Forthcoming: Alex Ross Perry

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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The Narrator Returns
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Re: Forthcoming: Alex Ross Perry

#26 Post by The Narrator Returns » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:33 pm

A March Madness bracket determining the next director's filmography to be covered on the podcast Blank Check. Perry is a three (soon to be four)-time guest on it.

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Re: Forthcoming: Alex Ross Perry

#27 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:43 pm

Finally got around to Impolex to complete ARP’s brief filmography so far and liked it a lot more that I expected to, even as a huge fan of the Pynchon source. Perry doesn’t really capture the mood of the book which is the first smart choice because it’s a lost cause. Instead he finds his own bizarre mixture of absurdities most of which don’t land but the ones that do - like the first conversation about the rockets with weird obscure intellectual innuendo that clearly makes no sense and is as much self-parody as anything else - inspire laughter while not clearly defined by intent. I suppose in that way it does capture the vibe of the novel’s more quiet absurd gags in the hazy deadpan nature that walks a thin line between being missed or misinterpreted, or at least in the broadest way possible. Unfortunately a lot of this film is so amateurish and meandering that it stalls in territory that’s unmistakably out of step with this vibe or the serious side the book walks, so the unevenness isn’t split between extremes in high and low brow humor or frenetic energy and long-gestated densities, but instead middling pointless apathy and some strange gags.

Basically all the moments of Tyrone alone just don’t work and are borderline embarrassing, while his social exchanges are hit or miss but mostly hit to some degree (the stuff with Katje isn’t consistent but the dynamic was mostly amusing, and range from ridiculous unprecedented disrespect to very deadpan drawn out exchanges that juxtapose the most inexpressive long winded speeches with content of passion, itself either going to drive viewers to the hills or welcome the joke, or for me, both- with that final moment changing from an intent at humor to one of philosophical and emotional honesty, which was a very pleasant surprise in an otherwise tonally-obtuse film). I think Perry may be trying to aim for those more polarizing extremes by the nature of Tyrone’s isolative scenes with the rocket following musical cues, morphing from banal silent transcendentalism to a serene upbeat backdrop of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (actually a great sequence as an exception to this rule because of how it contrasts the initial pointless scenes with a new vibe out of left feel) and then to chaotic anxiety-provoking percussion as he loses steam. The humor around Eugene Mirman‘s octopus is also messy like everything here but I can’t decide whether I admire Perry for finding a weird sense of humor that works or am skeptical that he’s failing at a more obvious one. Either way this is a fucking mess but it’s a pretty unique mess so it gets points from me for that, as well as for taking one of my favorite masterpieces and doing something totally perverse with it, burning down the greatness while building a small pile of ash with it to call home.

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