Monday, February 18, 2019

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

2.10.2019
Olivier Assayas - Personal Shopper - 2016
Very nice film by Mr. Assayas. On paper it would seem like something too strange or not necessarily interesting enough but it worked great on the big screen. I love the ghost photography, very beautiful. Strange to see Hilma af Klint mentioned... but it worked well in relationship to the plot. Successfully "dark" film as well, meaning visually a lack of light in much of it. I really love Assayas L'Eau froide from 1994, and should rewatch his 90s films like Irma Vep, Clean, and others.

Gus Van Sant - Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot - 2018

2.13.2019
Hirokazu Kore-eda - Shoplifters - 2018
Beautiful film. Story unfolds in a strange way; little to no details are given on characters and plot, yet clarity finally come together but things also remain clear as mud. This strategy really gives this film a unique elegance. Would love to watch more times.

2.14.2019
Hirokazu Kore-eda - After the Storm - 2016
The main actor looks like Gregory Peck. Really good film, an alternative on the private dick film. Kore-eda's films are something quite unique and have a devastating quietness that rings loudly as a filmic experience.

2.15.2019
Susanne Bier - After the Wedding - 2006
(rewatch)
Heavy acting by Mads Mikkelsen and Rolf Lassgård. Problematic film.

2.16.2019
Wim Wenders - Wings of Desire - 1987
(rewatch)
Bruno Ganz! Perfect film I have watched dozens of times.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

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

1.24.2019
Henry King - The Gunfighter - 1950
(Univers du western)
Had not seen this one starring Gregory Peck as the outlaw Jimmy Ringo. Always a pleasure to see the great Millard Mitchell, here he stars as Marshal Mark Strett, once a dirty son of a bitch and now a marshal. Stunning black and white photography by Arthur C. Miller. Very good film.

Oren Moverman - The Messenger - 2009
(rewatch)
Starring Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson. An important contemporary film worth more than one viewing, I also like Moverman's other film with Woody Harrelson; Rampart.  Also worth a look for fans of Samantha Morton and Steve Buscemi, both give strong performances. Very nice color palette in the film as well, gives a subtle ambiance throughout the film you wouldn't necessarily be able to pinpoint but is strongly present.

1.25.2019
André De Toth - The Indian Fighter - 1955
(Univers du western)
Another fifties western I had not seen. I am a big fan of De Toth, Kirk Douglas  and Walter Matthau but I couldn't get into this one. Maybe worth it to see Hank Worden and Elisha Cook Jr. (as a Edward S. Curtis type photographer).

Christopher Nolan - Memento - 2000
(rewatch)
Recently I watched Soderbergh's The Limey from 1999 and both films have a quality of transition between the 1990s and the 2000s. Each decade (in popular) cinema had a very distinct style, and looking back one sees some films that have this strange uber-90s quality (90s films on drugs), a quality that becomes very common in films from the 2000s decade.  Other works could include Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight and Boogie Nights from the late 90s, Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket from 1996, and Todd Solondz's Happiness from 1998. One could also include Fincher but his Fight Club is really one shite film, written by an author who's popularity truly boggles the mind.  Besides the brief bit of negativity, I wonder what are some other transitional films? On re-watching Memento after almost 10 years, an observation is that the story is basically not interesting and gets in the way. Obviously the films novelty lies in the way it is told, that sounds all good and proper but one wonders if this kind of alternative linear story telling works better in literature? Raymond Queneau's Exercices de style is a great example of a story with basically no interest transforming into a page turner.  Contemporary director's obsession with Kubrickian structure is something that is hard not to criticize, for this viewer at least (Tarantino, Nolan, etcetery). Directors that are definitely important but can one really say their experiments with structure are what make their films worth watching?  Some of the experimental editing in The Limey really stood out as dated and sophomoric, and got in the way of the film. Regardless of this criticism, I did enjoy this film, it is one of those films I have watched over the years starting from around age 23 and here I am approaching middle age. Not unlike the madeleine cookies method of film viewing (cookie pluralized for extra emphasis).

After writing the above text, some more transitional 1990/2000s film came to mind :  The Sixth Sense (1999), L.A. Confidential (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), and The Truman Show (1998). Very much related to the early 80s films that are like uber 70s films.

1.26.2019
Ingmar Bergman - Wild Strawberries - 1957
(rewatch)
This is the Berman film I have seen the most, not necessarily my favorite but I owned the DVD for a time and would watch it often. The nightmare/dream sequences had much to do with the constant re-watching, also the character and performance of the director Victor Sjöström.  Gunnar Fischer's photography is so very enchanting here, perhaps not as moody and extreme as Sven Nykvist's but equally engaging, more subtle in a way. My friends and I had a musical collective for a while primarily rotating around the mood of Bergman films. Our moniker came out of hearing "ingenting" repeated so often in his films, I caught it once in Wild Strawberries from Ingrid Thulin. Such a lovely word in Swedish.

1.24.2019 - 1.26.2019
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season two

1.27.2019
Michael Cimino - Thunderbolt and Lightfoot - 1974
(rewatch)
Second time seeing this but it has been a long time. Mostly remembered the absurdity of it, a strange sense of humor like with the rabbits in the trunk and "fuck a duck". Humor reminds me more of Clint Eastwood films like Every Which Way but Loose, which this viewer watched over and over as a kid. Such a sad ending, I can understand Jeff Bridges getting an Oscar nomination for this film. Also it is always a pleasure to see Geoffrey Lewis on the big screen.

Nicole Holofcener - The Land of Steady Habits - 2018
Didn't like this film but watched it because I am an enthusiast of Ben Mendelsohn.

1.28.3019
Lewis Gilbert - Alfie - 1966
(rewatch)
Goddamn great film, and also such pleasure to hear the lovely Burt Bacharach song. Michael Caine has some subtle moves, from Harry Brown to Get Carter, his talents go far beyond catching birds.

1.29.2019
Sophie Huber - Harry Dean Stanton Partly Fiction - 2012
Really nice film, and a great portrait of one of the greatest.

Martin Ritt - Hud - 1963
(Univers du western, rewatch)
Two films this week with Melvyn Douglas, this and The Tenant.

1.30.2019
Robert Redford - Ordinary People - 1980
(rewatch)
Saw this in middle school and I am sure the story was too complicated for me. Film has a good feel to it but a bit dated. Timothy Hutton didn't really grab me with his acting but visually was perfect for the role.

George Roy Hill - The Sting - 1973
(rewatch)
Solid film.

Roman Polanski - The Tenant - 1976
(rewatch)
Polanski sure makes an homely women. Recently watched Topor in Nosferatu the Vampyre, and it made me want to watch this film. The novel is really something quite strange that I have looked at from time to time. Great film even if not one of his best.

1.31.2019
Jack Hill - Coffy - 1973
No me gusta.

Matthew Saville - Felony - 2014
(rewatch)
Didn't hit me the second time around. First time I enjoyed as I wasn't familiar with Joel Edgerton, but I like him in other films more.

2.1.2019
Steve McQueen - Widows - 2018
Started with a bang but lost momentum, story too complicated. McQueen sure has a great visual style that makes it worth watching. Shame, Hunger and 12 Years a Slave some of the best contemporary films that leave most in the dust.

Damien Chazelle - First Man - 2018
I couldn't get too far into this film, sorry for the bad joke but it didn't have The Right Stuff. Didn't like La La Land either but a tad better than this one. Whiplash isn't bad but the music being some disneyesque contemporary jazz makes it hard to take seriously despite the fine qualities.

2.3.2019
Richard Donner - Lethal Weapon - 1987
(rewatch)
Richard Donner - Lethal Weapon 2 - 1989
(rewatch)
Hadn't seen these since I was in middle school/high school. Glover is real good in them, Gibson hard to deal with. Richard Donner made some good films, the best being Inside Moves with John Savage and David Morse. Superman and The Omen also very good. I prefer 48 Hours, but it was worth it to see Arjen Rudd's "diplomatic immunity" at the end of the 2nd film, which has stayed in my mind since I first saw it.

2.4.2019
John G. Avildsen - Save the Tiger - 1973
(rewatch)
This is one of those great underrated 70s films, not perfect but the problems only add to the quality.  Has some really uncomfortable moments which are a strong part of the 70s experience, and also a strange LA film, with a different kind of Angel experience (similar to the New York in The French Connection). Avildsen's next big film was Rocky.

Samuel Fuller - Forty Guns - 1957
(Univers du western, rewatch)
A classic one, always loved the high contrast photography by Joseph F. Biroc.

2.5.2019
Nicholas Ray - Johnny Guitar - 1954
(Univers du western, rewatch)
A few times seeing this film, this current time I found the Emma Small character to just be a bit too much, perhaps the psychological motivations behind her actions not subtle enough to stand up to multiple viewings, a great film regardless. Any excuse to see Sterling Hayden play guitar and shoot a fire arm at a punk-ass kid.

Peter Collinson - The Italian Job - 1969
(rewatch)
Noël Coward, Benny Hill and Michael Caine. Good stuff.

2.6.2019
George Stevens - A Place in the Sun - 1951
(rewatch)
Montgomery Clift is up there in the top 10 greatest pursuers of actorshippe. This film drags a tad and is at many times almost too intense to watch but worth it for his and Elizabeth Taylor's performances.

Anton Corbijn - A Most Wanted Man - 2014
(rewatch)
John le Carré, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Vicky Krie, Rachel McAdams, and Willem Dafoe. The German accents though, not sure if they work? Nice ambiance in this film.

2.7.2019
Hal Needham - Smokey and the Bandit - 1977
(rewatch)
Very colorful language from Jackie Gleason, yet he won't abide cussing in his presence. Film moves in a way that is rare these days. Really surprised the shit out of me seeing Hank Worden for half a second (image above).

Ron Shelton - Bull Durham - 1988
Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins. Good names for the two male leads; Nuke and Crash.

2.8.2019
Rob Cohen - Daylight - 1996
No me gusta


Francis Ford Coppola - The Conversation - 1974
(rewatch)
It hadn't dawned on me previously that Caul's own phone at the end is the devise used to bug his apartment and the destruction of that fine SF apartment was mostly a waste... also hadn't noticed previously all the beautiful layers of gaudy wallpaper exposed by his violence, not unlike the French art where layers of street posters intermingle. I am use to seeing this film on a television screen, but projected (as was done last night) many details emerge. Besides Gene Hackman, this film has three really overwhelmingly strong performances; Allen Garfield, Michael Higgins, and of course John Cazale. A misconception would be that these three guys spent a lot of money on hair grease. Allen Garfield's crease paved the way for many actors seeking a left handed approach to acting. Purchased the fine soundtrack and spent a few evenings listening which suggested watching this classic 70s film. In 2007 this blog featured a list of must see films from the 1970s found here.

Walter Hill - 48 Hrs - 1982
(rewatch)
Walter Hill did some fine films, mostly this one, The Warriors, The Driver, and writing for Aliens, The Getaway, and The MacKintosh Man. Have seen this a few times the last 2-3 years, it is just one hell of a good film with the cowboy bar scene being one of the funniest from the decade. Includes some actors from The Warriors - James Remar and David Patrick Kelly. Kelly is a favorite actor of mine, his performances in Twin PeaksThe Longest Yard and The Funeral are memorable. Pretty funny that he was cast as the therapist in Louie, as he is always the craziest sob in the room!

2.9.2019
Wachowski - The Matrix - 1999
(rewatch)
Rewatched this trying to remember why I have hated the film so much over the years. Thought it was dated as hell when it came out, a bit like an avocado starting to go brown. Putting it together now; the third tier poser goth aesthetics just didn't feel right back in old '99. The editing and stylistic elements of the film are just tasteless and heavy-handed. An example is a quick movement happens in the frame after a quick edit, and the filmmakers adds in a movement sound just in case some viewer out there didn't get it. The lie of the "hacker" as some kind of well meaning anarchist is a load of horse pucky, the reality is they are melonfamers out there trying to rip off the poor and the elderly. There must be other people out there that equally despise these directors?

Chad Stahelski, David Leitch - John Wick - 2014
(rewatch)
Definitely a more enjoyable Keanu Reeves experience. Starts out with a great idea and remains heavy the entire film with a great cast. Was sad to read that Michael Nyqvist, who plays Viggo Tarasov, had passed away. His sympathetic heavy role is kind of unique and he plays it brilliantly. Great actor.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

plato's cave eighty one (being a film journal)

1.19.2019
Paul Schrader - Affliction - 1997
Fourth time or so watching this. Quite a film, from time to time a little dated but it has quite a stunning second half, really a beautiful film. Nolte is unreal, plays a superb traffic cop.

eXistenZ + Swingers
Two films I had seen in my youth, and this time had to turn them both off as they were just unwatchable. The former because the stupid video game culture nonsense, and the latter because the child actors made me disgorge in my mouth more than to my liking.

1.20.2019
Bradford Young - Ain't Them Bodies Saints - 2013
Not bad. Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Keith Carradine do some good business.

1.21.2019
Barry Jenkins - If Beale Street Could Talk - 2018
Stunning movie by Mr. Jenkins. The guy has one unique visual style that is just a pleasure to watch.

1.22.2019
Andrew Haigh - Lean on Pete - 2017
Second time seeing this film, had trouble the first time because I thought the depressing elements where a bit too heavy handed. I really loved the film this time but still had a bit of a problem with the ending (from Pete's demise on), with the exception of when he goes into the big city and gets a job.

Sergio Leone - Once Upon a Time in the West - 1968
A rewatch of this essential western.

1.23.2019
Bradley Cooper - A Star is Born - 2018
The first half of this film moves really well and is beautiful to look at with great performances and story telling. Went down a bit with the American Idol type performances toward the middle, but came back with the major depression/addiction downward spiral. Not a great ending but overall this is a strong film. The two leads have the old screen magic.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

plato's cave eighty (being a film journal)

1.12.2019
Steven Soderbergh - The Limey - 1999
Third viewing. Transitional film from the 90s to the 2000s. Two decades that have a very distinct feel, this film is in the middle somewheres. Structurally the editing is a little heavy handed especially in the beginning, calms a bit as the film goes along. With these attempts to be unique mellowed out, the film would be much stronger, the damn dialogue alone is just wonderful. Terence Stamp and Luis Guzmán excel in fine actorshippe!

1.12.2019 - 1.18.2019
Amy Sherman-Palladino - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season one - 2017
Rachel Brosnahan is a lovely actress. The head forward quick talking bit gets to be too much but certainly the series is well put together with some fine actorshippe.

1.13.2018
Andrew Bujalski - Support The Girls - 2018
Catching up on some lesser know 2018 films. This one had some moments.

Bo Burnham - Eight Grade - 2018
The actress in this film has some screen magic.

1.14.2018
Ron Shelton - White Men Can't Jump - 1992
Had not seen this film which is not without interest. Hard to imagine being able to find a parking place with such ease in Venice Beach... the sex scenes lack magic.

Craig Gillespie - I, Tonya - 2017
Second time seeing this. Margot Robbie is stunning here, as are the skating sequences.

1.15.2019
Peter Fonda - The Hired Hand - 1971
Second time seeing this, don't know the film that intimately but the soundtrack by Bruce Langhorne I have listened to a thousand times, a truly profound piece of music. Always a pleasure to see the late great Warren Oates. Some slightly dated stylistic elements but they are ultimately pleasant to look at. Again with The Limey, perhaps the film would be more successful without some of these attempts to be novel.

Bing Liu - Minding the Gap - 2018
A documentary about riding skateboards and the abuse of women and children, a heavy film. Bing Liu is a talented young man.

Boots Riley - Sorry to Bother You - 2018
A film hovering around the Bay Area, but instead of the typical San Francisco it is Oakland. My wife said it seemed like a contemporary Terry Gilliam film which is quite accurate.

1.16.2019
Jim Cummings - Thunder Road - 2018
An uncomfortable performance. Cummings is certainly a talented guy, but it was hard to get totally into this film which in a way takes place within the tradition of 70s cinema, a period much obsessed over on this website.

1.17.2019
Baran bo Odar - Sleepless - 2017
Mainly watched this as Jamie Foxx was in it, and I dig his style.  Scoot McNairy plays a strange heavy, use to seeing his as the greasy punk in Killing Them Softly.

Don Siegel - Two Mules for Sister Sara - 1970
Revisiting a favorite western of mine. Just pure pleasure to see the film. Don Siegel was just one hell of a great director.

1.18.2019
Paul Dano - Wildlife - 2018
This is a really lovely film by Mr. Dano. Reminded me a bit of Altman, where screen business is often going on outside of the view of the spectator, but here this happens in a very quiet sort of way, the viewpoint of the camera is often quite provocatively awkward. This awkwardness reminded me very much of the stories of Raymond Carver. I have not read Richard Ford but would very much like to after seeing this film. The young man Ed Oxenbould is stunning, not just to watch him but his delivery of lines and the silence he brings. The cuckoldry in this film is quite difficult to watch, like when Jake Gyllenhaal asks Carey Mulligan if she "is stepping out", but more so imagining the child having to deal with the moment he realizes that his father has become a cuckold. I would definitely watch this film many more times.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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

12.24.2018
Stanley Kubrick - 2001: A Space Odyssey - 1968
Watched the new 4k disc in an amazing home theater with 5.1 and Sony 4k projector. Volume to the max.

12.26.2018
Denis Villeneuve - Blade Runner 2049 - 2017
Again the new 4k disc with some heavy as hell bass.

12.27.2018
The Brothers Coen - The Big Lebowski - 1998
Another rewatch this year of this film.

12.29.2018
Andrei Tarkovsky - Andrei Rublev - 1966
Finally watched the Criterion blu-ray, a favorite from my youth. One of Tarkovsky's best. Endlessly enjoyable music by Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov. A 10/10 or maybe 11/10 rating. The intro hot air balloon sequence never ceases to amaze.

Tamara Jenkins - Private Life - 2018
Ok film, always enjoy watching Paul Giamatti.

12.30.2018
John McTiernan - Die Hard - 1988
A rewatch of this Christmas in July classic.

1.2.2019
Alfonso Cuarón - Roma - 2018
Second time seeing this brilliant film. My favourite of 2018 along with First Reformed. The near drowning shot (above) is not only an emotional roller coaster but you watch trying to figure out how the hell he shot it. Cuarón said in an interview they used a type of underwater ramp to assist but it still remains a mystery of a shot.

1.3.2019
Susanne Bier - Bird Box - 2018
Not a bad film for a lover of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic films.


1.4.2018
Ari Aster - Hereditary - 2018
Second time seeing this film, I liked it better the second time. I don't know how intentional some of this is, but I find the film pretty humorous, like when the young girl has her head removed (images above). I found myself laughing pretty hard. Some great acting in this film and Colin Stetson's score is top notch.

1.5.2018
Christopher McQuarrie - Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation - 2015
I went about MI wrong and saw the most recent one first and then one through five after the fact. I basically couldn't watch the first two and found the last three to be the best in the series. The most recent one is beyond a doubt the best one for this viewer, this one starts a bit slow but gets pretty good starting with the motorcycle chase in Morocco. McQuarrie really can get the blood going.

Alex Garland - Annihilation - 2018
Second time seeing this. Not totally into Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, nor Oscar Isaac in this film but it does have some really lovely moments and beautiful psychedelic visuals. The soundtrack really grew on me this time, starting with British Folk inspired guitar and moving into some heavy Jóhann Jóhannsson like melodies.

1.6.2018
Henry King - The Bravados - 1958
Getting more deeply into re-examining the Univers du Western, the second time seeing this Gregory Peck film. Some truly stunning photography with deep deep reds and blacks by Leon Shamroy. Great film.

1.7.2018
George Stevens - Shane - 1953
Second or third time seeing this Alan Ladd film. I forgot that Ben Johnson was in it, nice to see him play a sort of heavy. Jean Arthur hams it up a bit as does Van Heflin, but Ladd (at around 40 years old) gives a really subtle and strong performance, up there with Clift or Dean. He is a very underrated actor, one would hear his name in SF often associated with films at the festival but not much besides that.

1.8.2018
Valeska Grisebach - Western - 2017
This is just one of those great films. I had heard about it recently and from bits of description, seemed like my kind of film. I decided after watching to not really read about it as I really felt a strong bond intellectually and aesthetically to it and didn't want some just out of college upstart's words to tell me how to feel about it.  This film is one of those contemporary films that can exist somewhere where words are not necessary. I remember studying with Ernie Gehr and he would constantly talk about "gut reactions" to works being more important to him than using text as a supplement. He and I had similar taste in books and when I brought a book to class he said he had purchased it as well and just started the process of looking at the images. How reading the text would have to wait until the images had been consumed. This film takes place in this great area of non-verbal understanding. At first our German hero (or non hero) struggles to communicate with the townsfolk in rural Bulgaria. He slowly comes to some sort of communication with some of them in a almost non verbal way, and then the communication appears to be not as strong as the film progresses. He is a great bullshitter our hero, a fellow not likable in many ways but truly a pleasure to watch. Sandwiched in between many other westerns I have been watching, the title goes well with the atmosphere I have set up in my mind lately, yet it is a stretch to call it a "vestin" as a German might say, yet in a way it has many common themes that run through the genre.

Felix van Groeningen - Beautiful Boy - 2018
Not a film I took a liking to but really was enjoying the Marin landscapes.

1.9.2019
Don Siegel - The Shootist - 1976
Third time or so seeing this. Initially saw as a young man and had a lot of trouble with it, maybe the aging (anti) hero part of it didn't appeal to me but I think more specifically the made for television feel of the film. A second viewing I fell in love. Reminds me of when I was a kid and all these great films were on AMC and you could watch multiple times and see films only your grandparents had heard of. This time I enjoyed it even more, such a strong performance by Wayne and Bacall, heavy subject matter. The style of this film is very striking, with quite raw sound and plain Jane aesthetics.

Lucrecia Martel - Zama - 2017
A film not without interest, subtly obscure NYRB narrative with a very intriguing soundtrack/sound design.

1.10.2019
John Sturges - Joe Kidd - 1972
Clint Eastwood western shot by Bruce Surtees. Good deep reds and darkness from the western master cinematographer who shot The Beguiled, Play Misty for Me, Dirty Harry, The Outfit, Night Moves, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Shootist, Escape from Alcatraz and some well know 80s films.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

rotating in the year of our lord 2018 from ingenting kollektiva




















M a t t h e w  S w i e z y n s k i :

Most listened to recordings of 2018

Autechre NTS Sessions
Gas Rausch
Toshiya Tsunoda / Taku Unami Wovenland
Peter Brötzmann / Juhani Aaltonen / Peter Kowald / Edward Vesala Hot Lotta

Reissues exploring sublime velocity

The Band Music From Big Pink
Henning Christiansen Stone-song
Alice Coltrane Lord Of Lords
Alvin Curran  Canti E Vedute Del Giardino Magnetico (Songs And Views From The Magnetic Garden)
Eric Demarsan Le Cercle Rouge
Terry Fox Audio Works
Jóhann Jóhannsson Englabörn & Variations
Takehisa Kosugi Catch-Wave
Steve Lacy, Yuji Takahashi, Takehisa Kosugi Distant Voices
Hans Otte Das Buch Der Klänge / The Book Of Sounds
Terry Riley Music For The Gift
Michael Snow The Last LP: Unique Last Recordings Of The Music Of Ancient Cultures
Spacemen 3 Dreamweapon

New recordings obtaining most original modes of stasis

Cristián Alvear & Taku Sugimoto H
The Beatles The Beatles (White Album) Super Deluxe Edition
Henning Christiansen PPHC
Henning Christiansen Den Røde Skov
Bruno Duplant - Taku Sugimoto / Suidobashi Chamber Ensemble Chamber And Field Works (2015-2017)
Bob Dylan More Blood, More Tracks (The Bootleg Series Vol. 14)
Adrian Dziewanski The Trail Loops Back
Jürg Frey & Magnus Granberg Ensemble Grizzana - Early To Late
Jóhann Jóhannsson Mandy
Low Double Negative
Alvin Lucier Illuminated by the Moon
Colin Andrew Sheffield Repair Me Now
Jakob Ullmann Müntzers Stern Solo II
Juhani Aaltonen, Esa Helasvuo, Teppo Hauta-aho, Edward Vesala Jazz Liisa 17
Edward Vesala Ensemble Jazz Liisa 18
Iannis Xenakis Persepolis

To obtain visual clarity

Alfonso Cuarón Roma
Paul Schrader First Reformed

Lee Chang-dong Burning
Alex Garland Annihilation
Debra Granik Leave No Trace
Andrew Haigh Lean on Pete
Alice Rohrwacher Lazzaro felice
Derek Simonds The Sinner season 2
Chloé Zhao The Rider
Ari Aster Hereditary
Lynne Ramsay You Were Never Really Here



T a r r l  L i g h t o w l e r :

Happy New Ears: John Cage
Hear the new sounds that kept me alive in 2018:

Autechre:  NTS Sessions 1-4
Low:  Double Negative
Howlround:  The Debatable Lands

Black Truffle:

Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, James Rushford: Face Time
Alvin Lucier:  So You...(Hermes, Orpheus, Eurydice)
Alvin Lucier:  Illuminated by the Moon
Massimo Toniutti:  IL Museo Selvatico
Eiko Ishibashi and Darin Gray:  Ichida
Joe Talia:  Tint
John Duncan:  Klaar

John Duncan:  Riot
John Duncan:  Organic
Toshiya Tsunoda, Taku Unami:  Wovenland

Room 40:

Scanner:  Mass Observation (Expanded)
Toshimaru Nakamura:  Re-Verbed
Merzbow:  MONOAkuma

Merzbow:  Noisembryo
Hilde Marie Holsen:  Lazuli
Eliane Radigue:  Oeuvres Electroniques

Penultimate Press:

Francis Plagne:  Moss Trumpet
Arek Gulbenkoglu:  A Gift Like A Hollow Vessel
Mark Harwood and MP Hopkins:  Disfigured With Abbreviations
Henning Christiansen:  PPHC (5 x Cassette box set)
Henning Christiansen:  Stone-song
Henning Christiansen:  Den Rode Skov
Henning Christiansen:  The Executioner
Henning Christiansen: Hesteofringen
Henning Christiansen:  Schafe Statt Geigen / "Verena" Vogelzymphon

Iannis Xenakis:  Persepolis
Jurg Frey and Magnus Granberg:  Early To Late
Jakob Ullmann:  Muntzers Stern
Anne Guthrie:  Brass Orchids
Lucy Railton:  Paradise 94
Jim O'Rourke:  Sleep Like It's Winter
Eiko Ishibashi:  The Dream My Bones Dream
Joe McPhee:  Nation Time
Mary Jane Leach:  (f)lute songs
Terry Riley:  Music For the Gift
Alvin Curran: Canti E Vedute Del Gisrdino Magnetico
Chris Watson:  Locations, Processed
Hans Otte:  The Book of Sounds
Roland Kayn:  Simultan
Francois Bayle:  Tremblements
Catherine Christer Hennix:  Selected Early Keyboard Works
Joe Jones:  Solar Music Tent
Terry Fox:  Audioworks
Ustad Zia Mohiuhhin Dagar:  Ragas Abhogi and Raga Yaman
Ragnar Johnson:  Crying Bamboos
Taj Mahal Travellers:  August 1974
Takehisa Kosugi:  Catch Wave
Philip Jeck:  Vinyl Coda I-IV
Bob Dylan:  More Blood More Tracks
Fire!:  The Hands
Arve Henriksen:  The Heights of the Reeds
Supersilent:  14
Jon Hassell:  Listening To Pictures
The Necks:  Body
Brotzmann, Aaltonen, Kowald, Vesala:  Hot Latta
International Harvester:  Remains

5.1 (Surround Sound) music:

Miles Davis:  Bitches Brew
Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Beatles:  The White Album Super Deluxe Edition
John Lennon:  Imagine the Ultimate Collection
Joan LaBarbara:  the early immersive music
Iannis Xenakis:  Le Legende d'Eer
King Crimson:  In the Court of the Crimson King
King Crimson:  In the Wake of Poseidon
King Crimson:  Lizard
King Crimson:  Islands
King Crimson:  Larks' Toungues in Aspic
King Crimson:  Starless and Bible Black
King Crimson:  Red
Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon
Suzanne Ciani:  Live Quadraphonic
Lou Reed:  Metal Machine Music
Black Sabbath:  Paranoid
Robert Hampson:  Repercussions
The Flaming Lips:  Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
The Talking Heads:  Remain in Light

Soundtracks:

Matthew Swiezynski:  The One Who Modifies Time and Light
Ben Salisbury:  Annihilation
Colin Stetson:  Hereditary
Johann Johannsson:  Mandy
Jonny Greenwood:  You Were Never Really Here
Thom Yorke:  Suspiria
David Shire:  The Conversation
Eric Demarsan:  Le Cercle Rouge

(I may be forgetting something..."For I am a bear of very little brain...")

Saturday, December 22, 2018

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

12.12.2018
Alan Clarke - The Firm - 1988
In 1994 the great filmmaker/professor Mark Lapore insisted I see the Alan Clarke retrospective at the MFA. I did and I saw the light. This one in particular left a strong impression. For years I got sick of telling people to see this great film with Gary Oldman and have them say "you mean Tom Cruise". Perfect film and beautifully put together, Clarke was a truly gifted artist. Strange but I couldn't find the film on imdb.

12.13.2018
Sydney Pollack - The Firm - 1993
Speaking of which, I watched the Cruise film too. Had not seen since it came out and I then honestly hated it. It actually is not a bad film, good white knuckle kind of ride. Gene Hackman is as always spectacular. Not sure if I would watch again or think about it much.

12.16.2018
David Lynch - The Straight Story - 1999
Another film I had not seen since it came out, in the movie theater I believe. This is one of Lynch's best films, so subtle for him yet full of his signature moves for the true initiates of his work. The bar scene (image above) is some really powerful and emotional stuff. Richard Farnsworth was quite the heavy actor.

Francis Ford Coppola - The Godfather - 1972
Of the handful of VHS tapes I had in high school, The Godfather One and Two were in there and were often viddied on our early 1990s shite television. Over the years I have watched this every five years or so and I was up for a screening, plus my wife had yet to see it. As usual "The Prince of Darkness" floats through my mind the entire screening.

12.17.2018
Steven Knight - Locke - 2013
A little boring of a film but worth seeing for the Tom Hardy performance. Great photography as well.

12.18.2018
Anthony Mann - The Far Country - 1954
I use to have the James Stewart: The Western Collection boxset and would watch the Mann films pretty frequently. Great films to watch over and over. William H. Daniels cinematography and Walt Brennan, John McIntire, Jay C. Flippen, Harry Morgan, and Jack Elam doing their business. Nothing better.

12.19.2018
Anthony Mann - Bend of the River - 1952
Another gem of a Mann/Stewart western. Arthur Kennedy is a strange actor, their buddy business is a bit uncomfortable but adds to the greatness of the film. Kennedy often plays a sob or morally corrupt person. Good stuff.

12.20.2018
Robert Altman - Gosford Park - 2001
Had only seen this once when it came out. Very lovely film, a little hard to follow which is a bit problematic. One of those films you have to watch often (like Miller's Crossing) to have the details make sense. I am use to Altman's dialogue being obscured and having multiple viewings bring the meanings to the foreground but here I am not sure how well it works as it is more names thrown at you rather than sound or words. Surely one of those films to see more than once with a solid cast.

12.21.2018
Michael Cimino - The Sunchaser - 1996
A Cimino film I hadn't seen. Only made it 20 minutes through, a bit of a dog with some bad music.

Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity - 2013
Second time seeing this but first time on a big screen. The photography by Emmanuel Lubezki is unreal, the first long shot your jaw hurts from hitting the floor so hard. Not Cuarón's best film but surely a great once to watch with much of the music being rather stunning. Ending could be modified in my opinion but still a film to watch more than once.

Michael Cimino - The Deer Hunter - 1978
Vilmos Zsigmond as cinematographer in Cimino's great film staring the late and goddamn great John Cazale along with Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, John Savage, Christopher Walken, and George Dzundza. Cazale had that true screen magic. Perfect film that one can watch many times over the years. My father served in the Marines in Vietnam, this film he showed me when I was practically in diapers. 

12.22.2018
Peter Farrelly - Green Book - 2018
Double feature with this and The Favourite. This film maybe was a bit light but I really enjoyed it and was ready to watch again when it ended. Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini are some of my favorite actors. They did a great job, beautiful film to look at as well.

Yorgos Lanthimos - The Favourite - 2018
Saw this in the theater today. I have seen most of Mr. Lanthimos' films, was looking forward to it. The trio of actors brings this film together quite nicely, especially love Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz. My one major problem with this film was the way it was shot. The wide angle lens panning was just so ugly to me visually, I had trouble getting past it. Even many of the static shots just looked unappealing.  I understand wanting to show off the architecture/interiors but the look it gave the film felt like kitsch to me. Also it just was too "Barry Lyndon", like he made an ersatz version of the great film. Not without interest though.