Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Thoughts on Syriana and Of Montreal

Thoughts on Syriana

I’m really tired of network narratives, hyperlink cinema or any other fads which make for films which have a dozen underdeveloped main characters. That said, Syriana isn’t a bad film, but it’s certainly a confusing one considering fictional Middle-Eastern policy is just as befuddling as the real deal. If a Middle-Eastern country pisses off the US by granting energy rights to China while another company bribed an Emir which leads to a CIA operative being double crossed…who committed what crime and should I be pissed? That’s not exactly what happens in the movie but it’s a demonstration of the kind of head-scratching plot development which explains why Crash reduced its entire cast to stereotypes and anti-stereotypes: because it’s hard to keep track of people if you can’t refer to them as “the Arab guy” or “the black wife”. There’s a lot of good in the film though: the viewer will leave somewhat educated about the energy crisis and George Clooney and Matt Damon get to act together (kind of) in a movie that doesn’t involve Danny Ocean. As for Clooney’s Oscar winning performance, it’s ok but he put on 20 pounds and a beard PLUS there was a torture scene so you know the academy loved that.

All in all, an ok film but nothing unbelievable. Still, it’s better than Crash anyway you slice it and both of those films are in the same batsuit, as Clooney might say.

Of Montreal in Montreal part 3

Kevin Barnes is the only man I’m willing to see walk onstage in a wedding gown and strip down half-naked in tight pants. That’s a testament to the rocking good time one gets at an Of Montreal show, officially the band I’ve seen the most (3rd time in a year!). Interestingly enough, the band was a little more talkative than usual, playing up the crowd and making jokes whereas they usually let the music do all the talking. This was partly necessary to introduce the new songs which the band was testing throughout the night but it also showed a growing report with the audience which is always a good thing. Barnes and co may not be the Decemberists yet, but I’ll be damned if they’re not trying as hard as possible to get there.

Besides, any band that can segue into Europe’s The final countdown deserves props.

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