Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Out of my league

I recently got a chance to see a much beloved modern film (though it doesn't get much talked baout in my "film circle") 24 Hour Party People. The movie reminded me what I so throughly enjoy about director Michael Winterbottom (aside from his hilarious last name) is that he is capable of working in a wide range of styles and genres (drama, romance, satire, documentary and even sci-fi). 24 Hour Party People chronicles the rise and fall of Factory Records in Manchester, England and the colorful personalities that inhabit this world and period. The film is shot in a messy, improv'ed, pseudo-mockumentary style that frequently reflects on it's own post-modernist touches. Some may find it pretentious and too self-conscious for it's own good but that's what I dug about it. At the center of this world filled with experimental punk rock, drugs, sex, booze, violence and genera anarchy is the supremely confident (and completely ridiculous) Tony Wilson played by British comedy God, Steve Coogan. Coogan marches through the film like a cross between Ron Burdgundy, Sid Vicious and Ferris Bueller, he never gets bogged down in the noise, mess and clutter that surround him even though he comments "I'm a minor player in my own life story." Coogan is hardly alone though, the movie is packed to the brim with top-flight British talent. Check out this list; Shirley Henderson, Paddy Considine, Andy Serkis, Rob Brydon, Christopher Eccleston, Simon Pegg and the list goes on. The movie does a solid job filling you in on the world of the Manchester music scene but I still felt there was a whole layer of film that I was completely missing because I lacked virtually any prior knowledge of the world the film inhabits (I have a collection of New Order singles and Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols but that's it).

Let me say this, sometimes going into a movie "blind", not having read the novel or comic, heard the album, knowing the history etc is exciting and prompts the viewer to go out and learn more but sometimes you're left with the feeling of just missing something that would aide in your enjoyment and/or understanding of the film. I ask you readers do you like to go in blind or do you soak up any prior information you can on a movie before watching?


c_henry802 said...

i like going into a lot of movies "blind". particularly comic book movies, as i was never really into them as a kid, so its a whole new universe.

going onto wikipedia after seeing an interesting movie and learning all about the topic is something that i love to do

neonspecs said...

The Ha├žienda!!!!!

I saw that movie in 11th grade (maybe, it could've have been 10th. I don't remember exactly) with only cursory knowledge of the scene, probably a little more than what you've described but not much. And it was still a great movie.

I saw it again last summer and it was really superb, but I think I actually enjoyed it more when I knew less. It was so much more enchanting.

ReadDanceBliss said...

I like to know a little bit... but only a little. I think movie trailers are all generally about 60% too long - I start to cover my eyes and scream, "leave something for the movie! stop giving it all away!" (The other people in theaters love that.)

Um, do i understand that you are MOVING back here?