Sunday, March 10, 2019

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

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.

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
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.

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
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.

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.

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

Barbara Loden - Wanda - 1970
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.

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

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.

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

No comments: