Friday, February 16, 2018

plato's cave fifty three (being a film journal)

2.4.2018
Alejandro G. Iñárritu - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - 2014
Second time seeing this masterpiece. Really one hell of a film; Raymond Carver... rendered by an almost likeable has-been, Naomi Watts and an arrogant impotent drunkard... photographed by the master Emmanuel Lubezki (Malick's The New World and The Tree of Life, Children of Men, and The Revenant). Didn't know Bill Camp (The Night of, Midnight Special, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, 12 Years a Slave) as an actor when first seeing this, and it was very excited to see him doing some crazed bugger in the street Shakespeare. Also from the recent Twin Peaks; Clark Middleton has a brief appearance. The many levels of reality and unreality make for an engaging picture, as the picture is made by a serious man. Wanted to do a double feature of recent Iñárritu film The Revenant, but was too tired. Soon I hope.

2.6.2018
Stephen Daldry - The Hours - 2002
Had seen this film previously and couldn't remember it. Didn't find it very engaging despite the cast being top notch.

2.7.2018
Makino Takashi - Films 2002-2017 Excerpt - 2002-17
Partner in crime pointed out this guy's work. Jesus it is amazing.... only have seen this vimeo excerpt, will have to track down the DVDs. Soundtracks by Jim O'Rourke and many other heavies. Goes way beyond the contemporary music video.

Walter Hill - The Warriors - 1979
Near perfect film. Second time seeing this, projected which gave a lot of impact. Living now in New York, the film makes a lot more sense, understanding the geography. What a place New York was in the 1970s - a pipe bomb. Recently watched 48 Hours and David Patrick Kelly shows up in The Warriors as well as there, one of my favorites (introduced to him in Twin Peaks back in the day, then Abel Ferrara's The Funeral). Some great character actors like Michael Beck, James Remar and Paul Greco (funny looking gangster in Broadway Danny Rose) star in this work.  Through the years trains have played a prominent role in this blog, this is one of THE great train films. Abstracted footage of films moving through dark dirty stations, empty train interiors with Dubuffet like textures. Grit and grime. Barry De Vorzon's score is intense and adds many levels of dread unlike the lame scores of recent 80s pastiche works.

2.8.2018
S. Craig Zahler - Brawl in Cell Block 99 - 2017
Not normally a fan of Vince Vaughn but this was a pretty good film. A tad gruesome but mild enough for a slightly sensitive viewer. Was not familiar with the director, he does a good job here. Solid photography by Benji Bakshi, film has a bit of a retro feel/look but assumed it took place in modern times. Part of the trend these days, sometimes works, sometimes doesn't.

Paul Schrader - Light Sleeper - 1992
This was one of those films I knew I had seen but could not remember, but remembered instantly as it started. Has an interesting ambiance to it, even though it is not a "great" film, there is something about it that works very well, and the gritty look and feel of NYC adds much to this. Not unlike The Warriors mentioned above, the city could add quite a bit of character to films in those days. Paul Schrader has done some really great work besides Taxi Driver, his Hardcore and Affliction are films this viewer has watched many times and thoroughly enjoyed.  Of course... Willem Dafoe is a big reason one would watch this film. Such a strong strong screen presence, he is a formidable actor. The photography was by the great Edward Lachman who shot Todd Haynes' Carol, Far from Heaven, and Mildred Pierce. Many other heavy works including The Limey.

2.9.2018
Sidney Lumet - Serpico - 1973
First saw Serpico in early high school and quickly became an addict to the film's jouissance.  One of the films that started a lifelong interest in sitting and enjoying the light hitting my eyes. Have seen the film numerous times in my life, but the last viewing was some years ago. What does one say about this film except that it is a classic that demands numerous viewings. So many moments that leave deep impressions, also classic lines both serious and comic. For some reason the line spoken by James Tolkan always stood out :
Hold it, Serpico.
What were you two doing?

- What?
- In the shithouse in the dark!
Were you goin' down on him?

-What are you talking about?
-You gonna tell me you were peeping?
You were sucking his cock


2.10.2018
Yorgos Lanthimos - Alps - 2011
Wanted to see this film after The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Lanthimos makes some strange works, not quite surreal, more like Walserian (to this viewer). Comical for sure. Sex-ridden... absurd... all good business. Had a little trouble following what the hell was happening but the confusion was indeed nice.

Ric Roman Waugh - Shot Caller - 2017
Second prison film in this list. Both films fit very nicely in the history of prison films. Le Trou and Escape from Alcatraz are films I watched often as a youngster, especially the Eastwood film when I was in middle school. Couldn't get enough of the idea of folks breaking out of a prison and all the steps involved, not unlike a procedural or a caper film.  Other classics would be Cool Hand Luke, Brute Force, A Man Escaped. More contemporary classics that are heavy are The Shawshank Redemption, Hunger, Paddington 2 (I am told, have yet to see), Starred Up. Many more not coming to mind at the moment.

2.11.2016
James Gray - Lost City of Z - 2016/17
Having watched Sons of Anarchy a few years ago, it was really gratifying to see that Charlie Hunnam was an actor not without talent. Not that he was bad in that show, but it wasn't really a serious performance (I actually liked the show in a way, despite all its problems). He did a really top notch job in this, as did Robert Pattinson, whom was almost unrecognizable. Pattinson is one hell of an actor!

2.12.2018
Craig Gillespie - I, Tonya - 2017
This was a film that I hesitated to see but ended up enjoying for the most part. The ice skating scenes, from a technical point of view (film, not ice skating) are quite impressive and poetic. Compared to sports photography which completely lacks poetry, getting right in there and having the camera move around got the blood up. I am sure it is an hommage, but the similarities of some shots and the general feeling of the film was surely in the Goodfellas tradition. In film school I would watch Goodfellas over and over, mainly because I liked the way the light from the film entered my eyes, but it was also a good crash course on how to read a film, understanding a film from a structural point of view. In I, Tonya we find one shot specifically (but many others similar) where a camera moves slowly toward a character, we hear the characters inner voice (or their idiolect), and not until the camera comes close to the character and he makes eye contact with said camera, does the voice actually come from the lips. Watching this film got me thinking about understanding the language of cinema. A static camera versus a moving camera. Where a camera is in an interior and in relation to the subject(s), what lens is used, understanding the purpose of the sound as being either realistic or purposely artificial (or both). A hard cut versus a dissolve. A viewer that has no comprehension of any of this business has a truly limited understanding of the work. Some of this goes a little beyond the film in a way, it is not nearly as sophisticated as a film like Goodfellas, but it has moments of this kind of gravity. Also, I spent the entire film wondering how the hell the actor was skating like this.... did a professional skater act in this (I could not recall the actresses face), or did she learn it? Someone after the screening said they must have achieved it digitally but that did not seem right. Turns out she learn to skate and they did some of it digitally (the triple axel), someone please correct me if I am wrong.

2.13.2018
Jonathan Entwistle & Lucy Tcherniak - The End of the F***ing World - 2017
British throat cutting comedy. Stars Jessica Barden from The Lobster and Alex Lawther.  Not without interest, enjoyed it.

 2.15.2018
Trey Edward Shults - Krisha - 2015
There is some fancy foot work here in this film with the camera, sound and editing. The film did not really hit me much though, but not without interest for many.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

plato's cave fifty two (being a film journal)

1.24.2018
Safdie Brothers - Good Time - 2017
Second time seeing this. These directors are probably some of the hottest potatoes in town right now, the film surely has a great look (shot on 35mm by Sean Price Williams), and Robert Pattinson is quite riveting... it is hard to take ones eyes off him throughout the film. There are some novel moments but for the most part it seems to go with the flow of 2 recent trends (one of which is often times a good one) of paying homage to frenetic 70s cinema, and the trend (which is hard to tolerate) of paying homage to the culture of the 80s. The 80s thing is for the most part unbearable... Stranger Things is the best example of this current craze. It is obvious that the majority of tv and film viewers have no criticism of this, but the writer of this website does in fact. The problem with this 80s homage is most clearly present in the score of this film, which to this listeners ears sounds like a pastiche of Tangerine Dream. Hearing the music makes this viewer uncomfortable, but for reasons beyond its unlistenability, more the concept of it; it is not interesting, it is a synthesis of 80s sounds.... it takes but gives nothing back except cheap thrills. In addition to the conceptual problem of the music (and partly the image), the editing of the music is either lazy or done for a reason that just is lost on this viewer....  it is unrelenting in a non-intellectual manner, one just wants it to mellow the fuck out for one second so the image and performance can have some breath.... A great filmmaker knows when to hold back and when to "unleash", this technique is not present in this film. It would be interesting to have a copy of this film with no sound and actually edit in a TD soundtrack as a replacement, have it there at the right moments... and not there when the film needs to breath. I think of some music by King Crimson, they know when to hold back and when to let the devil in (The Devil's Triangle).

Aki Kaurismäki - Ariel - 1988
Driving a convertible around in the winter, only in a Kaurismaki film. Watched half of this mainly as a palate cleanser for previous. Need to watch the second half. Hell of a film.

1.25.2018
Jean-Marc Vallée - Dallas Buyers Club - 2013
Second time seeing this. Not a fantastic film but good for the performances, mainly Mr. McConaughey.

1.26.2018
Jeff Nichols - Midnight Special - 2016
Second time with this film. Initially went over my head somewhat, partly was too captivated by the performances and the look of the film I had trouble following the story. Still pretty much the same on second viewing. This guy has made a couple of good films.

1.27.2018
Billy Wilder - The Apartment - 1960
Time to watch a serious classic. One of the films a young person watches to learn (and learn to appreciate) the language of cinema. Had been a long time since watching this, and had only seen on a television, it was great to see it projected on a somewhat large screen. The blacks and high contrast in this film are very inspiring to see, in the world of grey we live in. Wilder and cinematographer Joseph LaShelle had some serious balls to push the blacks.

1.28.2018
Dan Trachtenberg - 10 Cloverfield Lane - 2016
Second time watching this. Enjoyable film. I liked the ending the most when Mary Elizabeth Winstead leaves the shelter to the craziness of the outside world. Shame the first film Cloverfield is not in line with this quality-wise.
1.29.2018
John Landis - Trading Places - 1983 
Good general aesthetic in this film, gritty look (photography by Robert Paynter) and sleazy characters (Don Ameche & Ralph Bellamy), a bit of senseless nudity via Jamie Lee Curtis and some good classic business by Denholm Elliott.

1.30.2018
Paul King - Paddington - 2014 
I had a Paddington Bear as a young boy. Very entertaining film. Sally Hawkins is great, as is Nicole Kidman as a sadist. Jim Broadbent with German accent, very nice!

1.31.2018
Azazel Jacobs - The Lovers - 2017
My wife and I mainly watched to see more of  Tracy Letts. He is great in the film. Not something I would watch again, didn't hold up and story not engaging enough.

2.1.2018
Josh Mond - James White - 2015
Second time watching. Didn't like it much the first time, but more so the second. The rawness and uncomfortability of it make it a good film experience. Christopher Abbott is quite good in the film. Nowhere near perfect but a decent film with many compelling moments for the viewer.

Jim Jarmusch - Paterson - 2016
Second time watching this, review previously here.

2.2.2018
Damien Chazelle - Whiplash - 2014
Second time watching this. I would love if this film followed the musical world of Anthony Braxton rather than Wynton Marsalis. A main complaint.  To this viewer's ears the music has no place in the world that we live in. But the kid can drum like a motherfucker. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons do an outstanding job in this film, and the general visual darkness adds such moodiness and atmosphere that is very rewarding to a sensitive viewer (photography by Sharone Meir). I had forgotten that it was written and directed by Mr. La La Land, that film had some musical problems as well. Perhaps these films are trying to appeal to the masses that really don't have a feeling for music. If they pushed a little harder they would be pretty good films. Trying to think of Chazelle as some kind of genius really makes no sense to me, I wonder what the justifications are for that, here he made a decent film. I think the photography and editing add a lot to the general quality of the work. Without Simmons the film would not exist.

Safdie Brothers - Heaven Knows What - 2014
Again... very bad choice of music from these guys. Lack of sensitivity to what makes a film watchable and what gives a film impact. How is this film different from Jerry Schatzberg's Panic at Needle Park? An updated version with pastiche 1980s music perhaps and millennial editing and washed out photography that adds nothing but a watered down sensibility. Why the hell is it so washed out visually and who likes this sort of thing? Perhaps taking cues from popular art photography from 10 years ago?

2.3.2018
Johnnie To - The Mission - 1999
First time seeing this. Great film, needed to cleanse the palate after Heaven film.... Can't wait to see other films by To, his work is superb. Very strange use of music here, a combo of almost kitsch with shoegaze bass lines, like Ride playing a wedding or something. Very interesting!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

plato's cave fifty one (being a film journal) : the owl and the tanager said

1.15.2018
David Lowery - A Ghost Story - 2017
“I wanted to engage with the archetypes and iconography of ghost films and haunted house movies, without ever crossing over into actually being a horror film,” quoting writer-director David Lowery. Not positive the film has an intriguing enough dialogue with the horror genre or the archetypes and iconography of them, nor if it distances itself from the genre in a way that works, but this viewer did enjoy the performances and had a heavy bit of depression happen whilst considering the entity's time away from the loved one, and further the interactions with strangers; like getting an ear full from Will Oldham, then to nothingness. Not without interest.

1.16.2018
Steven Spielberg - Munich - 2005
Have watched this film many times since it came out. After watching the trailer for the forthcoming The Terror AMC show, I felt like watching a bunch of Ciarán Hinds films. Started with this one. He is such a wonderful actor, I first saw him in Persuasion from 1995, in which he plays Captain Frederick Wentworth alongside the wonderful Amanda Root. Munich is for this viewer possibly the best Spielberg film, it has such a tight rhythm and a beautiful visual pallet, great performances, and not too much hokum appears, the main exception being the love making scene. Spielberg has a tendency to hokum, when he doesn't the films and his abilities to put a picture together are quite rewarding (Duel, The Sugarland Express, Jaws).  Director of photography is the great Janusz Kaminski.

1.17.2018
Christopher McQuarrie - Jack Reacher - 2012
Tom Cruise action film. The most watchable of the Cruise recent action films is Doug Liman's Edge of Tomorrow from 2014, with Emily Blunt, and a screenplay co-written by Christopher McQuarrie. Great film, a sort of Groundhog Day science fiction action film, this viewer has watched it a near half dozen times. Reacher not quite as (re)watchable, but a fine film indeed. It is interesting that instead of going to college, McQuarrie spend 5 years working at a detective agency before starting a career in film. Director of photography is the exceedingly talented Caleb Deschanel.


1.18.2018
Paul Brickman - Risky Business -  1983
Didn't have fond memories of this film, last saw in the mid-eighties. On the Tom Cruise trip, so gave it a go. The best part of the film is the train fucking scene with Tangerine Dream, so well crafted visually and the music gives it such a jouissance. Photographed by the great Bruce Surtees (Dirty Harry, Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood films) and Reynaldo Villalobos.

Doug Liman - Edge of Tomorrow - 2014
Discussed above under Jack Reacher. This is a really wonderful film. Besides Blunt and Cruise, you have some great performances by Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, and Noah Taylor. The movie just moves too, like so few do. The connections between familiarity, memory, humor and the absurd mixed with what would be horror (if something like this happened), give it a feel many films these days lack. Some of these contemporary Alien films are so interesting, like 10 Cloverfield Lane, Monsters, where the alien is almost peripheral.

1.19.2018
Steven Spielberg - Raiders of the Lost Arc - 1981
Had not seen this since I was a little fellow, mid eighties. Being a huge Lord of the Rings fan, it was great to see John Rhys-Davies, he is a most underrated actor. Also nice to see Denholm Elliott, one of the heavy British actors (A Room with a View), as is Alfred Mollino who is quite absurd in the film. Can't say I am a big fan of the film, a little dated and silly, but hard not to enjoy the pure entertainment of it. Lately I have been trying to re-watch acknowledged classics that never hit me, often times the original assessment was no-where.


1.20.2018
Derek Cianfrance - Blue Valentine - 2010
I saw this when it came out, I was single and said to myself this is a film that makes one not want to be in a relationship. It is insanely depressing in that way. Ryan Gosling does a very fine job in this, does some real nice singing. I prefer Mr. Cianfrance's other film The Place Beyond the Pines much more, his last film The Light Between Oceans was nearly unwatchable. Cianfrance's films always look really good. Cinematography by Andrij Parekh.

1.21.18
Lone Scherfig - An Education - 2009
Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard. Alfred Mollina film. Missed when this film came out, it is a very good film if you are a Carey Mulligan fan. She is really breathtaking in it, an extremely watchable film due to her performance and general screen presence. My wife (and film viewing partner) had the idea that  Michelle Williams was slightly overrated, to which I agreed, but said she is good in Drive and Shame. I get the two actresses confused for some reason though, these are Carey Mulligan films. Her performance in these two films are why we watch film, and her singing in Shame (one insanely fucking great film) makes your heart stop.

1.22.18
Spike Lee - 25th Hour - 2002
Felt like watching a film with the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman.

1.23.2018
Luca Guadagnino - Call me by your Name - 2017
This is easily the best film of the year, a completely overwhelming and transcendent filmic experience, from the acting to the cinematography to the music.  Being an obsessive lover of Merchant Ivory films, James Ivory's presence greatly enriched this work : "Nearly a decade in the making - much of that time spent with Ivory attached to the film in various positions, from producer to co-director to screenwriter", the film was adapted by André Aciman's novel from 2007, it is a beautiful story. There are moments so strong, they leave you in a state you rarely arrive at with film these days : Elio sitting outside in near dark to a Sufjan Stevens tune as the film flares for quite a while. The film was shot on 35mm using only one lens - a single Cooke S4 35mm lens filming on a Kodak 500 vision 3 film. Photography by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, so lovely. There were a couple other flares in the work, when the hell do you see this kind of film-presence these days. So many other mysterious and strong moments; as the two ascent to the waterfall Oliver looks back; it gave me goosebumps, the moment when Oliver rubs Elio's back. The two dancing scenes to The Psychedelic Furs' Love My Way. The final scene as Elio cries by the fire. Also Michael Stuhlbarg's talk with his son on the mysteries of love. Great film!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

plato's cave fifty (being a film journal)

1.1.2018
Darren Aronofsky - Mother! - 2017
Finally watched this. First 45 minutes I thought this was one hell of a film... the restrictions of the camera, the fucking sound design is brilliant, the acting is beautiful, but it just got too strange and went to hell. I like Aronofsky's The Wrestler, but have not liked his other work. Listened to his Marc Maron interview recently and he seems to be an interesting fellow, there is a desire when viewing for more subtlety and the art of restriction.

1.2.2018
Howard Deutch - Some Kind of Wonderful - 1987
We watched this on cable whilst visiting the parents (plus the Potters). Hadn't seen it. Not my kind of film but Eric Stoltz makes it worth watching and the music was not bad, for an 80s film. Also (tried) watching Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming recently with Stoltz. What is it with these Baumbach films?, also tried watching The Meyerowitz Stories and this question came up again, although I liked Adam Sandler in it.

Harry Potter 4 & 5 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2005 & Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007)
Watched at the rents. Even when they are not brilliant, these films are always very watchable. In addition to the magic of them, the cast begs the viewer to pay attention and to return to them. Any fan of British cinema, Mike Leigh etc... these films are worth watching (actors like : Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman, Jason Isaacs, Timothy Spall, Emma Thompson, Domhnall Gleeson, David Tennant, Peter Mullan, David Bradley, etc). Interesting that they are written for children because I have trouble following the complicated twists and turns.

1.3.2018
Harry Potter 6 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2009)
Had seen this but didn't remember very well. Good film, starts getting more abstract and dark.

1.4.18
Harry Potter 7 & 8 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Parts 1 & 2, 2010, 2011)
For some reason I had never watched these last 2. They were quite good. Abstract. Dark and heavy. I love Ralph Fiennes in them, when I was a young man I worked at a movie theater and took his movie ticket, quite an experience. He has some real life and screen presence, a wonderful actor.

1.5.2018
Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird - 2017
I had reservations seeing this because I thought Frances Ha was a piece of millennial nonsense, and I really didn't find Gerwig appealing in that film. Attempted to watch the film without prejudice and I was deeply engaged with it. For starters : Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Saoirse Ronan, Lucas Hedges... it has a really great cast. More like actor's actors (Metcalf and Letts). They give such depth to this film, which has depth on its own. I think the film could have gone a bit further and gotten away a bit from being sentimental, but it is one that I will return to. Metcalf in Horace and Pete was truly brilliant! One of the most sublime performances I have seen. She is one of the most underrated living actors working today.

1.6.2018
Ron Howard - Apollo 13 - 1995
The cast of this film (Bill Paxton etc) and hearing about it often on Marc Maron's podcast (a superb insight into the minds of actors and directors) made me decide to finally watch it, but alas it was not my speed.

1.7.18
Paul Thomas Anderson - Phantom Thread - 2017
This is a really beautiful film by Mr. Anderson. His (and the crew's) cinematography is breathtaking, the music by Johnny Greenwood, and of course the acting (Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville from many Mike Leigh films,  Vicky Krieps, Gina McKee from Naked, Brian Gleeson etc.) Would surely return to this film, like many of Anderson's films; one finds oneself feeling quite uncomfortable throughout, he is a master of this, not easy to do with what appears to be small efforts.

1.8.2018
Paul Thomas Anderson - Boogie Nights - 1997
Saw this film when it came out in the theater, and a few years later on DVD. Had been a while though. It was streaming and I decided to revisit after hearing Anderson's recent interview with Bill Simmons and his new film. The film definitely lacks the subtlety, restraint and beauty of his other films, but it does have his virtuosity. It is hard to imagine a 27 year old pulling off that opening shot, up there in the history of the long take, I actually got so lost in it I couldn't tell if there was a cut. Burt Reynolds gives one strong performance even though supposedly they had trouble on the set, and William H Macy, Julianne Moore, Luis Guzmán, Don Cheadle, and of course Philip Seymour Hoffman!

1.9.2018
Toshiya Fujita - Lady Snowblood - 1973
For some reason had not seen this film. My good friend mentioned to see it as every frame was like a painting, which is indeed true. The opening sword exchange (and the rest that follow) was so beautiful, with the snow and lighting and movement. A beautiful film indeed.

1.10.2018
Jane Campion - Holy Smoke - 1999
First time seeing this. Always a pleasure to see Harvey Keitel. As with The Piano, he elects to drop his drawers in the film, funny how he did this in so many films in the day.

Various Seinfeld episodes. Reinstated my Hulu account and have started going through various Seinfelds. Use to watch these when I was a young man but only various ones. Attempting to be a bit more systematic this time. Watched recent season of Curb your Enthusiasm lately, can't get enough.

1.11.2018
Craig Brewer - Hustle & Flow - 2005
Terrence Howard is very good in this.

1.12.2018
Yorgos Lanthimos - The Killing of a Sacred Deer - 2017
Finally saw this. Very strange film, goes without saying. Had just watched The Lobster for the second time recently and was looking forward to this. Themes going through both films are of interest to me, like the monotone speaking of Colin Farrell, the use of extreme modern classical music, putting the viewer in constant "discomfort", Kafka/Walser-like story telling. One scene that really stood out was the daughter singing a pop tune by a tree in a total monotone delivery. I would buy a 7" of that.

1.13.2018
Fred Schepisi - Six Degrees of Separation - 1993
This film came out the year I graduated from high school. I don't think I saw it then but remember seeing it in the 90s, but didn't have a clear memory of it. Film is unwatchable, has a good cast, and I love the Kandinsky painting featured from the Guggenheim collection Several Circles (1926), moronic that they have this painting as a two-sided work that doesn't actually exist.  It is funny, but the fact that they misrepresented the Kandinsky, sums up how insincere this film is.

Michael Cimino - Heaven's Gate - 1980
Tried watching this film about 12-15 years ago after a good friend recommended it, and I couldn't get through it. Didn't like the pallet of the film, found it not to be captivating. I return to it an old dog and still feel the same although I vowed to finish it. Cimino is one of the best, and it has a perfect cast (Jeff Bridges, Isabelle Huppert, John Hurt, Christopher Walken), but something about this film just doesn't work. Westerns and slow films are what got me interested in film-viewing, but it lacks passion. Would rather watch McCabe & Mrs. Miller. My dog Leviathan didn't like it either, wouldn't stop growling and moaning. Not sure what are we missing?

1.14.2017
Powell & Pressburger - A Canterbury Tale - 1944
I needed a guaranteed great film to make up for the few in the last week that didn't do much for me. Any Powell Pressbuerger will do.

Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood - 2007
Fourth or fifth time with this beauty. My god this is a great film, more the kind of western I would like to sit with. So many intense scenes with Plainview.... hard to watch at times. Greenwood's music during the oil fire catastrophe works so perfect with the editing and action. Masterfully done film.

The art of memory's daily viewing and listening (and sometimes reading) on instagram
Last year or so I started rating films on imdb. here they are

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

music rotating around the invisible birds in the year of our lord 2017


Tarrl Morley Esq. of Ingenting Kollektiva
30 releases that kept me alive this year:

- Henning Christiansen - Schafe statt Geigen (Sheep instead of Violins) and “Verena” Vogelzymphon(Bird Symphony) - Holidays Records

- Henning Christiansen - Op.192 Umwälzung - Fluxorum Organum 1990 Eurasienstab Ist Immernoch Angelpunkt - Penultimate Press

- Werner Durand - Schwingende Luftsäulen  (Vibrating Air Columns) - Ants
To be played simultaneously with:

- Tony Conrad - Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain - Superior Viaduct

- Terry Fox - 552 Steps Through 11 Pairs of Strings - Edition Telemark

- Joe Jones - In Performance - États-Unis

- Jon Gibson - Two Solo Pieces - Superior Viaduct

- Mary Jane Leach - Pipe Dreams - Blume

- John Butcher - Resonant Spaces - Blume

- Walter Marchetti - Antibarbarus - Alga Marghen

- The Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble - Drum Dance to the Motherland - Eremite Records

- Giusto Pio - Motore Immobile - Soave

- Éliane Radigue - Occam Ocean 1 - Shiiin

- Knud Viktor - Ambiences / Images - BIN

- Tomoko Sauvage - Musique Hydromantique - Shelter Press

- John Cage - Klang Der Wandlungen - Eeition RZ

- Rob Mazurek - Chimeric Stoned Horn - Monofonus Press/Astral Spirits

- Martin Kuchen - Lieber Heiland, lass Uns Sterben - SOFA

- Jürg Frey - Collection Gustave Roud - Another Timbre

- Jürg Frey - Ephemeral Constructions - Edition Wandelweiser

- Jurg Frey - L'ame est sans retenue I - Erstwhile Records

- Roland Kayn - A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound - Frozen Reeds

- Jaap Vink - Jaap Vink - Recollection GRM ‎/ Editions Mego / INA-GRM

- Ellen Fullman - The Long String Instrument - Superior Viaduct

- Ryuichi Sakamoto - Async - Milan

- Basil Kirchin - Worlds Within Worlds - Superior Viaduct

- Phill Niblock - Rhymes With Water - God Records

- Carl Michael Von Hausswolff - Still Life - Requiem - Touch

- The Necks - Unfold - Ideologic Organ

- William Basinski - A Shadow In Time - Temporary Residence Limited


Films / Television

- David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return



Matthew Swiezynski Sod. of Ingenting Kollektiva

- Keith Berry - Elixir - Invisible Birds

- Tony Conrad - Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain - Superior Viaduct

- Taylor Deupree ‎- Somi - 12k

- Werner Durand - Schwingende Luftsäulen  (Vibrating Air Columns) - Ants

- James Hamilton - Scathe & Approacher  - The Keraunograph Organisation

- Carl Michael Von Hausswolff - Still Life - Requiem - Touch

- Alex Keller and Sean O’Neill - Kruos - Elevator Bath

- Basil Kirchin - Worlds Within Worlds - Superior Viaduct

- Lumine - All The Unnamed - La Scie Dorée

- Stephan Mathieu - Radiance IX - XII - Schwebung

- N.A.D.M.A. ‎- Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York - RCA Italiana ‎/ Die Schachtel

- Hermann Nitsch - Orgelkonzert Jesuitenkirche 20.11.2013 - Trost Records

- Charlemagne Palestine - The Lower Depths - Alga Marghen

- Charlemagne Palestine - Strumming Music - Aguirre Records

- Arvo Pärt - Für Alina - The Ajna Offensive / Mississippi Records

- Krzysztof Penderecki ‎- Kosmogonia - Cold Spring, mastered by Denis Blackham

- Akira Rabelais - Spellewauerynsherde - Boomkat Editions

- Éliane Radigue - Occam Ocean 1 - Shiiin

- Ryuichi Sakamoto - Async - Milan

- Colin Andrew Sheffield & James Eck Rippie ‎- Essential Anatomies - Elevator Bath

- Time Machines/Coil ‎- Time Machines - Dais Records

- Jaap Vink - Jaap Vink - Recollection GRM ‎/ Editions Mego / INA-GRM

- Everything Tarrl has above when I can get a chance to buy and listen. Excerpts unreal.


Films / Television

- David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return

- Aki Kaurismäki - The Other Side of Hope

- Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk 

- Guillermo del Toro - The Shape of Water

Saturday, December 9, 2017

gaspard de la nuit




(Invisible Birds Archive of Nothing - Soundtracks, volume one)

Music by Tarrl Morley and Matthew Swiezynski. Recorded in San Francisco in 1998 using a 78 rpm recording of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit (interpreted by Walter Gieseking), a reel to reel deck, and restraining techniques. The music was also used as a soundtrack to Mr. Swiezynski’s 16mm film Juliette from the same year.

Why the ensemble did not try and get the music published that year is a mystery but Invisible Birds is very proud to be issuing it now, as it resonates so very strongly with the label's vision.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

plato's cave forty nine (being a film journal) : influence

(factory photograph of David Lynch)

Re watching David Lynch films (post Twin Peaks The Return obliteration), and reading Chris Rodley's fine book Lynch on Lynch, I compiled a list of influences on Lynch.  I remember reading long ago that a primary influence on Lynch was blasting at deafening volumes Krzysztof Penderecki's work (I can no longer remember where I saw this interview), that seemed much more evocative to me than the paintings of the champagne drunk Bacon. It got me curious what else got his goat. I probably missed some.

- Robert Aldrich's film Kiss Me Deadly

- Robert Altman's film Images

- Kenneth Anger's film Rabbits Moon

- Frank Bacon's paintings

- Angelo Badalamenti's music

- Bernd and Hilla Becher's photography (Lynch's factory photos)

- Ingmar Bergman's films esp. Persona & Cries and Whispers (The whispering that ends Twin Peaks the Return is a clear reference to his work)

- Arnold Böcklin's paintings

- David Bowie

- Marlon Brando's One-Eyed Jacks (Twin Peaks' house of pleasure, across the border)

- Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's film Un Chien Andalou

- Frank Capra's films

- Jean Cocteau's films esp. Orphée and Le Sang d’un poète (very obvious with all the backwards and trick photography seen in The Blood of a Poet)

- Maya Deren's films

- Marcel Duchamp (Étant donnés is very clearly seen in films like Blue Velvet)

- Germaine Dulac's film The Seashell and The Clergyman

- Blake Edward's film Experiment in Terror and the Henry Mancini soundtrack

- Federico Fellini's films, esp. 8 1/2 and La Strada

- Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, and King Vidor's film Wizard of Oz

- Judy Garland (from Well now, I'm not gonna talk about Judy. In fact, we're not gonna talk about Judy at all, we're gonna keep her out of it to our hero Garland Briggs)

- Barry Gifford's writings (present in two Lynch films)

- Ron Hardy's film The Wicker Man

- Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze

- Werner Herzog's films esp. Stroszek

- Alfred Hitchcock's films, esp. Vertigo and Rear Window

- Edward Hopper's paintings and work

- Roy Huggins' The Fugitive TV series

- Franz Kafka's writings (“The one artist that I feel could be my brother is Franz Kafka.” Lynch on Lynch)

- Bushnell Keeler, painter. Lynch friend and mentor

- Oskar Kokoshka's paintings

- Stanley Kubrick's films, esp. 2001, The Shining and Lolita

- Charles Laughton's film The Night of the Hunter (shot by Stanley Cortez)

- René Magritte's paintings and Surrealism in general

- Chris Marker's film La Jetée

- Roy Orbison's music

- Krzysztof Penderecki's music

- Philadelphia the city, his biggest influence

- The Platter's music

- Roman Polanski's films esp. Chinatown

- Jackson Pollock's paintings

- Otto Preminger's film Laura

- Elvis Presley's music


- Jacques Rivette's film Out 1

- Mark Robson's film Peyton Place

- Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone

- Douglas Sirk's film Written on the Wind

- This Mortal Coil's music

- Jacques Tourneur's film Out of the Past 

- Jacques Tati's films, esp. Mr. Hulot's Holiday and Mon Oncle

- Edward G. Ulmer's film Detour

- Bobby Vinton's singing in Blue Velvet

- Billy Wilder's films Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment (very clear references esp. the minor character Gordon Cole in SB)


- W.C. Fields' acting, esp. It's a Gift

- Robert Wise's films esp. The Sound of Music and West Side Story (WSS includes Twin Peaks' Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn)

- Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture and design

- Neil Young's song Love and War

- The 1950s in general