Saturday, December 22, 2018

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

No comments: