didn't really do anything. Tomorrow, there's a press screening of "Becket", which i decided to try to see again, because i'd seen "Venus" and i guess i wanted to see Peter O'Toole before he wasted himself.

On Doug Cummings's blog (, he has a piece on "contemplative cinema". George Robinson's blog ( has a (preliminary) year-end round-up; as George observes, it really was a good year at the movies. At least, for those of us who wanted to see something else except the usual Hollywood stuff. I'm working my way through the Netflix selections for the Independent Spirit Awards; am now finishing "Wristcutters: A Love Story" which is rather quietly (as opposed to determinedly) quirky. Here's where aesthetics become tricky: "Wristcutters" is probably a "better" film than "Four Eyed Monsters" (which is far more jagged and sporadic), but "Four Eyed Monsters" is more "original" and that does count for something.

Well, at least this month is Mystery Month: the Hallmark Channel has new "Murder 101", "Mystery Woman" and "McBride" episodes, and Bravo has the new season of "Monk" and "Psych". The kid who plays the lead in "Psych" is a graduate of the Experimental Theater program at NYU; with him and Camyrn Manheim, that's two very successful graduates of the program (which is probably not what Richard Schechner anticipated).

"The L Word" had the premiere of its fourth season; it's such a fantasy show, but i enjoy it. Jennifer Beals has become quite accomplished, and i think Katherine Moening and Daniela Sea are pretty amazing. (What amazing? I think they're hot!) It's as much a fantasy as the American version of "Queer as Folk" was, but what's the harm?

Watching "Wristcutters", i recognized Leslie Bibb, and then Shannyn Sossamon made her appearance. There are a number of these girls (Carly Pope, Bibb's co-star on "Popular", is another) who seem to float through these indie productions.

Yesterday, in between the screening of "China Blue" and "The Italian", i stopped by to see Douglas. He's now become quite fond of his computer (after months of screaming about how terrifying it is), and i felt guilty, because i showed him a lot of sites... well, i showed him Mason Wyler's MySpace page, and i knew he'd love it. Not just because Mason Wyler is so cute, but because he's so sincere! Mason Wyler's recent post about how lonely he was when separated from his boyfriend for 10 days (due to the holidays) was just too adorable. And i knew Douglas would find it all too charming.

Spencer Quest has announced (on his fansite) that the three month hiatus he mentioned is actually a 90-day rehab program. I hope he'll be ok.

Haven't spoken to Brett since just before Christmas, and i wonder how he's doing....

One film that will be opening in the next two months is already one of my Ten Best for 2007: "Into Great Silence", that magnificent documentary about Carthusian monks. I just loved it when i saw it, and i can't wait to see it again.

There's really no change in the government: Bush is going around claiming to be "the decider". Well, he's certainly a war criminal, at least if any sane international law prevails. The idea of watching him declare a "new" policy in Iraq (simply by intensifying and amplifying the war) is too disgusting. I can't do it!

It's so horrifying to me. All these dystopian visions of the future that have been prevalent since the 1970s: it's connected with the panic felt by reactionaries. In the recent American Scholar, there were some persuasive articles about "pseudo-conservatism"; Ethan Fishman's article, "Not Compassionate, Not Conservative" accurately describes Bush as a reactionary, not a conservative, and his policies are politically, socially, philosophically backward, his policies are based on fear, fear of the unknown, fear of the future. But hiding your head in the sand and then attacking isn't the answer. But that's Bush's answer. And (by the way) Bush's "conviction" that homosexuality is wrong because it says so in the Bible... well, in the very next stanza of the Old Testament, it says that if your children disobey you publicly, you should take them out and have them stoned to death. Since the Bush twins have disobeyed their father publicly (i.e., sneaking out with fake I.D.s and getting arrested for D.U.I.), i don't see Bush taking them out to stone them to death. Since he's a hypocrite about the Bible, he's a hypocrite about everything else. Only if he actually stones his daughters, will he be able to say that he follows the Old Testament faithfully.

What an idiot!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Haven't blogged in a week, have been busy with screenings, tried to blog this morning but maintenance was being done on the site so my blog couldn't be posted.

Anyway, the Netflix queue is finally starting to fill up, and have been seeing movies regularly that are nominees for Independent Spirit Awards. Have been going to screenings. Ok. Since the first of the year, the films (or videos) seen: Wim Wenders's "Land of Plenty", Billy Wilder's "Ace in the Hole", Azazel Jacobs's "The Goodtimeskid", Ken Jacobs's "Two Wrenching Departures", the docs "Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World" and "Kiki Smith: Squatting the Palace", "Hong Yan" (part of this year's Global Lens series, and the one which will get a weeklong run at MoMA), "Sorry, Haters", "You're Gonna Miss Me", four videos from the Artists Space series: "Situation Leading to a Story", "His Divine Grace", "The Battle of Orgreave", and "Ernesto Samper Addresses Washington, Jan. 20th, Inauguration Day", "Chalk", four videos by Lynne Sachs: "The Small Ones", "Tornado", "Investigation of a Flame" and "States of Unbelonging", the doc "China Blue", "The Italian", "Four Eyed Monsters". Ironically, i watched "Four Eyed Monsters" a little after its actual simulcast over the Sundance Channel's v.o.d. system. (I think that's what it is, being basically a technical dummy, all i know is that it was being offered as some sort of at-home-screening via computer.) Where to begin? There's so much....

Since i saw "Four Eyed Monsters" last, i shall begin with it. Yes, it's often irritating and self-indulgent, yet it's also fresh and (dare i say it?) innovative, because it shows how the new technology (digital video, etc.) can create a d.i.y. aesthetic. It's the kind of "film" where the whole episode about herpes is freakish, yet also shows the "new" intimacy that the new technology brings about. Susan Buice and Arin Crumley, as "creators" (writers-directors-editors-stars), certainly are willing to take chances. And the eight episodes of the "video podcast" which followed the film on the DVD: it was (for me) even more engrossing than the movie itself. I have to think about "Four Eyed Monsters" more, but i wound up being very sympathetic to it. (And i can see why it had trouble finding a distributor, but why it is finding its way through festivals and the various "other" media, podcasts, v.o.d., etc. to audiences.)

"Ace in the Hole" and "Two Wrenching Departures" were both works i'd seen before, but not in decades, and yet, as soon as they started, i remembered everything. It's like i found myself able to recite the dialogue in "Ace in the Hole"... i had no idea it had been so memorable to me. And "Two Wrenching Departures"... hell, i remember the dialogue from "The Barbarian" more from this Nervous System piece than i do from the actual movie (which i've seen). Ken put a little note at the beginning of this DVD transfer of the original Nervous System piece, explaining that the soundtrack came (mostly) from the MGM film "The Barbarian" starring Myrna Loy and Ramon Novarro, but i know he told me that after the initial screening, and when "The Barbarian" played on TCM, i know i watched it, just so i could see whether the movie was as intriguing as the snippets Ken used. Sad to say, it isn't, but it's memorable in "Two Wrenching Departures".

A lot more. But i should add that, while watching "Land of Plenty", i realized that what oftens saves Wim Wenders is that he's (truly) naive. If he weren't, if he were a little more cynical or
self-aware (as Werner Herzog has become, as witness "Incident at Loch Ness"), a lot of his movies would be intolerable. As it is, the sincerity (even of the most lamebrained ideas) redeems his movies, by creating a genuine poignancy. That happened in "Wings of Desire" and in "Paris, Texas"... but in "Faraway, So Close", the wooziness took over and the film meandered and fell apart. But "Land of Plenty" just barely succeeds in evoking a mood of dissatisfaction in the paranoia of post-9/11 America.

Well, thought it was time to post, and more later.