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Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Kauffman. Where did you go wrong?
I have been a huge fan of Charlie Kauffman's work for a long time. Each adventure into his mind has brought forth great wonder and great introspection for me.
In Being John Malkovich, he delved into the idea of the human soul. In Adaptation he showed how impossible it is to have originality in your creative endeavours and how life is more outrageous than movie. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind he let us face how we remain deeply entangled with those who have had so strong an affect on us that we wish it away. And whether or not that is the right thing to do.
Which brings us to Synechdoche, New York.
There are lessons to be learned throughout the film. Life, death, the roles we play to each other and the lies we tell ourselves. However, these lessons are not trickled in our ear, they are smashed into our brains with a heavy mallet. There is little to no joy in this escapade, no magic or happiness. I understand Hoffman's character is a man who does not feel these emotions but no one else does. The film spits bile at the idea of love being anything more than life's cruelest joke. Kauffman's on screen visions have hardly been cheery watching but they have still been injected with something otherworldly which sometimes filled your heart with warmth. Synechdoche New York does not.
I feel this was mainly down to one thing. Charlie Kauffman should stick to writing. It is what he excels at. How a man could turn a film about staging a play of your own life ad infinitum within a giant warehouse into maudlin, pretentious navel gazing is beyond me. The narrative is over-burdened with stories that go nowhere and have no point existing. Kauffman doesn't seem to realise what a great central premise he has and that he should stick to it. His wandering becomes aimless and tiresome well before the halfway mark. This only makes the moments of genius within (of which there are) all the more painful as you feel you should have earned them far before they are given.
I feel disappointed beyond reason. What could have blown me away has merely left me feeling cold. I hope the next time I see a Kauffman script on the screen this is not the case, since like I said, I am a fan of his work.
Max Payne (2001)
This game is what other game designers should be reaching towards. The game isn't incredibly long but that's a good thing. because it's not that long it's not boring. but just because it's short doesn't mean it's not good in story, this game has one of the simplest and best stories i've ever seen and that goes for the gameplay too. To use a cliche, it's like playing a movie, and i think very soon it will be. Max payne rules!