Let's get the normal caveat out there -- I am a sucker for movies. I can't watch the goddamned things at home, but if you put me in a theater, shut out the lights, and [hopefully] shovel some unbuttered popcorn salt -- with a little accompanying popcorn -- into my mouth, I am awfully likely to enjoy the experience, and to praise the movie.
Having given you that, I can enthusiastically endorse these two flicks.
The Band's Visit is not so much "slow" as it is "static." And in an intended, deliberate way that works. It is one long, long deadpan joke, where the seriousness of the subject makes you wonder if its a deadpan joke at all. Which is the perfect state to be in. And the serious subject is isolation. Whether to connect, and -- IF one connects -- how.
Long, slow, unmoving shots, populated by commanding performers who just strike me as movie stars, dammit.
click any photo to enlarge
Chicago 10, on the other hand, is anything but slow, static, unmoving, or long -- it is a blurry festival of modern movie-making, both in technique and in timbre, that nevertheless hearkens back to an earlier time -- the 1930s, to be exact.
I enjoyed the footage, and the decisions the director made. It is anything but a polemic or a screed; even if a viewer didn't know that the courtroom dialogue is culled directly from the transcripts, the viewer would know that he was seeing real people -- even if they are animated!
Hard to believe many of the principals are dead. The Hoffman Twins, Rubin, Dellinger, Kunstler -- dead. Neidermeyer? Dead.
Sorry I digress. . . . .
Go see either or both of these movies.
7 March 2008 UPDATE:
I read Ebert's review of The Band's Visit, and was pleasantly surprised that he had seen THE SAME MOVIE, and gave a more literate and thorough -- but ultimately identical -- review. Okay, my "review" was about thirty words. But I discussed isolation, and connection, and commented on the static shots and their contribution to the film, and he talked about the static shots and their contribution to the film.
I am moving to Chicago to be a fat film critic.
Wait; I'm a fat film critic here, and he's lost a lot of weight . . . .