Monday, February 21st, 2005
We All Live In A Yellow Submarine
I’d been looking forward to The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou for almost a year now, and yet still took a couple months since its release to get around to seeing it. What can I say. I like Wes Anderson’s films – I wouldn’t say I’m a devotee the way that some are, but I do appreciate his distinctive quirks and directorial style. It’s a simple thing, but the way that he likes to frame his shots with the main subjects in the dead centre of a symmetrical setting is enormously pleasing to me.
Clocking in at two hours, The Life Aquatic is his most ambitious film yet, or at least the biggest budget. It follows a team of marine documentarians as they set out to hunt down the jaguar shark that killed one of their number while making a film about it. Anderson favourite Bill Murray is the titular team leader and the rest of the cast is filled with faces familiar from Anderson’s past films (Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston). While I thoroughly enjoyed the film as a whole, I can’t call it a complete success. There are some tremendously funny scenes and the quirks and eccentricites are terrific, ie – the Bowie songs sung in Portugese, the stop-animation marine life, the cutaway dolls-house set for the interior of the Belafonte.
It was also nice to see Bill Murray emote a little in a performance for a change – he’s become a little too adept at that stoic, emotionally defeated, deadpan thing of late. While he’s hardly scenery-chewing, he is a little more animated and it looks good on him. The beard works, too. I was a little disappointed in the story, however. I didn’t think it managed to hit the right notes to provide enough emotional heft to the story of Murray and Wilson as his presumed long-lost son, Ned Plimpton. Overall, the narrative seemed maybe a little too obtuse and didn’t build to the climax(es) that effectively, but it was still a fun film. And I’m not sure if the action sequences, which Anderson has never really tried before, were meant to come off like they were coreographed by the Max Fischer Players. Probably, but you never know.
Arcade Fire, April 27th, Danforth Music Hall. Tickets $20, on sale February 24. It’s a seated show, but I’m not sure if that means reserved seating or a free-for-all. Any bets on how fast this sells out? Not surprisingly, there is some griping from folks who’d prefer the band continues to play little loft shows for pay-what-you-can. Win responds. I don’t know if I can do this one, I’ve got a show the night before and I have to move that weekend. Anyway, there’s also an interview with the band at the Arcade Fire Web Community message board.
Whilst assembling my SxSW wish list for next month, I jotted down March 19 at Stubb’s in Austin – that’ll be the first Son Volt concert in something like nine years. I’ve never seen Son Volt or Jay solo, so I’d like to get into that one though it’s sure to be a hot ticket. And for those who insist this new lineup ain’t Son Volt, you can take comfort in the release of their Austin City Limits performance on DVD April 19th or the Anthology compilation, out May 24 on Rhino.
np – Cinerama / Torino