Thursday, August 18, 2016

Herzog probes the mysteries of the Internet and a look at the work of Richard Linklater

Werner Herzog's latest documentary, Lo and Behold, isn't really a documentary at all. For me, it makes more sense to think of Herzog's exploration of the mysteries of the Internet as a cinematic essay, a wide-ranging and sometimes disjointed look at the issues and people that seem to have captured the director's interest. Divided into chapters, the movie begins with the founding of the Internet, and moves steadily toward the darker side of global interconnection. Toward the end, Lo and Behold becomes an ominous cautionary tale about the havoc that would befall the world if a major solar flare wiped out all interconnectivity. Pay attention to the movie's subtitle -- Reveries of the Connected World. It provides a clue about the movie's structure and fascinations. Herzog being Herzog, you probably won't be surprised that Lo and Behold sometimes strives for mind-bending kick. An example: Herzog asks one expert whether the Internet can dream? It's impossible to watch any Herzog film without being stimulated and provoked and Lo and Behold fills that bill, even if it's successes arrive in piecemeal fashion.


Director Richard Linklater (Slackers) qualifies as a true pioneer of Indie cinema, although the director occasionally swims in mainstream waters (School of Rock). Richard Linklater: The Dream is Destiny examines what now has become a fairly prolific career. Director Louis Black (a co-founder of the Austin Chronicle and of SXSW) makes little attempt to conceal his admiration as he interviews Linklater about his work. Black supplements the director's comments with interviews from such Linklater stalwarts as Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey and Julie Delpy. If you're a Linklater fan, Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny also serves as a review of the director's body of work -- from Slackers to Before Sunrise to Boyhood to Everybody Wants Some. There's plenty to be learned about filmmaking in the '90s, about working outside of Hollywood in Austin and about Linklater's approach to material. The movie notes some of Linklater's less-well-received works (The Newton Boys, for example), but it's mostly an appreciation. Wherever the movies have been or wherever they may be headed, we're lucky that Linklater is around to make his contribution. If you needed reminding of that, Dream is Destiny will do the job.

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