Saturday, February 1, 2020

plato's cave one hundred and three (being a film journal)

Joachim Trier Oslo, August 31st 2011
Absolutely stunning film with quite a novel method of dealing with the perception of time and reality and how it is muddled/blurred by imagination, the past and the future and also the magic of temporal abstractions in cinema. In a filmic interpretation of the world, one does not have to follow mundane rules of existence, but can move about in alternative methods. Many sequences in this film I (in a positive sense) had no ability to get a foothold on, not understanding if the camera was following a character's potential or a filmic dream state, or a poetic interpretation of something ordinary. Quite a heavy ending our hero finds himself in, which was difficult to watch but full of poetry.

Joachim Trier Thelma 2017
Not as engaging as Oslo, August 31st, but still worth watching.

Bill Forsyth Local Hero 1983
Unusual film from the early 1980s. Mostly know the star Peter Riegert from The Sopranos where he plays Assemblyman Ronald Zellman. Here he plays a slightly melancholic yuppie on the verge of entering some form of Scottish hippiedom, but doesn't quite get there. Very good ambiance in this film, esoteric humour with a good amount of nonsense, and plenty of alcohol. Quite enjoyed it.

Louis Malle Atlantic City 1980
Two nights of Burt Lancaster, an actor I really became preoccupied with after seeing Robert Siodmak's 1949 Bunker Hill exploration Criss Cross in my early 20s. This classic late 1970s / early 1980s picture has an unusual feel, being a Frenchman's portrait of a decaying American city, and of a man who has seen better days. Similar to a film later in this list: Model Shop by Jacques Demy, European interpretations of America in non prosperous periods.

Kenji Misumi Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades 1972

Larry Cohen God Told Me To 1976

Robert Clouse The Ultimate Warrior 1975

Kenji Misumi Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons 1973
This entry has a bit of a Buddhist quality about it, but not as good as the first two. Also watched part of the fourth entry Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril.but turned off early on.

Yoshiyuki Kuroda Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell 1974
The last entry didn't excite me as much as some of the earlier ones. One key ingredient to the early films, and missing in these latter ones, is the strange bursts of electronic music, often times these bursts seemed completely random, other times not, and always adding in some extreme ambiance into the film. The sound design in general was pretty strange in the early films, with sword sounds heard backwards, and spray sounds having a completely out there presence. These elements missing make the films sort of boring.

Thomas McGuane 92 in the Shade 1975
Directed by the writer McGuane who wrote Rancho Deluxe (1975) and The Missouri Breaks (1976). Truly perfect 1970s film shot by Michael C. Butler and starring Margot Kidder, Warren Oates, Peter Fonda, Harry Dean Stanton, Burgess Meredith, and William Hickey.

John Frankenheimer Prophecy 1979

Jacques Demy Model Shop 1969
This bloody beautiful film, featured prominently in Los Angeles Plays Itself. Devastatingly groove and doom oriented music by Spirit, along with Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Schumann. Particularly love the prog-psych Spirit heaviness as we follow George Matthews (played by Gary Lockwood, known for Dr. Frank Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey) through a dark grimy Los Angeles sleaze infested hallway in the Model Shop. Grimy but full of charm. Anouk Aimée so very wonderful in this film, just stunning and such a subtle performance. Fred Willard shows up as a gas station attendant. Seems like half of this film is George Matthews driving around the city, much of the time with the only sound being the classical music either coming from his radio or the cosmos. From time to time we hear the motor or the sounds of the city creeping in. Very poetic in its construction, as is the dialogue where conversations feel especially European (the geometry of the city....). Tarantino sites as influence on Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, and you can clearly see this as our hero drives about the city, and also picks up a young lady hitchhiking from which he acquires a J. Going to Los Angeles next week so this perfect film is really setting up the mood for the visit.

James Landis The Sadist 1963
Damn strange film that lives up to its title. Quite a brutal depiction of an American psychopath whom would read the great Marquis de Sade if perhaps he could. This film could be added to the history of sports films in that they are attempting to go to a game but get waylaid.

John Carpenter Starman 1984
Starring the wonderful Karen Allen and Charles Martin Smith, and a nominated performance by Jeff Bridges. The final section of the film puts the viewer in total jouissance with one of the great pieces of film music by Jack Nitzsche along with utterly gorgeous cinematography by Donald M. Morgan  where we see light abstraction along with a cosmic snowfall over lush luminescent reds and blues. Great cameo by George "Buck" Flower most known for Carpenter's They Live (pictured above along with ending).

Adam McKay Step Brothers 2008
Felt like a little Richard Jenkins comedy.

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