Southland and Other Tales

I’ve been intrigued by the Cannes reviews of Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly’s latest film, Southland Tales. While the reviews of Kelly’s 160-minute Cannes cut have been mostly negative, Kelly’s comments about the film make it sound compelling. And given that Donnie Darko didn’t find an audience until it was released on DVD, I’m beginning to wonder if Kelly’s approach to movie making isn’t better suited for the DVD medium. Of course the cinematography for Darko is impressive, and seeing the film on a smaller screen automatically entails some form of loss, but as Nick points out in his blog essay on “incompleteness,” Kelly often seems to be re-directing his films during his director’s commentary tracks.

At any rate, Matt Dentler’s blog entry describes two scenes that may contribute little to the film’s narrative but work well as “set pieces,” self-contained scenes that seem to be doing something. The first features “a moody dance sequence–featuring The Rock, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mandy Moore, and others– choreographed to” Moby’s “Memory Gospel.” The latter features “an inexplicably bloody Justin Timberlake lip-synching a Killers tune while surrounded by a chorus line of dancers.” I haven’t seen the film, but these moments sound pretty amazing. Meanwhile, Anne Thompson reports on Kelly’s creative casting decisions and, in describing Kelly’s post-Cannes press conference, speculates that Kelly is in need of a good editor, compaing his films to the often-rambling but intellectually-stimulating work of filmmakers such as Wim Wenders (Until the End of the World, by the way, is a personal fave) and Gus Van Sant. The comparison to Robert Aldrich’s 1955 film noir, Kiss Me Deadly is also enticing.

Also worth noting: Mark Peranson’s Village Voice article, which anticipates that Southland Tales is destined to become Kelly’s “next cult film.”

Update: Just testing something by republishing this entry. Talk amongst yourselves.

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