Friday, June 27, 2008

Review of The Seventh Python: "Proves that the exhibition of emotional scars is not needed to provide insight into the heart of a person"

When The Seventh Python, the film about Neil Innes from our pals at Frozen Pictures, premiered at the Mods and Rockers Film Festival in Hollywood last night, Elise Thompson of the LAist website was there.

Today she posted the film's first major review. Here are sime highlights that are bound to make you rethink your prejudices about tabloid, definitely want to see the picture and say, "Cheers!" to the Frozen gang:

"...The Seventh Python manages to pull it all together using visual effects, editing techniques and witty commentary, all the while keeping focused exclusively on Innes' professional life.

"The film is subtly enhanced with a sprinkling of animation. Bonnie Rose, who founded www.neilinnes.org adds a style that is clearly in tribute to Terry Gilliam, even down to the crushing foot of fate. Other visual effects such as... duplication and split screens are used to keep the eye entertained while the ears do the heavy lifting.

"In a particularly inspired moment, Innes' attention to an airplane flying by cuts to a shot of an airplane, then to a shot of Terry Jones, whom we have already mentally established is in some distant location, as he pretends to hear the same plane pass overhead. It is an inspired moment that harkens back to the overlapping skits that made Monty Python great .

"'Rockumentaries often have trouble finding the right balance between music and narrative. Most rock docs have no patience and start narrating over songs just as you are finding the groove. The Seventh Python strikes a nice balance, knowing to back off and allow 'The Philosopher's Song' and 'Let's be Natural' to play uninterrupted, while cutting into some of the longer, less iconic tunes...

"This film traces Innes' career... and offers lots of fun, insider tidbits to chuckle over on fan sites.

"Naturally, the commentary is hilarious; we would expect nothing less with friends like John Cleese and Michael Palin. Phil Jupitus is particularly funny, driving the audience into hysterics simply talking about Innes wearing a hat.

"What you won't see up on the big screen is Innes' personal life. The closest you get is a short commentary from his wife, and some nostalgia regarding the death of George Harrison that Innes quickly nips in the bud. Such respect for the boundary between Neil Innes the man and Neil Innes the performer can only come from Burt Kearns, a director who penned the exposé on tabloid journalism.

"Kearns proves here that the exhibition and evaluation of emotional scars large and small is not needed to provide insight into the heart of a subject. This movie makes you admire Innes. It makes you like him as a person. It makes you want to be his friend. He comes off as quick-witted, approachable and clever. Even at his most mischievous he remains guileless...

"This movie succeeds by coaxing its subject to open up just enough so that we do feel like his friend. The Seventh Python allows the audience to walk out of the theater with more than a taste of Neil Innes, but without having swallowed him whole."

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