Focus On Film: Episode 27 – June 2015 Criterion Titles

Focus On Film Episode 27 is up!

All 3 hosts are back for this ep!
  • Download the MP3 HERE.
In this episode:

"Focus On Film Theme" & commercial music: Daniel Sardella


The Loveless (1981) ***

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) ***1/2 [Berg-a-thon Pt. 9]


Every time I watch this film (this was probably my 4th time) I'm reminded of how much I love the first and second acts and how much the latter part of the third act all but derails the entire film. Spielberg's inability to end A.I. is a problem that has affected several of his films.

I'm firmly of the opinion that the last 30 minutes are unnecessary (I even think the film could possibly end at the point where David falls into the water, but before he sees the Blue Fairy). That final half hour takes away the mystery and melancholy tone of much of the film. I always tell myself that I'll shut the film off before the narration that precedes the alien visit (which I absolutely can't stand), but I never do (next time I will, I swear). The final Blue Fairy/alien/Monica scenes are just abysmal and cringe-worthy. I cannot stand scenes that over-explain things, like the Sydney Pollack scene in EYES WIDE SHUT (more on Kubrick below). If not for the last over-sentimental 30 minutes of the film (which play out like a goddamn Hallmark commercial), I would absolutely give A.I. four stars. 

A lot of A.I. reminds me of E.T. (moments, design choices, musical cues) and there is so much to appreciate, in particular the darker creepy moments. This viewing I took note of the diversity of John Williams' score, which contains themes reminiscent of his own work, Wagner, Reich and even some  electronic/"dance" cues in the second act.

A.I. was famously Stanley Kubrick's project (with involvement from Spielberg) and when he passed away in 1999, 'berg took over. I've always wondered what Kubrick's version would have been like.