February 19, 2011

Short Reviews

Here are a couple of movies I've seen recently, and my brief, unorganized opinions on them.

Klute (1971)
This was disappointing. I was excited about seeing the first two movies in Alan J. Pakula's "Paranoia Trilogy" after loving "All the President's Men", but I just really didn't like this much. The characters weren't likable or particularly interesting, the story was slow and meandering, and for a supposed suspense thriller, there were really only one or two brief scenes that I found remotely suspenseful. The ending felt like a cop-out, too. The villain just kind of abruptly enters the story and explains everything to the main character. The direction was surprisingly awkward, given how much I liked Pakula's work in "All the President's Men." The shots were jarring and spatially confusing for no discernable reason. I'm not sure why this movie seems to be held in such high esteem... maybe the acting, I guess.

Apocalypse Now (1979)
This was my second time seeing the movie, but my first time seeing the original non-Redux version. I really liked it the first time I saw it, but my complaints were that it was too long, and that there were a handful of scenes that seemed completely pointless. Turns out all the scenes I had problems with were the ones added back in for Redux. The original version is much more digestible, and while we don't get quite as much into Willard's personality, it's a more consistent portrayal. If he's so determined to get upriver as fast as possible, why would he stop to play practical jokes on Kilgore, hang out with Playboy Bunnies and have dinner at a French Plantation? To me, the Redux version was equally powerful, but less enjoyable because it felt bloated and excessive. Upon re-watching the film, my favourite sequences are still the surreal ones at the Doo-Long bridge and the lead-up to meeting Kurtz.
Redux: 9/10
Original: 10/1

February 16, 2011

Read This Bob McKimson Interview, Fool

I was hoping to get some animation done this afternoon, but instead I've spent the last hour or so reading this extensive 1971 interview with Bob McKimson that Michael Barrier just re-posted. Everybody read it now.


What an amazing read. This is the first time, as far as I can recall, that I've ever heard McKimson's feelings about his work, the other directors, or.... well, anything, really. Is this the only interview he ever gave? It's startling how easily he remembers everything, whereas most interviews about the Golden Age are filled with "I don't remember the cartoon you're asking about" or inaccurate recollections of dates and credits. McKimson is pretty much dead-on with everything. He seems to be a pretty reliable source, unlike just about everybody else.

There are so many great nuggets of information in this piece. McKimson comes off as very confident, and possibly a bit full of himself. It's completely justified though, and from what I've read, Chuck Jones was just as proud, if not more so. He was just less willing to acknowledge it. It's sad reading the parts about Rod Scribner though, and how McKimson eventually got his animators "under control" after they'd been used to "over-playing" everything with Clampett. I think it's unanimous that most of Scribner's work under McKimson feels extremely stifled and restrained compared to his earlier Clampett stuff.