Monday, 21 November 2011

Sights with Sounds

Human Highway is a psychedelic slice of nonsense directed by Neil Young & Dean Stockwell. Set in a failing diner/garage a cast of weirdos bumble along with their lives unaware that their unfulfilled dreams are about to get steamrolled by a planet devouring dose of radiation. Dennis Hopper joins in the fun as they all goof about in between musical numbers which are handled by Young himself and some band called Devo who also play an amusing, glowing work crew from the nearby nuclear power plant. I certainly couldn't recommend this as it's mostly rubbish with some patchy acting & so-so script and the plot makes the Beatles Mystery Tour seem coherent. Still it's certainly got something - there's a few genuine laughs, some lovely lurid colouring and a great musical/dream sequence towards the end that caps this surreal romp off nicely.

Animated Latin Jazz romantic dramas don't come along very often so I was eager to see what Chico & Rita had to offer. Told mostly in flashback in pre-revolutionary Cuba it follows the stormy relationship of a pianist and a sultry vocalist trying to crack the big time and find fame and riches in America. The music is brilliant with some exuberant, joyous set pieces and the animation is stylish though a little uneven - the landscaping is excellent but occasionally the characters awkward and under drawn. It's main failing however is the trite plot, a fairly basic hackneyed romantic arc with simplistically drawn lovers who meet, part, reunite and part again & finally it their last reunion I found particularly unlikely and simplistic. Still if you let the music sweep you away it's an enjoyable 100mins.

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