Saturday, 13 February 2010

2009 in Review: The Art of Making Art… putting it together. 
Films on forms of artistic ventures are a dime a doze, but I love them anyways. We have cinema to thank for giving us glimpses of so many famous people – the literary kind, sometimes painters, singers so often and this year though it was not quite as abundant it was satisfying. The film that took it the furthest had to be Marshall’s Nine. Nine took it even further than its musical source. In fact the entire Act Two is amended that Nine (the movie) turns into a film about making itself, it’s dangerously tongue-in-cheek and not typical musical territory. A psychological musical? Haven’t heard that one before. Above all else, though, Nine was about the difficulty of creating. In fact Guido’s plight can probably be understood by Jeff Bridges’ Bad Blake. He’s washed up, Guido is too, in a way. So is Adam Sandler’s George Simmons. Bridges is obviously the most sympathetic of the lot. What’s interesting is that each of these artists – the comedian, the singer, the director – tries to reach out to women. The reason Funny People falls flat though is that this very reaching out, though featuring an in form Leslie Mann, seems like an afterthought. The Soloist’s Nathaniel Ayers is not even as lucky. He’s not just experiencing a transition; he’s at the end of his line. I’m a bit surprised no one went for Fox’s portrayal, though it’s not my favourite of the year (not even close) – it’s better than at least two of the Supporting Actors nominated at…, but I won’t go there. The Soloist’s problem is that I’m not sure if it’s Downey Jr.’s journalist story of Fox’s demented man. Still, The Soloist is much better than it’s given credit for, even it’s just a bit too spotless.
Whereas these three men are grappling with losing their gift John Keats isn’t even sure he has one. It is unfortunate that all brilliant men couldn’t have experienced the brevity their work has had, and John Keats has always been one of the more depressing ones. Next to Charlotte Bronte, he’s probably the writer of the era who least realised the future profundity of their work. Bright Star isn’t really Keat’s story – it’s Fanny Brawne’s – but he is imperative to the success of Bright Star, and Ben Whishaw epitomises all that is John Keats and yet, resists falling into the clichéd traps of the “sensitive man”. Still, I can understand Keats’s plight – like Wordsworth his style was atypical to the age. And on that note we can understand the plight of Julia Child. Whatever my reservations of Streep’s Child may be Julie & Julia works as a satisfying tale of conquering personal demons, of sorts. It’s funny noting how Child finds it so hard to find a place for herself, of course I knew nothing of the woman prior to the film – but it’s interesting note how success is mountain climbed and not a prize discovered. I suppose that makes it all the more worth while.
We had a singer, a comedian, a musician, a director, a poet and a chef. Which of these creators impressed you most?


Mike Lippert said...

I agree with you about the Soloist which is a little better than people give it credit for. Yes it's kind of an aimless meander and what it ultimatly wants to achieve is kind of a mystery because it never really decides who it wants to be about, but there is still something there worth seeing.

Can't defend Julie and Julia though, it's esentially about nothing and I find the entire thing kind of dramatically boring.

Anonymous said...

While I enjoyed Bright Star immensely, I didn't think it did a very good job of examining Keats at all. Fanny is the real attraction.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

mike i don't like julie and julia either (C+/C) but it is diverting in its own rite.

james i was really impressed by whishaw, i suppose that's why i felt enough of keats was brought to the table. glad you enjoyed it, though.

Runs Like A Gay said...

Of these Ben Whishaw appealled to me the most - portraying the delicacy and directness that flowed from his poetry.

Oddly I hadn't though of 2009 being short of creative types until you mentioned it, but strangely there were few. I suppose you could count Luis Homar in Broken Embraces as an alternative film director (and a much more impressive performance than Day-Lewis') or Maria Heiskanen as a photographer in Everlasting Moments a film I will never tire of promoting.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

runs like a gay why the hate for ddl? i thought he was perfect as guido...but you already knew that.

glad you liked whishaw, so few remember him now.