Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spend the holidays with Ken Russell!

Yes, folks, that is correct, I will be spending my holidays with a man obsessed with apt! Apt, I say! (to quote Lisa Simpson) Beginning December 7th or so I will begin my second attempt to cover a director's oeuvre. Ken Russell is the man the majority of you voted for last month, and I have to say that you all must hate me. I don't want to tip my hand to how favorable or unfavorable my retrospective will be, but let me just say this: I have now moved through all of Russell's mainstream 60's and 70's films...and I can only think of two that have made this endeavor worth while. But I'm here to please the voters, and the voters wanted Russell, so I will deliver. I'm a classical music and opera neophyte, so I think naturally some of Russell's early looks at musicians and artists were right over my head. I tried my hardest to look at them objectively, but some of these films could only take me to a certain place because of my lack of knowledge about composers. That being said, I will give it a go in about a month, and the retrospective will be the focus of this blog all December (with some more capsule reviews of 2010 films sprinkled in). I hope you'll join me; it should be fun times. See everyone in a month.


  1. Geez, Kevin. It's too bad you don't like Russell. He is one of my all-time favorite directors, up there with Lynch, actually. His work is out there, but I can't resist its irreverence and Russell's obvious mischievous joy in delivering it.

  2. Tony:

    It's not that I don't like him, it's just that I feel so damn lost while watching some of his movies. THE MUSIC LOVERS was one of the most annoying movies I've seen in a long, long time. I hope that my reviews will shed some light on what aspects of Russell (in these decade specific films, mind you) I find annoying. I will give you a bit of a spoiler and mention that I loved THE DEVILS and quite liked the audacity of MAHLER...even if I did have to go read about him after the movie was over.

    But I suppose that's my own damn fault for not being knowledgeable enough about classical music. And then again that's why I find so frustrating: I want to see a normal biopic because I know nothing about these people and how they created their art. I want to know what drove them to be the canonized figures they are now. Russell's elan gets in the way of the narrative a lot of the time, and even though I find myself enjoying his film visually, some of them leave me feeling quite cold (THE BOYFRIEND is another example of this).

    Does that make sense? I'll be watching ALTERED STATES tomorrow and begin moving through his 80's and 90's output, so we'll see what, if anything, changed during this time for him.

    Thanks for putting the bug in my ear to begin with (awhile back I asked which directors I should cover and you mentioned Russell; having never seen any of his films I put his name on the blog poll that decided this whole thing), and I look forward to your thoughts on Russell next month (I'm assuming you'll be stopping by, hehe). I'm hoping you'll shed some light on something I just may not be getting about his 70's output.

  3. Well, Kevin, as you know I was one of those who voted for Russell as well, and I'll be watching this series closely. I fully understand where you are coming from, and am very intrigued to see what two Russells stand out from the pack!

  4. I like the idea of a retrospective that isn't all glowing praise -- you hardly ever see that. I'm looking forward to see what you have to say.

  5. I am SO jazzed about this. Ken Russell is in my top five of favorite directors, but even I haven't seen everything he's done. That said, I have got his biographies done for the BBC, and they are extraordinary. Good luck this this, Troy!

  6. Thanks, Marilyn! I look forward to whatever contributions you bring in the comments. See ya in a month!