Friday, April 20, 2007

Foreign affairs

get thee w/ immediacy to Church Number 9 and download Michel Pilz's "Celeste." gorgeous bass-clarinetism from this German veteran who's totally new to me. this guy shreds w/ gusto. love that he plays the bass cl only and not as a secondary horn. that's a rare thing.


just finished Whit Stillman's Barcelona. like "Metropolitan," the whole thing hinges on the incredible chemistry between actors Taylor Nichols and Chris Eigeman. the latter's got this endlessly appealing dry, smart, cynical thing and the former is hopelessly neurotic and straight-laced and dogmatic. the way they antogonize each other (like when Eigeman insists on spreading the rumor that Nichols wears S&M leather under his clothes) is priceless and hilarious.

it's a worldlier movie than "Metropolitan," which is i guess somewhat obvious given that it's set in Europe whereas "Metro" takes place almost entirely in stuffy Upper West Side drawing rooms. and in some ways deeper. you see the characters moving about in the world more--Nichols plays an accountant, Eigeman a navy officer. there's actually some pretty heavy political stuff involving anti-American bombings and the like.

but the funny thing is that the characters are essentially fighting the same wars they are in Barcelona, namely waging combat against asshole lothario types. in "Metropolitan" it's Rick Von Sloneker and here it's this sleazy journalist named Ramon. there's also Stillman's fascination w/ these sort of motley groupings of defeated lonely men wandering around overanalyzing their plight. that's how "Metropolitan" ends and here there's some great existential barhopping scenes w/ Nichols and Eigeman, and this totally scene where they're mourning a dead colleague of Eigeman's in a warehouse drinking cheap whiskey.

the women are great too, giving off a totally different vibe than in "Metro." but in a way it's the same: they all sort of look down on the men, but humor them occasionally. they definitely hold the cards and Stillman seems to enjoy this theme, the idea of men just constantly getting their heads spun around by women who could really care less.

anyway, i wish Whit Stillman would get back to filmmaking. and it's too damn bad that Taylor Nichols isn't more well known (maybe he is to a greater degree than i know; he's done a lot of TV lately apparently). he really stakes out new territory in the stuttery, pacing, neurotic realm, which is saying a lot given how played out that stuff is.

as for Eigeman, he's in this new romantic comedy, The Treatment. dunno what to think about this one, but i'll watch him in anything.

1 comment:

Joe M said...

Stillman's "The Last Days of Disco", the third in the trilogy, is also great and completely overlooked. Sadly the DVD is out of print.