Saturday, June 2, 2018

plato's cave sixty (being a film journal)

5.29.2018
Billy Bob Thornton - Sling Blade - 1996
Third time with this film. Have always loved it, the transformation of Mr. Thornton, the simplicity of the dialogue and the motivations behind the characters. Also the really stunning score by Daniel Lanois, moving between ambient, rock, and melodic droning, just perfect for the film and used in a subtle and sensitive way. Mr. Lanois' Belladonna from 2005 is a favorite of this listener, as is his work with Brian Eno (Apollo, The Pearl, On Land) and Bob Dylan (Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind). Films directed by actors often have such great actors/acting... here we have John Ritter in a really strong role, no messing around with J.T. Walsh, son of a pumpkin eater Dwight Yoakam, not very well know but strong Natalie Canerday, Robert Duvall appearing briefly but not easy to forget, character actors Brent Briscoe, Mickey Jones, and James Hampton, a memorable french fries sales man Jim Jarmusch, and the kid Lucas Black who gave a pretty memorable performance.

5.30.2018
Coen Brothers - The Man Who Wasn't There - 2001
Second or third time seeing this. Great film, BBT is as cool as a cucumber. Great looking fucking film, no messing around high contrast b&w photography by Roger Deakins.

5.31.2018
Lo Wei - Fist of Fury - 1972
First time seeing this since I was a kid. A lot of ham, but what a great film, action sequences are really sublime, take you out of time. Bruce Lee just a mother out of Christ intense soul... transfixes and transform time.

6.1.2018
Paul Schrader - First Reformed - 2018
This is possibly Schrader's best work. After seeing First Reformed this evening I was just completely overwhelmed; the beauty of its look, the sound, the rhythm, the acting, the music (Lustmord!!!!), everything about it. If I was seeing it at home, I would have hit play when it ended and watched again, so rarely does that happen. The ambiguous ending really creeps into your head, glass half full or empty mentalities could go one way or the other with what the actual ending was, I felt toward the ending that I was going to be sick, Schrader outdid the hell out of Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ (a shite film), and I wondered if I would be able to stomach what was to come.... then a would be miracle occurred (or didn't) and the world went black. The spectator could potentially imagine his or her's own outcome (the last moments of The Sopranos). The way Schrader works within the traditions of Bresson, Bernanos, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Dreyer.... is so very unique.  Not a nod to them, but more a weaving in and out of those worlds, and going in some possible direction that could have occurred within those works. It is hard not to think about a trajectory of art where one artist stands on the shoulders of another or a tradition. The directors mentioned above were so original, they certainly stood for a moment then went off into uncharted territories. Schrader did so as well with this film. In addition, films such as Hardcore and Affliction are some of the best films this man made and also some of the best films ever made. That he could surpass those thoroughly original and profound works in his 70s is really inspiring.

Monday, May 28, 2018

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

4.27.2018
Lynne Ramsay - You Were Never Really Here - 2017
This was a great film, very strange and uncomfortable, and a great blend of "artsy" and "regular". Her previous films maybe a bit too much here or there but she balanced it really well in this one. Foley sounds so subtle and sublime rather than the bit too noticeably strange in Morvern Caller. Sublime photography by Thomas Townend. Looking forward to seeing this a second time.

4.28.18
David Michôd - Rover - 2014
Had not heard of this film but my wife found after some digging for good things to watch we hadn't heard of.  I love Michôd's other film Animal Kingdom, and this one is pretty incredible as well, with stunning performances by Guy Peace and Robert Pattinson. Pattinson is one of the really exciting people working now.... kind of popular but fully into a refined actorshippe, every film I see with him is coming from a different direction in terms of actorshippe and god knows where he will go. Even in what this viewer has seen as bad works, he stands out.

4. 29. 2018
Mercant Ivory - A Room with a View - 1985
My wife and friend were watching the bluray I own of this. Endlessly watchable and exciting. I was so tired though I fell asleep a little over half way. The Merchant Ivory films are so so wonderful and one of the driving forces behind the reason to watch and rewatch good film for this viewer.

5.1.2018
Steven Spielberg - The Post - 2017
Had not seen this until now, had trouble getting out to the theater to see it. As recently discussed on the blog, Munich is  Spielberg's film of recent years in my humble opinion, worth watching more than once or twice. The Post not quite as interesting, gets quite corny or melodramatic at times, although I did enjoy the film for the acting and cinematography, and the story of course.

5.2.2018
Andrew Haigh - Lean on Pete - 2017
I liked the idea of this film and the way it looked, actorshippe, rhythm etc. But it was just too much of a downer. My wife said M. Dargis called it sadistic, I would agree with that.... just too hard to watch, but not without interest. Would watch it again hoping I changed my mind. Good cast.

5.3.2018
Taika Waititi - Thor: Ragnarok - 2017
I liked the stone(r) character played by the director. Stoned out comedy version of Lord of the Rings, with Led Zeppelin and post Tangerine Dream soundtrack. Not a bad film, worth watching a time or two perhaps.

Gore Verbinski - The Weather Man - 2005
First time seeing this film, didn't dig it.

5.4.2018
William Friedkin - The French Connection - 1971
Have seen this numerous numerous times. My wife wanted to watch it... asked if I was ok with that given the number of times I have seen. Does the pope shit in the woods? I answered.

5.5.2018
David Fincher - Se7en - 1995
Have seen this film many times over the years. First when it came out I thought it too slick and trendy with the goth business, but after another viewing or two got more into it mainly because of the magic of Morgan Freeman, who is perhaps one of my favourite actors from the contemporary film period (now one has to hesitate with praising certain actors, I wrote this before the news. Cannot reverse time though and the joy one gets from actors or directors who live on the vulgar side of the street). I still can not totally get behind the film but can endlessly watch it for Mr. Freeman and his charm, and Dante Blake Milton Doom-fueled investigations. Good stuff.

5.6.2018
Matt Ross - Captain Fantastic - 2016
Second time watching this. I quite enjoy the premise of the story, a father raising his kids off the grid and their ignorance of most 21st century nonsense. The few films these days that have really avoided the cell phone and other things, it is impressive. Although, I think I would have been one of the dumb kids at a young age that represents the polar opposite of the home schooled kids and I think I turned out ok, in a way intelligent people are an enemy in this society, and the quickest to tune out and become status quo. I believe dedication and uniqueness are more important than book/history intelligence but the film means well. Viggo is such a great soul.... as an artist and an actor.

5.8.2018
Matt Reeves - War for the Planet of the Apes - 2017
Have seen the previous but not this one. Good film, not sure if I would watch again. Always ready for a doomsday type film. The end is nigh Bri.

5.9.2018
Robert Towne - Tequila Sunrise - 1988
I have seen this film before and always forget it, and that I don't like it. Strange that it is on filmstruck where there are many great films, it is pretty dated and has little to offer, all round bad acting and an ugly film visually, and pretty lame story by the great Robert Towne whom also directed it. Just must have been the time period... 1988, pretty dismal year for film (except for Die Hard, The Last Temptation of Christ, They Live, Mississippi Burning, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a couple others).

5.11.2018
John G. Avildsen - Rocky - 1976
This is just one of those great films. Use to watch it often as a kid on cable. Had seen it once in my adult life and then again tonight. The visual look of the film is actually quite unique in the world of 70s gritty films, it goes even past that, in a way it is not showy in its grittiness. Not really poetic either, just plain and raw. Really impressed Stallone wrote it, he really put something memorable to paper, and then acted it perfectly. One of the great 70s films.

5.12.2018
Antoine Fuqua - Brooklyn's Finest - 2009
Had seen this but didn't remember until a few minutes in. Not a bad police film, and a really nice portrait of Brooklyn (was recently living in Brownsville where it takes place, crazy fucking area). Not great but much better than the terribly overrated Training Day, which this viewer finds to be one of the worst cop films in a great history of a genre.

5.13.2018
Billy Wilder - Witness for the Prosecution - 1957
Second or third time seeing this. I really like Tyrone Power, he hams it a bit in this film, especially in the court scene, Charles Laughton really is stunning in the film, as always. Strange fucking actor! Some other great bit parts like John Williams, Ian Wolfe and some serious high contrast black and white photography by Russell Harlan (To Kill a Mockingbird, Rio Bravo, Red River, etcetera).

Billy Wilder - Kiss Me, Stupid - 1964
Had only seen this once previously. I really enjoyed it when it got going, lots of heavy sex and lewd behavior for when it was made. Must have been shocking at the time. Always love Dean Martin as an actor (and singer), he is a real shit bird in this.  Ray Walston (from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) is really strange in this, kind of reminds me of Dean Stockwell... but a bit more overtly oddball. Kim Novak hot as the devil's slippers and a fine actress, and shot by the great Joseph LaShelle. (Photo by Joel Meyerowitz).

5.15.2018
Ryan Coogler - Black Panther - 2018
Lot of heavies in this film: Forest Whitaker, Isaach De Bankolé, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Daniel Kaluuya and others.  Not bad business, music a bit corny at times. Having lived in Oakland a long time, nice to see it creep into the film.

5.16.2018
Taika Waititi - Thor: Ragnarok - 2017
Second time, watched with my wife who found it amusing.

5.20.2018
Gavin O'Connor - Warrior - 2011
Not the best film but three great actors - Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte. Made it worth it.


5.21.2018
John Huston - The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - 1948
Have seen this film a few dozen times, enjoyed the revisit.  One could watch this film numerous times during one's youth and learn to speak from it.

5.27.2018
Martin Scorsese - Goodfellas - 1990
Memorial weekend in Loveladies, Long Beach Township, NJ. Channel surfed and found tv dubbed version of Goodfellas which was very funny. Having seen this film so many times, and knowing exactly when the curses appear and the heaviness of them, it was nice to hear the nonsense swears. Like the Repo Man tv version.

ps - my computer died recently so posts a bit more difficult than normal, plus new job is more work than I am use to but honestly a really good move as it pays more and I use my brain more.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

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

3.19.2018
James Ivory - The Remains of the Day - 1993
Have seen this lovely work three times now, my favorite Merchant Ivory film. So perfect, visually stunning, with a pacing that is experienced in few films. Tony Pierce-Roberts adds some really beautiful photography, he also shot Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy TV Mini-Series, Moonlighting (discussed recently here), A Room with a View, and Howards End.

3.20.2018
Peter Bogdanovich - The Last Picture Show - 1971
Have seen many times over the years. Love the film. Timothy Bottoms gives a truly mature performances. One of the best films from the 70s.

3.21.2018
Gas Live in Brooklyn with Video by Wolfgang Voigt (GAS).
Slowly shifting trees, branches, leaves and light. Not only is the man's music pure pleasure, but so are his films. Perfection.

3.22.2018
Paul Verhoeven - Basic Instinct - 1992
At 17 I walked in on this film during the leg crossing scene.  I thought I was going to hear the line from Naked Lunch. After a while I didn't hear it and left. First time seeing it since then. Very much in the Hitchcock tradition, maybe because it is filmed in SF, had a Vertigo feel bordering on pastiche, the music as well. Quite graphic sex scenes. Had some moments but overall the film just had too much a ersatz quality like the Brian De Palma films.

3.23.2017
Jonathan Mostow - Breakdown - 1997
Kurt Russell film, in the Frantic or The Vanishing tradition. "Rich asshole looking for trouble". Not the best film, but enjoyable. Took a while for Snake Plissken to show up.  J.T. Walsh did a great job as a shitbird heavy, as did M.C. Gainey, whom my wife pointed out is the naked cuckold in Sideways with the free as a bird johnson (see below).

Michael Haneke - Code Unknown - 2000
The truly great film by Haneke is The Piano Teacher in my humble opinion. Second time seeing this film but it really lacks the magic of The Piano Teacher, too much post L'Argent business or something. So many contemporary films in Europe that that later-Bresson feel, almost like in a way the Verhoeven/De Palma films to Hitchcock. The Dardenne brothers do but somehow make it more original. Maybe someone that has more of a connection to films from this period would have a different opinion?

3.25.2018
Michael Mann - Heat - 1995
Watched with Michael Mann audio commentary.

Edward Zwick - Legends of the Fall - 1994
Flawed film, but quite watchable. Anthony Hopkins is really visually stunning in it, such a presence and a wonderful actor. Bad 90s soundtrack brought it down significantly. Not without interest though.

3.26.2018
Martin Scorsese - Casino - 1995
Goodfellas without the charm. Have seen a few times over the years, not one of my favorite Scorsese films, but James Woods sure is good in it! Post Goodfellas; Shutter Island is one hell of a great film.

3.27.2018
Sean Baker - The Florida Project - 2017
Watched this mostly to be current with new films and current film-makers. I can see the appeal of the film for sure but something about it seemed too soft throughout... and then the really uninspired ending met me down, not just as a concept or the way it was shot but the saccharine music was unbearable. I wonder if other people found this trite? Mostly watched it to see Willem Defoe, who ws great as always. The film is very similar to American Honey or Fishtank, the latter is really a good film.

3.28.2018
Woody Allen - Wonderstruck - 2017
Unwatchable film, turned it off.

3.29.2018
Barry Levinson - Diner - 1982
Second viewing, but didn't remember the film very well except that it was worth watching. One of the best scenes is in the movie theater with Mickey Rourke and his popcorn shenanigans.  I am on a "second viewing" (or more) trip right now, revisiting films from my youth or watched more recently, and getting to know them better.  This film left a good impression for me but the details were hazy, second viewing was rewarding.

3.30.2018
John Michael McDonagh - The Guard - 2011
Second time. Really great film, the sort of strange surreal absurdist quality you find in films like The Lobster, Calvary (same director), and In Bruges (by his brother Martin McDonagh).

3.31.2018
Martin McDonagh - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - 2017
Second viewing. Saw in the theater, and now on blu-ray projected. Loved this film the first time and even more the second time. Very taut, and simplistic, yet repeat viewings bring some more complex business to the foreground. The acting in this film is really suburb. The story the first viewing seemed a little off... like the contradictions in some of the character's behavior and motivations (esp. Mildred), but the second time these contradictions made the film more interesting.

Luca Guadagnino - Call Me By Your Name - 2017
Second viewing. The subtle formal qualities of this film become more rewarding on each viewing. I look forward to seeing this many times. One that comes to mind: when Michael Stuhlbarg and Timothée Chalamet are having the discussion toward the end of the film, the camera cuts from an over the shoulder cut of Stuhlbarg facing Chalamet, Stuhlbarg is out of focus and looking down with cigarette smoke surrounding him, the cut is over the shoulder of Chalamet to Stuhlbarg but he is looking intensely at his son (not looking down) and no smoke. Some could see it as a continuity issue but it is just such a strong way to zoom into the intensity of what Stuhlbarg ends up saying and the beauty of the conversation. Stuhlbarg's performance here is so strong, he is really one of the greatest living actors.

4.1.2018 - 4.2.2018
David Chase - The Sopranos - 1999-2007
Late last year I started a fifth viewing of this wonderful show. Made it most of the way through season 1. Started now with Season 2 and watch about a third. First episode with Frank Sinatra montage really classic. Had a brief interaction with Chase recently which prompted it.

4.4.2018
Ridley Scott - Alien: Covenant - 2017
Only watched part of, previous one (and of course Alien and Aliens) much more watchable.

4.5.2018
Lennart Ruff - The Titan - 2018
Only watched part of.

4.6.2018
William Friedman - The Exorcist: Director's Cut - 1973/2010
Second or third time seeing the Director's Cut. Have watched the film a hundred times and love it, especially the colorful language. First encountered as a young kid via my pop. Life changer.

4.7.2018
Alexander Payne - Sideways - 2004
Have watched this film many times and it gets better every time. Something about their friendship very appealing to me, hidden under a sort of regular feel good film.

4.8.2018
Clint Eastwood - Absolute Power - 1997
Second time seeing this, could only remember the film in a vague way. A pretty good Eastwood film, not a great one, Judy Davis had something to do with the not greatness, man she annoyed the hell out of me in this one; dated. Reminded me to watch the great Eastwood/Hackman collaboration - Unforgiven from 1992.

4.9.2018
Terrence Davis - A Quiet Passion - 2016
Breathtaking sequence early in when the film shifts from the the early period in the story to mid/late period by slowly zooming in on each family member during a photo shoot, and the characters slowly age. Almost turned this off before this virtuosic shot because of the young Emily, but became very interested after this transformation, with Cynthia Nixon who is just so stunning in the film, as is Keith "I'm Easy" Carradine. A nice cast overall, as is the photography by Florian Hoffmeister.

4.10.2018
Lynne Ramsay - Morvern Callar - 2002
Second viewing, had really not remembered the film, nor if I liked it or not. Pretty good film though, a little dated with some of the techniques and plot but still quite nice. Hoping to see her new film tomorrow, has been a busy couple of weeks.

4.11.2017 - 4.18.2018
Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould - Better Call Saul - 2015-2018
Finished second half of season 2 and then season 3. Has good moments. Started a new job and was a bit burnt out when I got home every night. Very good job though and happy I got it. This show kind of worked good to keep my eyes occupied.

4.19.2018
Dan Gilroy - Roman J. Israel, Esq. - 2017
Not the best film but Denzel Washington is really great in it. Mr. Colin Farrell too.

4.20.2018
Benedict Andrews - Una - 2016
I really like Ben Mendelsohn but couldn't get into the film.

4.21.2018
Sebastian Schipper - Victoria - 2015
Took me 2 nights to watch this and I couldn't get through it. Great that it is a single shot, but didn't get into the film.

4.23.2018
Marc Forster - Monster's Ball - 2001
Second time seeing this film, very good with great performances. Tragic, kind of dated but in a way that is appealing. My wife kept mentioning how good the music was, and how the moments in between story were so good, and she was quite right.

4.25.2018
John Flynn - The Outfit - 1973
Great 70s film monsieur T. recommended. Top notch cast and story moves very fast with tight action. Almost kitschy but somehow not quite. Very appealing that.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The One who Modifies Time and Light


New Invisible Birds release shipping forthwith
Matthew Swiezynski The One who Modifies Time and Light

Provided here is thorough documentation of the special edition ib011 néant, released in an edition of 11 with an additional artist edition.
Edition includes :
- The standard edition glass mastered CD with handmade packaging. Sleeve features a black monochrome ink print
- Special edition CDr with soundtrack related work by Mr. Swiezynski
- 2 original oil drawings on un-primed Khadi paper, some modifications/transformations may occur over time
All housed in a lovely box with tipped-in plate spine image. After ordering we will contact asking which number you would like from images below (some sold).





Sunday, April 1, 2018

Notes After Long Silence


Filmmaker Saul Levine Leaves MassArt Following Dispute over Artwork

My passion for film, music and reading started with studying film with Saul Levine from 1994 to 1997 at MassArt. All these years later - films I watch, I look at in a way that has so much to do with being around Mr. Levine in those years. He was just one hell of a great teacher, and going into grad school I really missed his passion as I didn't find it at the same level ever again. This business in the Art Forum article is a fucking travesty, it really reminds me that I was so lucky to have been a student at such a great time. Now with the pc nonsense that is plaguing this country, I couldn't imagine getting a proper education, luckily there had been a few teachers here and there still giving a solid education (now I am not sure). After I left grad school, most of the elder professors there were let go and young ones brought in. Just so hard to imagine the reasons behind this nonsense except the wrong people have been given power right now, it goes way beyond Donald Trump.

In addition to all this, the film in question "Notes After Long Silence", was such a huge inspiration to me in those years, and took me so far out of the conservative ideas I had about the potential of film and art in general. Working with sound throughout my life, Mr. Levine's use of sound in his films made my head spin and started a life long pursuit of what could be described as the lushness and jouissance of surface imperfection. I can't imagine how many students have gone through that film department and been so transformed by his work and teaching.

Be damned to the ninth circle all who had anything to do with this awful business, I hope this tragedy has an impact on young people and how they process the velveeta cheese that is pushed on them by the frauds that now run these universities.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

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

3.5.2018
James Ivory - The White Countess - 2005
First time seeing this film. Was very happy Mr. Ivory won for Call Me by Your Name at the Oscars. Beautiful film by him, as was this The White Countess staring the lovely Natasha Richardson who died quite tragically, and Ralph Fiennes.

3.6.2018
Arthur Hiller - The In-Laws - 1979
Second time seeing this. Not surprised Criterion put it out, a really great film. Completely absurd, Falk and Arkin are a great comedy duo. James Hong and David Paymer really stand out. Headspinning nonsense.

3.7.2018
David Mackenzie - Starred-Up - 2013
Second time seeing this. Great fucking film! Ben Mendelsohn as always pushes it to 11, as does Jack O'Connell. One of the best prison films, just unrelenting.

3.8.2018
Stephen Frears - Prick Up Your Ears - 1987
Second time seeing this. Alfred Molino is just one hell of an actor. Compare this roll to Boogie Nights! As is Mr. Oldman. Some fantastic stuff in this film, from talking about buggering The Beatles to the final scene. Worth repeat viewings.

3.9.2018
Ryan Coogler - Creed - 2015
I really liked this film but I think the end fight scene was lacking. Too much abridgement rather than giving the match some space.  Grew up loving Rocky and seeing Stallone doing his thing was really rewarding, even though he has not been in many A list films, he is quite a subtle actor. Didn't recognize Tessa Thompson from Annihilation until my wife pointed it out, quite a different role for her. Enthusiastic about Ritchie Coster, a character actor that always commands your attention. One of those guys.

Sean Penn - Into the Wild - 2007
Didn't dig this film. I think the main actor and his character did not appeal to me. Sean Penn is practically god as actor though, I want to watch The Pledge again soon as it is a proper directorial effort by Mr. Penn.

Whit Stillman - Barcelona - 1994
Gave this a try even though I have not liked Mr. Stillman's films. Hard to comprehend what he is going after for this viewer, reminds me a bit of Hal Hartley films, but lacks the subtleties and idiosyncratic direction that Mr. Harley achieves. Not my rhythm.

3.10.2018
Jonathan Kaplan - The Accused - 1988
Third time seeing this, once around the time it came out (in high school) and then a year or so after. Besides the rotten music which plagues many films from this time period, it has some pretty shocking scenes. Was very surprised the rape scene was as intense as it was, if it was in a film now it would stand out. Made me want to watch Demme's The Silence of Lambs (for the billionth time), on the new Criterion version. Also other Demme films from that time period which PT Anderson brought up in his Fresh Air conversation. Jodie Foster is outstanding in the film.

3.11.2018
Alejandro G. Iñárritu - The Revenant - 2015
Third time seeing this. Breathtaking photography by Emmanuel Lubezki, every damn frame is so lush. The soundtrack by Alva Noto, Bryce Dessner, and Ryuichi Sakamoto is perfect. Also features Messiaen's Oraison in the post sleeping in a dead horse walk. Long virtuosic shots remind the viewer very much of Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men. Nearly perfect film.

3.12.2018
Bruce Beresford - Tender Mercies - 1983
Second viewing, love this film. Tender Mercies fits in with the early nineteen eighties nihilism and anti-romanticism described in an earlier post.  Similar to 70s films but in a much plainer style, with an economy of means. Mentioned earlier, something magic about these films before the Hughes pack stunk up the joint. Watching it, I couldn't put my finger on where I saw Tess Harper, until I looked her up and saw her as Jesse's mother in Breaking Bad, Loretta Bell from No Country for Old Men, and an episode of True Detective. Always a pleasure to see Wilford Brimley, also has a small role with one of the less fortunate characters from the second season of Twin Peaks, Lenny von Dohlen. Photographed by Russell Boyd, who shot Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Last Wave, Gallipoli, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Also, the only thing better than a Robert Duvall film is a Robert Duvall film where he plays country music.

Mark Robson - The Harder They Fall - 1956
Last Bogart film, third time seeing this. Great story, kind of an interesting contrast to In A Lonely Place where he has such high standards, here he is a sort of good guy just content to make some money as he just doesn't give a shit and wants to not struggle (until his consciousness has a reawakening). Both are such good Bogart films. I forgot which film it was from until it happened, and literally nearly had a heart attach from laughter, but I love the lady yelling "you yellow dog!" over and over after the main boxing match. Such crazy nonsense, really beautiful stuff! One thing many contemporary films lack is this "business" that can be so damn powerful. Great looking film with lots of extreme darks, shot by Burnett Guffey who also shot From Here to Eternity, Bonnie and Clyde, Birdman of Alcatraz, In a Lonely Place, Nightfall and many others. Also features Val Avery, the great character actor from films such as Minnie and Moskowitz, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Hud, Faces, and The Long, Hot Summer.

3.14.2018
Alan Parker - Mississippi Burning - 1988
Third viewing. Very interesting music by Trevor Jones, sort of post-kraut.... intense stuff, possibly overly used but gives a specific mood to the film. Watching this now one wonders if this country has progressed much since these practically medieval days? A good film to remind one of the continual presence of fascist swines in government : They Live. Watching just aesthetically: the cast really is strong - Gene Hackman and Willem Defoe, both at their best. Frances McDormand in a really wonderful early role. Brad Dourif, Michael Rooker, Pruitt Taylor Vince and R. Lee Ermey as some dirty cowardly mellon farmers. Great film!

3.15.2018
Stephen Frears - Philomena - 2013
Second viewing. Very nice film. Another one to get you angry about the poverty of integrity in this world.

3.16.2018
Gus Van Sant - Good Will Hunting - 1997
Fourth or fifth time with this film. Remember not liking it when it came out but gave it another chance a few years or so after it came out and have watched it quite a few times since then. Just one of those great 90s films with some really elegant acting : Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsgård,  George Plimpton, Casey Affleck and of course Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Those songs by Elliott Smith are such gems. Photography by Jean-Yves Escoffier who shot Rounders right after this. Over the years have enjoyed many films by Mr. Van Sant including his Béla Tarr, and partially Alan Clarke inspired trilogy (Gerry, Elephant, and Last Days), My Own Private Idaho, and To Die For.

3.17.2018
Michael Mann - Heat - 1995
Probably one of my favorite films from the 90s, saw this in the theater with my father and have been religiously devoted to it ever since, have watched close to fifteen times, maybe more. De Niro really stands out in this, one of his best roles. I really can't say I like Val Kilmer much as an actor (probably after seeing The Doors) but he is so subtle and powerful in this role, as are Tom Sizemore, Ted "Put the fucking lotion in the basket" Levine, Wes Studi, Ashley Judd, Tom Noonan, Danny Trejo, Hank Azaria, William Fichtner, Dennis Haysbert (in Far From Heaven), and quite a few others. Guitar driven soundtrack really exemplifies the style of Mann (in the John Carpenter tradition?), with music by the heaviest of ECM guitarists Terje Rypdal, and also Moby (Joy Division cover New Dawn Fades and God moving over the face of the waters). Had in my mind that Moby was not of interest without listening to his music, but I really loved his contribution to the recent Twin Peaks and his work in this film. Also songs by Lisa Gerrard, Michael Brook, Brian Eno, Elliot Goldenthal, and Kronos Quartet and Einstürzende Neubauten (The song Armenia). Heat was shot by the great Dante Spinotti, photographer of Manhunter, The Last of the Mohicans, L.A. Confidential, The Insider, Wonder Boys, and a few others. The final shootout scene is so masterly constructed and a perfect example of how photography, editing, sound design, music, acting and direction can sometimes come together so perfectly. Starting with Brian Eno's song Force Marker keeping rhythm, basically a loop during the robbery and exit, the tension builds to a near breaking point. As soon as gun fire erupts the music stops dead and the volume of the firing just becomes defining. Still one of the most virtuosic and visceral action scenes ever in a film, after quite a few viewings I still look so forward to it, the power is like what I imagine a junky feels when shooting up..... reminds one of coitus as well.