Sucker Punch, Certified Copy, and the 2011 Nashville Film Festival

The following blog entry is an article I wrote for TheFilmTalk.com in 2011. That site removed all of their content, so I am reposting my articles here.

Sucker Punch, Certified Copy, and the 2011 Nashville Film Festival

After an exhausting week of a Disney World vacation and NOT riding the new Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios because the park closed one hour earlier than we expected, I’m back for quick reviews of Sucker Punch, Certified Copy, and the 2011 Nashville Film Festival. The Belcourt’s game-changing series Visions of the South has finished, and I’ll be back next week with a review of the second half. Check out my review of the first half here. (Offline. I’ll repost that one soon.)

I’m incredibly excited about this year’s Nashville Film Festival. The lineup is the strongest of the last 5 years I’ve attended. I’m most looking forward to the Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Livesthe newest edition to the Romanian New Wave, Tuesday, After Christmas; Monte Hellman’s new film Road to Nowhereand Nicolas Philibert’s Nenette. I’ll be posting my impressions each night after the screenings. My first film on the roster tonight is Takashi Miike’s 13 Assasins.

You can check out my reviews for The Sleeping Beauty, The Red Chapel, and more in this week’s print and online edition of The Nashville Scene. Out of all the films I pre-screened, The Red Chapel is the best. By all means, see it.

I’m almost reluctant to review Sucker Punch — Zack Snyder’s new assault of the senses — because doing so would feel like poking fun at an easy target: the equivalent to reviewing any Nickelback or Brittany Spears album. The film is a many-layered onion of fantasy and dream; and on the rare occasions when the outer layer shows, you still feel like you’re in a dream thanks to Snyder’s trademark slow-fast ramp, hyper color, blaring style. The soundtrack serves as a metaphor for the film’s badness. Snyder takes really good music — The Pixies, Iggy Pop, etc — and filters it through mind-numbing modern artists — leaving the words and notes but removing every bit of soul. The same can be said for every other aspect of the picture. I will say this though: If you love bad films, you won’t be bored. This one is glorious in its total ineptitude.

Certified Copy

Certified Copy

You can tell in the very first minute of Abbas Kiarostami’s new film Certified Copy that you’re watching the work of a master. I’ve mentioned in the past that his film The Wind Will Carry Us is one of my favorite movies of all time.  My main issue with Certified Copy is that it feels as if Kiarostami is driving his point with a 20 pound mallet. There are too many examples of fake things imitating real things. In one scene, there’s a bride-to-be applying fake tears in preparation for a wedding photo. The act is not the focus of our intention — in fact the bride is out-of-focus in the background of the shot — but my eyes were drawn to it; and here I felt a victim of Kiarostami’s calculated precision. I was immediately taken out of the movie. Nevertheless, Certified Copy is a (minor) masterwork by one of the greatest living directors and should not be missed.

Tony Youngblood is a film and music snob and producer of the experimental improv music blog and podcast Theatre Intangible. His favoritefilms include Eric Rohmer’s The Green Ray, Abbass Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us, Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician, Lee Chang Dong’s Oasis, and Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 1:15 pm.

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