Neruda, Who Knew Ya?

So I go to Neruda after work, thinking my cursory review of Rotten Tomatoes said it had a comedic air. Little did I know, I was in for lightening quick subtitles. Holy Chilean speed read!

Well worth it though and while I did not see “No”, Pablo Larrain’s other famous movie also starring Gael Gracia Bernal (referred to hereafter as GG B), I have always been intrigued by GG B, after seeing him in Y Tu Mama Tambien back in 2001, my mere youth as a filmologist (yeh I made that up).

Ok, so Neruda is a rough biographical foraging of Pablo Neruda’s (poet, political activist) joining the Communist Party in the 1940’s. The movie centers on Neruda’s bombastic nature juxtaposed against the over seriousness of an Inspector Clouseau type character played by GG B.

What I enjoyed most was: a. the pacing of the movie, a taut clip that kept me engaged throughout, b. top notch acting, not only by GGB, but also the actors playing both Neruda and his wife (Luis Gnecco and Mercedes Moran respectively). Neruda is made out to be a Svengali and after selling 250 tickets in a flash to a Stephen King book signing at my store this week, I understand the hypnosis authors have over their adoring fans.

Chilean films always remind me of how uptight Americans are (myself included). We’re shy to dance, to sing, to cry as opposed to the free love and emotional outpouring of our South American counterparts.

I won’t spoil the movie’s end, but enjoyed it thoroughly. According to IMBD, it has already been submitted fr next year’s Oscars. This doesn’t mean it’ll be nominated, and to be honest, I wasn’t awestruck, but the film is worthy of a theater or at home movie rental.

What I learned from incidental research:
Neruda may have died from a North Korean type of poison (not from a noxious facial rub at an airport), but from a ‘doctor’s injection) at the age of 69.
And that the show Mozart in the Jungle of which GG B has won Golden Globes, is based on a book that has been compared with one of my faves Kitchen Confidential (now another book on my ‘to be read’ list).

Foghorn “Jackie” Horn

“Jackie”, directed by Pablo Larrain, has given me fits and starts as far as purpose. Was the purpose to show Jackie Kennedy as a 60’s Stepford Wife, who after her husband’s assassination decided to try to assert herself, only to feel defeated? If so, then, Jackie decides to preserve the fantasy of Camelot through an interview with Theodore White? Ok, fair enough.

The fog horn like monotone sound track, as Jimmy Pardo’s minions just reported on his Never Not Funny podcast was a character in itself. Not since Jaws have I heard a refrain quite that strong. This isn’t necessarily a positive comment. Movies are meant to have substance as well as style. There wasn’t a scene in Jackie that I cherished as much as the many in Jaws, notably two: the dining room scene where Roy Scieder makes faces with his son, or the galley scene where Schieder, Dreyfuss and Shaw share scar stories.

Probably obvious that I can’t recommend this movie. Two major reasons are it’s sensationalized gore porn, and there’s just not enough new information (like Jackie says they didn’t sleep together the night before the parade….ok, more, where was he?) Let’s get out some facts. If we’re going to hang out Jackie’s braziers and panties, meaning showing her as a cigarette smoking, pill popping neophyte, why be unfair and preserve JFK? We know the rumors, so what’s wrong with some facts?

Natalie Portman is capable of a better script and I can’t believe Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard) would be pleased that he looked like quite the dullard, which from watching his speeches, he was anything but.

So, on behalf of Jackie and Bobbie, What’s the frequency Pablo?