Sunday 27 March 2005

Sempre estar la, e ver ele voltar

Right then: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

I don't know why, but people seem to have the perception that for all his talent, Bill Murray has only really made a couple of good films.... I suppose we all remember him in films like 'Ghostbusters' (1984), 'Groundhog Day' (1993) and, most recently, 'Lost In Translation' (2003) and wonder what the hell he's been doing with the rest of his time. Sure, he's made a couple of stinkers in his time (Garfield anyone?), but take a look at his entry on the IMDB and as well as those I've already mentioned, you'll see he has a career record lots of actors would be more than happy with:

Tootsie, Scrooged, Ed Wood, Kingpin, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums... hell, I've even got a soft spot for stuff like Caddyshack and Quick Change.

Two of those films - Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums - were directed by Wes Anderson, who also directs 'The Life Aquatic'. As I mentioned earlier this evening, both those films were quirky, and this one isn't about to break the sequence. It tells the story of a washed-up Jacques Cousteau-alike Oceanographer and his quest to find the mythical shark that killed his partner. The casting of the film is like a who's who of whimsical character actors: Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Anjelica Huston, Michael Gambon, Cate Blanchett. Quite a cast, but make no mistake about it, the centre of this film is the baggy, melancholic, world-weary, hangdog Bill Murray himself. He is as majestic as always... playing largely the same character as he always does, it's true, but he is brilliant...

Reviews have been mixed:

"Smug and slow moving"
"Your whimsy tolerance will be tested"
"Anderson's latest endeavour will have you yawning from start to finish"
"The Life Aquatic is Anderson's least interesting film , and should serve as a demostration of the vapidity of his so-called brilliance" (ouch)
"An exquisitely evocative movie that elevates rueful melancholia to a superpower"
"Murray's deadpan presence holds it all together. Like France's Jacques Tati, he's a master of minimalist angst and perfect straight man to a darkly comic world and Anderson skillfully keeps him positioned at the eye of the storm"

You get the general idea: some people loved it, lots of people hate it.

Well I loved it, and was captivated by it - the slowly pirouetting Killer Whale, the apparently dim dolphins, the mad pirates, the magnificent cut-away set of the boat, the red hats and team pyjamas, the kid in lederhosen.... ah. Fantastic.

The thing I loved the most? The soundtrack is made up almost entirely of Portuguese re-workings of classic David Bowie songs on acoustic guitar by the brilliant Seu Jorge, who plays a member of the crew. As if that wasn't enough, two of the non-Bowie soundtrack exceptions are a blisteringly loud & appropriate use for "Search and Destroy" by Iggy and the Stooges and the gloriously obscure "30 Century Man" by Scott Walker - the rest of the sountrack is made up of some wonderfully inspired electronic bleeping.

Who could ask for more? Go see.

Christians can be a wonderfully literal people, can't they?

It might have come to your attention that this time of year is something of a big deal in the Christian calendar. I love the fact that it is traditional to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lamb of God by eating..... lamb.


Is that some kind of play on the whole "eat of this, this is my body" thing, or are we just being unimaginative? Christmas may be the less important festival in the religious calendar, but it is a whole lot more inventive when it comes to food traditions. You'll struggle to find a turkey in the Bible.

Having said that, the whole chocolate egg / Easter Bunny thing? Hats off for that idea. To paraphrase Bill Hicks - God created all the plants & animals of the Earth for mankind to use, and that includes Marijuana, right guys? It's the only explanation.


I just looked at the clock - British Summer Time started at 01:00 and the clocks went forward an hour. On the plus side, this means that it will seem a lot lighter in the evenings. On the downside, it means it is now 2am.



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