A Look Back: Dancer in the Dark (2000)

This is the second in a three-post series where I share my school reports from my first real film class, Film History. These were the first serious writings I did on film, and they offer a look back at the foundations that would eventually lead me to start writing reviews here at Silver Emulsion. I recently found them in a box while preparing to move, and I hope they are as entertaining to you as they are to me (they won’t be). These were written about twelve years ago during the Fall of the year 2000, when I was a spry nineteen years old. I will be re-creating the documents with the same formatting and images to the best of my abilities with the WordPress editor. Also, I’m leaving in any grammar errors or other things that I might want to change. It’s all about posterity and not falling into the George Lucas trap. Anyway, enjoy! Maybe.


Dancer in the Dark
A film by Lars Von Trier

Dancer in the Dark is not a film for everyone. It’s tone is dark. It’s all handheld digital video. There aren’t any big name stars in it. And it’s a musical. Any one of these factors would turn most mainstream people off to this film, even before stepping foot into the cinema. But those people that never see Dancer in the Dark will be missing out on what I feel to be the best new film I have seen this year.

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Melancholia (2011)

Starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgård, Cameron Spurr, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Jesper Christensen, Stellan Skarsgård, Brady Corbet, Udo Kier

Directed by Lars Von Trier

Expectations: High. I love most of the Von Trier films I’ve seen.


Ah geez, why can’t I watch the easy to review movies? While watching Melancholia I wasn’t sure if it was any good, or if I liked it, and now a few hours later I still feel the same way. A bit of my history with Lars Von Trier: I was taking my first college course (Film History) and the teacher was a big film snob dude who loved him some arthouse cinema. He offered extra credit to anyone that went down to Hollywood and watched Lar Von Trier’s latest film, Dancer in the Dark starring Bjork. I didn’t have anything better going, so off I went. At that particular time I was at the height of my own film snob phase, actively shunning nearly every modern film and focusing on watching all the classics (hence taking Film History). So when I sat down to Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, it was with a scowl and a “Let’s see what this pompous fucker can do” attitude. By the end of the film, I was blown away. It had single-handedly renewed my faith in what contemporary cinema could be and made me instantly curious to see more of his work. I ended up watching The Idiots next, which I absolutely hated, but later films have proven to me that when he was on it, he was fucking on it.

I’ve been slacking in keeping up with his latest releases (I haven’t seen anything after Manderlay), but all the good buzz for Melancholia reawakened those feelings of love and I felt compelled to check it out. I knew next to nothing going in, other than it seemed to follow the general Von Trier story where a tortured woman copes with some fucked up situations. That woman is Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia, and cope with fucked up situations (on the grandest of scales) she does. There isn’t a lot of traditional plot so I won’t say too much, but the film opens with Kirsten Dunst’s wedding and kind of spirals off from there.

Continue reading Melancholia (2011) →

Top Five Most Anticipated Movies of the Fall

As much as I dislike posts like this I’m doing one of my own, simply because there are actually a few movies I’m really pumped to see and I haven’t seen them mentioned in the various most anticipated posts I’ve run into. Without further ado:

The Skin I Live In
dir. Pedro Almodovar
rel. date: 10-14-2011

This is easily my most anticipated movie of the year. I cannot wait. Almodovar has quickly become one of my favorite directors after watching only a few of his recent works, including his stunning film Broken Embraces. I haven’t even seen the trailer for the film as I don’t want a single thing spoiled, but I’m sure Almodovar will deliver the goods.

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Melancholia
dir. Lars Von Trier
rel. date: 11-11-2011

Again, I haven’t seen the trailer (I guess it should be noted that I generally avoid all trailers if I can help it), but I’m a sucker for most anything this guy puts out. I don’t always care for them completely, but his films are always challenging and interesting. I’ve also had a crush on Kirsten Dunst for a while so having her in the starring role doesn’t hurt.

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The Rum Diary
dir. Bruce Robinson
rel. date: 10-28-11

I know next to nothing about this film, but I have read the book, so that should count for something. I love and respect the work of Hunter S. Thompson, and while I’m not the most diligent reader of his stuff, I’m always floored when I do pick something up. Just the fact that they made The Rum Diary into a movie is something worth exploring. It looks to have a great cast too, with Johnny Depp and the lovely Amber Heard leading the charge.

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Straw Dogs
dir. Rod Lurie
rel. date: 9-16-2011

This one is mostly morbid curiosity than anything else. Having read and reviewed the original novel, and then the same for Peckinpah’s massacre adaptation, I feel like I have an informed opinion of the story and the remake will be interesting to look at from that point of view. I have no real hopes for the film itself though.

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Piranha 3DD
dir. John Gulager
rel. date: 11-23-2011

This one is just going to be a whole lot of fun… I hope. I missed the first one in the theater, but after hearing some good things about it, ended up watching it on DVD. It blew me away with how fun, over-the-top and ridiculously gory it was… and it left me wanting more. I can’t wait to have all kinds of stupid bullshit popping off the screen at me when the sequel finally drops, although the change in directors could signal bad waters ahead.

 

EDIT: OK, last-minute 6th film addition! I just found out about RZA’s new film, The Man with the Iron Fists, due out late 2011. It is supposedly everything a kung-fu fan could want, and being a kung-fu fan, I want it! Not too sure about Russell Crowe as the lead, but Pam Grier’s in it, and RZA is such a fan of old school Shaw Brothers movies that I think it’ll be pretty awesome.

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