Darren Aronofsky has managed to very successfully melt my brain. “Pi” is his debut feature and I’m still sat here thinking about it even as I write. I feel very close to fully understanding it but I’m not quire there and it is driving me insane. Fitting I feel, as this is the exact feeling Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) has as he approaches the number that will show him the numerical system that the universe must abide by. A number that may or may not exist, but Max is driven mad by the desire to find it. This is the premise of “Pi”, one of the most cerebral movies I have ever seen.
I considered not mentioning it, you know. Maybe, I thought, maybe it would be noble of me to completely ignore it and not mention its significance. After all, if I ignored it I would heavily imply that it’s not an issue and that’s where I would like it to be ideally. The main cast of “The Descent” is entirely female and at no point did it ever feel unnatural. Of course, the truth of the matter is that it is unnatural for horror movies to have such an emphasis on an all-female cast that keeps its “personal belongings” personal, but at no point did it ever feel weird or forced and the characters that are weak are not weak because they are female. They are weak because they are weak, it really is brilliant to see. I’m not going to say that I believe all movies should have a solely female cast just to be feminist, but that “The Descent” has proved that it is perfectly believable seeing women survive in tough situations and fight for their lives as any man could and would.
I don’t understand what happened, for a while I was loving every second of “The Graduate”. Then things changed, I began to tire and see everything differently. Ben (Dustin Hoffman) was no longer humorous in his awkwardness but more flat out annoying, he’s a creep and everyone should know it. Elaine (Katharine Ross) is an idiot with no direction in life who falls in love with people instantaneously. Even after it turns out that this person had an affair with her mother. This is how I felt in the end and it annoyed me severely, earlier on however, I was quite enjoying the way Ben interacted with the world around him, and it was actually sometimes funny to watch. It’s incredibly sad when a film’s first and second half are reminiscent of a magnet with opposite poles. “The Graduate” begins as a pleasure but descends into drudgery which holds the film back from real greatness.
Buster Keaton is perhaps for many the only other silent film actor they are aware of. Something I learned when I read Roger Ebert’s review of “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” was that Keaton found himself not making the movies he really wanted when he eventually went on to join MGM during the start of the “talkie” age. Previously, Keaton was apparently meticulous with his work. He would repeat a scene over and over again as he saw fit, until he eventually got the effect he wanted. When he lost that control, he began to dislike his hand in the industry. “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” came out one year after 1927’s “The Jazz Singer” which was the very first talkie. Perhaps then Keaton deserves credit for creating such an incredible film and, in terms of quality, defying everything “The Jazz Singer” had to offer film at the time.