Multiplex - a comic strip about life at the movies

Archive for September, 2010


Review: The Proposition

The Proposition

Directed by John Hillcoat.
Written by Nick Cave.
Starring Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, John Hurt, David Wenham, and Emily Watson.

The Proposition is a 2005 Australian Western centering a British lawman in a small Australian town Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone), and deal he makes with… not the devil, but a devil — namely Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce). Charlie is presented with an ultimatum: to save his younger brother Mikey from hanging, he must kill his older brother Arthur (Danny Huston), the leader of a small gang of heinous, psychopathic criminals.

As Charlie sets out to find his brother, he runs afoul of a racist bounty hunter (John Hurt, in an amazing glorified cameo), Captain Stanley attempts to protect his wife (Emily Watson) from the horrors of his job and their newly adopted home, a slimy piece-of-crap politician (David Wenham, a.k.a. Faramir) throws a cog in Stanley’s plan, and a bunch of messed up shit happens.

It’s that B story between Stanley and his wife that prevents the film from being too unrelentingly bleak, like director John Hillcoat’s follow-up, the Cormac McCarthy adaptation, The Road. The tender exchanges, sublimely etched by the two actors, almost erase the shocks in nearly every other scene. More than anything else, they give the film its humanity, and yet they also give you perspective from which to register the more shocking moments that much more intensely.

I don’t say this too often, and I don’t say this lightly, but The Proposition is a perfect film. From its first disorienting seconds to its gut-wrenching last, the film does everything it needs to, exactly when it needs to, exactly how it needs to. The violence is sickening, as it should be, to justify exactly why Arthur Burns needs to die. The impeccably shot Australian landscape is, at turns, gorgeous and oppressive, as it should be. The dialogue is exquisitely chosen. And the pace, though it may fool you in a few scenes, never lets up for a moment. The screenplay by Nick Cave (yes, that Nick Cave) is just that good.

This is the Western with all the hokum and fantasy sucked out, folks. It’s ugly, it’s difficult, and it’s an absolute masterpiece.

The Proposition is available from the Criterion Collection on DVD, Blu-Ray, Amazon Video On Demand, and Netflix (via disc and streaming).

Skeleton in the Closet

Here’s another one of the Kickstarter backer comics, this one for Phat Do (yes, that’s his real name), who gave a rather detailed outline of how he wanted to strip to go, rather than a vague idea.

Not my best inking job, I’m afraid. I attempted to pencil it more loosely than perhaps I should have (and another example of why I prefer to letter digitally — or at least do the balloons digitally), but there’s bits I like in it.


Changes/additions to the Multiplex pre-order drive…

I’ve decided to make some changes to the Multiplex pre-order drive. You can read the new deal on the Multiplex sales page, but the gist of it is this: instead of 250 pre-orders, the goal is $5000 (a whopping $12.50 higher in dollar terms, based on the regular edition of the book). However, all purchases from the Multiplex store count towards the goal now — so we’re significantly closer to the goal than we were before. I think this is a fair change for everyone.

Like before: if (and only if) we reach the $5000 goal by September 18th, anyone who has pre-ordered a book will get a free bookmark, including Kickstarter backers and anyone who has pre-ordered the book to date.

But additionally: if we reach the $5000 goal, anyone who has pre-ordered the book will be entered to win one of TEN Multiplex/Memento mini-posters and one of TEN T-shirts of their choice (dependent upon availability in your size, I’m afraid) — again, including Kickstarter backers and anyone who has pre-ordered the book to date.

NOTE: Only people who have pre-ordered tbe books will receive bookmarks and be eligible to win the free posters and shirts — including $30 and up Kickstarter backers. Donations, while appreciated, do not count towards the goal. I’m not holding my hat out — at least, not exactly. I want to sell you something.

Questions? Comments?

Review: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring and Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring

Directed by Kim Ki-duk.
Starring Young-soo Oh, Kim Ki-duk, Young-min Kim, Jae-kyeong Seo, Yeo-jin Ha, and John-ho Kim.

Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?

Directed by Bae Yong-Kyun.
Starring Lee Pan-yong, Sin Won-sop, and Yi Pan-Yong.

Set entirely on and around a floating temple (a set built for the movie on an artificial lake built about 200 years ago, to be specific), Kim Ki-duk’s 2003 feature Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring is a beautifully crafted but frustratingly artificial tale of one man’s life told in five chapters. The most disappointing aspect of Spring is how amazingly beautiful it is — disappointing because the several gorgeously photographed, languorous shots of the valley around the temple on the lake, sublime music, and mostly solid, understated performances with minimal dialogue make for exactly the right tone for the kind of film this aspires to be — yet its story falls short.

The film begins innocently enough — in “Spring,” of course — with a charming but troubling story wherein Child Monk (Jong-ho Kim) ties stones to a fish, a frog and a snake. Old Monk (the enchanting Young-soo Oh) is disappointed in him, so he ties a large stone to the child as he sleeps that night and says that he’ll only remove it once the boy has found the three animals and released them, telling the boy that if any of the animals are dead, he will carry the stone with him in his heart for the rest of his life. As he finds them, he discovers that the fish and the snake have died and begins to cry. Even as I was moved by the boy’s tears, it troubled me that the Master placed more importance on the boy’s lesson than the lives of the animals, a choice that — although I am neither a Buddhist nor a scholar of Buddhism — struck me as rather inauthentic.