Friday, September 19, 2008

First look: Synecdoche, New York

I get the feeling from watching this trailer for Charlie Kaufman's upcoming "Synecdoche, New York" that almost everyone's gonna agree he was probably better off with collaborator Spike Jonze, but so what?

After Jonze passed on this to direct "Where the Wild Things Are" (which may never even make it to a screen anywhere near you in the form that Jonze envisioned), Kaufman continued as both writer and director of this apparently rather sprawling flick, due out in at least limited release Oct. 24. And without that filter, we apparently get Philip Seymour Hoffman playing a theater director but really playing, well, Charlie Kaufman.

Anyone who's seen "Adaptation" probably agrees this can be a maddening but extremely entertaining thing to watch. In "Synecdoche, New York" (the title is apparently a play on Schenectady), Hoffman's character spends at least 17 years (guessing from a heartbreaking line that comes at the end of the trailer) building a replica of the entire city of New York in a warehouse.

According to Variety, who provided the trailer at the end of this post, the flick is an uneven meditation on life, death and anything else that crosses Mr. Kaufman's rather twisted mind, but it also "exerts sufficient power and artistic mystery to pull the willing a fair way down its twisty trail, and a first-rate cast led by Philip Seymour Hoffman and some wonderful women provide a constant lifeline even when it’s hard to know what’s going on.

When those women are Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton and Dianne Wiest, I'm definitely along for the ride, no matter how ponderous it gets (and even if I have to drive to Atlanta to see it.) Anyways, that's enough prattling on from me. Enjoy the trailer, which although it's often too dark to make out is still enough to get me geeked up for this one, and have a perfectly pleasant weekend.


Nell Minow said...

I saw it this week and it is clearly the most confusing and strange Hollywood movie in memory. There were things I loved about it -- the stars, the audacity, some of the images. Looking forward to seeing your response.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm so jealous, Nell ... I almost always like movies that are artistically ambitious but often thoroughly confusing .. For examply, Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There" was easily one of my favorite movies of all last year, despite its obvious flaws

sexy said...