Saturday, June 15, 2019

plato's cave ninety (being a film journal)

5.19.2019 - 5.31.2019
Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harry Bradbeer - Fleabag season one and two - 2016-2019
Waller-Bridge as the memorable character Fleabag, subtly interacting with the spectator in an intimate and quite unique way. Reminded me of Louie, starting off a somewhat standard tv comedy and quickly transforming into something unexpected and intelligent, breaking the rules of traditional narrative, almost avant-garde in a way.

Niels Arden Oplev - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 2009
This film is better than I had thought it would be, I mostly enjoyed Michael Nyqvist.

Newt Arnold - Bloodsport - 1988
Great film worth many viewings.

Todd Phillips - The Hangover - 2009
I ended up falling asleep midway and the next day the film was no longer streamable... I can live with that.

5.31.2019 - 6.5.2019
GOT season six

Drew Goddard - Bad Times at the El Royale - 2018

Joon-ho Bong - Mother - 2009
Great performance by Hye-ja Kim as the mother. The Koreans make some oddly fucked up films.

Aki Kaurismäki - The Match Factory Girl - 1990
Final installment of his Proletariat Trilogy, after his Shadows in Paradise and Ariel, starring the superb Kati Outinen.

6.6.2019 - 6.14.2019
GOT season seven and eight
I must admit the reason I went through this show beyond a general interest, was because the last season got such bad press, I figured it would be pretty good. Seems when yr average Merkan says something is bad it is pretty good. The dark episode specifically got a lot of shit from people and man these folks must have no ability to comprehend a moving image because it was just a spectacular bit of film-making, uncommon and sublime, I have trouble understanding why someone invested in the show would have a problem with it? It was also a unique moment when the series went beyond the obvious LOTR influence (many shots in the series and especially the battle sequences are just blatantly taken from the great trilogy but who can blame them). This episode reminded me of Lynch's rather intense and lush episode 8 in Twin Peaks. The last two seasons were the best for this viewer, I especially liked seeing the dragon fascist meet her demise, and the battle sequences were really well put together, like the Battle of the Bastards and the Massacre at Hardhome. I would be interested in reading intelligent writing on the show's ending but in a 20 minute search was unable to find any, even surprised the NY Times had such a brain dead review.

David Mamet - Redbelt - 2008
Third or fourth time viewing, becoming one of those films that gets viewed once a year. Mamet's finest in the opinion of this viewer, and Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance is really wonderful, beyond compare, not only in the world of martial arts films but just in contemporary cinema he is one of heaviest of the heavies.

Stuart Rosenberg - Cool Hand Luke - 1967
A film I watched a lot as a young man. So brilliant with a memorable cast (Harry Dean, Dennis Hopper, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, Joy Harmon as the car wash lady and many others) and a wonderful visual style. It is a nice treat to hear the few Harry Dean songs and also Paul Newman's Plastic Jesus which was a song I listened to many times in high school covered by The Flaming Lips.

Ruben Fleischer - Zombieland - 2009

Blake Edwards - Experiment in Terror - 1962
Have always been a big fan of Edwards' Days of Wine and Roses, and I found myself a little embarrassed realizing I had never seen this SF classic film noir. What a film, dark as hell and featuring an intensely perverted performance by Ross Martin as Red Lynch. Always a pleasure to see Lee Remick as well.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

resounding and astigmatic one (being a music journal)

Evan Parker - Process and Reality FMP 1991

Multi-tracking solo saxophone, fluttering from speaker to speaker - near silently, aggressively and with a touch of the sublime, and concluding with Steve Lacy's Cryptosphere feeding through the valves of Mr. Parker's instrument. Sometime around 1998 I decided it was a good idea in obtaining every Evan Parker CD and worked at that for many years. Over the past couple of decades quite a few have really stood out which I am re-listening to recently including this FMP release from 1991 with cover art by Roger Ackling (Weybourne 1990). A friend of mine recently saw him perform live put the idea in my head to do some Parker Immersion.

The goal of this series Resounding and Astigmatic is to go through a collection of 3000+ records and compact discs, some of which have been floating around the art of memory's head for 30 years and some for the first time, and give not a review of them but an idea or feeling of personal love and admiration. These images have been going up on instagram but somehow just posting an image seems without depth, so here a non-writer finds themselves wanting to put words to an aural experience which in a way makes this listener uncomfortable. The goal here is to put up as many of the records and CDs I spin as possible, some with text, some without, excluding listening digitally which is what this author does in his 9-5, strictly to pass the time.

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme Impulse! 1965

Around the age of 18 I discovered John Coltrane, shortly after discovering Charles Mingus. In 1993/94 my approach to feeding the habit was to go to either Tower Records in Boston or Cambridge or Newbury Comics and put my money earned washing dishes and serving food in the MassArt cafeteria into a music and book library. The first Coltrane to really hit the ears was A Love Supreme. It is something I had not listened to in a while and recently purchased a vinyl reissue. The last 10 years or so I have mostly listened to (very loudly) Alice Coltrane's version from the 1972 album World Galaxy which is bloody astounding and an album that assists the listener in transcending time and space. Salvador Dalí apparently said "I am drugs", this tune certainly works in a similar way, listening to this music puts one in a state beyond the beyond. Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin have a solid A Love Supreme on the 1973 album Love Devotion Surrender. It is quite refreshing to hear Mr. Coltrane's recording which is often times quite stark.

Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um Columbia Records 1959

Another classic from my youth. Freshman year of college I went down to the dorm tv room and some older students were watching Thomas Reichman's 1968 documentary Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968. An intense love of music began that day, not only for Mingus and for jazz but for listening to music in general, the man and his music struck me in a way beyond words. I remember going out the next day and buying the laserdisc of the film and watching it over and over and starting a pretty intense Mingus CD collection. I have almost no Mingus on vinyl and saw this album at a few booths at the recent WFMU record fair hovering around $200, I probably spent that much on my Mingus collection the first year of listening, so I found a nice reissue. One moment in the Reichman film which left such a strong impression was Dannie Richmond just pounding hell out of the cymbols after a few moments of silence in a song. Richmond and Mingus interaction is one of the reasons I have returned so often to these great recordings. Present is a pretty classic Mingus band with Booker Ervin, John Handy, Shafi Hadi, Willie Dennis, Jimmy Knepper, and Horace Parlan. The tunes that entered Mingus' head bring to mind the idea of the artist and his/her relationship to divine intervention, much like the work of J.S. Bach. How the hell did someone write this stuff?

Jacques Coursil - Black Suite BYG Records Actuel 1971

The last few years I have been attempting to get many free jazz classics that I know mainly digitally. Intitally hearing the work of Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman as a young man, it took some years to discover the other heavy hitters, including the trumpet player Jacques Coursil's extremely powerful Black Suite from 1971which features Arthur Jones on alto, Beb Guerin on bass, Claude Delcloo on drums, Anthony Braxton on contrabass clarinet, and Burton Greene on piano. Just the album cover along makes one jump off their seat, the goddamn music is truly profound. It is interesting playing a record that is roughly the same age as you are, hearing the small imperfections not dissimilar to one's wrinkled and pock-marked skin, missing teeth and graying/vanishing hair.

Tangerine Dream - Thief ost Elektra 1981

Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida ATCO Records 1968 

Hadn't really planned on listening to these two records back to back with their Michael Mann implications. The ending of Mann's Manhunter from 1986 with Tom Noonan hunting the blind love interest Joan Allen with In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida as a heart attack accompaniment is one of Mann's strongest moments. His Thief is an equally great film, featuring the German masters Tangerine Dream. When I first started getting serious about listening to the classic period of German rock and experimental music, I found myself only attracted to early Klaus Schulze and early Tangerine Dream, of which lately I have completely shifted perspectives. The way Mann has guitar show up in his films is very unique to his style, in Heat we find Moby on guitar getting quite heavy. I had seen the film 50 times and had no idea it was him.

Arthur Blythe - Lenox Avenue Breakdown Columbia 1979

Picked up a rather trashed copy (sleeve-wise) of this underrated jazz classic. A beautiful album which includes Blythe on alto, Cecil McBee on bass, Jack DeJohnette on drums, and James Blood Ulmer on guitar. Harlem inspires good music, Bobby Womack's Across 110th Street comes to mind as well.

Herbie Hancock - Crossings Warner Brothers 1972
(Antarctica Starts Here reissue)

Marion Brown - Three for Shepp Impulse! 1967
(Antarctica Starts Here reissue)

I am the kind of person who would rather buy 3-4 albums than buy a rare LP, especially when I own the CD. One of the most exciting things lately is an email from Superior Viaduct announcing new titles, from John Duncan to Alice Coltrane they are superbly curated with top notch presentation. The Hancock band features some of the most exciting players revolving around the Miles scene like Julian Priester (the ECM album Love, Love from 1974 a must have), Buster Williams, Eddie Henderson, and Bennie Maupin (also his ECM release The Jewel In The Lotus from 1974 is a must).

The Marion Brown release also has some key players like Grachan Moncur III on trombone,  Beaver Harris on drums, Dave Burrell on piano and Norris Jones aka Sirone on bass (Sirone's Life Rays with Walt Dickerson and Andrew Cyrille is dynamite, as is his Live album from 1991).

Paul Bley - Ballads ECM 1971 (German pressing)

Songs by Annette Peacock, with Barry Altschul on drums,  Gary Peacock and Mark Levinson on bass, and B & B Wojirsch on design. Essential ECM.

Mal Waldron Quintet ‎- Hard Talk Enja Records 1974

Ran into this LP at the new Stranded Records in NYC, was not familiar with the release but loved the cover and the players, esp. Steve Lacy and Manfred Schoof. The double volume Hat ART set Live At Dreher Paris 1981, Round Midnight with Lacy and Waldron is some truly great jazz, amongst the best the label issued. Top notch underrated (I think?) album from the 70s.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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

Joe Penna - Arctic - 2018
A great idea for a film: Mads Mikkelsen survival film in the Arctic. shot in Iceland. Reminded me of a combo of Never Cry Wolf by Carroll Ballard and The Grey with Liam Neeson. I have often not liked Mikkelsen's choices in films but he is certainly one of the top 20 living male actors, The Hunt is just one of those monolithic brutal performances that one rarely sees, like Nicole Kidman's in Dogville.

Jake Scott - Welcome to the Rileys - 2010
James Gandolfini film I hadn't seen, another one of those monolithic actors.
Michael Connelly, Eric Ellis Overmyer - Bosch season five - 2019

Alain Resnais - Hiroshima, Mon Amour - 1959
In my former life as an architectural bookseller, I would love when people asked for Kenzo Tange monographs, he did some great buildings including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in this film. Such an incredible film this is, with music by Georges Delerue and Giovanni Fusco (L'Avventura, L'Eclisse, and Red Desert), cinematography by Michio Takahashi and Sacha Vierny, words by Marguerite Duras, and sublime complex actorshippe by Eiji Okada and the truly beautiful Emmanuelle Riva. This film really has a great rhythm, a kind of structure that is hard to point out or identify but it just moves in a fantastic way, quit intellectualism with an emotional element mixed in to dampen what could be cerebral. One thinks of Alva Noto's work, which when I first heard seemed a little cold but then he issued this intensely romantic and beautiful Xerrox trilogy, full of sublime mystery.

Sebastián Lelio - Disobedience - 2017

Richard Linklater - Before Sunset - 2004
The songs by Julie Delpy are quite nice in this film. Their conversations at time are not necessarily ones you would want to revisit but these are attempts to mask their desires? Hoping to rewatch White soon, one of the best Delpy films.

Paul Schrader - First Reformed - 2017
Fourth time watching this, one time with the enlightening commentary. I should do more research but am a bit surprised how much the ending of this film is not talked about in a meaningful way, in terms of the non-reality of it.  After a few rewatches the ending really has become a dream-like transcendental period of time that this viewer looks forward to like a dry martini after a long day. Comparing Ethan Hawke's performance here, in Boyhood and the Before trilogy, he certainly has some range, one of the great actors working today.

Richard Linklater - Boyhood - 2014
This film didn't hit me as much the first time, I really loved it this viewing. Grew up in a similar upbringing myself, and found the way the children interact with the parents here (both positive and potentially damaging) quite moving. I recently heard a parent tell their 8 year old (or so) child in a museum that if they didn't like the work on the wall then it was garbage, that their opinion is all that matters, which so deeply offended me. Why not talk about the meaning of the artwork, or how it was made, what was happening in the world when it was made (it was a John Cage Ryoanji)? Dooming the poor child to be a monocultured, egotistical bore. Boyhood offers another example with a complex upbringing: sometimes positive but full of grit, layers of depth of thought and feelings. Heard another criticism recently of True Detective 3, people pointing out a parent that would allow their child to ride alone on a bicycle was a rotten parent. Shit I spent my childhood riding a bike and skateboard all over tarnation by myself or with my degenerate friends. Glad that this film explores these questions.

Agnès Varda - Ydessa, The Bears etc. - 2004
I saw the teddy bear exhibition at the New Museum in New York, which was quite impressive. The way she addresses her work in this film honestly rubbed me the wrong way but Varda's obvious love of the work is very apparent and makes for a good film.

Clair Denis - Trouble Every Day - 2001
The Tindersticks Clair Denis boxset is something every proud film enthusiast should own, a set I have spent many fine hours immersed in. This film made a strong impression when it came out but I had not seen it since then and had only a memory of the atmosphere of the film. Very nice how Denis has layers of b film here, 70s Italian culture etc, much of which comes from Vincent Gallo's odd screen presence and acting.

Woody Allen - Crimes and Misdemeanors - 1989
One of the favorite Woody films at the art of memory, although a bit challenging to watch in some ways after news the last few years. Great cast (Martin Landau, Anjelica Huston, Sam Waterston, Alan Alda, Jerry Orbach etc.) and beautifully shot by Sven Nykvist.

5.14.2019 - 5.19.2019
Alec Berg, Bill Hader - Barry seasone one and two - 2018-1019
Very good show, Stephen Root and Henry Winkler quite impressive in this as of course is Bill Hader.

Chad Stahelski - John Wick 2 - 2017
In preparation for John Wick 3, these films are quite spectacular. Nice how the plot is so mellow, a nice change from all the (bad) plot heavy movies and shows (GOT).

5.16.2019 - 5.21.2019
David Benioff, D.B. Weiss - Game of Thrones season five - 2015
I must admit I am rather embarrassed to be (re)watching this. To be current in contemporary television I plan to watch the last season yet I couldn't remember where I threw in the towel with this show or where the plot had taken us. There are surely some good actors in this show, a few good moments of visual storytelling, also an abundance of poppycock. The gratuitous nudity is quite prosperous and one must admit quite funny.

Mark Waters - Mean Girls - 2014

Chad Stahelski - John Wick 3 - 2019
Intense, great visual film, I liked it very much. Keanu Reeves has turned into quite a formidable action star, the way that he moves about looking dog tired and beat up is something quite unique, can't think of another performance quite like this. Anjelica Huston is really spectacular as well, didn't really recognize her at first. My friend Mr. Spell pointed out her theatre as Tarkovsky Theatre, very nice! Many layers of influence here, on the recent interview on The Big Picture podcast Mr. Stahelski talked about what interests him and drives his films, the dude has some good taste.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Zeit modifier

new watercolor painting on darknessmoves
watercolor and walnut ink on paper - 05.2029

Sunday, May 5, 2019

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

Bong Joon-ho - Memories of Murder - 2003
One of the best films I have seen in a while, a total and complete immersion into one hell of a fucked up world. Bong Joon-ho masterfully images a strange, frightening, dense and absurd serial killer film where fog and darkness keep the spectator from having any kind of articulate vision.

Karyn Kusama - Destroyer - 2018
Was very excited to see this after the Godspeed heavy trailer. Nicole Kidman is as stunning as she always is. I found the structure of the film and elements of the story not quite right but overall a good film. Sometimes the "motivations" of characters in film just utterly muddies a clear filmic experience, this muddiness sometimes can work well and make a film better in some abstract way, but this is rare and didn't seem to happen here.

4.20.2019 - 4/23/2019
Peter Jackson - The Lord of the Rings 1-3 - 2001-2003
After seeing the J. R. R. Tolkien show at the Morgan library, my wife and I decided to give the films a yearly revisit, her third time and my I have no idea, maybe eighth time for myself? I saw the theatrical releases about 3 times each and then the DVD set about four times or so, and now twice viewing the bluray set. I am at the point where I am more familiar with the extended cuts and am curious to go back and watch the shorter versions as these three films seem pretty tight to me and I cannot image really cutting anything out. As stated in the supplements, these are made in the B movie tradition, and that surely separates them from the films made after in the LOTR's style, many of which are quite passionless and without merit. I find many members of the modern day intelligentsia are quite dismissive of this film, something I have never understood but to each his/her own, I love them and find them endlessly watchable and evocative of a world I wish I was in rather than one that embraces up talk, vocal fry, valleygirlisms, and other contemporary epidemics. Great cameo by Jackson as a belching carrot eater (above) in the tradition of Hitchcock.

The Lord of the Rings Appendice
Surely the standard for detailed information on the making of a film.

Jonah Hill - Mid90s - 2018
Didn't think I would like this but not a bad film, honest and simple.

Ali Abbasi - Border - 2018
A modern-day Troll love story. Interesting to follow over a week of LOTR viewing with this. I loved this film through the first half but found the direction of the latter half not as engaging. I sometimes wish contemporary films could be a bit more simple. Overall a good film, the actors and the look and feel of the film were fantastic. Definitely very strange.

Paul Haggis - In the Valley of Elah - 2007
I have seen Crash by Haggis a couple of times and it really makes me uncomfortable, but this film I quite like, especially the performances of Charlize Theron, Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Corbin, and Susan Sarandon. Pretty good story and it unfolds in a way that works well as entertainment and for people digging below the surface. Very much in line with No Country for Old Men, with similar cast members as well including the strange Kathy Lamkin as the Chicken Shack Manager (in No Country she plays Desert Aire Manager, one of the best and most funny parts of the film). Trackers or people who see things others don't in terms of movement across the open country always make for good stuff in film, here Tommy Lee Jones helps Theron with her and her team's lack of clear vision, very much for me similar to how one watches film.

Andrew Huculiak - Violent - 2014

Yorgos Lanthimos - Dogtooth - 2009

Jacques Audiard - The Sisters Brothers - 2018
Watched the first half or so of each of these three films and couldn't really get into their scene so stopped them mid way.

5.1.2019 - 5.4.2019
Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Killing Eve season one - 2018
Sandra Oh!

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Killing Eve season two episode one - 2019

Brian De Palma - Scarface - 1983
The beginning of this film, and especially the chainsaw section, is some great cinema. When Michelle Pfeiffer shows up the film goes in a direction I don't personally care for, definitely dated, but the end with "say ello to my lil friend" gets us back in business. I love in The Sopranos when Tony shows this part to his son, good stuff.

Monday, April 29, 2019

suspirant music whilst navigating darkness moves

the founder and editor of the art of memory has been greatly expanding and editing his artist website

please visit and feel free if so moved to join the mailing list or comment on its merit

in the near future darkness moves will double in size with music, film and and exploration of an artist's library, in addition to having more work that has not yet been added

Friday, April 19, 2019

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


Paweł Pawlikowski - Cold War- 2018
This film has some stunning photography and novel editing here and there.  Mostly I noticed editing that was jarring, which is my speed, and something you don't see very often in the world of the invisible cut. I had seen Ida finally a month or so ago and honestly really didn't like the film. Not wanting to reiterate my reasons, it is just easier to say this film gave me a similar feeling, as much as I wanted to enjoy it, it felt too much like a Gucci ad to me.

George P. Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre (and Kurt Russell?) - Tombstone - 1993
(univers du western)
A western film that came out when I was 18, one that I have managed to avoid for more than 25 years. I was wondering why as there are some great actors - Bill Paxton, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Michael Biehn from Terminator, Billy Bob Thornton, Thomas Haden Church and a few others. Westerns started to enter the world of this film enthusiast partially as a youngster but more so in college after discovering Ford, Leone, Hawkes and Kurosawa. It probably took a good 10 years to go through the more outstanding examples and I feel I am still a neophyte on the subject. The language of the Western is exceedingly pleasant to read, a language that obscures itself for a bit but becomes apparent once the viewer has put in the effort.  This language is something hard to put words but it just hits you at a gut level. It can be as simple as a man walking down a dusty street with a dog scurrying past him in an atmosphere full of intensity and dread, or more complicated like a slight tweak of an existing western subplot that is shifted slightly to yield some subtle and extreme results. Somehow the Western has a lot to do with jazz music; how you can hear a standard played by different composers with the songs being so very unique when put against one another.  From pre-bird to bop to post-bop to the avant-garde. Also for students of European jazz, the language is further shifted, lovingly mutilated and almost blasphemed. If I am to be honest, I didn't really mind this film, but it didn't fully interact with the language of Univers du Western in a way that was engaging enough to make a lasting impression.

Steven Soderbergh - Erin Brockovich - 2000
Solid Soderbergh film with Albert Finney.

Amy Berg  - The Case Against Adnan Syed - 2019

James Bridges - Urban Cowboy - 1980
Saw this film many times on cable when I was in elementary school. I think it fucked me up, super depressing negative film on the mistakes made by youth and the dirty deeds of low life sons of bitches. Scott Glenn is one sleaze sob in this film, kind of looks like Iggy Pop. I have rarely drank Tequila without thinking of him drinking that darn worm.

Jan de Bont - Speed - 1994

Robert Redford - A River Runs Through It - 1992
Drove through this area of Montana a couple of years ago which is a incredibly lush and beautiful. Mr. Redford put a very good film together here,  which responds so well to this landscape. Saw it in the woods outside Woodstock / Saugerties NY which seemed appropriate.

Joe Carnahan - The Grey - 2012
Very much a favorite Liam Neeson film. My dog Leviathan would give these wolves a run for their money. Great ending.

Ben Stiller - Reality Bites - 1994

Richard Linklater - Before Sunrise - 1995
An Ethan Hawke double feature, mid nineties themed. I am more into Before Sunrise myself, but he is really great in both films.

David Farr - Hanna season one - 2019

Adam McKay - Vice - 2018

Terence Davies - The Deep Blue Sea - 2011
The most beautiful of cinematography by Florian Hoffmeister. Such a lovely and sad film by Davies who is one of the truly remarkable masters working now.

Martin Provost - Séraphine - 2008
This turned out to be a very fine double feature. I must see more films by Mr. Provost, the structure of his film is really novel here, Séraphine's paintings and hagiography are slowly revealed to us through a fog of house cleaning, paint-making and grunting.

Lee Chang-dong - Burning - 2018
The subtle intricacies and layers of meaning become more clear on a second viewing. The behavior of greenhouse (barn) burning as being a metaphor for serial killing hits like a bag of cement, followed by the act of questioning how a viewer's mind, who is perceptive to subtle hints in a film, can so easily be tricked into possibly false narratives, and then coming around to questioning of the mental facilities of our hero, all a very tasteful way of treating the film spectator. I don't think I picked up on a lot of this the first viewing. This film after 4-5 viewings will really start to come alive.

Yeon Sang-ho - Train to Busan - 2016
Korean Zombie film with the very talented Yoo Gong (also in A Man and a Woman below).

Dominic Sena - Kalifornia - 1993
Second serial killer film this week. Brad Pitt is sort of the reason to watch this film, strange and unsettling performance from him, which partially works so well because of his looks.

Lee Yoon-ki - A Man and a Woman - 2016
Korean love story my wife and I watched with her parents. Starring Do-yeon Jeon from Secret Sunshine and Yoo Gong. The music was nice at times, sort of Ryuichi Sakamoto inspired.

Hal Hartly - The Sisters of Mercy - 2004

Sean Baker - Scarlet - 2012
I liked this more than The Florida Project. A good story and the style really works well with what is happening on screen. Very nice performance by the dog, I couldn't take my eyes off of him.

Joel Schumacher - A Time to Kill - 1996
Matthew McConaughey film before he got into the bad date films. Samuel L. Jackson and Charles S. Dutton are really stunning in this as well as McConaughey, the film really gets good when the courtroom stuff starts up, a little slow before that.

Marina Zenovich - Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind - 2018

Francis Ford Coppola - The Outsiders - 1983
One of those films I would see as a really young boy, around 9-10 years old. I remember being kind of shocked by the idea of leaving home and sleeping outside. Now seeing it I think I am more struck by the strange style of it, as well as Rumble Fish, where Coppola seems to be really experimenting with artifice and structure in film.

John Sayles - Lone Star - 1996
One of the films I try and watch 1-2 times per year. Chris Cooper is a hell of an actor. The many times when Sayles transitions from present to past or from past to present solely through camera movement and no cuts has a simple virtuosity that gives the viewer goosebumps.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

suspirant music two

Suspirant Music Two - portrait of one's atmosphere with long exposure (woods between Woodstock and Saugerties)

Monday, April 8, 2019

suspirant music one

Suspirant Music One - portrait of one's atmosphere with long exposure (woods between Woodstock and Saugerties)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

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

Abel Ferrara - King of New York - 1990
Really one hell of a film, Ferrara has a great sense of visual rhythm and color. Some explosive bits of violence not unlike Michael Mann climaxes, shot beautifully and constructed like a French poem. Ferrara's other films Bad Lieutenant, and The Funeral are masterpieces, Fear City pretty damn good (see below). Great film.

Marc Turtletaub - Puzzle - 2018

Dan Reed - Leaving Neverland - 2019

Robert Benton - Still of the Night - 1982
Interesting how memory works. I thought this film seemed strangely familiar but not until the end I realized I had seen it. Had some good moments, Roy Scheider always a pleasure.

James L. Brooks - Broadcast News - 1987
The beginning and end of this film on a rewatch are completely without interest, and some dated business that doesn't sit well, but a film worth a watch if you are a William Hurt fan. Hard not to be critical of films from this time period but overall this is a good film.

Randa Haines - Children of a Lesser God - 1986
Another William Hurt drama. Quite a unique and underrated actor, no one really like him that I can think of, his way of speaking, mannerisms, and intellect. Smoke, Altered States and Body Heat are his best I believe. Always a pleasure to see Piper Laurie.

Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi - Free Solo - 2018

Alan Clarke - Made in Britain - 1982
Besides being one of the best British films (in my opinion), there is much humor found in Made in Britain. Tim Roth's deliverings of "wanker" this and "bullocks" are raw and quite uncomfortably beautiful. Such a perfect film. Alan Clarke is the most underrated British director, I assume because he mostly worked for television? I first saw them on film in a movie theater, so have always thought of them as "cinema".

Aisling Walsh - Maudie - 2016
One of the few good biopics on an artist. A few others that come to mind are Peter Watkin's Edvard Munch, Martin Provost's Séraphine and Maurice Pialat's Van Gogh. Ethan Hawke is on a roll.

Christopher McQuarrie - Mission Impossible - Fallout - 2018
Watched this with my father in his new place and really enjoyed his commentary. He wasn't crazy about the film but enjoyed watching it.

3.18.2019 - 3.20.2019
Cary Joji Fukunaga & Nic Pizzolatto - True Detective season one - 2014
I believe my fourth time watching this, still quite a complex story after so many viewings. Currently reading The King in Yellow perhaps prompting a fifth viewing. I found this article to be enlightening regarding many levels of meaning in the show, some of which I had figured out but mostly not. Had not thought about Martin Hart's children being victims of the diabolical child murder collective, that particular aspect of the show is just hard to deal with.

Michael Winner - Death Wish - 1974
A film which I saw as a kid but could not remember, but (perhaps because it came out the year I was born) I enjoyed the hell out of it. Nothing like watching a western take place in the grimy streets of New York in the 1970s. After a recent viewing of Once Upon a Time in the West, I realized how much I liked Charles Bronson. Thought of Travis Bickle mentioning cleaning the streets a couple of times : "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets".

Ang Lee - The Ice Storm - 1997
Top notch color palette and ambiance.

Abel Ferrara - Fear City - 1984
An enjoyable low-key Abel Ferrara film, pretty raw with a good cast. Hard to find an early Melanie Griffith where she doesn't disrobe, I find the "acting" sections of the film bring it down but the rest is pretty heavy, women walking in streets or missing trains, strippers, sleeze bags in clubs.

Stephen Kijak - Scott Walker: 30th Century Man - 2006
Watched this after a day of listening to Scott Walker, hearing about his death in the morning. Incredibly sad news. The footage of him making The Drift here is brilliant, he interviews very well also. Pictured above Mr. Walker is conversing with Alasdair Malloy on how to play the slab of pig, he discusses working with Mr. Walker here.

Hector Babenco - Ironweed - 1987
Had forgotten that Tom Waits was in this. Very good film. I really like the feel of it with a dark dirty palette (shot by Lauro Escorel) and downbeat drone oriented music appearing and disappearing here and there, composed by John Morris. Some strange nightmare moments Jack Nicholson has of people he has killed or have died, they are truly frightening. The TriStar Pictures horse use to really hit me heavy as a teenager and pre-teen.

Matt Wolf - Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell - 2008

David Anspaugh - Rudy - 1993
Another in the series of I hate sports but enjoy sports films. Very over the top and corny but an enjoyable film.

Matthew Ross - Frank & Lola - 2016
Just watched to see Michael Shannon.

PT Anderson - Phantom Thread - 2017

Agnès Varda - The Gleaners & I - 2000
Rest in peace Agnès Varda. I have only seen a handful of films by her so will watch more the next few weeks. This and Vagabond had been my favorites. Sort of in the Mekas territory here, with her playful use of the camera.