Friday, January 15, 2016


Having read Terry Gilliam's memoirs (did I tell you about that? no?), I decided on returning it to the library to grab a couple of gap-filling DVDs in my Gilliam viewing.

So I found myself with:

1) Terry Gilliam's Personal Best, his entry in the Monty Python's Flying Circus Personal Best series, rather over an hour just of the animated bits. Put together like that with nothing else between them except a few bits of live-action crust they were unable to trim off was a really interesting way to see them.

2) Monty Python Live: One Down, Five To Go, the DVD of the live show they put on a couple years ago purely to raise money. I'm so glad I was in no position to succumb to the temptation to attend this in person: the premise implies how dire it was. The Pythons mostly phoned in their performances, reaching the pit in the "Nudge Nudge" sketch which Eric Idle got through half of without noticing that his fake mustache was falling off, and when he did just ripping it off and throwing it away. Gilliam was the only one who seemed happy to be there, and he expressed this by mugging a lot. They were also far, far too old for some of the parts. The repertoire was an uneasy mixture of their best bits and their worst. Maybe you had to be there to enjoy it, but there's enough shots of the audience to make clear that they weren't really there either: the arena was so large that most of the audience could hardly see the tiny figures on stage, and had to watch the huge screen above them, in which case they might as well have stayed home and watched it on TV.

3) 12 Monkeys, yes a famous Terry Gilliam film I had somehow never seen. Very effectively chilling, and the surprise ending was previously hinted at just precisely enough. The visuals could have been nobody else. Not sure what I thought of the acting. Could Bruce Willis have done a better job at conveying when his character is addled by medication and when he's clear-minded? And Madeleine Stowe is far too easily flustered to be believable as a sharp psychiatrist. Well, Brazil had a similar problem. However, unlike Brazil which I found full of plot inexplicialities (and no, the hallucination sequence was not one of them), this movie left me with only one plot question: why are they so desperate to get to Key West, especially when it risks their disguises to try? If they just want to see the ocean before the virus hits, which is the only possible explanation given, then since they're in Philadelphia why don't they just go to Atlantic City?

No comments:

Post a Comment