Monday, February 21st, 2005

We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

I’d been looking forward to The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou for almost a year now, and yet still took a couple months since its release to get around to seeing it. What can I say. I like Wes Anderson’s films – I wouldn’t say I’m a devotee the way that some are, but I do appreciate his distinctive quirks and directorial style. It’s a simple thing, but the way that he likes to frame his shots with the main subjects in the dead centre of a symmetrical setting is enormously pleasing to me.

Clocking in at two hours, The Life Aquatic is his most ambitious film yet, or at least the biggest budget. It follows a team of marine documentarians as they set out to hunt down the jaguar shark that killed one of their number while making a film about it. Anderson favourite Bill Murray is the titular team leader and the rest of the cast is filled with faces familiar from Anderson’s past films (Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston). While I thoroughly enjoyed the film as a whole, I can’t call it a complete success. There are some tremendously funny scenes and the quirks and eccentricites are terrific, ie – the Bowie songs sung in Portugese, the stop-animation marine life, the cutaway dolls-house set for the interior of the Belafonte.

It was also nice to see Bill Murray emote a little in a performance for a change – he’s become a little too adept at that stoic, emotionally defeated, deadpan thing of late. While he’s hardly scenery-chewing, he is a little more animated and it looks good on him. The beard works, too. I was a little disappointed in the story, however. I didn’t think it managed to hit the right notes to provide enough emotional heft to the story of Murray and Wilson as his presumed long-lost son, Ned Plimpton. Overall, the narrative seemed maybe a little too obtuse and didn’t build to the climax(es) that effectively, but it was still a fun film. And I’m not sure if the action sequences, which Anderson has never really tried before, were meant to come off like they were coreographed by the Max Fischer Players. Probably, but you never know.

Unfinished reports that The Life Aquatic will get the Criterion DVD treatment and be released on May 10. Details here.

Arcade Fire, April 27th, Danforth Music Hall. Tickets $20, on sale February 24. It’s a seated show, but I’m not sure if that means reserved seating or a free-for-all. Any bets on how fast this sells out? Not surprisingly, there is some griping from folks who’d prefer the band continues to play little loft shows for pay-what-you-can. Win responds. I don’t know if I can do this one, I’ve got a show the night before and I have to move that weekend. Anyway, there’s also an interview with the band at the Arcade Fire Web Community message board.

Stereolab fans should take note that Monade, Laetitia Sadier’s side project, will be in town at Lee’s Palace on May 16 to promote their second album A Few Steps More, out March 8. Tickets are $15.

Whilst assembling my SxSW wish list for next month, I jotted down March 19 at Stubb’s in Austin – that’ll be the first Son Volt concert in something like nine years. I’ve never seen Son Volt or Jay solo, so I’d like to get into that one though it’s sure to be a hot ticket. And for those who insist this new lineup ain’t Son Volt, you can take comfort in the release of their Austin City Limits performance on DVD April 19th or the Anthology compilation, out May 24 on Rhino.

np – Cinerama / Torino

By : Frank Yang at 9:20 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. tankboy says:

    Stubbs is huge (it has an outdoor stage) so if you get there early you will get in…

  2. travis says:

    I totally feel the same way as you about Life Aquatic. Fun movie, but weak story. The relationships weren’t developed enough for anyone to care about them and that made the story pointless.

  3. squinty mcgrew says:

    yeah, you’ll have no problem getting into stubb’s. plus, it’s not a real son volt show. it’s jay farrar and his new team of hired guns.

  4. mike says:

    BTW, the Stereolab URL is as follows:


    Thanks for the Monade info.

  5. Frank says:

    oh yeah, I meant to check that. thanks for the catch.

  6. bozairzere says:

    R.I.P. Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

  7. Nav says:

    Any word on if the Arcade Fire show is all ages? It’s not for me, I promise …

  8. Rachel says:

    Explain to me why people care that some drug addict shot himself. Is it really all that tragic that no one noticed until today? And what is the difference between something being tragic and pathetic? Is it only a matter of semantics?

    I liked Life Aquatic. I thought it was funny. But, then again, I’m sure I’m labeled as a low-brow who doesn’t understand the true nature of art.

    SxSW coming soon to a Frank near you.

  9. Frank says:

    hey, simmer down kids. I said nothing about Hunter S Thompson. I have no interest in Hunter S Thompson. As long as this doesn’t mean they have to kill off Duke in Doonesbury, I’m happy.

    And don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Life Aquatic. I just thought it could have been better.

  10. Frank says:

    oh, and Nav – the Arcade Fire is indeed all ages. And general admission.

  11. thomaus says:

    Who’s selling the AF tickets? Good news on the all ages…I can drag my kids there (they do like them, just not quite as much as Avril…)

  12. Frank says:

    Ticketmaster, Rotate, Soundscapes. USual suspects. I will probably do the TM thing on Thursday morning to be safe. I may still not even go, but it’ll be easier to unload a ticket instead of buy one after the fact.

  13. susan says:

    Um, Stubb’s may be big, but showcases routinely fill to capacity there during SXSW, leaving only badge-holders able to enter. Don’t let the fact that it’s a big venue lull you into a false sense of security. If it’s really important to you to get in to that show, get there as early as you can.

  14. iPED says:

    Sweeeet Blog you got going on here, Frank… Any idea who is opening for Arcade Fire?