Directed by Mike Figgis ("Leaving Las Vegas").
Written by Mike Figgis.
Starring Jeanne Tripplehorn, Salma Hayek, Kyle MacLachlan and
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 5/3/00
Since many of you have told me that in busy
times, you only read the first couple of paragraphs, I'm going to
get my money's worth!
The first step in taking Bellview online has
been walked. After a two-hour brainstorming session with Michael
"Really, My Cell Phone NEVER Blows Up Like This" Nolan and Charles
"Corn Pudding" Longer, I have registered my website. Next step:
getting help designing my site--techies wanted!!
"High Fidelity" a couple of
weeks ago, I took Alexis "Guess What Color I'm Wearing" Goldberg up
on a recommendation to read a Nick Hornby novel, so I read
Boy"--Hornby's second novel--this past weekend. *Damn* good book,
and I think I would have enjoyed reading "High Fidelity", too. But,
after seeing the movie, that probably won't happen. But, I
definitely recommend picking up either book, both are rich with pop
culture references and, in the case of "About a Boy", lots of
mention of the music of Snoop Doggy Dogg.
Another hot read: "Gentleman Pimp," quite
simply the funniest muthafuckin' book I have ever read, heard about,
or fantasized. Wow, wow, wow...Mike "My Hero" Iacovone gets mad
props for this one, and if you are a guy (or a girl that doesn't
mind getting called bitch a lot...I didn't think so), you have no
choice but to read this book as soon as possible.
Okay, enough with the notes. This weekend,
I went to Seattle to visit one of my best friends from high school,
Felicia, who lives in Seattle. Do you think you know tough? Try
recently divorced mother of two...and, she is 25. Admittedly, she
is the manager of a laser eye surgery clinic and a part-time model,
so money isn't as tough as it could be, but still...and, being that
this was my first official visit to see A Friend That Has Children,
a lot of the real-life things that I try and avoid during my
club-hopping trips around the country came to a head. Whoa. So, I
figured, what better time to see a movie?
Monday afternoon, we went to the Neptune
Theater in downtown Seattle (think the Uptown in DC, and you sort of
get the picture--old school, 500-seat theater with a balcony) to see
"Timecode," the Mike Figgis film experiment being shown in extremely
limited release around the country. In case you haven't heard of
it, let me explain.
This is probably the most innovative film
that will come out this year. The film is shown in four quadrants,
meaning that four screens are continuously showing for the whole
movie from different characters' perspectives. From some post-movie
reading, Felicia and I learned that it is up to the projectionist to
decide whether to lay these screens out in a line, like
1 2 3 4 or stacked, like
Further, the movie was shot several times
over the course of one day last November, with Figgis picking his
favorite take. The script is mostly improvised, except for some
pre-planned events that drive the main points of the plot. And, the
most important part of Figgis' idea: he and three other camera
operators used digital cameras to shoot their entire 90-minute
segment in one take, so no one can screw up any lines, and--because
the four cameras are shooting four different parts of the
movie--every actor in the movie is working on the same clock. This
last part is important: in the past, when a cinematographer is
using a regular film camera, he/she can't shoot more than
six-to-eight minutes (actually, I think it is less) of film before
changing reels; Figgis would not have been able to shoot all 90
minutes at once with the old school format.
Note: seeing this movie on video will do
you no good. There is so much happening on the big screen at once
that it is necessary to watch it on the big screen (or, I guess, at
"Schmoove" Prenoveau's house, which features a 50" television).
Also, the surround sound is key: action taking place in the upper
left quadrant has sound coming from the back left of the theater, so
the sound has a big influence as well. It can sometimes be tough to
follow "Timecode", because there are sometimes as many as three
sound channels (out of four possible for this movie) playing at once
and listening to everyone can be a bit difficult.
I won't really get into what the movie
itself is about, because I didn't read anything about the plot
before I watched it and that made it much more interesting. What I
will say is this: very, very cool movie. Saffron Burrows ("Deep
Blue Sea"), Salma Hayek (recently,
"Dogma"), Holly Hunter (more
movies than I can count), Kyle Maclachlan (famously, "Showgirls"),
Alessandro Nivola ("Face/Off"), Julian Sands, and a host of other
actors you've seen before come and go during the unedited
storyline. Of special note is Jeanne Tripplehorn ("Basic Instinct",
"The Firm") who, as the only character that is on one of the four
cameras for the entire movie, is very good and makes listening to a
wire feed extremely engaging as we watch her listen to off-screen
(at least, off of HER screen) characters as the story unfolds.
But, the coolest thing about the movie is
watching as the independent stories intersect randomly in real
time. Characters make cell phone calls to people in other frames
(real cell phone calls, since they have to be able to hear what the
other person is saying), then those people arrange to meet up, for
example...and, it happens at just the right time to not interrupt
other stories happening in the same room or office or limo. I can't
even imagine how long it took Figgis--director of "Leaving Las
Vegas"--to figure out the logistics, but we are the beneficiaries of
some good work.
I don't know if this movie will ever go
national, since it is only showing at seven theaters around the
country, and (at least in Seattle) for only one week! But, if you
live in a major city, check this one out as soon as possible. The
novelty alone is worth the price of admission. (Of course, a Salma
Hayek sex scene doesn't hurt, either!)
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard