Archive for the ‘Cinema’ Category

Pépé le Moko

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #172: Julien Duvivier’s Pépé le Moko. The strange start of this film – all the time spent describing the cosmopolitan melange of the Algerian casbah travelogue-style – is the key to understanding what’s happening inside the typically clever head of notorious jewel-thief Pépé le Moko. The man is […]

Black Orpheus

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #48: Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus. I tried watching this many years ago, but wasn’t in the right frame of mind to get through it. I’m glad I gave it another shot, because it’s a wonderful movie. The myth of Orpheus & Eurydice is my favorite, and it translates […]

Samurai Spy

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #312: Masahiro Shinoda’s Samurai Spy. Having read Shusaku Endo’s Silence many years ago, the persecution of Catholicism during the Tokugawa shogunate was something that immediately grabbed me here. It came as only a slight surprise to discover that Masahiro Shinoda directed an adaptation of the book six years after […]

The Red Shoes

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #44: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger’s The Red Shoes. I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this movie, as I haven’t had much luck with Powell & Pressburger in the past, but it was good. The costuming, makeup and other production values were well situated to make the most of […]

Death of a Cyclist

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #427: Juan Antonio Bardem’s Death of a Cyclist. I can’t recall the last time I saw a film where the scene transitions were handled so masterfully. One character blows cigarette smoke to end a scene, a cut, and in a different time and place another character gets smoke blown […]

Taste of Cherry

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #45: Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry. Apparently, the entirety of Iran is a giant gravel-pile construction site. That’s the impression given in this film, and considering how little I know of the country due to my own nation’s sanctions against it, I’m going to choose to assume that Iran […]

The Great Dictator

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #565: Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. Not Chaplin’s greatest work, but certainly a strong propaganda film. What struck me most is the ignorance with which the prison camps and Jewish ghettos are betrayed. There are some obvious instances early in the film where it seems as […]

Insomnia

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #47:Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Insomnia. Ever need a good night’s sleep so badly that you just stop caring about anything and everything around you? Your morality foggily disintegrates, your goals become disjointed, your ego shrivels, and even your id is only capable of short bursts of primeval action. That’s what life […]

Henry V

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #41: Laurence Olivier’s Henry V. There’s an awful lot of British “Adieuing” in this play about the Battle of Agincourt. Had to get that out of my system. This is film that is best talked about in terms of its historical context, which Bruce Eder’s Criterion essay does and […]

Empire of Passion

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #467: Nagisa Oshima’s Empire of Passion. What goes around comes around; and in this tale of lust, murder, guilt, and insanity, a circle motif appears time and again as a reminder. Many Japanese period pieces feature characters with the agency & power to change their world; or failing that, […]

Kagemusha

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #267: Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha. This is a very thought-provoking film. The story could have easily been turned into farce but for the unbearable tension that Shingen’s double is forced to shoulder in maintaining the pretense that he actually is the ruler, while the real Shingen molders […]

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #452: Martin Ritt’s The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. If only all spy movies were along these lines. Expertly acted, with a tight plot and tighter script, the intricacies inexorably unwind throughout the movie. Layers within layers with layers of plotting, no gizmos, no flashbang fight sequences, […]

Boudu Saved From Drowning

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #305: Jean Renoir’s Boudu Saved From Drowning. I have relatively large, completely personal issues with old French comedy. À nous la liberté is pretty much the only old French comedy I’ve ever really liked. I think it boils down to a feeling that comedies of this stripe are constantly […]

Sid and Nancy

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #20: Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy. I’m not a fan of this biopic about Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen and their tragic, drug-fueled, destructive relationship. The series of elliptical, tangential vignettes of key moments in their life together does well to simulate the rare surfacing lucidity of drug addicts, […]

Rebecca

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #135: Alfred Hitchcocks’s Rebecca. There are, specifically, two things I want to write about in regard to this film. The first one is the acting of Joan Fontaine. It was no surprise to me that she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, as […]

Sanjuro

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #53: Akira Kurosawa’s Sanjuro. At first watch, this film is more comedic and less compelling than Yojimbo. At its essence, this is a buddy flick, but Sanjuro has a double handful of impetuous idiots to wrangle instead of just one. Because of this, Sanjuro’s utmost capability stands out at […]

Idiots and Angels by Bill Plympton

I went to the Cleveland Cinematheque last night to watch Bill Plympton’s most recent animated feature: Idiots and Angels (2008). Mr. Plympton was in attendance and was kind enough to do free autographs and sketches for those who asked. (I asked.) Before the feature, Bill introduced us to this short he made with students in […]

Duel

I think there is something not right about [psychotherapy]. It doesn’t do any good to anyone. I have a metaphor: If you illuminate your house with strong lights to the very last corner, the house becomes uninhabitable. And it’s the same thing if you try to illuminate a human being to the last crevices of […]

The Witness of These

You do not consist of any of the elements — earth, water, fire, air, or even ether. To be liberated, know yourself as consisting of consciousness, the witness of these. If only you will remain resting in consciousness, seeing yourself as distinct from the body, then even now you will become happy, peaceful and free from […]

Armageddon

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #40: Michael Bay’s Armageddon. Despite the laughable fact that this movie is included in the Criterion Collection; and the almost certain financial & business-tactical reasons for its inclusion, I’m going to try to review this film in good faith. This Michael Bay blockbuster came out in 1998, and […]

Blood For Dracula

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #28: Paul Morrissey’s Blood For Dracula. Blood for Dracula is little different, in essence, from it’s partner, Flesh for Frankenstein. I guess if I had to pick, I’d say I enjoyed this movie better, mainly due to the ridiculously gratuitous nudity, hot lesbian make-out scenes and a scene […]

Flesh for Frankenstein

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #27: Paul Morrissey’s Flesh for Frankenstein. Also known, for obvious marketing reasons, as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, this film only uses the name “Frankenstein” as a pop culture reference to go along with the other clichéd horror tropes; mad scientists, castle laboratories, sundry chunks of corpses, creepy assistant, etc. […]

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #17: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. Chances are you won’t like this movie. Even if you do enjoy it for its cinematic and allegorical value, you won’t like it. If you do like it on anything approaching an emotionally satisfying level, please seek […]

Gormenghast Weekend

I’ve either got what Bram had, or something from a coworker. Christmas shopping is finished, though I almost got into a fight at the liquor store buying something as a part of my secret santa gift exchange at work. All that I have left to do is further baking. Apparently, chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks are a […]

Fishing With John

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #42: John Lurie’s Fishing With John. As a fisherman, watching Fishing with John was quite an experience. Walleye and pike are only mentioned once, by Tom Waits; the rest of the time the fishing was much more exotic than what a Midwesterner like me is used […]

The Hidden Fortress

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #116: Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. Well it has been 9 months since I last reviewed a Criterion Collection film. I suppose having a 7-month old will do that to you. I had a chance to sit down last night and watch The Hidden Fortress. I […]

Student Films

I ran across a disc of the films I made in college, so I figured I’d upload them to YouTube. Now I just need to scrounge up that VHS of the stuff I made in high school and get it digitized so I can treat it similarly. Cash Flow This was a silent film assignment […]

Le Bonheur

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #420: Agnès Varda’s Le Bonheur. After quite a long hiatus from watching Criterion Collection films [and an abortive reentry with Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming], I got back into the swing of things with this charmingly menacing film by Agnès Varda. Foremost, the film is beautiful […]

Tokyo Drifter

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #39: Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter. While this is another Seijun Suzuki gangster film, it is vastly different from Branded to Kill on just about every point. Most notable is the use of bright swathes of single colors in different scenes; the same set might be yellow, […]

Branded to Kill

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #38: Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill. Watching a Japanese B-movie was a great way to get back into the swing of Criterion reviews. This is the first Seijun Suzuki film I’ve seen, but it reminded me very much of Samuel Fuller, and it is even a […]

The Wages of Fear

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #36: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear. I no longer have any Criterion Collection films queued up at the library. After the inundation I’ve had with them over the last few weeks, I think it is time to take a bit of a break. Thankfully, the […]

Les Diaboliques

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #35: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques. This movie is amazing. I’m not one for horror movies, because I never get scared, but the ending sequence of this film even creeped me out. Pretty much any time you hear anything about this film there will be the inevitable […]

M

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #30: Fritz Lang’s M. Fritz Lang always blows my mind. The precise craftmanship in all of his films, the exactly correct framing for a shot, the inspired, slight, understated camera movements, the chiaroscuro and beauty of the black and white would be worth watching in a […]

Time Bandits

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #37: Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits. Woops. This movie totally didn’t do a damn thing for me. And usually I really like Terry Gilliam. I would have preferred something like The Adventures of Baron Munchausen as the Criterion pick, if they were going to go with a […]

Lord of the Flies

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #43: Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies. It is tough getting children to act well; just ask anyone who’s ever had to get children to act well. A vast majority of the cast in Lord of the Flies couldn’t act their way out of a wet paper […]

The Most Dangerous Game

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #46: Irving Pichel, and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s The Most Dangerous Game. As soon as this film kicked in, I realized that it was an adaptation of Richard Connell’s short story that I’d read years ago, loved and lost. So, I was excited to see how it […]

Oliver Twist

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #32: David Lean’s Oliver Twist. Two years after David Lean’s Great Expectations, Alec Guinness is back in another Dickens adaptation. This time he’s very aged through makeup and a giant prosthetic nose [that got the film denounced as anti-Semitic], but his portrayal of Fagin really shows […]

Great Expectations

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #31: David Lean’s Great Expectations. Upon seeing this version of Great Expectations, I’m fairly sure that I’ve seen it previously. As book-to-movie adaptations go, it suffers from the normal malaise of truncation, but not so much as other stories, since the verbose Dickens is involved. Alec […]

Andrei Rublev

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #34: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. For a film named after and about a single man, Rublev is remarkably absent. Instead Tarkovsky exposes and lingers on specific events that intertwine and illuminate the life of Russia’s most famous icon painter. A chance encounter with a jester, the […]

The Long Good Friday

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #26: John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday. The Long Good Friday stars Bob Hoskins and contains a Gayish Pierce Brosnan. It was made before I was born, but having seen it, I believe that Guy Ritchie loves this movie. Maybe because the film is argotful of […]

Picnic at Hanging Rock

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #29: Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. Despite the fact that Gheorghe Zamfir smears his panflute are all over the the score for this film, it isn’t a bad movie. It seems to be Weir’s Australian interpretation of the Lady of the Wood mythos, with liberal […]

High and Low

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #24: Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low. Almost the entire first hour of High and Low takes place in one room, but there is no lack of activity despite this fact. Just synchronizing the blocking must have taken a ton of work. The room is spacious because […]

Alphaville

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #25: Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville. Watching this film, one of the first things I realized is that Jean-Luc Godard has no idea how to make convincing science fiction. The next thing I realized was that Godard was merely using enough of the science fiction idiom to display […]

Dead Ringers

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #21: David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers. Dead Ringers is based on a true story about identical twin gynecologist drug addicts; both played by Jeremy Irons. The film is a psychological thriller deeply concerned with obsession, sexuality and co-dependence. Cronenberg doesn’t overdo the shots that contain both Mantle […]

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #360: William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasm. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm is most interesting to me because it is a experiment in which, for the most part, the people in the film know they are being experimented upon and then become participants in the experiment themselves. It is uncontrolled metafilmmaking that defies […]

Summertime

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #22: David Lean’s Summertime. I didn’t like this movie. Sure, David Lean, sure Katharine Hepburn, sure Technicolor, sure boring. I think this is one of those films that doesn’t age well in terms of its accessibility to audiences. It plays pitch-perfect to pre-sexual revolution morality for […]

The Naked Kiss

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #18: Samuel Fuller’s The Naked Kiss. Sam Fuller is widely regarded as a very masculine filmmaker; his works associated with violence, bravado, exploitation, primitiveness and vulgarity. And while those associations are correct, the masculine label is misplaced. A film like The Naked Kiss illustrates Fuller’s claim […]

The Vanishing

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #133: George Sluizer’s The Vanishing. The Vanishing is a very 80s movie with a very 80s score. It is a pretty good thriller/horror, especially because of its unorthodox methodology. Much of the film is spent with detailed views of a sociopath’s life; the man who kidnaps […]

By Brakhage: an anthology

THIS POST CONTAINS A PICTURE OF AN EVISCERATED CORPSE, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE IT, DON’T READ THIS POST. A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #184: Stanley Brakhage’s By Brakhage: an anthology. I’d forgotten how good Stan Brakhage is at the avant-garde filmmaking gig. It has been 5 years since my […]

By Brakhage

Hollowed, the body upon a table; no verbs for the inanimate, a cicada shell. And men in long coats have removed them; peeled flesh – skull over face – sawn through bone cracking walnuts for the meat inside; each soft and hidden part apprised; the inside of your breast, the open boat of your body […]

The Burmese Harp

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #379: Kon Ichikawa’s The Burmese Harp. The Burmese Harp seems less the anti-war film it is often billed as, and more of a post-war re-evaluation of Japanese nationalism. For practical purposes there are two characters in this film, the deserter Mizushima and the rest of his […]

The Naked City

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #380: Jules Dassin’s The Naked City. Even without the ridiculously annoying narrator, The Naked City would still be a mediocre film. It is basically an episode of CSI without any of the technology. A police procedure film about the murder of a young model that takes […]

Vengeance is Mine

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #384: Shohei Imamura’s Vengeance is Mine. This film was much more graphic than I expected it to be. It also has some great sex scenes. I’ll get into what I mean by great a bit later. The film is based around an actual Japanese serial killer […]

The Fallen Idol

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #357: Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol. Carol Reed and Graham Greene, what a combo. I think a large part of the reason I don’t read much modern fiction is that Graham Greene’s work is so fully satisfying that I can’t fathom a reason to try anything […]

Beastie Boys Video Anthology

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #100: Beastie Boys Video Anthology. I have a distinct memory of dancing Intergalactic stop-motion style at some dance or other with my high school buddies senior year. I was never a huge Beastie Boys fan, though I certainly got down to their music. For a person […]

Solaris

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #164: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris. My Dostoevsky professor once said that Russians are more Oriental than Occidental in temperament, and the contemplative pacing and constant importance of the unimportant throughout Tarkovsky’s Solaris seems to support this assertion fairly well. For those used to Stanislaw Lem’s whimsical cybernetic […]

Bicycle Thieves

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #374: Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves. Bicycle Thieves is one of those films that ends up on every Film History syllabus. It shouldn’t be avoided, but I think that it appreciates to a viewer who has actually had to live and scrounge to make ends meet […]

Samurai Spy

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #312: Masahiro Shinoda’s Samurai Spy. Like any good spy movie, most of the time in Samurai Spy the viewer doesn’t know who is who, who is what and who is where. This is good. The film also has a bit of an Ian Fleming flair to […]

Charade

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #57: Stanley Donen’s Charade. What struck me most about Charade was the way in which it could show callous and sometimes vicious murders in such a carefree way that you felt free to not care about the dead schmucks. That is a feeling that lasts throughout […]

Fanny och Alexander [Theatrical Version]

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #263: Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny och Alexander [Theatrical Version]. Although I’ve yet to see the five hour television version of this film, Fanny and Alexander seems an odd title for a film in which Fanny is little more than an afterthought foil to her brother Alexander. There […]

Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #82: Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet. Laurence Olivier did remarkably well in his transplant of Hamlet to the silver screen. Although the transplant involved a gastric bypass of much of the play’s text, Olivier mitigated this omission by inspired camerawork. Terrence Rafferty’s Criterion essay suggest that the camera […]

Overlord

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #382: Stuart Cooper’s Overlord. I was contacted by a NYC marketing firm to review Overlord, which was released on the 17th. So hey, free DVD. This is the second time that someone has happened along my movie reviews and asked me to do one for them. […]

Paul Robeson: Outsider – Body & Soul/Borderline

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #371: Oscar Micheaux’s Body & Soul and Kenneth MacPherson’s Borderline. Body & Soul Paul Robeson and Oscar Micheaux are legendary, so I was eager to see what they could do in collaboration. Body & Soul is Robeson’s first screen appearance, and quite an opening act. The […]

Pandora’s Box

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #358: G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box. I said I’d finished watching all of the films that I’d seen before, but Pandora’s Box showed up at the Library recently, and I’ve currently got Bicycle Thieves in the queue. Watching Pandora’s Box this time around was much more fulfilling […]

The Blood of a Poet

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #67: Jean Cocteau’s The Blood of A Poet. At first, this film seemed impenetrable to me. It only clocks in at 50 minutes, but the film is so filled with a need for interpretation that “pregnant” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Jean Cocteau explicitly states […]

31st Cleveland Film Festival

On Saturday I saw 1.5 films at the 31st Cleveland Film Festival. The first was called A Map for Saturday and was a self-doc about a guy who quit his job to spend a year backpacking around the world. It was interesting to see, since he is about my age, and it wasn’t really a […]

The Killers

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #176: Robert Siodmak’s The Killers; Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Killers; Don Siegal’s The Killers. Here’s another example where The Criterion folks are in a position to provide a unique cinematic experience. In addition to Robert Siodmak’s classic noir, they’ve also provided Andrei Tarkovsky’s first student film and […]

Bande à part

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #174: Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à part. Bande à part is only loosely a gangster film, only loosely a noir, and a very unconventional film in just about all other respects. It is also one of the most influential of the French New Wave and is still […]

The Last Temptation of Christ

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #70: Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. Ever since I first saw this movie, I’ve loved it. There was a controversial screening of it at Notre Dame when I was an undergrad. But instead of talking about how everything that differs from dogma is controversial […]

The Rock

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #108: Michael Bay’s The Rock. Oh God. I can’t really believe that The Rock [and Armageddon] are on the Criterion Collection list. But then, Michael Bay has a contract with them. Anyway, their eccentricity as films on this list is a good opportunity to apply critical […]

Down By Law

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #166: Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law. Jim Jarmusch knows how to shoot in black and white. I always forget this until I rewatch something of his. I own Dead Man, and I should probably get my hands on this film as well. Shot in New Orleans, […]

The Importance of Being Earnest

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #158: Anthony Asquith’s The Importance of Being Earnest. I have a queer affection for this film. It isn’t my type of film at all, in fact. But it is so deliberately smarmy and the dialogue so witty and refreshing that I quickly forget that I’d want […]

Rashômon

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #138: Akira Kurosawa’s Rashômon. There isn’t a whole lot to say in critical terms about Rashômon that hasn’t been said before, and better than I could say it. So instead of talking about it in terms of its examination of truth, its cultural context, or its […]

Playtime

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #112: Jacques Tati’s Playtime. M. Hulot is back, at least part-time, for his last appearance in cinema. Playtime continues Tati’s tradition of satirizing the mundane, but unlike M. Hulot’s Holiday, this time the focus is on modernity rather than leisure time. Filmed nearly 15 years after […]

Shoot The Piano Player

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #315: François Truffaut’s Shoot The Piano Player. I only have ten more films to rewatch in The Criterion Collection before I can start watching stuff I haven’t seen before again. I’m looking forward to that day. Here’s a little context about Shoot the Piano Player. It […]

Dazed and Confused

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #336: Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. -Peter De Vries The screencaps are crummy in this review because the library sent me the Full Screen version instead of the Criterion Collection version. I had to grab screencaps from elsewhere. Dazed […]

Hiroshima mon amour

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #196: Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima mon amour. Rien is, perhaps, the most beautiful word in French. In Hiroshima mon amour such words of emptiness and loss echo throughout. The opening sequence in particular is stunning for its evocation and dialogue; it is so full of implication that […]

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #175: Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. America is the first country to have gone from barbarism to decadence without the usual intervening period of civilization. —Oscar Wilde I’ve never used any sort of illegal drug, so offering an examination of the verisimilitude of […]

Faces

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #252: John Cassavetes’ Faces. I think, maybe, that the correct reaction [at least in terms of the reaction Cassavetes was aiming for] to Faces is supposed to be loathing. It is a long, torturous journey through the darkest parts of married adult life, and there are […]

Shadows

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #251: John Cassavetes’ Shadows. I said I was dreading the Cassavetes films that I was going to have to watch as a part of my somewhat manic determination to watch all of the films in the Criterion Collection, so, of course, I ordered the two I’ve […]

Brazil

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #51: Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this film and this time it gave me the creepy crawlies. This is satire done right, and the fact that after 20 years reality has nearly caught up with its prescience is what makes me feel […]

M. Hulot’s Holiday

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #110: Jacques Tati’s M. Hulot’s Holiday. I have a theory that the quality of a country’s comedy is inversely proportionate to the quality of its cuisine. Thus, the genius of Monty Python and the horrid dish known as Toad in the Hole have the same sort […]

Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #16: Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island. Unintentional Mifunefest concludes with Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island. Most folks say that this is the best of the three films, and I have to agree at least in terms of plot and characterization. I think […]

Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #15: Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple. Unintentional Mifunefest continues with the crepuscularly spectacular Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple. Even as a middle portion of a trilogy this film is strong enough to stand on its own. The lack of firm resolution might […]

Yojimbo

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #52: Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. You might know the remake of this film better than Yojimbo itself. Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone retold it as A Fistful of Dollars. I’ve not actually seen A Fistful of Dollars, but this is the second time I’ve seen Yojimbo. While […]

Casino Royale

Just as I was getting bored yesterday Rafeeq called me up because he needed a ride to Cracker Park to pick up some shoes. Rafeeq is good for me because he helps me loosen and lighten up. So we got valet parking for my car, which, if you’ve seen my car, is hilarious. We got […]

The Royal Tenenbaums

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #157: Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. As I pointed out in my review of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, I don’t like Wes Anderson’s films. This creates a slight problem for me, since he’s got a contract with Criterion Co. to have his films [the […]

Samurai I: Miyamoto Musashi

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #14: Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai I: Miyamoto Musashi. Miyamoto Musashi is the first installment of Hiroshi Inagaki’s Samurai Trilogy, an action-packed series of films that follows the life of Japan’s greatest warrior as he grows into his legend. This initial film shows a very different Musashi from […]

À nous la liberté

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #160: René Clair’s À nous la liberté. Ever since I first saw this film a few years ago its cheery theme song comes back as an earworm at least once a month. “À nous, à nous, la li-ber-té!” While it is no longer roll-on-the-floor hilarious, it […]

The 39 Steps

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #56: Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. I would like to preface this review by saying that Marian Keane’s Criterion Essay linked at the end is going to be much better than anything I will write here. The 39 Steps is my favorite Hitchcock film, made when […]

Do The Right Thing

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #97: Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. It might be a bit reductive to compare Spike Lee and Jane Campion [An Angel at My Table] in terms of minority filmmaking, but it is interesting to see how their films exert themselves in that sort of space. […]

Hoop Dreams

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #289: Peter Gilbert’s, Steve James’s, and Frederick Marx’s Hoop Dreams. I never really wanted to watch this movie again. I saw it twice in college during my History of Documentary Film class [along with Nanook of the North] and as it is nearly 3 hours long, […]

Career Opportunities

This clip, gratuitous and exploitative as it is, is one fine piece of filmmaking; which is the main reason it is so deliberately gratuitous and exploitative. Note how the timing of the cuts and changes in shot framing ramp up the sexiness of the scene, and by proxy, its comedy. Also, take note that I, […]

Sex, Love & Z-Parts

A few weeks ago I received a request to review a short film that acts as a teaser for a feature film called Sex, Love & Z-Parts. I received the screener last week, along with comprehensive supplemental materials and have also traded a few emails with Marcus D. Russell, the driving force behind the production. […]

Le Passion de Jeanne d’Arc

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #62: Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. I must admit that the first time I saw this, I slept through the majority. I was fresh from fencing practice in the womblike screening room of O’Shaughnessy Hall and there was no accompaniment to the […]

Pickup on South Street

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #224: Samuel Fuller’s Pickup on South Street. I first saw this in a film noir class I took in college, That same week we watched Kiss Me Deadly, so I got a bit confused and thought this film involved Mike Hammer and ended with a nuclear […]

Le Corbeau

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #227: Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Corbeau. Le Corbeau was made in occupied France in 1943. It was denounced by the Vichy government, denounced by the French Resistance and denounced by the Vatican. For a film that seems rather innocuous in 2006 America there must be a lot […]

The Silence of the Lambs

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #13: Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs. “Nothing is so frightening as what’s behind the closed door. The audience holds its breath along with the protagonist as she/he (more often she) approaches that door…” Stephen King in Danse Macabre and before that Val Lewton The […]

Shock Corridor

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #19: Samuel Fuller’s Shock Corridor. It was nice seeing this film again. Samuel Fuller has that peculiar position that only seems possible in the world of film; a master of cinema, but also a producer of schlock. Shock Corridor is a perfect example of this sort […]

Det sjunde inseglet [The Seventh Seal]

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #11: Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. Rev. 8:1 There is little I can say about The Seventh Seal that has not been said before. I will […]

Nanook of the North

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #33: Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North. This is the third time now that I’ve seen Nanook of the North. I’m currently rewatching films I’ve already seen but not reviewed that are on the Criterion list. Despite the fact that Nanook of the North is filled […]

RoboCop

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #23: Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop. This is a good time to explore the Criterion Collection’s mission statement, since I know plenty of people think that having RoboCop on a list with The 400 Blows and 8½ is an abomination. The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important […]

The Sword of Doom

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #280: Kihachi Okamoto’s The Sword of Doom. As I watched this, I kept thinking that if Samuel Fuller had been Japanese, he would have made The Sword of Doom. This film has the curious mix of shlock and art, brutality and grace that Fuller was known […]

This Is Spinal Tap

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #12: Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap. This will be short since I don’t know if I’m capable of speaking critically about a film that is so near and dear to my heart. In a sense, its execution was prescient, though rockumentaries like The Song Remains […]

Viridiana

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #332: Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana. Viridian comes from the Latin viridis, meaning green, but color has little to do with Buñuel’s Viridiana. He took the name from the life of a St. Viridiana [Feb 1st], but that is tangential to the action of the film. It is […]

The Browning Version

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #294: Anthony Asquith’s The Browning Version. Summer is over and since all the children are heading back to school I thought I’d better pick up where I left off 4 months ago and start watching Criterion Collection films again. This film happens to take place at […]

The New World

I saw Terence Malick’s The New World a few days ago. He’s really known for his cinematography, [You must see Days of Heaven if you’ve not already] but what struck me most about The New World was the montage. Not the spinning newspaper stuff that is most prevalent, but honest to God rhythmic montage. The […]

Die Nibelungen

This past weekend I watched Kino’s restoration of Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelungen, a five-hour silent film from 1924. I’ve always been interested in this Nordic/Germanic epic and its adaptations and retellings; initially due to the interweaving of myth and hero-legend with historical fact [Siegfried kills a dragon, Attila’s invasion, for example] but now my interest […]

Forbidden Zone

My newest film infatuation is Forbidden Zone, a creation by The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and featuring a great soundtrack enhanced by Danny Elfman. True to my ever-eclectic film taste, this cult masterpiece combines my favorite German Expressionism, old style Bosco cartoonishness, extra-dimensions, midgets [Herve Villechaize!], frog butlers, hot topless women, and bondage […]

Life of Brian

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #61: Monty Python’s Life of Brian. I’m taking a bit of a break from watching Criterion films I’ve not seen before and doing a little catch-up by writing reviews for films I’d seen before I decided to work on this list. Appropriately, Monty Python’s Life of […]

8 ½

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #140: Federico Fellini’s 8 ½. Cinema is the art form that lends itself most easily to postmodernism and 8 ½ is the most snugly postmodern film I’ve seen in a long time. Self-reflexivity is its bread and butter, and while that may be gimmicky now, it […]

Le Souffle au coeur

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #328: Louis Malle’s Murmur of the Heart. In the Criterion-associated strange synergies of my life I’ve had two separate works in two separate days that replay the story of Oedipus and his mother in new fashions. First, Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, in which the 15 […]

The Promise

I went to an advance [for Cleveland] screening of The Promise last night at the Cedar Lee. This is one of those films that uses CG stuff to keep the budget low at the price of quality. I can’t decide if I’d like it better as completely live-action with no CG or completely done in […]

Bakushû [Early Summer]

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #240: Yasujiro Ozu’s Early Summer. As contemporary dramas go, Ozu’s Early Summer manages to select issues that are both timeless and practical in the instant of their genesis. It is at once a story of post-war Japan and family crisis, and a chance to examine both […]

Lacombe, Lucien

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #329: Louis Malle’s Lacombe, Lucien. Lacombe, Lucien is a film intentionally filled with symbols, almost allegorical in effect, pertaining to issues about the loyalty and responsibility of French civilians during the German occupation in World War II. Lucien is necessarily the most nuanced character, since the […]

Another Movie List

Thankfully I’ve seen a ton of these already. The bulleted and bolded ones. From Roger Ebert: • 2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) Stanley Kubrick • The 400 Blows” (1959) Francois Truffaut • “8 1/2″ (1963) Federico Fellini “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) Werner Herzog • Alien” (1979) Ridley Scott “All About Eve” (1950) Joseph […]

Metropolitan

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #326: Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan. Metropolitan is a movie about the Urban Haute Bourgeoisie, debutantes and their escorts, people who read literary criticism but not the actual books, and kids who obsessively worry about their own downfall, debate theoretical political systems and don’t know how to drive […]

Spartacus

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #105: Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus. The first time I saw this film I was about ten. Therefore I missed all the political criticism, sexual undertones [there should totally be a lounge band called The Sexual Undertones] and pathos contained in the film. I also knew jack about […]

The Night Porter

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #59: Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter. There is a picture of a naked woman at the end of this review. If you or your workplace has a problem with that, you should probably not read this or wait until you get home. The Night Porter is […]

The Tales of Hoffman

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #317: Powell and Pressburger’s The Tales of Hoffmann. This is another Criterion film that didn’t do so much for me. I’m not too keen on musicals and there are some very large hurdles to surmount in turning a musical into a musical on film. The Tales […]

Young Mr. Lincoln

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #320: John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln. Young Mr. Lincoln is a film by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda, about Abraham Lincoln when he was just a greenhorn lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. The Geoffrey O’Brien essay linked at the end of this review is so well done […]

Elena and Her Men

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #244: Jean Renoir’s Elena and Her Men. I’ve had plenty of strange coincidences in my Criterion viewings so far. I’ve not been picking films with any rhyme or reason, but stuff like this has been happening all too often: The last movie I reviewed was by […]

Jungfrukällan [The Virgin Spring]

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #321: Ingmar Bergman’s Jungfrukällan [The Virgin Spring]. The Virgin Spring is based on a Swedish ballad called “Töre’s Daughter in Vänge” that, for the life of me, I cannot find online [although it is available as part of the liner notes for the Criterion edition of […]

A Night to Remember

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #7: Roy Baker’s A Night to Remember. This is a film where I’m going to talk nearly as much about the Criterion DVD as much as the film itself. Or maybe not. But it bears mentioning that the commentary on this release comes from two Titanic […]

F for Fake

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #288: Orson Welles’s F for Fake. This is a movie about charlatans and hanky-panky men, charismatic liars and magicians. It is something like a documentary but one in which a con man tells you he is a con man and is so good that he cons […]

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #300: Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I don’t like Wes Anderson films for the same reason I don’t like Quentin Tarantino films and the same reason I don’t like most of my poetry. It is all too referential. Yet, The Life Aquatic with […]

The Iron Giant

I watched The Iron Giant last evening. I’m a huge fan of animation and had heard good things about this movie, so it surely took me long enough to get around to seeing it. It is a good movie and while the plot is typical kid movie fare, the art is very well done, and […]

The Man Who Fell To Earth

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #304: Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth. Musee des Beaux Arts About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters: how well they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully […]

Hard-Boiled

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #9: John Woo’s Hard-Boiled. John Woo must like Jazz clubs, because both The Killer and Hard-Boiled feature them, with Woo making a cameo as the club bartender in Hard-Boiled. Rarely have I seen a film with a body count as high as Hard-Boiled. The influence of […]

The Killer

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #8: John Woo’s The Killer. There is something of a directorial dialogue between Eastern and Western filmmakers. Few things so appropriately evince this tendency than the relationship between Jean Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï and John Woo’s The Killer. Woo readily states that Melville is a great […]

Le Samouraï

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #306: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï. In a film like Le Samouraï, “never” means “always”. When the police inspector says that he never thinks, we know he is always thinking and when hit man Jef Costello [Alain Delon] says he never loses we know he’s already lost […]

Au hasard Balthazar

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #297: Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar. One would expect a painter-turned-filmmaker to have an eye for composition, and Bresson definitely exceeds that expectation. Throughout Au hasard Balthazar “shots as paintings” abound. This is the first film I’ve seen by Bresson, and before I watched it, I […]

Kedamono no ken

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #311: Hideo Gosha’s Sword of the Beast. It just happens to be coincidence that I was reading the Hagakure when this movie came in on my hold list at the library. Naoshige once said, “The Bushido signifies desperate death. Several tens of sane samurais could not […]

Walkabout

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #10: Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout. It is probably just me, but it seems like the 1970s were filled with films featuring nubile and naked young Australian women in Edenic settings. Walkabout is one of those films. I could put a full frontal picture of Jenny Agutter’s character […]

La Belle et la Bête

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #6: Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête. At the present moment, a film that goes against average taste gets few bookings in France, and outside of some ambitious pictures undertaken to maintain prestige, production is almost at a standstill and the studios deserted. A poet […]

New Lists

In which Adam talks about a new movie list he has started watching and a possibly new book list to start reading.

Sin City

A review of Sin City with links to comparisons between shots in the movie and the graphic novels.

Cidade de Deus

Grillions of people told me to watch this movie, Cidade de Deus, and while the plot didn’t do much for me [Brazilian Boyz in the Hood], the technical skill of the film was definitely impressive in a few ways. Structured in journalistic vignettes, the film tells us about Cidade de Deus [Rio’s Trenchtown] by charting […]

Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow is just like most reviews you’ve read of it. 100% pulp. Granted, it has that fanboyish nostalgia for the golden age of science fiction, and it works in the retroartdeco hipness that has been popping up lately, so pulp should be expected. Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs […]

Straw Dogs

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #182: Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs If ever there is a movie that fulfills the maxim “Beware the wrath of a quiet man” Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs [1971] [don’t miss the essay from a real film critic] is it. One of the many things Peckinpah does well […]

Baraka

Baraka, a Sufi word somewhere in the neighborhood of “blessing” is vested with just about as much meaning as arete. So when I checked out Baraka [tons of screenshots] from the library, I expected a complicated movie. It is complicated in the fact that it is and isn’t complicated.

De-Lovely

I’m a big dumbass for not thinking De-Lovely, a movie about Cole Porter, would be a musical. Of course it was a musical, you big dumbass! Not you. Me. I don’t particularly like musicals, so bear that in mind as I review this one.

Vera Drake

As far as movies about abortion go, Vera Drake [Leigh, 2004] seems easier to understand in the context of British class issues than the contemporary abortion debate. I guess the whole movie is about context, really. So I’ll try to make my way through some of it past the jump. Spoilers ahead.

Garden State

I finally saw Garden State, and didn’t like it at all. I can forgive the sloppy editing, but for me the characters were all absolutely lifeless, and the story was like stale artificial sweetener. I think the movie inspired deadness in me because I in no way connected to the lives or problems of any […]

Méliès the Magician

It isn’t often I do a DVD review, but then, when what I’m reviewing is a bunch of stuff from the beginning of the 20th century, I guess you have to make do. I finally sat down and watched all of Méliès the Magician a DVD that has been resting on my television for quite […]

In the Realms of the Unreal

In the Realms of the Unreal is a documentary on the life of outsider artist Henry Darger and is currently playing at the Cedar Lee. It is a great doc, with great animation and a great focus. Go catch it before it disappears.

The Animation Show 2005

Friday I went to see The Animation Show at the Cleveland Cinematheque. It was really good. Here is what is playing in 2005. Mini-reviews within.

Robots

Robots is an entertaining movie, quite worth taking the kids to see. It is a bit light on plot, but that’s okay. The humor was right up my alley, visual and verbal puns were the main course, cracked me up. For instance, at one point all the Robots do The Robot; expected but hilarious nonetheless. […]

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I finally watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night. I’ve been wanting to see it pretty much since it came out, but it was one of those things that I never really got around to doing. In any case, while I want to watch it at least one more time before I codify […]

A Very Long Engagement

A Very Long Engagement [Un long dimanche de fiançailles] is a very long engagement indeed. Way too long. About 45 minutes too long. Watching the movie is like eating a plain baguette, It is sort of tasty when you start but you get tired of it long before the end.

Movie Fest

I had some friends over on Saturday for movies. We ordered Big Guy’s Pizza and watched some real raspberries in the world of cinema. Two reviews lie after the jump. We watched four, but I’m not going to review the ones I’d already seen.

Hotel Rwanda

I went to the Cedar Lee last night and saw Hotel Rwanda. It was even heavier than I expected it to be and it definitely bore a bit of discussion with my friend and a bit more thought now. You can listen to an NPR interview with Don Cheadle here. Spoilers within.

Top 10 Movie Badasses

Here is a Top 10 list of my favorite movie badasses. These folks are hardcore invincible types. No animated characters and no superheros. I have eliminated movies where folks are more than just badass. So if there is someone missing from the list that you think should be there, it is either because I haven’t […]

Ocean’s 12

I saw Ocean’s 12 last night with Liam and Anne. Perhaps the last time I will see them before they move to NYC. Anyway, Ocean’s 12 is all edge and no teeth. If Ocean’s Eleven [O11] is an intelligent, sophisticated, mysterious and beautiful French woman, then Ocean’s 12 [O12] is a dumb nymphomaniac sorority girl. […]

Logan’s Run

I snagged Logan’s Run from the library because I’ve not seen it in almost a decade. I can appreciate it [only slightly] more now that I’m older.

The Bourne Supremacy and a Dream

The Bourne Supremacy is not a movie you want to watch from the front row of an ill-designed movie theater. I don’t, in fact, know if it is a good movie or not, so I’ll just talk about the experience.

Bubba Ho-tep

Ladies and Gentlemen, I will now use my film degree for bastardized purposes. Also, I am growing a beard again.

The Third Man

A part of this viewing list: Criterion Collection Spine #64: Carol Reed’s The Third Man. With the likes of Carol Reed directing, a Graham Greene screenplay and Orson Welles, The Third Man, [1949] which I recently watched, is a very good movie. And since it was a Criterion Collection DVD, the goodies are just as […]

Spiderman 2

Finally saw Spiderman 2, not that I really wanted to see it, but I wasn’t averse to it either. I didn’t appreciate it so much for its story as for the auteurical flourishes that Sam Raimi brought for me. There might be a spoiler or two to follow.

About Schmidt

Screw Mock-a-Blog week. I’ve got more important things to write on. I watched About Schmidt last evening and it was alright. Definitely an old person’s movie. It was solidly put together with interesting shots but nothing fancy. Jack Nicholson made the movie. It is obvious why his performance got him nominated for so many awards. […]

The 47 Ronin

I finally finished watching Genroku chushingura [The 47 Ronin]. This film is considered one of the classic films of Japanese cinema and was directed by the always impressive Kenji Mizoguchi. The film was released in 1942 and was commissioned by the Japanese government to be a nationalist rhetoric in favor of war to realize Japanese […]

5 Sides of a Coin

Last night I was surprised with a ticket to see 5 Sides of a Coin at the Cleveland Film Festival. Directed by Paul Kell, this too-short documentary concerns itself with five areas of hip-hop: rappin’, scratchin’, breakin’, beatboxin’ and graffiti. I enjoyed the film for what it was, but I think it was lacking in […]

Forbidden Planet

I snagged Forbidden Planet from the library this weekend and watched it on Saturday. I also picked up Fellini’s Satyricon and Inagaki’s The 47 Ronin. Forbidden Planet is an excellent science-fiction movie. Apparently it is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest which happens to be my favorite of Billy’s plays. I grabbed it mostly because […]

Rent Fest

Hollywood Video has this great coupon gizmo going on where you can rent up to three new releases for the full five days at 99 cents each. last night i rented In the Cut, Lost in Translation, and Solaris for 5 days and a measly $3.21. without this wonderful coupon [a pile of which i […]

Free Film Food

I spent the weekend working in Medina on Save the Day. I ate much food, talked about the three main on-set topics [films i’ve worked on/films i’ve seen, drinking, and sex]. It was a long weekend, 66 scheduled shots, many of them involving fight choreography. I worked as sound assistant for awhile, did some lighting […]

Hidalgo Dual Review

I went to an advanced screening of the new Viggo Mortensen vehicle, Hidalgo, last evening. The story story centers around Frank Hopkins [Mortensen]; his paint mustang, Hidalgo; and long distance horse racing. Hopkins goes to Arabia to compete in a 3,000 mile Bedouin race across the deserts. A dual review is found below, one praises […]

Saves the Day

I’m somewhat back in the saddle when it comes to filmmaking. For the next two weeks, as my schedule allows, I am going to help out on a Super 16mm film called Saves the Day, which concerns itself with a boy who thinks his older brother is a superhero. I’m just a PA, and the […]

Ghost in the Shell

I saw Ghost in the Shell last night. The Matrix can suck eggs. “A ghost-hacked human is a pitiful thing.” “A copy is just an identical image. There is the possibility that a single virus could destroy an entire set of systems and copies do not give rise to variety and originality. Life perpetuates itself […]

The Last Samurai

I’d heard nothing but bad about The Last Samurai. I saw it last night and was entertained. What brought it down the most was Tom Cruise. The director, one Mr. Zwick, ended up putting a bit too much emphasis on Cruise, in narration, diegetic dialogue, and photo-montage. I got the distinct impression that the movie […]

Return of the King

I saw Return of the King [RotK] last night at midnight. I got to bed around 4ish and was at work at 7. I am writing this at approximately 20 past 9 a.m. on 17 December 2003. I am a zombie, so bear with if at times I sound a bit incoherent. There are also […]

Adaptation

I finally got around to seeing Adaptation, which has been recommended to me for about the past year as a flik I should see. It was pretty good, I was amazed by Chris Cooper, impressed with Nicholas Cage but not really with Meryl Streep. As an added bonus, the lovely Judy Greer was in the […]

Philip K. Dick

This is the summer of sci-fi for me. Last year was the beat generation, and distopias. Philip K. Dick could somehow qualify in each of those categories. What I find most interesting however, is the ease with which his stories are converted into films. Blade Runner is based on his novel Do Androids Dream of […]

The Matrix: Reloaded – Gothic Production Values

The second entry, and then I must needs say no more about matrices till November. As a film, The Matrix [original] was authentic in its rawness of mise-en-scene, tight plot, character construction and philosophy. The Matrix: Reloaded, has the mangy paw of Hollywood overproduction and overengineering all over it. Now that the goth look is […]

The Matrix: Reloaded – Fides et Ratio

I’ve seen The Matrix: Reloaded twice now. Fittingly I will give it two entries, one on philosophy and one on its cinematic qualities. This is the philo one. Most likely they will both contain spoilers. To start out, those who say that this second film lacks [in substance and thought provoking material] are idiots. They […]

Goth Dreams and Continuity Editing

I had this dream the other night, where I was in this goth club just minding my own business listening to some kickass darkwave, when some dude started something. Apparently I was not sufficiently ‘goth’ to be present in the club [i.e. I wasn’t dressed very gothy.] He said something along the lines of ‘You […]

Trois couleurs trilogy

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Trois couleurs trilogy is quite a master’s piece. Beginning with Bleu through Blanc and on to Rouge all three films deal with manifestations of love: quite poignant, and sometimes whimsical but always complicated. The direction is smooth but firm and for those initiated into the films, on a second viewing, the hand of […]

Y Tu Mama Tambien

after seeing Y tu Mam Tambien last evening i decided to go with a song by nonpoint called orgullo. that’s spanish for pride. the whole song is in spanish, so i only understand one word in ten but it still kicks ass. as for the movie, its been awhile since i’ve seen unorthodox editing and […]

4 Barebones Movie Reviews

4 barebones movie reviews: Le Pacte des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) This French film is often compared to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and it is similar insofar as the fight sequences are well choreographed by Tak-ngai Yeung and shot in the Hong Kong style. It was also flamboyantly edited by another Asian, David Wu. […]

3 Movies

For New Year’s Eve I just stayed home with mom. Watched 3 movies: Stolen Summer; The Count of Monte Cristo; Chocolat. Today I watched ND lose. bah!

Movie Review: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (here be spoilers)

after the extreme quality of the first movie in every aspect, this film was a vast disappointment for me. Hollywood had its dirty mitts all over the plot, adding sequences that were meaningless for the story, changing around the structure and timing of the story itself, making characters behave in manners absolutely contrary to the […]

Films I Saw This Semester

Films I saw this semester: Super Troopers (Jay Chandrasekhar, 2001) – B+ Zoolander (Ben Stiller, 2001) – C Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988) – A- Objective Burma (Raoul Walsh, 1945) – B- Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987) – B+ The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean, 1957) – B The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) – […]

Live From Baghdad

last night i had the misfortune to watch some blatant anti-Iraq propaganda. Live From Baghdad is nothing more than a modern day Divide&Conquer. Not only is the film a giant commercial for CNN, but it also presents such a frightening picture of Iraqi despotism that it might as well just come out and say ‘All […]

Assembly of Vice Versa

last night i put together an assembly of the rushes for Vice Versa. i think today we’ll probably watch them in class. I’m pretty sure the rest of class time is going to be spent watching clips. and talking about clips. or listening to Bill talk about clips. in minute and downward spiraling detail. i’d […]

Go Fish

i’ve been playing Halo way too much for my own good. i’m getting much better though, enough so that when i play multiplayer i can actually contribute a little bit instead of sucking. i still need to become more maneuverable though. we are shooting again today for my film and more all this next week. […]

Zoe Beloff

Thursday and yesterday, experimental filmmaker Zoe Beloff was on campus. On Thursday she presented two 3-D film works and on friday she showed 2 of her digital works. The 3-D films were a trip, i’ll tell you that. Not only were they in 3-D, which she jerry-rigged from parts scrounged from flea markets, they were […]

Gilda

I’m writing my first serious paper of the year for my film noir class. i’m writing on Charles Vidor’s Gilda. When I first saw it 2 years ago i thought it was a film noir; now, after a month or so of class i’m not so sure anymore. noir is such a nebulous category, it […]

Society and Culture Through Stupidity

my Society and Culture Through Film class is torture. i’m pretty sure i’ve already mentioned this, but the things people say about movies in that class wound me. For instance: Girl: I just wanted to say that I think it is interesting how they uh, like, never show the Indians being killed, they just, like […]

Sprinkler Madness

motherfucking, goddamn sprinklers. i was all set up for my test shoot, the lighting was done, the talent was arriving momentarily and then guess what happens…the motherfucking, goddamn sprinklers turn on! ergo, i rushed about moving expensive camera equipment and lights around while jets of water squirt about me. shit like that always happens on […]

Film Pitch Crash Burn

well all three of my film pitches got shot down today. i wasn’t too surprised. i have trouble coming up with ideas for narrative films. thats not what i am concerned with. i’m going to make non-fiction films dammit, i could care less about the intricacies of the Hollywood screenplay. The basic concepts of screenplay […]

The Killers

i am a chicken with my head cut off. this will continue till mid december. grad schools, resumés, job interviews, work, web design, practice, homework, papers, tests, quizzes. it makes one fairly pant just reading it. i need to practice bilocating or go clone myself over at the bio building. with that done i could […]

Screams of Reason

i’m about 75% through Screams of Reason by David Skal. Its mostly about Hollywood’s fascination with mad science. Its ok. but a good shot in the dark by my mother who bought it for me. i can see many different tracks where expansion and deeper academic discourse would add some insights but it is pretty […]

80s Movies – Blech

The only way to watch coming-of-age fliks from the ’80s is while drinking. at least if you are me. the best word to describe my feelings regarding said films is abhor. We watched Can’t Buy Me Love and Footloose last night. It was, perhaps, more fun to rip on the relatively innocent antics and eccentric […]

Episode 2

5.22.02 INT. SHOWPLACE 16 8:00pm NIGHT i just watched episode 2. george lucas has never been an actor’s director so i can excuse the instances of bad acting except for the extra parmesan in the love dialogue, he should have at least had the sense to nix that. the three zooms were totally unacceptable and […]

Dead Animal

5.6.02 INT. DEBARTOLO HALL RM. 316 9:43am DAY there is a reason i smell like a dead animal. marmoset body count: four new film link: curious today i am rancid

Spiderman

5.4.02 INT. KEOUGH HALL RM 435. 11:25am DAY not much to say today. saw spiderman last night. my theory as a film major is that any movie based on a comic book that reminds you of the comic book and runs like a comic book is a good movie for those very reasons. it seems […]