Simon Killer Review (Sundance 2012) – UPDATE

Sundance 2012 Screenings, Premieres and Reviews

In the Q&A after the screening I asked the director why he wanted to tell this story (because it’s a dark one that really doesn’t have much meaning).

The ‘meaning’ is supposed to be that the protagonist crosses a boundary (by roughing up his last girlfriend, which we learn via her letter to him) and is then unable to get back to the more innocent person he was before. This ends in a slippery slope of increasingly poor decisions.

Except, it really doesn’t. He’s violent. It sounds like he was always violent. In the beginning he is hyper-sexual, then at one point he turns his girl down for sex. Very little character arc. He already had these traits from scene one.

Kudos to Brady Corbet for being able to handle those unending masturbation and sex scenes. That seems tough. I liked his acting as a whole. The main actress, Mati Diop, almost never changed expression or had any intonation in her voice. Flat.

This entire idea about Simon having studied eyes has very little relation to the story but it comes up probably 5 times. It’s a gimmick.

I found the entire film has no arc. The interesting idea would have been to follow this blackmail scam and leave the second Parisian love interest out of the story. Let’s follow Simon’s darkness somewhere new. Or possibly learn more about which people are dark enough to let Simon into their lives and learn the stories of their lives and understand how people so depraved and immoral tend to find each other and how that cycle keeps a constant, dark underbelly to the world.

Obviously these are all just my opinions but my opinion is that ‘shocking,’ sexual films like this have been done so much better; “American Psycho” and “Requiem for a Dream” being two, superior stories and films. “The Talented Mr. Ripley” would be a third.

If they wanted to tell the story of a Joran Van Der Sloot type I think they missed the mark. This film, as-is, will definitely not be winning the Sundance audience award this year. I would start with a severe re-edit. They have what could be an intriguing film on their hands; Someone, somewhere seems to have missed that vision.

On a positive note, great song selections!

Update — here is a much better film writer and his positive take.
http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/sundance-review-simon-killer-loses-that-lovin-feeling-on-the-streets-of-paris

I too loved Martha Marcy May Marlene, my favorite film from the 2011 program. Different strokes.

Update 2 — This guy argues that the divisiveness is a positive.
http://www.movieline.com/2012/01/21/sundance-simon-killer-polarizes-but-maybe-thats-a-good-thing/

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends (Lego Version)

From the director:
“A shot-for-single-shot remake of LCD Soundsystem’s 2007 music video for ‘All My Friends.’ This is part exercise in lip-syncing and digital effects, part tribute to the band that no longer is.

Physical elements shot with a Nikon D50. Compositing and effects done in After Effects CS5. Face designed in Illustrator CS5.

Follow me on twitter @Close_watcher”

Grab the band’s latest “This Is Happening”
This Is Happening Deluxe Edition

Or, grab the album that features “All My Friends,” “Sound of Silver.”Sound of Silver [Vinyl]

LivingEars Radio 08.14.10

Tune into UtahFM every Saturday night 9-10:30 MDT to catch me spinning (digitally) the latest and greatest…

You can listen to a replay of the show at your convenience for the next two weeks right here.

UtahFM is looking for a few good men & women to host shows. If you think you are interesting and others think you are interesting and you have an interesting idea for a show… do something about it and contact me.

LivingEars Radio 08.14.10 Playlist

      CFCF - Letters Home (Memoryhouse Remix)

      These New Puritans - Hologram (Salem Remix)

      No Age - Glitter

      Teengirl Fantasy - Cheaters

      Magic Places - Digital Lightspeed

      Keep Shelly in Athens - A tear in my i

      Teen Daze - Spin Around

      Beat Connection - Theme From Yours Truly

      Teen Daze - Gone for the Summer

      Beat Connection - Same Damn Time

The Avalanches – Radio
      Star Slinger - Hold Me (Teams vs Star Slinger)

The Avalances – Live at Dominoes
Skream – Where You Should Be
      LCD Soundsystem - I Can Change (Tiga Remix)

      KXP - Pockets (Annie Vocal Mix)

The Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

James Murphy – On Losing One’s Edge

 
One of my favorite songs ever is the very first LCD Soundsystem wrote. Today I see that this PDF magazine called Five Dials, which I had until now never heard of, has a one page explanation of the song written by James Murphy himself. I’ve copied it in it’s entirety below. You can download the full magazine here. This is from number 13.

It  was the first time I was living a life in New York that resembled anything cool. I was DJing and I wasn’t only DJing, I was playing rock records, and I was known for playing certain records. It was remarkable. It was cool – I was cool – for about one whole minute. One night I went out and there was a kid DJing at a punk show. He was playing the same records, the same rock records as me, and I got upset. Then I got embarrassed about the fact that I was upset. And then I felt even worse because of that embarrassment. It didn’t stop. The cycle went on. It was like self-annihilation.

 
Yeah, I’m losing my edge, I’m losing my edge, The kids are coming up from behind. I’m losing my edge, I’m losing my edge to the kids from France and from London. But I was there.

 

‘Losing My Edge’ was not written. It just came out. I was playing drums and singing, which is why the rhythm gets funny. I turned on the beatbox, sang, and made the song. The only part of the song that had been written before was the list of bands I call out at the end, and that was recorded separately. I had a lot in my head. The subject matter was all there. It was fertile. It was really fertile. I got almost all the lyrics down in one take because I was so invested in it. It was everything my life was about.

I’m losing my edge, I’m losing my edge to the kids whose footsteps I hear when they get on the decks. I’m losing my edge to the internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978. I’m losing my edge.

I wasn’t trying to make a song. I wasn’t worrying about what the next song would be about, what it would sound like, if there would be an album. It was just what needed to be said. Do I talk about the same subject again and again? Probably. 

I do try to find a way to find new ways of saying things.
When has it ever been interesting to hear a song where everything’s going great, everything’s going great, and then there’s a list of everything that’s going great? I’m interested in the way the cynical can be turned optimistic and the optimistic cynical, and what’s most interesting to me is a song that contains some sort of argument with loss.

‘Losing My Edge’ is about age. Perhaps a twenty-two-year-old could have written it but it would have been an even bigger lie. If you put a million twenty-two-year-olds behind typewriters they’d come up with it eventually, or perhaps they’d just come up with Twilight.

Everything I write is the end result of a boiling down of influences, and the same goes for lyrics. My literary influences are equal to my musical influences – postwar American fiction, like Sam Lipsyte. Sam was my favourite singer when he was in a band called Dung Beetle. Like there is in his books, there was a mixture of menace and humour in his stage presence. He was self-effacing but with a healthy amount of ego, aggressive and uncompromising, not a cartoon drawing of cartoon punk. He was a very serious model for me.

His writing reminded me that sentiments should co-exist. If there’s humour it should be present without sacrificing anything else, without pulling back. Funny-sad is way more sad. There’s more resonance, and any good writing needs resonance whether it’s a song or a book.

I’m interested in how cool works. It’s a funny thing but I think about it a lot – the weird social currency of cool. I’ve thought about it ever since I was a tiny thing, and those thoughts ended up in ‘Losing My Edge’. When I first gave the song to people I knew, most of them said it was horrible. They thought I was kidding. Phil Mossman, the original LCDSoundsystem guitarist, liked it. Others thought it was a horror. Then the song went out and got a positive reaction, mostly amongst people who thought, Oh God, thats me. Ive started to feel irrelevant. Should I change to become relevant? Is that gross?

If youre not in your full flush of youth, how do you operate? When youre young you think in mono-blocks if I had a new computer, if I had this girlfriend, it would be OK. Your life moves in these mono movements, one at a time. When youre older its different: I really like that, but what does that say about me, will it work, how much will it work, will it make me feel better, will it really make me feel better? What will I lose in the process? Happiness is complicated and you become more complicated as you age. Your reactions become more complicated. If you dont become more complicated youre just an asshole. George W. Bush is not complicated.

I think its in the human condition. Theres always an element that youre missing out. People who work in jobs that suck might say, I wish I was like a real writer. They dont realize that real writers are just as hapless. They just know that feeling: theyre doing it and Im not.

I was thirty-two when the first record came out. I guess Im comfortable with aging. It would be sweet if my back didnt hurt. Id like to take some time back. I dont have kids and Id like to, and then theres all the rest of the mortality shit. My dad died at sixty-nine years old when I was thirty-one. Im not banking on much past seventy.

We didn’t play the song on our Sound of Silver tour. Were playing it now. The song came back to us. It feels good. Why did it return? Who knows? Why does anything return? Maybe for that strange, unstable, psychotic reason people are happy and satisfied and feel cool, even for a moment.

I used to work in the record store.I had everything before anyone. I was there in the Paradise Garage DJ booth with Larry Levan. I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes. I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988 But I’m losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talentAnd they’re actually really, really nice.

 

LCD Soundsystem Album Teaser vid #1

clip 1 from lcd soundsystem on Vimeo.

I don’t have the title of the track in this video but I do have what I thought to be a demo version of the song. The thing, my version sounds identical. Just wait til you hear the warped out keyboards that come in just as the video cuts out. Such an odd and unique sound but of course under the reigns of JM it all comes together wonderfully. The track is exactly 7 mins long and expect a couple over 10 mins (at least 3) if these ‘demos’ make the album.