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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Jarmusch’

The Dead Don’t Die

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy THE DEAD DON’T DIE is… I mean, it’s a zombie comedy by Jim Jarmusch. Which is unexpected. When the trailer came out I couldn’t tell if they were trying to mislead us or if Jarmusch had made something totally different from his other movies. The answer is in the middle, leaning toward the first one. It feels closer to normal Jarmusch than to, like, SHAUN OF THE DEAD. It’s high on oddness and quirk, low on concept, plot structure or traditional resolution. Compared to ZOMBIELAND or TUCKER AND DALE or something the humor is bone dry and the pace is molasses slow.

But by LIMITS OF CONTROL standards it’s an action packed thrill-o-rama. It has a whole bunch of zombies digging out of graves like Thriller or RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, pulling out people’s intestines for a snack, and getting their heads chopped or blown off. They’re respectable zombies, too – o.g. slow shambling style, some personality to them, one played by Iggy Pop (DEAD MAN, THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS). There’s one pretty distinctive touch in that they emit puffs of dust from their wounds. I imagine Jarmusch worked with more FX people on this than on all his other movies combined. (read the rest of this shit…)

Mystery Train (and a visit to Memphis)

Monday, October 6th, 2014

tn_mysterytrainIn NASHVILLE, Robert Altman used the city to represent America in some way. In MYSTERY TRAIN Jim Jarmusch kinda does the same thing with Memphis, but the joke is that it’s three stories about Memphis through the eyes of foreigners. For all they know the whole country hangs Elvis portraits in their hotel rooms.

The first and favorite story is of two Japanese tourists, Jun (Masatoshi Nagase, THE HIDDEN BLADE) and Mitsuko (Yuki Kudo, RUSH HOUR 3) who arrive in Memphis on a train. I know, I thought this was gonna be a remake of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, or possibly a story about a talking train that solves mysteries, but most of it doesn’t have to do with the train at all. You just see the train going by every once in a while. What the “mystery” part of the title means is, well… an unanswered question.

I like this story because I like these two. Mitsuko is obsessed with Elvis, Jun never misses an opportunity to say that Carl Perkins is better. Fuckin show off. He has a carefully maintained rockabilly rebel persona with slicked back hair, a white undershirt tucked in under a big belt buckle, etc. He’s very stoic, almost never smiles or says something openly nice, but it rarely dampens her enthusiasm. In one great scene she tests his cool by making goofy faces, then putting on alot of lipstick and sloppily smearing it all over his mouth via kiss. He manages to stay completely deadpan with his clown makeup on, smoking a cigarette that she lights for him with her feet. But he gives a tiny smile when she walks away.

That’s mostly what this movie is about, goofy little character moments done very dry and quiet, in long takes. So it’s a Jim Jarmusch movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Limits of Control

Monday, May 11th, 2009

tn_limitsofcontrolIn Jim Jarmusch’s new one, Isaach De Bankolé plays a man (“Lone Man” according to the credits) on a mission. He meets some guys at an airport who give him a key and a box of matches and tell him to go to a certain cafe and wait for “the violin.”

So he flies there, checks into the hotel, goes to the cafe, waits around, nothing happens. Goes back to the hotel, stares at the ceiling until the next day, comes back, waits. He goes to the art museum, where he sees a painting of a violin. Is this the violin he’s supposed to be waiting for? Not sure. Goes and waits some more. Eventually a guy with a violin comes (SPOILER), talks to him, they trade boxes of matches. Inside his box is a scrap of paper with a code on it, which he reads and then eats.

Basically, the whole movie is him doing variations on this routine again and again, all of it nicely photographed in Spain by Christopher Doyle. He goes to different places and meets different people. At every cafe he orders two espressos in separate cups. Every contact says the same thing to him at first, then talks to him about some interest of theirs (movies, music, molecules). He doesn’t respond and usually doesn’t look like he’s listening. Then they give him the same kind of matchbox with the same kind of note in it which he always eats. In between he checks out some art such as paintings, music or dance. (read the rest of this shit…)

Broken Flowers

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

I don’t know if this is true, but there’s legends that Chevy Chase and Bill Murray are some kind of arch enemies. Ever since Chevy left Saturday Night Live and was replaced by Bill, there’s been some kinda bad blood between these boys. I don’t think it’s ever come to a duel, or even a wrestling bout, but you know. Probaly gave each other dirty looks or something.

If that’s true Chevy Chase must be having a shit fit these days cause Bill Murray is the only one of any of those guys that figured out how to still have a career with integrity. I guess there aren’t too many guys left from that era of comedy, and I’m not sure if Chase even counts because I can’t remember the last time he made a movie. But let’s use Steve Martin as a symbol. That’s what you’re supposed to do now, you’re supposed to make shitty studio comedies with no style or imagination that nobody will ever remember. You’re supposed to be considered funny on the basis of distant memories. Not current reality. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ghost Dog and Titus on DVD

Monday, August 14th, 2000

Well it brings tears to an old man’s eyes to point out that it has been 1 penny solid that I have been on the outside of the correctional system. 365 days of freedom. Good lord what a beautiful year. Very few brushes with the law or neighbors and many months of clarity and sobriety. It has gotten to the point where I can even wait patiently in line at a bank without much shuffling my feet or getting a sweaty forehead.

And the lord likes to bless us on these types of occasions and this week he has some doozies for me. Because GUESS WHO DOESN’T HAVE CHLAMYDIA! That’s right, thanks to all of your prayers, my test came back negative. Must be some other kind of infection. So you heard the lord girls. All ladies over 18, Vern is back open for business!

But there are a couple things in this world more important than disease-free sex, or even finishing a weekly column on time. And one of them is GHOST DOG: WAY OF THE MOTHERFUCKIN SAMURAI. Artisan home entertainment has kindly agreed to commemorate my anniversary by releasing my favorite film Ghost Dog to video as well as to the popular digital versatile disc format which I highly recommend. You see like many digital versatile discs, or “dvds” as many of us call them for short, GHOST DOG has many extra bonus type deals on it which are NOT on the tired, obsolete and embarrassing medium of the “vcr tape”. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Monday, April 3rd, 2000

First off folks I would like to apologize from the deepest recesses of my big ol’ outlaw heart for getting this column in late. I know some of you really count on the punctuality of this particular column Vern Tell’s It Like It Is and if it is not ready for you on monday morning it throws off your whole damn week. Without my artistical Cinematic musings, my down to earth stories and advice, you are not ready to begin your week.

Oh who the fuck am I fooling, nobody knows this but this column usually goes up early Monday morning, but this time it was late. If anyone noticed then sorry bud. Remember it comes out on monday gang please read it regularly. jesus.

Anyway, the reason why I was late can be blamed on one individual named Ghost Dog and his picture Way of the Samurai. You see ever since seeing this picture I have been trying to be more open to the different ways of the individuals in different parts of the world, cultures, etc. I think Ghost Dog has a very good point that it is time people started learning from people who are different from them, from the chinese circus acrobats who swing from their hair to the dude in El Topo who has no legs who is strapped to the back of the dude with no arms.

We as americans must stop taking everything so literally man. Just cause a guy is a shaolin monk or a guy with blue hair does not mean you can’t exchange tips on how to live life. I think a cowboy or an astronaut could go out for a drink with say a ninja or a ballerina, and could learn from their ways. This does not mean the astronaut starts wearing a tutu underneath the astro-suit, or even that he does ballet moves while floating through outer space. What I’m talking about is they can get to the core of the thing, the understanding. They can learn from the philosophy or the attitude and figure out how to apply it to their own life. I mean imagine if Clint Eastwood in the westerns had learned how to look at life the same was as a ninja. I mean jesus he would be unstoppable, that motherfucker. I almost don’t even wanna think about it. (read the rest of this shit…)