Monday, April 23, 2007

docu-reviews

"heveltica" was simply brilliant. it traces the rise of helvetica as the default font (for those who don't know, it's the font used by american apparel) and what this means in terms of modernism, its links to post-modernism, what they both have to do with late capitalism and globalization. it also talks about the underlying sentiment(s) that drove the development and proliferation of the usage of the font, incorporating theoretical considerations of organization, ubiquity, and cataloging (hello!!! information studies, what!) what i particularly liked about it, is that it shows how details matter. and how, from a design perspective, aesthetics matter. and they speak to you, and about you, or about the thing. so the content of the text is not the only thing that exists, the vessel that holds the text speaks too. i've sometimes been accused about being "picky", and i felt like this film validated my perspective. i'm very detailed oriented, especially when it comes to my aesthetic surroundings (particularly my sartorial choices) because i've always felt that your cultural choices speak more about you than what you think. i put a lot of thought into it. and i also feel the whole, "it's what inside that counts, you can't judge a book by it's cover" argument is bunk. you can TOTALLY judge a book by it's cover, and SHOULD. grade: 5/5

"yoga inc" was just amateurish, in every degree. it purported to speak on the incorporation of yoga and the divorce of yoga from its spiritual roots in the west. but it belabored its point to no end, and it lacked nuance and context. it was very tabloid-journalistic style, and was guilty of musical manipulation that was very naive. they tried to show how one of yoga's most successful entrepreneurs, bikram choudury, is evil for trying to copyright the style of yoga and asanas he used in that style. bikram yoga is "hot" yoga, where you perform your poses in a heated room. he's sought out copyright for the style and has subsequently sued other practices for failing to license "his" style. the documentary tries to set up this argument about the "little" yoga people fighting the corporate behemoth that is bikram, but it's a pretty shady analysis. the "little" yoga people aren't trying to do it for more "pure" reasons, they're just as motivated by capitalism, it's just a less successful version. stuff like that drives me crazy. grade: 2/5

"manufacturing dissent" was laughably bad. trite and banal. it follows a woman who's doing a documentary on michael moore, who tries to use "michael moore tactics" to gain an interview with him. it wasn't a parody or satire, it was just a straight-up copy. but she missed an essential point to michael moore's films - gaining an interview with the subject in question merely provides a thematic bookend to his discussion of other, related issues. unfortunately for this documentarian film maker...she HAD no argument or point to make. and it took her 2 hours!!! to belabor the same flimsy non-points OVER AND OVER again!

i saw michael moore about 6 years ago, just as he was starting to infiltrate the popular consciousness. the drooling, salivating, near-religious fervor of the crowd turned me right off, and started me on my road of being more critical about the left (prior to that, i was one of those painfully earnest, the left-can-do-no-wrong, indignant, morally-superior, undergrad type of lefties). if that was the point the filmmaker was trying to make about michael moore, then fine, i can give her that. BUT THAT'S A FIVE MINUTE SENTENCE. instead, she follows michael moore around on publicity tour after publicity tour, trying to get an audience with him. the thing is, she DOES get an audience with him, on several occasions, and when she does, she just kvetches about how he won't give her any time, INSTEAD OF ASKING A PERTINENT QUESTION.

it was painful! i was actually getting really mad in the theater, i wanted my time back. this woman lacked michael moore's personality, charisma, and sense of humour, all of which contribute to his appeal. then she took pot shots at him, trying to undermine his credibility by saying stuff like, "his documentaries aren't objective" (anyone who makes an argument that documentaries should be, or are ever, objective, are so stupid that it makes me want to gouge my eyes out); or, "he used a george bush quote out of context" (it was the quote where bush says, "i'm surrounded by the haves, and have-mores"...apparently it was delivered at a catholic-church sponsored "roast" type of thing, where the president is supposed to be funny. ANY WAY YOU CUT IT, THAT "JOKE" MAKES THE PRESIDENT LOOK LIKE A DICK). or, "michael moore actually grew up 18 miles outside of flint, michigan". gah! i wanted to stay for the q&a just to tear her a new a**hole, but we walked out before the movie was over.

tonight we have two more documentaries, so i don't know what we're eating for dinner. we might go to el sol, or we might go get falafels or sumpin'

fin.

2 comments:

Hannah said...

That Guy really wanted to see "Helvetica" and the tea doc. Dan and I pooh poohed him, though. Helvetica is a nice font. I used it for all of my grade A papers.

karl lagerfeld, esquire said...

we're going to see that tea documentary this morning (well, 12pm)...tell that guy to give me a holler if he wants to come!