Tuesday, May 13, 2003

General Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait (Barbet Schroeder 1974) - Given the full Criterion DVD treatment and supposedly playing in Paris for a full year, this film only raises the question "why�" Perhaps at the time there was some fascination with watching a dictator discourse on crocodiles or watch soldiers in endless parades and training exercises but, uh, so what? Someday this should be raw material for a Bruce Conner-ish exercise.

The Ring (Hideo Nakata 1998) - I'd avoided the iffy bootleg tapes for a few years and then we got a nice US DVD to cash in on the remake (at least they didn�t try to bury the original). Hard to tell exactly how this got to be so huge since it is intermittently spooky--though the video within the film is easily the best part--but director Nakata seems to stumble way too often with unnecessary shock edits (you get bigger jumps with objects entering the frame than on an edit: see Halloween or Jaws), a few severe pacing lapses and some awkward compositions. It does sort of hold together in a rickety way and the ending is a nice twist but don't ask "why" about anything or the whole structure falls down.