Sunday, September 23, 2012

Post-9/11 on the Big Screen

After years of hearing the buzz from nearly ever film website and podcast on my daily rotation, I decided to watch Margaret during the week of the latest 9/11 anniversary.  The film was actually shot years ago (so long ago that they almost - almost - get away with casting Anna Paquin as a high school student ... but honestly, when I saw the first shot of her in the classroom, all I could think of was the running joke in the recent 21 Jump Street reboot that 20-something guys look nothing like teenagers).  Yet, after a series of post-production lawsuits spurred by studio meddling with the final cut, the release date shifted from somewhere in 2006 to 2011.  The battle over editing calls to mind Terry Gilliam's epic struggle with his studio over Brazil, and while it's too early to tell if Margaret deserves that top shelf level of comparison, I will say it's among the best films I've seen over the past few years, easily.

I'm going to pass on posting a trailer to encourage going in blind.  Any clip you might see in advance is likely to give you the wrong impression of what this film is.  On that note, what follows is mostly spoiler-free except in the vaguest of terms.

Inside the Wall, Vol. 3 (9.23.12)

The back half of my summer involved a lot more time in the office than I'd prefer, hence the lack of any posts since early July (aside from a short thought experiment proposing concept albums that ought to be made into feature-length films).  So now I have a few months worth of culture to summarize.  This post comes back-to-back with a longer write-up of the stunning, red-headed stepchild of a film called Margaret and other "Post-9/11" films I highly recommend, so I'll be brief:

Starting with music, a new collaboration between David Byrne and St. Vincent called Love This Giant is reliably solid and underlines nicely the direct influence that Talking Heads had on the latter.  I will be seeing the two perform together next weekend, so the real question will be whether the Brooklyn newbie can match the legend's considerable stage presence (or, like the time I saw David Bowie tour with Nine Inch Nails, whether all the glam rock trappings that Trent Reznor adopted from the master will look flimsy by comparison).