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.

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.