Sunday, October 14, 2018

plato's cave seventy one (being a film journal) photography in the streets






10.9.2018
Jonathan Glazer - Under the Skin - 2013

Urban street scenes from Under the Skin in the tradition of Wim Wender's Wings of Desire, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Chantal Akerman's News From Home, and many Ernie Gehr urban inquiries.

Shot by Daniel Landin, the look of the photography shot in the streets is in a way slightly normal, but overall quite eerie due to some magic Landin adds into the mix. Sterility mixed with ghostly-like movements within the frame. Quite lovely and unforgettable. Always interested in the tradition of street photography in film, out in the street more than studio yet King Vidor's Street Scene from 1930 is a good example of how strange the studio can make the street look, a film I use to watch the hell out of and wore down my VHS copy.

plato's cave seventy (being a film journal)

10.4.2018
Sofia Coppola - The Beguiled - 2017
Shot in 35mm by Philippe Le Sourd, using natural light and candle light, this film is visually superb. This viewer is normally not engaged with Sofia Coppola's work, but this one is worth seeing. The soundtrack by Phoenix and sound design by Richard Beggs (distant canon fire) contribute much to the lush ambiance of the film. Music reminds me very much of the old Kranky scene, Stars of the Lid and friends, possibly doesn't add much musically to the Kranky history, but works really well here as it is subtle and in a way not expected for a film like this. I bet 99% of the people seeing this film never heard of Kranky which of course (if true) is a shame. The music issued by that label, especially back in the good old days, was truly sublime and reverberates through much of of the ambiance and soundtracks today.

Jeremy Saulnier - Hold the Dark - 2018
Stars Jeffrey Wright, who really lit up the screen with Basquiat, Broken FlowersCasino RoyaleQuantum of SolaceOnly Lovers Left Alive and a bunch of other films. I am pretty sure I saw him walking down the street recently in Fort Greene. He is one of my favorite actors, and just wonderful in this, I am not sure of the quality of the film but it is decent. All round a good cast, the story is just not very interesting in its details.


10.5.2018 10.9.2018
Vince Gilligan - Better Call Saul season 4 episodes five through ten - 2018
Progressing nicely.

10.6.2018
Paul Schrader - First Reformed - 2017
Watched this twice last night, second time with commentary. A very informative talk with Mr. Schrader, he discusses the limitations he gave the film; like 1.33 ratio, the near black and white pallet, no over the shoulder shots, and the lack of camera movement. A few times he breaks the rules; once with a subtle zoom on Ethan Hawke's face during his first discussion with Philip Ettinger (scene above). This small gesture has a lot of weight, as does that scene. Setting up these rules and then breaking them is very poetic in my eyes, as is much of Tollen's day to day life and his writing which is poetic in the vein of The Diary of a Country Priest novel and film.

10.7.2018
Scott Cooper - Hostiles - 2017
Another solid film by Cooper, end goes a touch soft but very good in general.

10.8.2018
John Flynn - Rolling Thunder - 1977
First time seeing this classic seventies film with William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Dabney Coleman, and Linda Haynes. Just heavy as hell and a great film.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

plato's cave sixty nine (being a film journal)

9.26.2018 - 10.4.2018
David Simon & Ed Burns - The Wire season five - 2002-2008
This concludes The Wire rewatch, now I am on to finishing the fine book All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire by Jonathan Abrams to get more insight. I had seen the first couple seasons a couple/few times but these later ones only once, and initially had a bit of trouble with this season because of McNutty's descent into maelstrom. This time, his and Freeman's actions were still a bit hard to comprehend but I was much less critical. The newsroom side story is just so watchable in season five, as is following the failures of Baltimore's new mayor and soon to be governor. An arrogant upstart that can't even walk he is so full of beans, played so well by Aidan Gillen. The end is so perfect in how the totality of story and events are tied to perfectly together. Brilliantly executed. Tried watching the second season of The Deuce and it just so lacks (as does the first season) any of the kind of virtuosity in story telling and filmmaking (or tvmaking) found in The Wire. Partly because of the two stars on would expect?

9.30.2018
Lasse Hallström - What's Eating Gilbert Grape - 1993
This film came out the year I left high school but I don't think I saw it for a few years after. Remember being a bit of a film school snob and not liking it for the most part when I did. Second time here as my wife and I are on a bit of a 1990s kick, and it was quite a bit more enjoyable with some age on me. Although it is still hard to take Leo's performance totally seriously.... he gets the job done but without much magic... the magic he from time to time can do now (Revenant). I think the actorshippe from Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, and Darlene Cates aged better. Hallström did some serious films; My Life as a Dog, and Cider House Rules (posted last week). Part of why this film attracts me at the moment I believe is the time period, not one for the 80s fetish, the 90s seem quite intriguing at the moment. My wife was pointing out the fashion in the film, mainly Juliette Lewis, a sort of amalgam of different time periods, 20s, hippy, all over the place but all done in a sort of loving way, not the ironic stuff of now a days with the mom jeans and the like.

Tony Scott - True Romance - 1993
I have seen this film a bunch of times. Partly love it and partly it irritates the hell out of me. Definitely a well made film, well shot, and has some great business throughout (Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken!), Gary Oldman pimping, Brad Pitt stoned out and cursing people as they leave the apartment, and the killer Gandolfini. What annoys the shit out of this viewer is the majority of the writing by Tarantino which seems like a dreamy 12 year old penned when imagining how cool he would be if he wasn't a shitbird, and in an intense way: Christian Slater who has to be one of the worst actors. I usually just zone out the in between moments (with Slater) waiting for the next bit of good business when watching this film. Although, as I rewatch True Romance over the years the irritating parts start really effecting the rest of the film. Regardless... it is a good film, just one with some problems, but maybe I am alone with these ideas?

10.1.2018
Pierre Morel - Taken - 2008
Taken begins the Liam Neeson action film rampage which in a way are one movie, with some good moments and some not as good, kind of a cross between The Wrong Man and a revenge western. This particular Neeson film is pretty good, I think my favorites with him as action hero are this, The Grey, and Non-Stop. One has to accept the beauty of the action and not pay too much attention to story and acting, Neeson is somehow always superb in these films.

10.2.2018
David Fincher - The Game - 1997
Saw this first about 15 years ago or so and didn't have a clear picture in my mind as I do with some other Fincher films. I remember it being a touch of a mind-fuck kind of picture. The story is preposterous but I do like watching Michael Douglas in a sort of North by Northwest type of role... scurrying about a city I lived in for almost 20 years (the City by the Bay), in fact he is mostly in the neighborhood I once worked and remember clearly. Fincher does real good San Francisco films, Zodiac is another example.

10.3.2018
Clint Eastwood - Unforgiven - 1992
Saw this film in the theater when it came out and purchased it either on VHS or DVD (cannot remember) around three years later when in college and just spent the next five years watching the shit out of it. I have always found myself attracted to many of Eastwood's films, especially when he acts in them, just something the guy has that is what makes certain films so magical. Growing up I remember watching Dirty Harry often and Escape from Alcatraz, and of course Every Which Way but Loose (a first exposure to Ruth Gordon). Seeing the Leone trilogy in college just made me a complete enthusiast of Eastwood and have since then watched most of his films numerous times. He is kind of like Woody Allen in that he just had a stretch of really good ones one after the other, but unlike Allen he continued making heavy films, like the recent Grand Torino.  The cinematographer Jack N. Green just really pulls you in there immediately, not unlike The Searchers beginning with that bloody door shot. Such a lovely film and most of it very very dark. A top 10 kind of western for this viewer, endlessly watchable, and having not seen it in a good 15 years or so not only did the films magic reveal itself in the way that a great film's does, but also the memory of the mentality of this viewer when he was in his late teens and then his early twenties, and found himself muttering "duck I say's" to anybody that thought they were a lot smarter than they actually were. The way memories reveal themselves as one watches an "old friend" is one of the great things about getting a little long in the tooth and rewatching solid movies, partly what these recent posts are about.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

plato's cave sixty eight (being a film journal)

9.22.2018
Panos Cosmatos - Mandy - 2018
Second time, giving it another chance. Still find the film quite problematic but it has some good stuff (like the chainsaw fight).

Daniel Barber - Harry Brown - 2009
Had seen this film when it came out and really loved it, was looking forward to this second viewing and the film holds up quite well. Great film if you are a Michael Caine fetishist. Living in a shitty part of Brooklyn I can relate to some of the stuff here.






9.23.2018
John McTiernan - Die Hard - 1988
Over and over have I watched this film. An area of extreme interest is the frames I have placed here in the above area which is just classic visual filmmaking. Going through it slow and watching the pacing and its relation to the edits, to the movements within the frame, and the general atmosphere is really rewarding. What might seem a quotidian action movie reveals much virtuosic skill (editing, direction, acting, photography) when watched not only multiple times but on the modern day equivalent of a steenbeck; meaning pausing the film all over the place, rewinding, rewinding and pausing again and pushing to the next frame, paying close attention to sound alone, sound as how it relates to all other elements of the film and also to how you as a spectator are involved in just taking it all in. All theses pleasures make film worth watching over and over. In addition; Alan Rickman plays probably one of the top 5 heavies in a film, aka Bill Clay. One great film!


9.25.2018
Sam Raimi - A Simple Plan - 1998
A pleasant rewatch of this great nineties classic with Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Brent Briscoe (plays a who the hell is this actor level detective in Twin Peaks season three, Mulholland Drive and The Dark Knight Rises) as a ruinous trio of drunkards, idiots and hypocrites. Brigit Fonda traverses even beyond these dimwit's level and explores the true meaning of amoralism as she goes from a goody two shoes (the idea of giving the money back) to a conniving good for nothing in the stretch of an hour. I must be honest, this viewer loves watching this evocative transition! There are so many wonderfully subtle moments throughout the film as well, like a simple camera movement in the barber shop as Paxton interacts with Sheriff Carl Jenkins (played by Chelcie Ross) from Paxton close-up to window with fox and Ross with a lovely bit of focus pulling. Somehow shocking to watch in its subtly.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

plato's cave sixty seven (being a film journal)



9.9.2018
Lynne Ramsay - You Were Never Really Here - 2017
Second time seeing this. Great film, it is brilliant how Ramsay keeps pushing the levels of extreme abstraction... visually, sonically and with the story. Plot doesn't really make much sense but is non the less potent. Gets into the Chandler territory where the story gets lost in its own abstraction.


John Schlesinger - Darling - 1965
In school one of my professors showed this in a class that was basically focused on looking for odd anomalies in narrative cinema, moments that could not totally be explained in a traditional way but needed to be thought of similarly to the way a spectator would look at a painting or listen to a piece of music. One was encouraged to look very closely (and listen) to a film and get really to know the details. With Darling we looked at the l'amour train sequence with Dirk Bogarde and Julie Christie. The first shot in the compartment with Bogarde and Christie beginning to kiss, Bogarde has no cigarette in hand. Then a hard cut and the camera is outside the compartment and Bogarde has a cigarette (see images above). Such a truly strange sensation this gives even the viewer, not noticing it would truly make this film so much less strong. Watching the sequence all these years later, it really says something about his character (contradictions) and their relationship (fragile, superficial), something not so easy to put in words but quite palpable. Subtleties like this really make it a film worth watching and rewatching. Personally Christie's 60s philandering gets a bit irritating, and brings to mind a stronger film Brief Encounter, where an affair could barely begin before both parties feel total anguish. The cinematographer Kenneth Higgins achieved a really strong black and white range - not necessarily high contrast but a gorgeous interplay between grays and whites and blacks, grain and sharpness. Bogarde and Christie's actorshippe is just the bee's knees. Quite a lovely film!

9.10.2018
Alfred Hitchcock - North by Northwest - 1959
On a Hitchcock rewatch lately. Hope to go through a dozen or more in the next few weeks. North by Northwest is one of my favorites by him, especially love the sex business between Cary Grant (whom only did one kind of exercise) and Eva Marie Saint. The fake Frank Lloyd Wrong house is really wonderful as well, and after a half dozen times seeing this I still white-knuckle through the Mt. Rushmore ending. Martin Landau plays a great Hitchcock/Bond villain, looks a bit like Cassavetes to me. I always look so forward to James Mason as the dirty sob Phillip Vandamm, just one of the great film heavies.

9.11.2018
Michel Gondry - Kidding episode one - 2018
Not sure if I like this show. Not a bad idea but didn't really grab me, seemed too Spike Jonze for me.

9.12.2018 - 9.18.2018
Scott Buck - Iron Fist first season - 2017

9.16.2018
Michael Mann - Collateral - 2004
Had only seen this around the time it came out and felt luke warm about it, but this rewatch I really enjoyed it. Tom Cruise played a real son of a bitch, and it was a good dark palleted film. Only problem is it is one of those early films mostly shot on digital and at times is quite ugly, mostly with camera movement and pans, sometimes it works though (like above image). This is an interesting list of films shot early on with digital. I remember having a real problem with most of these early digital films at the time, and in a way they didn't date well. One of the best Mann films, maybe second-tier to Heat, Manhunter, and Thief.

9.17.2018
Ridley Scott - All the Money in the World - 2017
Not without interest, would be curious how Spacey differs from Plummer.

9.18.2018
David Simon & Ed Burns - The Wire season four - 2002-2008
This is a great season.

9.20.2018 - 9.22.2018
Derek Simonds - The Sinner season 2 episode 8 - 2018
Final episode, brilliant show.

9.21.2018
Panos Cosmatos - Mandy - 2018
At the art of memory, this was one of the most anticipated films of the Summer. Partly from the crazy trailer, but mostly because of the Jóhann Jóhannsson soundtrack. I did really enjoy parts of the film; the violence was really stunning to watch, visceral as hell, often times really great use of music, sometimes not as much (the use of King Crimson's great Starless song contradicted the time period fetish as discussed latter).  Andrea Riseborough and Nicholas Cage really shred the hell out of this film, impossible and head-scratching. The problems though for this viewer were many. The use of animation made no sense, the obsession with the Italian horror film genre too much in the fetish territory, and again with the Stranger Things 80s fetish which can just be tiring (and the acid-trip paperback book culture). I notice the director is the same age as myself, so was somewhat brought up in this time of the 1980s, maybe a little young to take it in with maturity, but old enough to get a feel for the decade. I would have guessed the film was made by a millennial, someone that fetishized the period without having really lived it, but there where some indications that show his age, like the Ronald Reagan bit in the beginning. The drinking scene with Cage really was insane though, and I loved it. Also the palette of the film is quite stunning; dark reds especially take control of the film which was shot by Benjamin Loeb. He gets pretty dark and pushes the limits in a great way, although it seems much of the look was a little to heavy handed in the way of manipulation in post. I am hoping a subsequent viewing will improve the relationship to the film, because it has some great stuff in it.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

plato's cave sixty six (being a film journal)

9.2.2018
Jim Jarmusch - Dead Man - 1995
I remember seeing this as an undergrad when I worked at a movie theater and for some reason that escapes me, didn't like the film much. My teacher at MassArt Mark Lapore came to the theater to see the film and after asked me if I had seen it. I said I had but didn't dig it much and he looked at me like I was crazy and said I should see it again (in a more polite way, as he was a polite fellow). I did and realized my first opinion was rubbish. Anything Mark recommended to me I would take seriously, he had great taste and a beautifully humble way of talking about film, literature, and music. I told him I didn't like Nirvana and he again said I was crazy, that the guy was a serious artist. Again I went back and gave it another shot. Another big one was when he mentioned I should check out the Alan Clarke retrospective at the MFA and I was just blown away by the work (still am!). Over the years I got to know Mark fairly well, one year (around 96') the two of us drove up to NYC together and hung out with a bunch of his friends, I was honored he asked me along. We went to a bunch of his favorite record stores, saw an Olivier Assayas retrospective together (Cold Water!), checked out some bookstores and got pizza. I would learn so much about music, film and books in general from short periods being around him. I sure miss the guy. 
In terms of this film, it had been a few years since I had seen it. Spent the morning listening to the Neil Young soundtrack on vinyl and my wife and I decided to watch the blu-ray. I forgot that some of my truly most loved actors are guest in it, like Billy Bob Thornton, Jared Harris, John Hurt, Alfred Molina, Lance Henriksen (from The Terminator), and Bob Mitchum. I idea that Depp is somehow Bill Blake without knowing it is very intriguing.  His transformation from pencil pusher to gunslinger is lovely to watch. Gary Farmer as Nobody is one of Jarmusch's best characters, he reminded me quite a bit of the Japanese poet played by Masatoshi Nagase at the end of Paterson. Image used reminded me a lot of Tarkovsky's film Ivan's Childhood.

9.3.2018 - 9.4.2018
Carlton Cuse & Graham Roland - Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan - 2018
This show was not bad, was expecting it to be unwatchable but I got into it fast and it was pretty consistent throughout which is rare with television. Includes a real nice performance from Bunk (Wendell Pierce) from The Wire.

David Cronenberg - Shivers / They Came From Within - 1975
I use to watch this film about once a year. Hadn't watched it though in about 8 years or so. Had a hankering to after watching Scanners the other day. I always think of the movie as They Came From Within which was the US title when released. Truly fucked up, funny, sexy and horrific film, always a pleasure to watch. Interesting that it came out the same year as JB Ballard's High-Rise, who had written Crash in 1973 and Concrete Island in 1974. The works all share some themes and have a similar ambiance.

9.4.2018 (more specifically the last week or so)
David Simon & Ed Burns - The Wire season three episode one through eight - 2002-2008
My Wire Rewatch session. Maybe the third time seeing this season. A little more consistently solid than the second season. Great characters emerging and ones that keep it trucking.

9.5.2018
Alfred Hitchcock - Vertigo - 1958
One of the reasons I moved to San Francisky in my youth was from being so obsessed with Vertigo, especially the utterly unique ambiance of the film (the street scene image above gives a sense of the ambiance). California (northern) was just so bloody different from what I was use to in New England. The light there specifically... not just in San Francisco but also Marin and The Peninsula (even more so). This is one of those rare films I give a 10/10, it is pretty much perfect.

9.6.2018
Steven Spielberg - Saving Private Ryan - 1988
Watched this film a few times when it came out, was attracted to the battle sequences firstly, which are really wonderfully done. A lot of good cast members too... especially strong performances from Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore. I remember the beginning and ending sequences with the old Ryan being extremely problematic, as well as the injured soldiers calling for their mothers. On this recent viewing, these two sections are just so bloody stupid I was embarrassed to be watching. The one interesting thing is he walks a bit like he has had a few drinks which I imagine he needed with that god awful outfit we all must endure, and the "They Live" family.  I at least feel happy that the old guy could get in a few drinks to kill some of the pain of the modern day. One of those films that kind of makes a strong statement on how the old days were really something and modern times are just a bunch of people wearing golf attire driving from one parking lot to another.  Surely a film to enjoy.

9.8.2018
Derek Simonds - The Sinner season two episode six - 2018
Great photography.

Brad Bird - Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol - 2011
My favorite MI so far is the most recent. This and number 3 pretty good as well, lags a little though here and there.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

plato's cave sixty five (being a film journal)


8.23.2018 Stuart Rosenberg - The Laughing Policeman - 1973
San Francisco police procedural shot on the streets of SF, opens with some very strange sound design - electronic bleeps and statics. My partner in crime recommended this film as a recently discovered (for him), a lesser know quality 70s film. One insane cast which includes Val Avery (one of my favorite actors, too many great roles to mention), Walter Matthau, Bruce Dern, Mario Gallo (A Woman Under the Influence, Raging Bull), Anthony Zerbe (Cool Hand Luke, Papillon, The Parallax View), Clifton James (Cool Hand Luke, The Last Detail, Rancho Deluxe, Superman II), Louis Gossett Jr., Paul Koslo, Matt Clark (some great roles, including a few Clint Eastwood films), Gregory Sierra, and Wayne Grace (many good films including Mulholland Drive). Film drags a bit at the end but has some really great action, nonsense dialogue and heavy SF business, a perfect town back in the day (sure as hell not now) for a sleazy group of pimps and scoundrels.

8.24.2018
Nash Edgerton - Gringo - 2018
Entertaining film with David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton, Charlize Theron and Amanda Seyfried. Heard WFT interview with Oyelowo and wanted to watch some films with him. Good guy. Have been attempting over the last year or two to find good film podcast and man it is a desert out there. Marc Maron's is by far the best, a great show he puts on. His loose structure of going through the interviewee's life and influences and how they perfected their craft really works well, mainly because he asks good questions, is knowledgable, passionate and good at conversing with the interviewee. His knowledge of film, TV, music, comedy etc gives him a position where he is not half understanding answers which is common with interviewers. The EW podcast on Twin Peaks was pretty good, they came to the show with a lot of ammunition and they are fairly perceptive. My two problems with the show are : they tend to only reference post 80s film (and TV), and some of the theories are based on not seeing the entire picture. Besides that the podcasts I have listened to are either by people that have only seen a film once, or have too much millennial baggage (vocal fry and the like) or too much negativity.

John Dahl - The Last Seduction - 1994
Had seen parts of this on cable before. Not a bad film, chez art of memory we have a slight fetish for films from the early to mid nineties, maybe because we were both in high school, transitioning into college, taking in films and music in a way that is harder when you are older. Basically our brains were both set to tabulae rasae. In addition the films were quite good in this period, indie meets Hollywood, serious but also light hearted but not in a 80s superficial way, bits of comedy, sometimes quite minimal & deadpan (Hal Hartley), slightly conceptual in their structure (Before Sunrise and the trilogy), random bits of conversational nothingness floating throughout (Pulp Fiction), neo art house noir (Jarmusch). So many great actors were in their prime: Gary Oldman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Morgan Freeman, Ralph Fiennes, Tommy Lee Jones, Juliette Binoche and many others. For modern film, in a way the 70s and 90s are prime for the art of memory.

8.25.2018
David Lynch & Mark Frost - Twin Peaks: The Return episode one and two - 2017
Was so kindly gifted the blu-ray set and finally watching, although I think this might be my fourth viewing. Watched the movie version of the first two episodes, makes sense that the first episode didn't end with music. The blu-ray just looks and sounds so stunning, noticeably better than when I streamed. Just such a perfect experience these new Twin Peaks are!

8.26.2018
David Frankel - The Devil Wears Prada - 2006

8.27.2018
Michael Crichton - Looker - 1981
I often watched this film around the age of 9 through 14 on cable. It made a huge impression on me, along with They Live, Cherry 2000 and a few others. Later Repo Man and Scanners. The concept of manipulation through television, corporate treachery and annihilation, and living the superficial life in The City of Angels. All things that seem to equally interest me at age 43.

David Cronenberg - Scanners - 1981
A great double feature. Have seen this film about 20+ times. Didn't discover it until a little later in life, around age 19, living in Boston. The industrial scenes, and the horrifically ugly mall are so lovely and contrast well with one another. Cronenberg and his team chose great locations back in those days. Perfect score as well by Howard Shore. What a film.

8.28.2018
Christopher Nolan - Batman Begins - 2005
I like the simplicity of this one compared to the other three. Saw the three films a couple times when they came out but not since then. Pretty good films, so much more interesting visually and sonically than most other super hero films

8.29.2018
Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight - 2008.
Story too complicated which often takes away from the experience but visually a really stunning film with some great cinematography, editing, music and acting. Heath Ledger is unreal.

8.30.2018
Derek Simonds - The Sinner season two episode four - 2018
This show is really good, as stated previously.

8.31.2018
Vince Gilligan - Better Call Saul season four episodes one through four - 2018
Kind of a mediocre show compared to Breaking Bad, but has some good moments - mostly interested in following the lives of Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring), Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman), and Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut).


David Lynch - The Elephant Man - 1980
Had not seen this film in 15 years or so. Probably the last time was on VHS, and had never really seen it properly, projected or on bluray. Now reading the Lynch Room to Dream book and has lit a fire for me wanting to revisit some of his films I had not seen as many times or not in a long time like The Straight Story and Wild at Heart. I remember in my late teens or early 20s I made a "best of" Wild at Heart with all my favorite scenes, and use to watch it like a son of a bitch, probably only saw the film all the way through a couple of times. The Elephant Man is surely one breathtaking film, with the lush/from another time photography by Freddie Francis (Time Without Pity, Room at the Top, Sons and Lovers, The Innocents, The French Lieutenant's Woman, The Executioner's Song among others) and the unbelievably touching scene with Anthony Hopkins tearing when he first encounters Mr. Merrick. John Hurt as Mr. Merrick is just beyond words. I love the contrast of a more straight style for Lynch to some of his signature weirdness like the elephant intro and the cosmic ending.

John Landis - Coming to America - 1988
Had seen this film enough times when I was in high school to remember some of the lines like "if lovin' the Lord is wrong, I don't wanna be right". Partly a bad film but has some good stuff in Queens. Brutal place back then compared to now.

9.1.2018
Steven Spielberg - Catch Me If You Can - 2002
Always hear about this film being good but never had seen it. Very nice, I enjoyed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

plato's cave sixty four (being a film journal)

7.31.2018
George Stevens - Giant - 1956
The three classic James Dean films on Filmstruck. All superb films. Monty Clift is my favorite of the emblems of stirring post-war rebellion and nonconformity, but re-watching these Dean films, his magic is undeniable, a smooth naturalness mixed with anti-hero.

8.3.2018
John Sayles - Lianna - 1983
Had seen this film once before but didn't remember it being such a solid film. Very sensitive work, surprised the main actress Linda Griffiths wasn't a bigger star, she died young of breast cancer.  Sayles plays a good role in it as well, a little sleazy in contrast to Griffiths' good heartedness. Reminded me a bit of Chilly Scenes of Winter with John Heard in its mood. Lianna's shitbird husband Jon DeVries looks a bit like Leslie Howard.



8.6.2018
Robert Benton - The Late Show - 1977
Second time with this film. Good stuff! they got away with some strange films in the 70s. A lot of pure nonsense in this one. Note the pre Big Lebowski business.

Nicholas Ray - The Lusty Men - 1952
Third time seeing this classic Nicholas Ray film. Watching a bunch of his films on Filmstruck lately. Ray didn't mess around. Strong high contrast photography by Lee Garmes who shot some Josef von Sternberg films.  Always a pleasure to see Arthur Kennedy.

Gordon Douglas - Them! - 1954
Have seen this many times, felt like a rewatch. Thinking a lot these days about exceedingly natural actors, where the craft is invisible. James Whitmore is one for me. Hadn't really put it together he is Brooks from The Shawshank Redemption.

Jane Campion - In The Cut - 2003
Second time seeing this film. Honestly didn't remember the plot much but remembered the moodiness, atmosphere and depth of field photography. Really good film!

8.7.2018
David M. Rosenthal - How it Ends - 2018
I like apocalyptic/plague/zombie films so gave this one a go. The film starts pretty good and I was honestly surprised, and had a pretty good flow/rhythm, but sadly the film lost itself at the end. Forest Whitaker makes it worth watching.

8.8.2018 - 8.12.2018
Derek Simonds - The Sinner season one - 2017-18
This was a really intriguing and watchable show, Biel and Pullman top notch. I think it has quickly become one of my favorite recent TV shows, I already want to see it a second time. I knew Biel's name but had not seen a film with her. She is great in this, looks like a women from the 70s.

8.9.2018
Christopher McQuarrie - Mission Impossible - Fallout - 2018
Very good stunts etc by Mr. Cruise. I liked the film quite a bit. Reading about and watching the footage of the camera man jumping out of the plane backwards and waiting for Cruise to get close enough to focus on his face in the magic hour light blew me away, that is contemporary film making!



8.10.2018 - 8
David Simon & Ed Burns - The Wire Season Two Episode Six through Twelve - 2002-2008
Second season, has some great business, a little bit flawed compared to first. The character "The Greek" brings to mind Jonas Mekas if he turned to criminality (Business, always business),

8.12.2018
Anthony Russo, Joe Russo - Avengers: Infinity War - 2018
A comedic retelling of Beckett's Sucking Stones.

Irving Pichel, Enrest B. Schoedsack - The Most Dangerous Game - 1932
Second time. Hard not to think of Zodiac when seeing this film.  The count is a bit of a tender foot to be considered viscous. Hard to deal with the music in the ending but the photography by Henry W. Gerrard is quite nice.

Brian De Palma - Mission Impossible - 1996
John Wood - Mission Impossible 2 - 2000
After seeing the recent one I am going back to watch the earlier films as I never had the privilege. I usually have trouble sitting through a De Palma film, this one was the same deal, and couldn't sit through the Woo number two either.

8.13.2018
Maxime Giroux - Félix et Meira - 2014
I listened to Luzer Twersky on Marc Maron and enjoyed the conversation. He costars in this film, good love story, fine acting. Enjoyed the film, although strange ending, maybe too abstract? Lots of films lately with these strange endings.... Living in an hasidic part of town, it is hard not to be curious about them even though they continually disrespect my dog.

J. J. Abrams - Mission Impossible III - 2006
This one much more watchable and of interest than the first two. Philip Seymour Hoffman a real sob in it, just being a fan of his work is reason enough to watch the film.

8.14.2018
Edward Zwick - Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - 2016
Not a bad film, entertaining.

8.15.2018
Wes Craven - Scream - 1996
First time seeing this film. Two things I noticed: there was all this pointless reverb in the sound design, someone had a pretty bad ear who did this film. Secondly, I had to my knowledge never seen a Rose McGowan film, Christ is she terrible in this, and Drew Barrymore even worse. Matthew Lillard made up for them though... pretty funny stuff with him. I became a fan after seeing the third season of Twin Peaks.

8.19.2018
John Ford - The Searchers - 1956
I try and watch this film once a year. Just one perfect film. Really took watching it over the years and reading about it to get into the nuances of it, although they are plain as day. Starting watching religiously in my late teens, so about 25 years of viewing. I wonder how I will see it in my 70s.

8.20.2018
Daniel Espinosa - Life - 2017
First time seeing this. Not bad, not sure about the ending, some good characters in the film and actors portraying them.

8.21.2018
Rob Bowman - Reign of Fire - 2002
One can only kill a London dragon at Magic Hour.  A Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey film, shot by the British cinematographer Adrian Biddle. Saw it around when it came out but couldn't remember for some reason. Not a bad film, I always like a good post-apocalyptic film and this one gets the job done. I think the dragon's are not bad looking in the film.

Coen Brothers - Miller's Crossing - 1990
A Coen Brothers film I have watched many times, watched it with my wife who had never seen it and had trouble explaining what was going on, it is one of those films that doesn't make a lot of sense but I never really questioned that element of it. Such great acting and the Danny Boy scene is just astounding, one of their best sequences, funny as hell and extremely visceral no matter how many times you have seen it. Lush photography by Barry Sonnenfeld who shot Blood Simple. and Raising Arizona. Hard not to see so much contemporary "art photography" just being a copy of the visual style of this film and many others equally stunning.


8.12.2018 - 8.22.2018
Derek Simonds - The Sinner season two episodes one through three - 2018
Just about as good as the first season so far, Carrie Coon, Bill Pullman and Tracy Letts. There is a scene between Letts and Pullman in episode three that is as heavy, complicated and virtuosic as it gets. Natalie Paul is amazing in this as well.

Steven Soderbergh - Out of Sight - 1998
Had only seen parts on cable. Good film, Lopez's lipgloss stuff was lame-o.