30 March 2008

The Cultural Cone of Silence

Generally speaking, working on a dissertation puts one a little out of the loop of popular culture and contemporary social trends. But when I decided to conduct my research in Moscow, I basically pulled the lever to drop the cone of silence over my head, muting all buzz about movies, books and television that wasn’t channeled through the NYT or my occasional scanning of Pop Matters. (For the sake of simplicity, I am not discussing my attempts to follow popular culture through the lens of the Russo-hipster-zine Afisha.)

The condition my condition is in was highlighted when I flushed two bucks down the drain to download the ridiculously horrible situation-comedy “The Return of Jezebel James.” I saw it mentioned briefly in the LA Times and thought to myself, “Well, Parker Posey and Claire from Six Feet Under… it can’t be that bad.” Of course, were I back in the States, I would have muttered to myself, “OK, Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose and I haven’t heard one thing about it… that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.”

Even Sergeant Frank Belson couldn't save it for me.

So now, I ask for your assistance, dear readers who have some sense of what’s what. The Ian Curtis (of Joy Division) biopic Control has wiggled its way into Moscow theaters. I want to see it sometime this week, but a fear lurks in my mind, despite fairly positive reviews from BBC and the NYT, that it will be terrible and unwatchable.

Help! Feed me some buzz from outside Muscovy.


For those who need a corrective from the sappy sentimentalism at the bottom of my last post, for those wondering, “Is this the same Buster that mumbles about the irony of Historical Reason and goes on about hegemony and generally shrugs his shoulders at the idealistic yutes?” I present you with Loom of Ruin’s account of attending an Iraq War protest in Hollywood, a story that certainly struck a chord with my more cynical, curmudgeonly side.

But dear god, don’t let me become Sam McPheeters.


p.s. if you didn't click that "condition my condition is in" link, you are totally missing out. Even if you did, you should do it again.


tamasha said...

You are hilarious. It got 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the consensus was, "A work of art, thanks to evocative cinematography and strong performances."

Or are you looking for other suggestions?

kg said...

I remember reading a positive review of it in the New Yorker - by the one guy with whom I usually agree (Denby, I think). I'd actually been thinking about going to see it too - do you know if it's playing anywhere in the English original? Also, it's directed by Anton Corbijn, and there's a big show of his photographs right now on at the MMoMA on Petrovka - for whatever that's worth.

BusterPh.D.Candidate said...

Well, I was kinda hoping for a first-, second-, or ever third-hand review from a real person, but I guess Rotten Tomatoes, the New Yorker, and intra-Muscovy buzz will have to do. For now at least. People, it's not too late to chime in and possibly save me from another mistake!

kg, it's at 35mm, which plays stuff in English in theory, though I usually try to call in advance to confirm. They aren't answering their phone right now. It's also showing at Khudozh-nyi, but they also aren't taking my calls at the moment. Go figure.