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Smithee Blur

another belated write-up

Eventually we'll catch up on these. And then it will be time for a new year's project.

Maybe a re-appearance of "26 films in 52 weeks," as it involved a lot of polls. And y'all seem to like the polls.

Anyway, I chose the movie Ice From The Sun for therck's birthday, as it seemed like the one she would hate the most. Or at least, the imdb trivia note of "The 4.5-minute-long opening credit sequence contains 431 edits" made it sound likely to give her a throbbing headache.

There is a thin line between cleverness and pretension. I'm not entirely convinced that the director of this movie knows this, because he trod all over it. Parts of the movie are inventive and clever, and parts reek of l'art cinématique. On the one hand, some of the things accomplished on minimal budget are highly impressive. On the other hand, some of them cause me to shake my head and wonder why they bothered.

There might be a war on between heaven and hell, but angels and demons can all agree on one thing: they hate Abraham and Amblin. A wizard and his apprentice that have carved out their own little dimension to rule over, we'll just call them The Presence. This dimension is surrounded and protected by ice that The Presence scraped off the sun.

The only way to dethrone The Presence is for an assassin to sneak in when A&A pull across their usual complement of six humans to torture and kill (every year, like clockwork). Thankfully, the angels find Alison. She's in the middle of committing suicide in the bath (which explains why she's always inverse-colored and naked when she talks to the angels, I guess). But she's got nothing to lose in taking on The Presence.

Actually, "assassin" is a bit of a strong term, because Alison's job is to remind The Presence what life was like when he was a human, so that the ice will melt just enough for the angels (and demons) to slip in and kill him themselves.

What? I told you the movie didn't just flirt with pretension, they went steady for a good six months.

The bulk of the film is re-enactments of the lives of the six non-Alison humans as The Presence tortures and kills them. Alison stalks around the edge of these things, sometimes watching them, sometimes interacting with the people (and the "set dressing"), but always being confused, uncertain, and irritating.

The most frustrating thing about this movie was that it verged on being good. With a lighter touch and a general throttling-back of the Sonic-Youth-artiness, it might have been so much more. It would have been so much better.


Is there any particular reason why Night of the Lepus isn't a Smithee movie?
We watched Night of the Lepus for Smithee purposes here (late January 2008) but it has yet to come on deck. Or to answer your question more succinctly, yes there is a reason: It's slated to be slotted into the 2010 show (? possibly 2011, the Earl would know for sure).

There is a slight delay from when we watch and review a movie to when it goes up for Smithee nomination. Right now I think we are running 3 years ahead of ourselves (darned 26 movies and birthday movies back to back gave us a ton of potential Smithee flicks) just in case something comes up and we need to slack. Or that's what they tell me. Really, we can stop at any time.
Part of the reason that Night of the Lepus isn't (yet) a Smithee movie is because I had always assumed that it was. Then when I went to verify this assumption and discovered it was wrong, I corrected it. It's on tap for this coming show (Year 19; 2010). If it can find its way through some stiff competition.

Of course, it was always possible that we'd never heard of it, so bringing these to our attention is always the way to go.