Sunday, October 28, 2018

plato's cave seventy three (being a film journal) horror

Steven Spielberg - Jaws - 1975
Saw this film a few times on TV when I was 3 feet tall. A real shocker then and now, so well put together of a film. Visually stunning and some crazy shit happening. Loved every second of it.

Paul Verhoeven - Starship Troopers - 1997
Giant bugs. Strange film, didn't like it much.

Sara Colangelo - The Kindergarten Teacher - 2018
Might as well be an horror film. Dumb film.

Peter Hyams - Relic - 1997
Not a great film but always a pleasure to watch Tom Sizemore and James Whitmore.

George A. Romero - Day of the Dead - 1985
Not one of Romero's best, more for the die hard zombie aficionado. This coming week I plan to watch Dawn of the Dead which I remember liking much more.

Jeff Nichols - Take Shelter - 2011
Not completely a horror film but it was on Shudder. Second time seeing this, starts pretty slow but once it gets going it is a powerful film. I wish in a way that it kept going another 2 hours post apocalyptic storm as it starts getting really exciting and you want to see Shannon's visions become reality.

Philip Kaufman - Invasion of the Body Snatchers - 1978
I use to eat 4-5 times a year at this great restaurant in San Francisco, and almost every time would see Philip Kaufman eating and drinking there, he must really love the place as I did. Never said anything to him but I do really love his films. This is a near perfect horror film, one of the best and doesn't get much better. Also strange because working near the financial district of the city, with all the automatons there, this film seems like a documentary (cinéma vérité horror). My experience with the good old "don't call it Frisco" was pretty much non existent. As soon as I moved there (1997) it was quickly becoming a yuppy haven. The mayor at the time Willie Brown said if you didn't make 50k a year you had no right to live there. Shit, I was making like $10 an hour and going to school. Seeing films shot in SF brings back great memories though, of how lovely visually the city regardless of the young tech anti-Christs that have taken it over. This film surely feeds into this concept.

Roman Polanski - Rosemary's Baby - 1968
Two of the best horror films in a row. Never gets old even after 2 dozen or more viewings. Cassavetes is such a slimy prick in the film, just a joy to watch. Seeing it again after Hereditary really makes me rethink that film, by Devil it really copied the hell out of Rosemary's Baby.

Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz - Goodnight Mommy - 2014
I couldn't get into this film. If it had been a little more unique or interesting in how it was made I could have gotten past the gore of it but it just had that ubiquitous post-L'Argent contemporary European style that I personally get tired of seeing.  The style can work well at times like with Haneke and Dardenne. Maybe a reader has a better understanding of this? The influence of Tarkovsky and Bresson is maybe too strong in films from over yonder. The near sterile long take actually has become sterile in so many of these films, people love it though.

Luca Guadagnino - Suspiria - 2018
This film was almost wonderful. I was completely taken in by the charms of the direction, the acting, the music and especially the atmosphere. Guadagnino has a beautifully unique vision which is so notable partly because of the intelligent way he references the history of cinema. As an example, the trademark zoom of 60s cinema here is transformed into a more than homage artifact, becoming something of a voyeuristic character moving around the action and observing in a way the viewer cannot. Quite unlike Tarantino who uses the zoom in a jokey way that at most gets a laugh.

If the majority of this film was at a level of sophistication of say 11, there are two sections that are hovering around 4 or 5. Number one is the first scene with Dr. Josef Klemperer and Patricia; the editing progressed in a pointlessly rapid manner that just thoroughly lacked poetry and good taste. Second was the last section of the film with the Bitch's Brew sequence which indeed has some lovely bits but is mostly absurd, trashy and poorly directed, choreographed and edited. The song by Thom Yorke (which is quite good) unfortunately gives a music video quality. The partially glimpsed devil and exploding heads add some proper fuckery, but the poorly choreographed dancers that fall short of an other-worldly mayhem stand out, and the Helena Markos character is just so darn corny.

This would be one of those great current films with at least the latter sequence heavily modified, and I would argue the initial one re-edited, but it was still a pretty great film. The Thom Yorke music with the dancing sequences was really like drinking some Lagavulin, quite heavenly.

Jim Jarmusch - Only Lovers Left Alive - 2013
Second time seeing this. Really brilliant take on the modern day vampire film. Jeffrey Wright in another comic Jarmusch role (the other being Broken Flowers). Our hero's life rotates around vintage guitars and amps, old records and old Jags; car and guitar. Pictured above is a lovely mid 1960s Fender Jaguar and interesting to note the Marshall amp with the 2 lls taken off. Also interesting to note our hero is not a trem man. Good stuff that makes this world worth the effort. Our hero's walls are adorned with some heavy figures, from J.S. Bach to Rodney Dangerfield, he has good eclectic taste.


Glorious Jail said...

When Starship troopers first came out i really thought it was a dumb action movie and most likely didn't give it much thought.Considering a lot of PV's work is social commentary and that i think he has a phd in religion of some sort,there may be more buried on a comic book paint vehicle.
Take Shelter is a film that deserves more than one viewing but with some time between.Considering the current social zeitgeist of the breakdown of consensual reality into pockets of subjective truths as a response to or cause of post modernist thinking,i really feel that it reflects the insanity going on in some of the stranger corners of the internet.It creeps me out in some way.
I really loved Only Lovers Left Alive in a personal way as one of those luddite that unrepentantly laments so much of a passing analog world.I think that in many ways this is JJ's most personal film and the characters aspects or alter egos of himself.

the art of memory said...

same thoughts with me sir! yes Take Shelter is one of those films that I gave a good bit of space in between and the second times especially it really spoke strongly to me! all those fucking guitars in Lovers... I love his music too