Tuesday, October 10, 2006

OMG, Shortbus is playing here this weekend!!! AND I saw The Science of Sleep, in which my boy Gael gets naked.

Yes! It's true! I just found out that as part of National Coming Out Week, RISD will be having a special prerelease screening of John Cameron Mitchell's new film Shortbus this Saturday at 8:00. A-MAZ-ING. It looks like it's free, even. I must see it.

Also, brief thoughts on The Science of Sleep (the first film I've seen in quite some time):

Alright, first of all... Gael Garcia Bernal is hot. And a God. And a great actor. I would pay to watch him do anything... ESPECIALLY lie in a bathtub, which he does in one scene of Sleep. Gael also dreams a lot, speaks three different languages, romances a French girl, dreams som more, and even appears nude in a hallway for good measure. It's a great little showcase for him. But the film around Gael is unfortunately less than great.

Director Michel Gondry meanders a lot, and needs someone to keep him in check. Like maybe Charlie Kaufmann? But alas, this film is all Gondry, so it was bound to be at least a tad screwy. Indeed, more than a tad: it flies clear off the rails many times. It's like a flying train, blissfully unaware that trains shouldn't fly. Who knew Charlie Kaufmann was such a grounding force?

Anyway... the premise is interesting, and the film mostly engaging (thank you, Gael), but the whole affair just didn't hold together. It was long, erratic, and unfocused. It seemed like one of those pet projects on which it's way too easy to lose perspective; Gondry's clearly in love with his ideas and his creation, but sadly, love is blind. Sometimes TOO much love is just weird and confusing. And even boring. There was often so much going on here that it became hard to process... in the bad way.

Get a good screenwriter next time, Gondry... like maybe Charlie Kaufmann again. You need help in focusing your madness. That said, I do admire your effort, enthusiasm, and innovation. In most films, those qualities are sorely lacking.

Final verdict: B-


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