Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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

5.5.2019
Joe Penna - Arctic - 2018
A great idea for a film: Mads Mikkelsen survival film in the Arctic. shot in Iceland. Reminded me of a combo of Never Cry Wolf by Carroll Ballard and The Grey with Liam Neeson. I have often not liked Mikkelsen's choices in films but he is certainly one of the top 20 living male actors, The Hunt is just one of those monolithic brutal performances that one rarely sees, like Nicole Kidman's in Dogville.

5.6.2019
Jake Scott - Welcome to the Rileys - 2010
James Gandolfini film I hadn't seen, another one of those monolithic actors.
 
Michael Connelly, Eric Ellis Overmyer - Bosch season five - 2019

5.7.2019
Alain Resnais - Hiroshima, Mon Amour - 1959
(rewatch)
In my former life as an architectural bookseller, I would love when people asked for Kenzo Tange monographs, he did some great buildings including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in this film. Such an incredible film this is, with music by Georges Delerue and Giovanni Fusco (L'Avventura, L'Eclisse, and Red Desert), cinematography by Michio Takahashi and Sacha Vierny, words by Marguerite Duras, and sublime complex actorshippe by Eiji Okada and the truly beautiful Emmanuelle Riva. This film really has a great rhythm, a kind of structure that is hard to point out or identify but it just moves in a fantastic way, quit intellectualism with an emotional element mixed in to dampen what could be cerebral. One thinks of Alva Noto's work, which when I first heard seemed a little cold but then he issued this intensely romantic and beautiful Xerrox trilogy, full of sublime mystery.

5.8.2019
Sebastián Lelio - Disobedience - 2017

5.9.2019
Richard Linklater - Before Sunset - 2004
(rewatch)
The songs by Julie Delpy are quite nice in this film. Their conversations at time are not necessarily ones you would want to revisit but these are attempts to mask their desires? Hoping to rewatch White soon, one of the best Delpy films.

Paul Schrader - First Reformed - 2017
(rewatch)
Fourth time watching this, one time with the enlightening commentary. I should do more research but am a bit surprised how much the ending of this film is not talked about in a meaningful way, in terms of the non-reality of it.  After a few rewatches the ending really has become a dream-like transcendental period of time that this viewer looks forward to like a dry martini after a long day. Comparing Ethan Hawke's performance here, in Boyhood and the Before trilogy, he certainly has some range, one of the great actors working today.

5.10.2019
Richard Linklater - Boyhood - 2014
(rewatch)
This film didn't hit me as much the first time, I really loved it this viewing. Grew up in a similar upbringing myself, and found the way the children interact with the parents here (both positive and potentially damaging) quite moving. I recently heard a parent tell their 8 year old (or so) child in a museum that if they didn't like the work on the wall then it was garbage, that their opinion is all that matters, which so deeply offended me. Why not talk about the meaning of the artwork, or how it was made, what was happening in the world when it was made (it was a John Cage Ryoanji)? Dooming the poor child to be a monocultured, egotistical bore. Boyhood offers another example with a complex upbringing: sometimes positive but full of grit, layers of depth of thought and feelings. Heard another criticism recently of True Detective 3, people pointing out a parent that would allow their child to ride alone on a bicycle was a rotten parent. Shit I spent my childhood riding a bike and skateboard all over tarnation by myself or with my degenerate friends. Glad that this film explores these questions.

Agnès Varda - Ydessa, The Bears etc. - 2004
I saw the teddy bear exhibition at the New Museum in New York, which was quite impressive. The way she addresses her work in this film honestly rubbed me the wrong way but Varda's obvious love of the work is very apparent and makes for a good film.

Clair Denis - Trouble Every Day - 2001
(rewatch)
The Tindersticks Clair Denis boxset is something every proud film enthusiast should own, a set I have spent many fine hours immersed in. This film made a strong impression when it came out but I had not seen it since then and had only a memory of the atmosphere of the film. Very nice how Denis has layers of b film here, 70s Italian culture etc, much of which comes from Vincent Gallo's odd screen presence and acting.

5.13.2019
Woody Allen - Crimes and Misdemeanors - 1989
(rewatch)
One of the favorite Woody films at the art of memory, although a bit challenging to watch in some ways after news the last few years. Great cast (Martin Landau, Anjelica Huston, Sam Waterston, Alan Alda, Jerry Orbach etc.) and beautifully shot by Sven Nykvist.

5.14.2019 - 5.19.2019
Alec Berg, Bill Hader - Barry seasone one and two - 2018-1019
Very good show, Stephen Root and Henry Winkler quite impressive in this as of course is Bill Hader.

5.15.2019
Chad Stahelski - John Wick 2 - 2017
(rewatch)
In preparation for John Wick 3, these films are quite spectacular. Nice how the plot is so mellow, a nice change from all the (bad) plot heavy movies and shows (GOT).

5.16.2019 - 5.21.2019
David Benioff, D.B. Weiss - Game of Thrones season five - 2015
(rewatch)
I must admit I am rather embarrassed to be (re)watching this. To be current in contemporary television I plan to watch the last season yet I couldn't remember where I threw in the towel with this show or where the plot had taken us. There are surely some good actors in this show, a few good moments of visual storytelling, also an abundance of poppycock. The gratuitous nudity is quite prosperous and one must admit quite funny.

5.18.2019
Mark Waters - Mean Girls - 2014

Chad Stahelski - John Wick 3 - 2019
Intense, great visual film, I liked it very much. Keanu Reeves has turned into quite a formidable action star, the way that he moves about looking dog tired and beat up is something quite unique, can't think of another performance quite like this. Anjelica Huston is really spectacular as well, didn't really recognize her at first. My friend Mr. Spell pointed out her theatre as Tarkovsky Theatre, very nice! Many layers of influence here, on the recent interview on The Big Picture podcast Mr. Stahelski talked about what interests him and drives his films, the dude has some good taste.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Zeit modifier



new watercolor painting on darknessmoves
watercolor and walnut ink on paper - 05.2029

Sunday, May 5, 2019

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

4.19.2019
Bong Joon-ho - Memories of Murder - 2003
One of the best films I have seen in a while, a total and complete immersion into one hell of a fucked up world. Bong Joon-ho masterfully images a strange, frightening, dense and absurd serial killer film where fog and darkness keep the spectator from having any kind of articulate vision.

Karyn Kusama - Destroyer - 2018
Was very excited to see this after the Godspeed heavy trailer. Nicole Kidman is as stunning as she always is. I found the structure of the film and elements of the story not quite right but overall a good film. Sometimes the "motivations" of characters in film just utterly muddies a clear filmic experience, this muddiness sometimes can work well and make a film better in some abstract way, but this is rare and didn't seem to happen here.

4.20.2019 - 4/23/2019
Peter Jackson - The Lord of the Rings 1-3 - 2001-2003
(rewatch)
After seeing the J. R. R. Tolkien show at the Morgan library, my wife and I decided to give the films a yearly revisit, her third time and my I have no idea, maybe eighth time for myself? I saw the theatrical releases about 3 times each and then the DVD set about four times or so, and now twice viewing the bluray set. I am at the point where I am more familiar with the extended cuts and am curious to go back and watch the shorter versions as these three films seem pretty tight to me and I cannot image really cutting anything out. As stated in the supplements, these are made in the B movie tradition, and that surely separates them from the films made after in the LOTR's style, many of which are quite passionless and without merit. I find many members of the modern day intelligentsia are quite dismissive of this film, something I have never understood but to each his/her own, I love them and find them endlessly watchable and evocative of a world I wish I was in rather than one that embraces up talk, vocal fry, valleygirlisms, and other contemporary epidemics. Great cameo by Jackson as a belching carrot eater (above) in the tradition of Hitchcock.

4.23.2019
The Lord of the Rings Appendice
(rewatch)
Surely the standard for detailed information on the making of a film.

4.26.2019
Jonah Hill - Mid90s - 2018
Didn't think I would like this but not a bad film, honest and simple.

4.27.2019
Ali Abbasi - Border - 2018
A modern-day Troll love story. Interesting to follow over a week of LOTR viewing with this. I loved this film through the first half but found the direction of the latter half not as engaging. I sometimes wish contemporary films could be a bit more simple. Overall a good film, the actors and the look and feel of the film were fantastic. Definitely very strange.

4.29.2019
Paul Haggis - In the Valley of Elah - 2007
(rewatch)
I have seen Crash by Haggis a couple of times and it really makes me uncomfortable, but this film I quite like, especially the performances of Charlize Theron, Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Corbin, and Susan Sarandon. Pretty good story and it unfolds in a way that works well as entertainment and for people digging below the surface. Very much in line with No Country for Old Men, with similar cast members as well including the strange Kathy Lamkin as the Chicken Shack Manager (in No Country she plays Desert Aire Manager, one of the best and most funny parts of the film). Trackers or people who see things others don't in terms of movement across the open country always make for good stuff in film, here Tommy Lee Jones helps Theron with her and her team's lack of clear vision, very much for me similar to how one watches film.

4.30.2019
Andrew Huculiak - Violent - 2014

Yorgos Lanthimos - Dogtooth - 2009

Jacques Audiard - The Sisters Brothers - 2018
Watched the first half or so of each of these three films and couldn't really get into their scene so stopped them mid way.

5.1.2019 - 5.4.2019
Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Killing Eve season one - 2018
Sandra Oh!

5.5.2019
Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Killing Eve season two episode one - 2019

Brian De Palma - Scarface - 1983
(rewatch)
The beginning of this film, and especially the chainsaw section, is some great cinema. When Michelle Pfeiffer shows up the film goes in a direction I don't personally care for, definitely dated, but the end with "say ello to my lil friend" gets us back in business. I love in The Sopranos when Tony shows this part to his son, good stuff.

Monday, April 29, 2019

suspirant music whilst navigating darkness moves



the founder and editor of the art of memory has been greatly expanding and editing his artist website darknessmoves.com

please visit and feel free if so moved to join the mailing list or comment on its merit

in the near future darkness moves will double in size with music, film and and exploration of an artist's library, in addition to having more work that has not yet been added

Friday, April 19, 2019

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

Séraphine

3.31.2019
Paweł Pawlikowski - Cold War- 2018
This film has some stunning photography and novel editing here and there.  Mostly I noticed editing that was jarring, which is my speed, and something you don't see very often in the world of the invisible cut. I had seen Ida finally a month or so ago and honestly really didn't like the film. Not wanting to reiterate my reasons, it is just easier to say this film gave me a similar feeling, as much as I wanted to enjoy it, it felt too much like a Gucci ad to me.

George P. Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre (and Kurt Russell?) - Tombstone - 1993
(univers du western)
A western film that came out when I was 18, one that I have managed to avoid for more than 25 years. I was wondering why as there are some great actors - Bill Paxton, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Michael Biehn from Terminator, Billy Bob Thornton, Thomas Haden Church and a few others. Westerns started to enter the world of this film enthusiast partially as a youngster but more so in college after discovering Ford, Leone, Hawkes and Kurosawa. It probably took a good 10 years to go through the more outstanding examples and I feel I am still a neophyte on the subject. The language of the Western is exceedingly pleasant to read, a language that obscures itself for a bit but becomes apparent once the viewer has put in the effort.  This language is something hard to put words but it just hits you at a gut level. It can be as simple as a man walking down a dusty street with a dog scurrying past him in an atmosphere full of intensity and dread, or more complicated like a slight tweak of an existing western subplot that is shifted slightly to yield some subtle and extreme results. Somehow the Western has a lot to do with jazz music; how you can hear a standard played by different composers with the songs being so very unique when put against one another.  From pre-bird to bop to post-bop to the avant-garde. Also for students of European jazz, the language is further shifted, lovingly mutilated and almost blasphemed. If I am to be honest, I didn't really mind this film, but it didn't fully interact with the language of Univers du Western in a way that was engaging enough to make a lasting impression.

4.1.2019
Steven Soderbergh - Erin Brockovich - 2000
(rewatch)
Solid Soderbergh film with Albert Finney.

4.2.2019
Amy Berg  - The Case Against Adnan Syed - 2019

James Bridges - Urban Cowboy - 1980
(rewatch)
Saw this film many times on cable when I was in elementary school. I think it fucked me up, super depressing negative film on the mistakes made by youth and the dirty deeds of low life sons of bitches. Scott Glenn is one sleaze sob in this film, kind of looks like Iggy Pop. I have rarely drank Tequila without thinking of him drinking that darn worm.

Jan de Bont - Speed - 1994
(rewatch)

4.5.2019
Robert Redford - A River Runs Through It - 1992
Drove through this area of Montana a couple of years ago which is a incredibly lush and beautiful. Mr. Redford put a very good film together here,  which responds so well to this landscape. Saw it in the woods outside Woodstock / Saugerties NY which seemed appropriate.

4.7.2019
Joe Carnahan - The Grey - 2012
(rewatch)
Very much a favorite Liam Neeson film. My dog Leviathan would give these wolves a run for their money. Great ending.

4.8.2019
Ben Stiller - Reality Bites - 1994
(rewatch)

Richard Linklater - Before Sunrise - 1995
(rewatch)
An Ethan Hawke double feature, mid nineties themed. I am more into Before Sunrise myself, but he is really great in both films.

4.8.2019-4.11.2019
David Farr - Hanna season one - 2019

4.10.2019
Adam McKay - Vice - 2018

4.12.2019
Terence Davies - The Deep Blue Sea - 2011
(rewatch)
The most beautiful of cinematography by Florian Hoffmeister. Such a lovely and sad film by Davies who is one of the truly remarkable masters working now.

Martin Provost - Séraphine - 2008
(rewatch)
This turned out to be a very fine double feature. I must see more films by Mr. Provost, the structure of his film is really novel here, Séraphine's paintings and hagiography are slowly revealed to us through a fog of house cleaning, paint-making and grunting.

4.13.2019
Lee Chang-dong - Burning - 2018
(rewatch)
The subtle intricacies and layers of meaning become more clear on a second viewing. The behavior of greenhouse (barn) burning as being a metaphor for serial killing hits like a bag of cement, followed by the act of questioning how a viewer's mind, who is perceptive to subtle hints in a film, can so easily be tricked into possibly false narratives, and then coming around to questioning of the mental facilities of our hero, all a very tasteful way of treating the film spectator. I don't think I picked up on a lot of this the first viewing. This film after 4-5 viewings will really start to come alive.

4.14.2018
Yeon Sang-ho - Train to Busan - 2016
Korean Zombie film with the very talented Yoo Gong (also in A Man and a Woman below).

4.15.2018
Dominic Sena - Kalifornia - 1993
(rewatch)
Second serial killer film this week. Brad Pitt is sort of the reason to watch this film, strange and unsettling performance from him, which partially works so well because of his looks.

Lee Yoon-ki - A Man and a Woman - 2016
Korean love story my wife and I watched with her parents. Starring Do-yeon Jeon from Secret Sunshine and Yoo Gong. The music was nice at times, sort of Ryuichi Sakamoto inspired.

Hal Hartly - The Sisters of Mercy - 2004

4.16.2019
Sean Baker - Scarlet - 2012
I liked this more than The Florida Project. A good story and the style really works well with what is happening on screen. Very nice performance by the dog, I couldn't take my eyes off of him.

Joel Schumacher - A Time to Kill - 1996
Matthew McConaughey film before he got into the bad date films. Samuel L. Jackson and Charles S. Dutton are really stunning in this as well as McConaughey, the film really gets good when the courtroom stuff starts up, a little slow before that.

4.17.2019
Marina Zenovich - Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind - 2018

4.18.2019
Francis Ford Coppola - The Outsiders - 1983
(rewatch)
One of those films I would see as a really young boy, around 9-10 years old. I remember being kind of shocked by the idea of leaving home and sleeping outside. Now seeing it I think I am more struck by the strange style of it, as well as Rumble Fish, where Coppola seems to be really experimenting with artifice and structure in film.

John Sayles - Lone Star - 1996
(rewatch)
One of the films I try and watch 1-2 times per year. Chris Cooper is a hell of an actor. The many times when Sayles transitions from present to past or from past to present solely through camera movement and no cuts has a simple virtuosity that gives the viewer goosebumps.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

suspirant music two

Suspirant Music Two - portrait of one's atmosphere with long exposure (woods between Woodstock and Saugerties)

Monday, April 8, 2019

suspirant music one

Suspirant Music One - portrait of one's atmosphere with long exposure (woods between Woodstock and Saugerties)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

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

3.10.2019
Abel Ferrara - King of New York - 1990
(rewatch)
Really one hell of a film, Ferrara has a great sense of visual rhythm and color. Some explosive bits of violence not unlike Michael Mann climaxes, shot beautifully and constructed like a French poem. Ferrara's other films Bad Lieutenant, and The Funeral are masterpieces, Fear City pretty damn good (see below). Great film.

Marc Turtletaub - Puzzle - 2018

3.11.2019
Dan Reed - Leaving Neverland - 2019

3.12.2019
Robert Benton - Still of the Night - 1982
(rewatch)
Interesting how memory works. I thought this film seemed strangely familiar but not until the end I realized I had seen it. Had some good moments, Roy Scheider always a pleasure.

James L. Brooks - Broadcast News - 1987
(rewatch)
The beginning and end of this film on a rewatch are completely without interest, and some dated business that doesn't sit well, but a film worth a watch if you are a William Hurt fan. Hard not to be critical of films from this time period but overall this is a good film.

3.13.2019
Randa Haines - Children of a Lesser God - 1986
(rewatch)
Another William Hurt drama. Quite a unique and underrated actor, no one really like him that I can think of, his way of speaking, mannerisms, and intellect. Smoke, Altered States and Body Heat are his best I believe. Always a pleasure to see Piper Laurie.

Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi - Free Solo - 2018

3.14.2019
Alan Clarke - Made in Britain - 1982
(rewatch)
Besides being one of the best British films (in my opinion), there is much humor found in Made in Britain. Tim Roth's deliverings of "wanker" this and "bullocks" are raw and quite uncomfortably beautiful. Such a perfect film. Alan Clarke is the most underrated British director, I assume because he mostly worked for television? I first saw them on film in a movie theater, so have always thought of them as "cinema".

Aisling Walsh - Maudie - 2016
One of the few good biopics on an artist. A few others that come to mind are Peter Watkin's Edvard Munch, Martin Provost's Séraphine and Maurice Pialat's Van Gogh. Ethan Hawke is on a roll.

3.17.2019
Christopher McQuarrie - Mission Impossible - Fallout - 2018
(rewatch)
Watched this with my father in his new place and really enjoyed his commentary. He wasn't crazy about the film but enjoyed watching it.

3.18.2019 - 3.20.2019
Cary Joji Fukunaga & Nic Pizzolatto - True Detective season one - 2014
(rewatch)
I believe my fourth time watching this, still quite a complex story after so many viewings. Currently reading The King in Yellow perhaps prompting a fifth viewing. I found this article to be enlightening regarding many levels of meaning in the show, some of which I had figured out but mostly not. Had not thought about Martin Hart's children being victims of the diabolical child murder collective, that particular aspect of the show is just hard to deal with.

3.21.2019
Michael Winner - Death Wish - 1974
(rewatch)
A film which I saw as a kid but could not remember, but (perhaps because it came out the year I was born) I enjoyed the hell out of it. Nothing like watching a western take place in the grimy streets of New York in the 1970s. After a recent viewing of Once Upon a Time in the West, I realized how much I liked Charles Bronson. Thought of Travis Bickle mentioning cleaning the streets a couple of times : "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets".

3.22.2019
Ang Lee - The Ice Storm - 1997
(rewatch)
Top notch color palette and ambiance.

3.25.2019
Abel Ferrara - Fear City - 1984
An enjoyable low-key Abel Ferrara film, pretty raw with a good cast. Hard to find an early Melanie Griffith where she doesn't disrobe, I find the "acting" sections of the film bring it down but the rest is pretty heavy, women walking in streets or missing trains, strippers, sleeze bags in clubs.

Stephen Kijak - Scott Walker: 30th Century Man - 2006
(rewatch)
Watched this after a day of listening to Scott Walker, hearing about his death in the morning. Incredibly sad news. The footage of him making The Drift here is brilliant, he interviews very well also. Pictured above Mr. Walker is conversing with Alasdair Malloy on how to play the slab of pig, he discusses working with Mr. Walker here.

3.26.2019
Hector Babenco - Ironweed - 1987
(rewatch)
Had forgotten that Tom Waits was in this. Very good film. I really like the feel of it with a dark dirty palette (shot by Lauro Escorel) and downbeat drone oriented music appearing and disappearing here and there, composed by John Morris. Some strange nightmare moments Jack Nicholson has of people he has killed or have died, they are truly frightening. The TriStar Pictures horse use to really hit me heavy as a teenager and pre-teen.

Matt Wolf - Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell - 2008
(rewatch)

3.27.2019
David Anspaugh - Rudy - 1993
Another in the series of I hate sports but enjoy sports films. Very over the top and corny but an enjoyable film.

Matthew Ross - Frank & Lola - 2016
Just watched to see Michael Shannon.

3.28.2019
PT Anderson - Phantom Thread - 2017
(rewatch)

3.29.2019
Agnès Varda - The Gleaners & I - 2000
(rewatch)
Rest in peace Agnès Varda. I have only seen a handful of films by her so will watch more the next few weeks. This and Vagabond had been my favorites. Sort of in the Mekas territory here, with her playful use of the camera.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

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

2.27.2019
Spike Lee - BlacKkKlansman - 2018
Very nice film by Mr. Lee of which I really enjoyed. Intense with great notes on the state of our country. The scene pictured above had some nice subtle camera work. Aways a pleasure to see Mr. Driver on the big screen.

2.28.2019
Sheldon Lettich - Lionheart - 1990
Another Jean-Claude Van Damme action film taking place in New York and Los Angeles. Some unrefined fight scenes. I always find myself in love with raw urban photography especially in films from the 70s-90s. Lionheart and Do the Right Thing (below) really get into that world heavy. Wim Wender's Wings of Desire and The American Friend have very similar ambiance. So do these films * **


Spike Lee - Do the Right Thing - 1989
(rewatch)
First year of film school I would watch this over and over along with Goodfellas, Mouchette, Jeanne Dielman, Andre Rublev and a few others. Strange that I would end up living a few blocks away from this location in Bed-Stuy. Relating to the film Ida in the previous post, there was a complaint I lodged on Pawlikowski's potentially shallow camera work and editing. In Do the Right Thing we see some similar photography and editing but to my mind not only more subtle, but with a degree of sincerity and gravity missing from Ida. In an exchange between Da Mayor and Mother Sister, we find two shots, one of each character, with non traditional camera setups (perhaps inspired by Da Major's alcohol consumption). The camera angles hover between jarring and sensual. Mr. Lee in a simple scene delivers a radical moment that is in some ways connected to King Victor's Street Scene, but also with Eisenstein or Vertov's avant-garde films.

3.1.2019
Antoine Fuqua - The Equalizer - 2014
I would watch an 8 hour film of Denzel Washington putting together Ikea furniture, or reading from a phone book, or eating broccoli. He is one of those great actor, always enjoy seeing him do his work. I have never completely enjoyed a Fuqua film, his most famous Training Day goes from being a solid heavy dark film to being in the Fight Club or Matrix territory. Maybe that is not accurate, I tune out in the film about a third of the way through when it starts throwing in surprises. I am probably alone in this opinion though. The Equalizer had some nice energetic (and quiet) scenes with Denzel Washington but overall it just had too much fat on it, like a steak you have to cut all the grizzle away to get at the meat.

Ridley Scott - American Gangster - 2007
(rewatch)
A Denzel Washington film with a nice touch of rawness and alpha madness. Cast includes Idris Elba, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Ted Levine, John Ortiz, and Jon Polito.

3.2.2019 - 3.3.2019
Nic Pizzolatto, Daniel Sackheim & Jeremy Saulnier - True Detective season three - 2019
The first season of True Detective is one of the few television programs I thoroughly enjoy (except for the offensive sex scene that plays out over the Vashti Bunyan's Train Song). I have watched it about 4 times now and ready for another, it just has a fantastic ambience and is put together so well. The second season is not unlike The Godfather Part 3. This new season on a single viewing seems to be about at the same level as the first season, but more subtle so perhaps it comes off less virtuosic. Stephen Dorff and Mahershala Ali are really pulling some heavy moves. I know I have seen quite a few Dorff films but he never really made an impression, but his performance here is like a bat out of hell, low key mixed with fire. There seems to be a lot of undercurrent in his performance, like potentially being in the closet but coming off a mix of alpha man and isolating extroverted depressive. Hoping to watch a second time in the next couple of weeks to figure out some of the riddles.

3.4.2019
Spike Lee - Mo' Better Blues - 1990
Another Denzel film. Giancarlo Esposito is always so damn good here, one of my favorite actors.

Michael Winterbottom - The Trip to Spain - 2017
Sequel to The Trip to Italy and The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.

3.5.2019
Charles Burnett - To Sleep with Anger - 1990
I really love Burnett's Killer of Sheep. First time seeing this one. Pictured above is Sy Richardson who makes a pretty strong impression in Repo Man.

John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein - Game Night - 2018

Tony Scott - Man on Fire - 2004
Another Denzel Washington film. Very strange (a little dated) visual effects in this film, gets almost psychedelic.

Jeff Tomsic - Tag - 2018

3.6.2019
Barbara Loden - Wanda - 1970
(rewatch)
One hell of a film by Barbara Loden, shot on 16mm.  Her performance is unique beautiful, also Michael Higgins is one of the best character actors from the 70s, mostly I think of him as the odd looking guy from The Conversation. My partner in crime loves to quote Higgins in this film with his "no garbage" bit, on the hamburgers.

Hirokazu Kore-eda - Like Father, Like Son - 2013
Slowly going through this master's films. I love the actor Lily Franky seen above in center.

3.7.2019
Morgan Neville - Won't You Be My Neighbor - 2018

3.8.2019
Stephen Nomura Schible - Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda - 2017
One of the best documentaries on a composer. Sakamoto's reactions to listening to his music, the joy and excitement, were just so beautiful to watch. A film I will watch over and over. A must see for any Tarkovsky fan as well.

3.9.2019
Ang Lee - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - 2000
(rewatch)
Hard to not watch and try and figure out how the hell they did most of these shots/action sequences.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

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


"Often I find the less plot a writer needs, and the more restrained his setting, the more significant his talent. I am immediately wary of writers who excel at plot and claim practically the whole world for their characters. Everyday things are beautiful and rich enough that we can coax poetic sparks from them."
Robert Walser from Carl Seelig's Walks with Walser. A hell of a quote to use as guidance for watching film.


2.18.2019
Lee Chang-dong - Secret Sunshine - 2010
(rewatch)
This is a really fantastic film, my wife got the blu-ray so we will probably watch it often.

2.19.2019
James Mangold - Cop Land - 1997
(rewatch)
Basically an absurd story but if you can get past that, this is a film worth watching. Perhaps a bit dated but the pace of it is very strong, and some serious actors.




Karel Reisz - Saturday Night and Sunday Morning - 1960
(rewatch)
Watched on new Criterion channel. Great film, rest in peace Albert Finney.

Marielle Heller - Can you Ever Forgive Me? - 2018
After having worked in the book world for almost 20 years, I find that my opinion on most high end collectors is they are slimly little astrologers that have never looked through a telescope. This aspect of the film was very appealing, Heller and Lee Israel capture it well. I recognized some bookstores in the film, like Argosy. Not without interest.

2.20.2019
Paweł Pawlikowski - Ida - 2013
This is one of those films I have sort of put off watching because it seemed too slick. My feelings after viewing are that the film had some good moments but in all honesty I just don't dig the guy's style. An example is a shot of the saxophone player in a live setting and he is practically off camera on the right side, coming in and out, very poetic looking photography not unlike 60s live footage of Coltrane and those heavies, where there is a sort of steam emanating from them, except here it is almost too perfect where it looks basically like a Chanel commercial. After this shot, there is a hard cut and the Ida character is on far left extreme of screen as a spectator and equally in a sort of overly stylized/poetic ambiance. It came across as facile for lack of a better word. I did not dislike the film though but was bothered by many of these shots that just seemed like the director was trying too hard to be a visual poet. Another film that strikes me this way is the Brothers Quay's Jakob von Gunten. Not a bad film and based on one of the best novels ever, but over repeat viewings the film just seems like a commercial.



Ermanno Olmi - Il Posto - 1961
(rewatch)
One of great Italian films, worth many viewings. I hadn't realized Olmi died recently, his films are really unique and special.

2.21.2019
Tom McCarthy - Spotlight - 2015
(rewatch)
Was listening to an interview with Michael Keaton on Marc Maron and prompted some light immersions into his work. I like his performance very much in this film which is somewhat subtle. Many people seem to really dislike this film but I find it to be quite good and have watched it about 4 times. After having spent some time with the Rewatchables podcast, it was pretty funny to see the "they knew" scene with Mark Ruffalo which they use as a standard for ham acting. I for sure agree even though he is usually quite good as an actor. His role in this film is pretty unusual for him, he maybe was trying to be sincere to the actual person.

2.22.2019
Ron Howard - Night Shift - 1982
Another Keaton film, this one rotten. Normally 1982 was a good year but this film stinks. I can't think of a Ron Howard film I like though, the nudity was pretty extreme in this film, actually comical.

Rowdy Herrington - Road House - 1989
(rewatch)
This is one of those films many members of the intelligentsia dismiss but in actuality it is a pretty good film (with some problems, which is ok, films don't need to be perfect). Sam Elliott is a real movie star in it, my wife mentioned that "The Dude" must have really been modeled on Elliott in this film. I have a strong memory of watching this in a hotel room late at night somewhere north of Santa Barbara with a bottle of whiskey back in my youth, also a couple times around when it came out. Probably will watch a few more times before I kick the bucket.

2.23.2019
Robert Bresson - Mouchette - 1967
(rewatch)
I am involved in a Mouchette related project and gave the film a rewatch, mostly focused on listening to it and letting the eyes relax (or not) on bits of gray here and there. Previously on this blog the sound design was analyzed with some depth. The entire sound of the film was put into Logic and all dialogue and most music were removed. Also many posts on Mr. Bresson were attempted with much obsession.

John Sayles - Limbo - 1999
(rewatch, I think...)
Not the best Sayles film but worth watching.

Sebastián Lelio - A Fantastic Woman - 2017
Had not seen this one. Intense film worth watching, the shot above with the wind was really nice to watch.

2.24.2019
Seth MacFarlane - Ted - 2012
(rewatch)

2.25.2019
Sam Peckinpah - The Killer Elite - 1975
Intense film, not one of his best but has some moments. Always nice to see a San Francisco film, I noticed Duvall and Caan going over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge but finishing off on the Golden Gate Bridge arriving in Marin. Nice to notice continuity problems related to transit in film. Have been over both bridges hundreds of time and that one didn't go past me no siree.

2.26.2019
Steven Spielberg - Schindler's List - 1993
(rewatch)
Had not seen this since it came out and was a bit mixed on the film's qualities. Much like Saving Private Ryan, the film focuses on a narrative that really seems completely unrelated to the war or the Holocaust. That is the reality of a successful narrative film though, it must speak to an audience although plenty of auteurs have managed to circumvent this. It is a good film though, beautifully shot by Janusz Kaminski, dark blacks you rarely see in contemporary black and white films which have a tendency to be a little too gray.



2.27.2019
Newt Arnold - Bloodsport - 1988
(rewatch)
One of those films I watched a lot and loved in when I was approaching high school age. Had not seen it in a long time and was really surprised what a Damme good film it was. With the exception of a couple of bad songs and a bit too much time spent on the random love interest (another element that always seems to be a stupid necessity in narrative film, most films it is fine but here it just seemed out of place), the film really is pretty amazing with some really stunning camera work, editing, action and general ambiance.