Monday, September 5, 2022

a record of consumption, part eight (being a new film journal)

Dennis Hopper Out of the Blue 1980
4K rewatch via Severin Films. Seriously tough to watch film, but worth the pain it inflicts.

Roman Polanski Tess 1979
From Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, with a screenplay by Polanski, Gérard Brach (Frantic, The Bear, The Tenant, Repulsion, Cul-de-sac, The Fearless Vampire Killers, Identification of a Woman), and the British translator John Brownjohn. Moving score by Philippe Sarde, with a subdued palette by the two heavies Ghislain Cloquet and Geoffrey Unsworth. The film is dedicated to Polanski's late wife Sharon Tate, whom was convinced he would make a film of Tess one day. In Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, we see Margot Robbie (Sharon Tate) buying her husband a copy of Tess from an antiquarian bookseller in Westwood (image above).

Peter Crane Moments 1974
Last film from The Pemini Organization. Only 42 people have marked this film as watched on letterboxd.

Donald Glover & Hiro Murai Atlanta season three 2022
Favorite show on television right now.

Nicolas Winding Refn Pusher 3 2005
Volume three follows Milo (Zlatko Burić). Less effective of the Pusher Trilogy, but great music by Peter Peter and Peter Kyed, worth watching the movie for.

David Cronenberg Eastern Promises 2007
Essential 4K rewatch, via Kino Lorber. For my 9-5 we were studying tattoo/body art history and trends, which got me thinking about the books of Russian Criminal Tattoos by Fuel Design, and then of course to Cronenberg's great Eastern Promises. Where body art takes an extremely offensive and irritating art world nonsense trajectory in Crimes of the Future, with charlatan artists as superstars (which has plagued contemporary art), and art enthusiasts as brainless consumers, we see it pure and in the street here in Eastern Promises.

Billy Wilder The Apartment 1960
Essential 4K rewatch, via Kino Lorber. Kino is insane these days with their releases.

Mark Robson The Harder They Fall 1956
From Indicator's Columbia Noir #5: Humphrey Bogart boxset. Only film I have seen more than once. Good scenes in this film, the best is the You Yellow Dog bit. This actress is really wonderful.

Carl Franklin Devil in a Blue Dress 1995
Criterion Collection 4K. Fourth time I have seen this film in the last 2 years. Perfect film, best Denzel film. Just unreal how good it is. This and One False Move are some of the best examples of Neo-Noir films that are get better with each viewing and are like a drug you can't stop pushing or a cocktail you can't put down.

Michael Mann Collateral 2004

David Cronenberg Crimes of the Future 2022
See review above in Eastern Promises.

Martin Ritt Hud 1963
Esssssssssential Paul Newman.

Skye Borgman Girl in the Picture 2022
Netflix true crime doc.

John McNaughton Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer 1986
Arrow Films 4K. Essential 4K rewatch, even more disturbing coming at you in such high fidelity.

Stuart Heisler Tokyo Joe 1949
Mediocre Bogart film.

Philip Haas The Music of Chance 1993
Blu ray from Imprint Films out of Australia. Lesser known 90s film, based on the novel by Paul Auster (whom has a cameo in the film). Perfect film, a nod of the hat to Sisyphus with Mandy Patinkin and James Spader as two characters whom enter into a purely novelist world where they are pushed into building a stone wall which resembles a lovely piece of Land Art, due to owing money to Joel Grey and Charles Durning, with M. Emmet Walsh as their overseer/caretaker. Samantha Mathis and Chris Penn show up as bit roles. Wonderful cyclical story, seen through the eyes of our heroes and artificially through the use of a model of the world. Both real and artificial, a film and just simply a story, what we are seeing with our own eyes, and how narrative manipulates reality (and manipulates narrative), and consumes its tail creating circles of confusion.

Dario Argento The Bird with the Crystal Plumage 1970
Arrow films 4K. Mostly watch these films for the soundtracks. This one with Ennio Morricone getting into a late 60s Miles Davis zone.

Dario Argento Tenebre 1982
Arrow films 4k, music by Goblin.

Jaume Collet-Serra Non-Stop 2014
Non-Stop, The Grey, and Taken are the 3 most rewatchable Liam Neeson action films. Pure pleasure.

Bernard Rose Candyman 1992
4K Essential Cinema. Starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, and Vanessa E. Williams. Novel by Clive Barker (The Forbidden"). Beautifully shot by Anthony B. Richmond. Really love Xander Berkeley in this film, an often seen face in 90s cinema, like in Todd Haynes Safe as the husband. He usually plays a somewhat loser character, or in Terminator 2 as the step father... very talented actor. As is Tony Todd who plays Candyman here, and Madsen's wonderful performance as the student of chaos.

Mike Hodges Get Carter 1971
Essential 4K rewatch, BFI disc. Brutalist architecture, cars speeding and blurring, Caine at high level intense low level comedy, one of his most subtle performances. Industry destroying the sea, and getting rusted out and destroyed in the process. Beautiful film, not much better.

Jonathan Demme Married to the Mob 1988
Off beat film from the master (Caged Heat 1974, Melvin and Howard 1980, Something Wild 1986, The Silence of the Lambs 1991, Philadelphia 1993 to name a few).

Sam Peckinpah The Killer Elite 1975

Dave Franco The Rental 2020

Tamara Jenkins Private Life 2018

John Carney Once 2007

Roger Donaldson White Sands 1992
Strong memory of this film a few times being seen in high school. Great performances by Willem Defoe, Mickey Rourke, and M. Emmet Walsh.

Dan Trachtenberg 10 Cloverfield Lane 2016
4K. Would be great to see part 2 where the end of this film leaves us.

Diao Yi’nan The Wild Goose Lake 2019
Sublime and visionary film from the director of Black Coal, Thin Ice. Hard to put into words after one viewing, this film is insanely profound!

Richard Tuggle Out of Bounds 1986
Great 80s sleazebag Los Angeles wrong man / drug thriller film starring Anthony Michael Hall and Jenny Wright. Anthony Michael Hall gives a solid performance as a chill kid from Iowa whom moves to Los Angeles, has a crush on a hip girl, and then has to start running from the law and from the drug underworld. Normally not into him, but he gives a tough performance here as a strong kid, fish out of water, and too mellow to be irritating. Great cast includes actors you know their faces but not their names like Raymond J. Barry, Pepe Serna, Glynn Turman, and Jerry Levine. Good stuff.

Ethan Hawke The Last Movie Stars 2022
Documentary on Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. Good attempt at showing the range and virtuosity of these two actors. Any road to cinephilia usually starts with Hud, The Hustler, The Fugitive Kind, The Verdict, Cool Hand Luke, and The Long Hot Summer. I remember around 2000 picking up the Library of America 2 volumes of the writings of Tennessee Williams, after seeing quite a few of the films, there was a very strong desire to read the actual pages and have a deeper understanding. Again and again these Williams inspired films were studied by this young enthusiast and the 2 actors above became essential. I am sure that Ethan Hawke and many of the actors in this doc had a similar history with these great films, and at times it was quite lovely to see the enthusiasm like with Vincent D'Onofrio explaining the difference between a bland reading and a reading under the method of method acting. The zoom infiltration of the film was frankly a bummer, as was the confusion that happened when an actor was on zoom in a conversation, and then transitioned to doing a voice over. Also having actors claim they are not familiar with the works but still participating, one wonders why not pick someone else or have no-one at all besides the 2 heavies we are here to see? Do we always need a contemporary voice in documentaries about true visionaries?

Joshua Logan Picnic 1955
Based on the play by William Inge. Stars William Holden, Cliff Robertson, Susan Strasberg, Kim Novak, Arthur O'Connell, and Betty Field. Good for architecture enthusiasts into American industrial architecture, specifically grain silos which are beautifully explored in this film.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi Drive My Car 2021
Second time with this film, first in the theater and now the Criterion Collection blu ray. Between viewings I purchased and read the Haruki Murakami short story Drive My Car to get a better idea of the narrative. The sophistication in story telling in this film is hard for an old amateur like myself to completely understand, the levels of subtle storytelling that go through the film and reappear takes an extreme amount of mental abilities, something I maybe don't fully have, but luckily my wife hits the pause button every so often and not only illuminates but explains these subtleties. I say illuminates because half of the narrative streams I probably would not have noticed if not pointed out. Such a beautiful film visually and aurally it can be hard at times to actually take in all the concepts coming at you. The idea of story within story is certainly an essential part of the history of the novel from Georges Perec to Don Quixote, Hamaguchi adds to this lovely history with his films, but very much in his own style, where the perception of the layered story is not in the foreground, but can be more like a dream or fragmented or words during sexual encounters happening and not happening. Truly profound stuff which will probably need another few viewings to truly reveal itself.

Matthew Weiner Mad Men Season two through seven 2008-2015
Good stuff. Show goes from being pretty good to amazing at it progresses.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

a record of consumption, part seven (being a new film journal)

Paul Thomas Anderson Inherent Vice 2014
Nothing better than the moment this film hits heavy into the Can. Some psychedelic magic starts that never lets up. Not long after we hear Johnny Greenwood doing a Can hommage and an endlessly beautiful soundtrack continues throughout the film. A classic Chandleresque plot approaching nonsensical non-plot rarely has moments of clarity, and reaches an extreme with the Martin Short section which would have made Edward Lear uncomfortable. One way to watch a film like this (or The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye) is to treat the plot as a level of rhythm which acts as a Fire Music foundation enabling an array of instruments to interact in a purely aesthetic way bringing forth and giving jouissance. Utter blissful moments overwhelm this film, like Josh Brolin as a Renaissance Detective, the search for Eric Roberts as Wolfmann aka Wolf-Man, and numerous poetic/comedic names floating around like Sortilège, Shasta Fay Hepworth, Ensenada Slim, Dr. Buddy Tubeside, Sauncho Smilax, Esq, Luz, Amethyst Harlingen, Smedley, Puck Beaverton, Stone Turntable Magazine, and many more. Cast includes Michael Kenneth Williams, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Martin Short, Martin Donovan, Jeannie Berlin, and Hong Chau. Cinematographer by the master Robert Elswit (Redbelt, Hard Eight, Punch-Drunk Love, The Bourne Legacy, The Town, Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, and Nightcrawler). Novel by Thomas Pynchon, interpreted by Paul Thomas Anderson: "Do you need to use the facilities... do you need to use the bathroom before touring the facilities". Editing by Leslie Jones. Great film, one of Anderson's best.

Gordon Parks Shaft’s Big Score! 1972
This was on television often in the late 80s/early 90s. Spent many late nights watching this as a kid. Not so crazy about it this time around, but has good moments and a wonderful aesthetic.

Stacy Peralta Powell Peralta: Public Domain 1988

Robert Aldrich The Big Knife 1955

Dennis Hopper Easy Rider 1969
Bringing in the aesthetic of the 1970s with Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Karen Black, Terry Southern, Jack Nicholson, Warren Finnerty, Phil Spector, László Kovács and Donn Cambern. Ending is tragic, but so beautifully shot (László Kovács) and edited (Donn Cambern), it really leaves you speechless.

Joel Coen Fargo 1996
My wife and I are watching comfort movies, this one in 4K. I repeat lines from this film seems like everyday.

David Fincher Se7en 1995
Stretching the concept a bit, but another late night comfort movie. Comfort for some at least, including myself.

Jeffrey Eger & Miriam Eger Sonambients: The Sound Sculpture of Harry Bertoia 1971
Spent the day with Jeffrey Eger, looking at his collection of books, and he asked me if I liked Harry Bertoia. I said hell yes, especially his sound work. He gave me a copy of documentary on the subject, which is a really great film.

John Ford The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962
Essential 4K rewatch. First Ford film in this format I believe. Hopefully The Searchers to follow.

Chloé Zhao Nomadland 2020
Essential 4K rewatch.

Miloš Forman Loves of a Blonde 1965
A film that has left an extreme memory for this viewer, but only a second time viewing. Strong early work by the master Forman.

Donald Glover Atlanta Season Two: Barbershop 2022
Hiro Murai Atlanta Season Two: Teddy Perkins 2022
Some really great episodes scattered through Donald Glover's show Atlanta, especially these two masterpieces: Barbershop with Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) attempting to get a haircut from barber Bibby (Robert S. Powell), and Teddy Perkins with Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) attempting to get a free piano with multi-colored keys from rich eccentric Teddy Perkins (Danny Glover). Both episodes, and some others in the series, are departure episodes both poetic and nonsensical, not unlike the Barry episode ronny/lily with the freak kid and father. Really powerful narratives in this season with Sisyphean struggles, unlike much of what is normally encountered in current television. Great stuff.

Stuart Baird U.S. Marshals 1998
Relates to the 1993 film The Fugitive with Tommy Lee Jones and crew.

Kasper Collin I Called Him Morgan 2016
Doc on Lee Morgan.

John G. Avildsen Rocky 1976
Essential 4K rewatch.

Jimmy Wang Yu One-Armed Boxer 1972
Raw and beautiful martial arts film.

Richard Linklater SubUrbia 1996

Steven Soderbergh The Limey 1999
Essential 4K rewatch. Fragmented structure can be either jarring or refreshing, depending on your mood. This time I found it quite nice, last time a few years ago I think it annoyed me slightly. Love the Bill Duke part "There's one thing I don't understand. The thing I don't understand is every motherfuckin' word you're saying".

Harold Ramis Groundhog Day 1993
Essential 4K rewatch.

Dario Argento The Cat o’ Nine Tails 1971
Had not seen this Argento film before, perhaps my favorite after Suspira. Apparently it was Argento's least favorite film. Too Hollywood for him. I loved the thriller aspect of it, and some great performances, great film.

Dario Argento The Cat o’ Nine Tails 1971
Watched with Arrow films commentary with Alan Jones and Kim Newman.

Martin Scorsese GoodFellas 1990
Essential 4K rewatch. RIP Ray Liotta.

Tom McCarthy Stillwater 2021
Not a bad Matt Damon film.

Penelope Spheeris Suburbia 1983
Could watch this film over and over.

Michel Franco Sundown 2021
Solid film with Tim Roth as Londoner hanging out in Mexico, drinking and having sex.

Sergio Sollima Revolver 1973
Oliver Reed speaking Italian. Not great but worth watching.

David Lynch The Straight Story 1999
Imprint Films blu ray. Underrated Lynch film.

John McNaughton Wild Things 1998
Florida Neo-Noir from John Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer McNaughton. Not on the level as other Floridian Neo-noirs like 92 in the Shade, Night Moves, or Body Heat. Two songs by Morphine, one of the worst bands or the 1990s, turned a mediocre film into a real honey bucket. God I hate the band Morphine!

Kevin Macdonald Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang 2016

Anthony Mann The Tin Star 1957
Essential Mann western with Henry Fonda, Anthony Perkins, Lee Van Cleef, John McIntire, and Russell Simpson. Shot by Loyal Griggs.

Tom Surgal Fire Music 2018
History of Free Jazz from Ornette Coleman to FMP.

Adam Wingard The Guest 2014
Ex soldier David (played by Dan Stevens) comes to a small town to wreak havoc in a Bourne Identity style, but more sadistic.

Jonathan Glazer Under the Skin 2013
Best Glazer film, would watch more often if its bleakness did not overwhelm. Pure magic.

Martin McDonagh Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 2017
Essential film for enthusiasts of Frances McDormand, Caleb Landry Jones (understated performance), Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Peter Dinklage, Clarke Peters, and John Hawkes.

JG Thirwell & Sten Backman Silver Mantis 2019
Live at Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock NY.

Peter Crane Hunted 1972
From the Indicator Films boxet The Pemini Organisation, the short lived independent British film production company, active between 1972 and 1974. This short film stars Edward Woodward (The Wicker Man) and June Ritchie.

Richard Franklin Cloak & Dagger 1984
Classic 80s film I had never seen, but did now via Vinegar Syndrome, in a lovely 4K box set. Directed by the great Australian director Richard Franklin (Road Games, Patrick) whom has cited Hitch as his major influence. From the story by Cornell Woolrich, and written for the screen by Tom Holland (the writer not actor). Solid performances by Henry Thomas, Dabney Coleman, Michael Murphy, William Forsythe. John McIntire, Jeanette Nolan, Eloy Casados, and Tim Rossovich.

Cary Joji Fukunaga No Time to Die 2021
This is one of those films where the cast (with the exception of Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright) turns a mediocre film into a total piece of hogwash. Some of the worst actors working today, dominating the scene and getting paid to stink up films, are here in a completely unnecessary manner and given carte blanche. One wonders if on opening night millions of people were throwing up in their mouths a bit from the theme song? It is nothing but unspeakable, just an unspeakable bit of rotgut, like the Malek accent. Just completely disagreeable. Headache inducing. Frightful. Bad-tempered. Churlish. Filthy. Disobliging. As rotten as a dishonorable melon farmer. In fact, the film is completely without honor and in fact possibly has no value?

Bill Hader & Alec Berg Barry season three 2022
Last episode and rewatch of various episodes from the season. Was interested in but not super excited about this season initially, but in episode six (crazy motorcycle episode, a trippy aesthetic experience when motorcycles are flying through traffic) the show starts getting seriously great, up there or surpassing previous seasons. Totally abstract European art film, with the Hader/Berg black comedy, nonsense mixed with Fellini or Tarkovsky, with a bits of extreme violence to fuck things up. Ends beautifully with last episode.

Chad Stahelski John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum 2019
Near essential 4K rewatch. Very tired Wick moves about the city trying to stay alive. Great film, few annoying actors/characters that bring it down, but overall amazing film. Mark Dacascos is so great in this.

Alfred Hitchcock Shadow of a Doubt 1943
Essential 4K rewatch. One of the Hitch films you just can't stop watching. Something about the way he does Santa Rosa, the quality of light captured by Joseph A. Valentine, the bizarre conversations between Henry Travers and Hume Cronyn, the basically incestuousness interactions between Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton. None better.

Nicholas Ray The Lusty Men 1952
Once a year rewatch of this peripheral western classic. Stars Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, and Arthur Kennedy. I spent my 20s watching Arthur Kennedy in roles where he was closer to middle age, and it is always a bit strange seeing him here as the good looking wet behind the ears rodeo rider turned dirty dog Wes Merritt. Great performances by all, and one of Ray's best. Based on King of the Cowpokes by Claude Stanush and screenplay by Horace McCoy (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?) and David Dortort, and shot by the great Lee Garmes (Hawks' Scarface, Shanghai Express, Morocco, Duel in the Sun, Nightmare Alley, Portrait of Jennie, and The Desperate Hours). Deep pleasure to watch.

John Dahl The Last Seduction 1994
Classic 90s Neo-Noir. Not much better in this area of film.

John Dahl The Last Seduction 1994
Two nights in a row watching this film.

Clint Eastwood Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 1997

Matthew Weiner Mad Men season one 2007

Peter Crane Assassin 1973
From Indicator's Pemini Organisation boxset. British mercenary film stars Ian Hendry as a sleazy killer arriving into town to do a bit of dirty business. Ian Hendry familiar as the almost equally sleazy Martin in Antonioni's The Passenger. Something about his visual aesthetic suits these rolls.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

a record of consumption, part six (being a new film journal)

Kwon Oh-seung Midnight 2021
Korean serial killer film.

Woody Allen Hannah and Her Sisters 1986
"I'm going through a period where I can't be around people" (Max von Sydow).

King Hu Come Drink with Me 1966

Martin Scorsese The Last Waltz 1978
Essential 4k rewatch, via Criterion. First time I heard The Band, was watching this film, and remember watching the 116 minute film 3 times in 2 days.

Tim Hunter River’s Edge 1986
Very Lynchian in atmosphere. Shot by Frederick Elmes, whom worked with David Lynch, Ang Lee, Charlie Kaufman, Jim Jarmusch, and Todd Solondz. For the role of drug and mannequin man Feck, Tim Hunter had wanted John Lithgow, but the part was also offered to Harry Dean Stanton whom declined it, but luckily passed the script on to his friend, Dennis Hopper.

Martin Scorsese The Last Waltz 1978
Scorsese & Robbie Robertson commentary.

Eliza Hittman Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight 2011

Kasi Lemmons Eve’s Bayou 1997
Lemmons directorial debut, Southern Gothic film about a prosperous Creole-American community in Louisiana. Lemmons is known as Ardelia Mapp in Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs and Bernadette Walsh in Bernard Rose's Candyman. Great film.

Clio Barnard Dark River 2017

Thomas Vinterberg Another Round 2020
Stunningly beautiful film, up there with Vinterberg's The Celebration and The Hunt. Love the Yves Klein ending.

Johan Renck Chernobyl 2019
Essential 4K rewatch.
Alexander Payne Sideways 2004
Once a year rewatch.

Jon Watts Spider-Man: No Way Home 2021
Dizzying layers of meta.

Philip Kaufman Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978
Essential 4K rewatch.

Peter Sollett Metal Lords 2022

Nicolas Winding Refn Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands 2004
Refn is the master of blissfully pushing viewers to their extremes, a euphoric use of music, and giving nudity and sex an almost offensive quality.  Mads Mikkelsen gets quite heavy in the film, beautiful performance. Soundtrack by Peter Peter (Pusher, Bleeder, Pusher 3, and Valhalla Rising).

James Whale  The Invisible Man 1933
Essential 4K rewatch.

Woody Allen Alice 1990
Watching this for William Hurt, film not as great as I remembered, not bad though.

Ridley Scott Blade Runner 1982
Essential 4K rewatch.

Tony Maylam White Rock 1977
Documentary on the  XII Olympic Winter Games Innsbruck 1976 hosted by James Coburn. Beautifully shot.

Denis Villeneuve Dune 2021
Third time with this film, this time on 4K disc, much better sound and image this way, great film.

Theodore Melfi St. Vincent 2014
Traveling lately for work and family so less time in the dark enjoying plato's cave, got to sneak in a rewatch of St. Vincent. Not speaking of the lusterless musician, but the Naomi Watts / Bill Murray / Melissa McCarthy film.

Joel Edgerton The Gift 2015

Bertrand Tavernier Round Midnight 1986
Stunning Tavernier film with the great tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon as the fictional Dale Turner and François Cluzet as Francis Borler, in a fiction film loosely based on the relationship between French author Francis Paudras and Bud Powell. Turner's character also uses Lester Young as inspiration. We also see Herbie Hancock. Martin Scorsese, Philippe Noiret, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, Alain Sarde, Billy Higgins, John McLaughlin, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, and Freddie Hubbard. Gordon's performance is beyond words.

Matt Reeves The Batman 2022
Beautifully shot by Greig Fraser (Dune, Killing Them Softly, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Bright Star) and edited by William Hoy and Tyler Nelson. Not a great film, but hard to not be impressed by its visual qualities.

Michael Winner Death Wish II 1982
4K from Vinegar Syndrome. Not exactly essential 4K rewatch, but a great example of early 80s sleazy cinema that takes it a bit too far in making the viewer feel uncomfortable, and needing to take a shower to get the grime off, but not necessarily in a bad way. Part of the appeal for this film is the gritty krautish soundtrack by Jimmy Page.

Paul King Paddington 2 2017
Didn't hit me much on a second viewing, but certainly not without interest. High Grant gives great performance.

David Lynch Mulholland Drive 2001
Essential 4K rewatch. Second time this year, first via Criterion Collection 4K, now StudioCanal. Stunning package and presentation. Love the Edward Hopper inspired package design.

Sam Jones Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off 2022

Stacy Peralta Powell Peralta: The Search for Animal Chin 1987
Middle school favorite.

Stacy Peralta Bones Brigade: An Autobiography 2012

Buzz Kulik The Hunter 1980

Norman Jewison In the Heat of the Night 1967
Essential 4K rewatch via Kino Lorber.

Mike Leigh Meantime 1983
Huge Mike Leigh fan, but only second time seeing this. Classic for lovers of his work, and the work of Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, and Phil Daniels.

Robert Eggers The Northman 2022
For my wife and myself, this was one of the most anticipated films of the year. Not huge huge Eggers fans, but certainly liked his other two films. After the credits ended, and my wife with a big smile said "how did you like it", I wasn't sure what to say. It took a couple of days to sink in, reflecting on it in my mind, for me to respond back to her "yes I liked the film, very good, would like to watch it again pronto". A few things that confused me initially was that the film aesthetically look, at times, like a video game, which was a bit off-putting. Also the story can be quite subtle and the references to Shakespeare needed some time to sink in. In a time when many Indie filmmakers are going out and making some of the worst piece of garbage super hero films, it is refreshing that Eggers makes a visionary big budget film, with layers of meaning, and performances worthy of the actors. Good stuff.

Ivan Passer Born to Win 1971
Great blu ray presentation from Fun City Editions. Love this film.

Chad Stahelski John Wick: Chapter 2 2017
Essential 4K rewatch.

Rick Charnoski, Buddy Nichols The Tony Alva Story 2019

Justin Kurzel Nitram 2021
Caleb Landry Jones won best actor at Cannes for this film. No f'en joke.

Robert Eggers The Lighthouse 2019
Post The Northman, getting into some Eggers rewatches. My favorite of his films, an absurdist aesthetic masterpiece in the tradition of Samuel Beckett, David Lynch, Krzysztof Penderecki, Harold Pinter, and Maya Deren.

Alain Corneau Tous les matins du monde / All the Mornings of the World 1991
Essential film for fans of Jordi Savall, Marin Marais, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, and the French school of bass-viol composers in general.

Michelangelo Antonioni Blow-Up 1966
I could spend days watching the park scenes in this film on repeat, or even just having the sound going.

Dario Argento Profondo rosso / Deep Red 1975
David Hemmings double feature. Despite not being a fan of this film, the Goblin soundtrack is quite memorable and comedic accidental truck killing at the end is perfect. Looks beautiful in the Arrow 4k Dolby Vision release.

Sebastian Meise Great Freedom 2021
Prison film with Franz Rogowski.

Stacy Peralta Powell Peralta: The Bones Brigade Video Show 1984

Stacy Peralta Future Primitive: Bones Brigade Video II 1985
Both childhood favs.

Adam Leon Italian Studies 2021
non mi è piaciuto.

Various Television :

Reinaldo Marcus Green We Own This City 2022
Has moments of interest, but the story moving all around doesn't really work. Jamie Hector really stands out, great actor.

Antonio Campos The Staircase 2022
Couldn't finish.

Brian Watkins Outer Range 2022
Was not particularly enjoying this show, and then found the last two episodes, and especially the ending to be too problematic. "Too problematic" seems to be my words for a lot of recent television, where moments in the show are quite good (like the actors, or the music), but an overall feeling of disappointment creeps in.

Kogonada & Justin Chon Pachinko 2022
In general, wasn't crazy about the show, but Justin Chon's Episode 4 was pretty good, especially in the way The Cure’s In Between Days (played live by Luamel) playfully interacts with the end of the episode.

Alec Berg and Bill Hader Barry season three 2022
Entertaining. Agree with my screening partner when see says "I sure miss the acting school".

Saturday, April 2, 2022

a record of consumption, part five (being a new film journal)

Denis Villeneuve Polytechnique 2009
Based on the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, a mass murder where misogynist Marc Lépine murdered fourteen women, and wounded ten women and four men.

Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger The Red Shoes 1948
Have had The Red Shoes on LaserDisc, DVD, never on blu ray, and now on 4k, and not seen a Technicolor print, and this feels pretty close to that magic. Was really looking forward to seeing the reds on this, but the yellows, blues and blacks just unreal to see.....

Joachim Trier The Worst Person in the World 2021
Shot on 35mm (saw a nice hair in the gate). Wonderful film, read it was like a romcom made by Bergman. Good stuff.

Martin Campbell Casino Royale 2006

Adrian Lyne Unfaithful 2002
Diane Lane gets it on with a French bookseller in Soho when she gets bored of Richard Gere.

Adrian Lyne Deep Water 2022

William Lustig Maniac Cop 2 1990
Strange, received the 4K of Maniac Cop 2 and The Accused in the mail, both films with crazed performance by Leo Rossi.

Dario Argento Phenomena 1985
Jennifer Connelly Giallo style in 4K via Arrow Films.

Goliath Season 4
Goliath season 4 gets into bringing down Big Pharma. Dreamscapes and Chinatown San Francisco dominate the season. Great cast in addition to Billy Bob Thornton include: William Hurt, J.K. Simmons, Elias Koteas, Bruce Dern, Griffin Dunne, Robert Patrick, Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense), Jena Malone, Beth Grant (Donnie Darko, No Country for Old Men)

James L. Brooks Broadcast News 1987
Criterion Collection purchase as my wife and I are very much wanting to dig into the William Hurt filmography. Strange role for Hurt as sort of sham news broadcaster inspired by the "anchormania”of Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather.

John Landis An American Werewolf in London 1981
4K rewatch, via Arrow Films. Can't go wrong with a film with Jenny Agutter. Cinematography by Robert Paynter (Superman II & III, Trading Places, National Lampoon's European Vacation) which has a very pleasant feel especially when the travelers go out to "the moors". Score by Elmer Bernstein, with the song Blue Moon in various versions by Sam Cooke + Bobby Vinton + The Marcels, and Moondance by Van Morrison, plus Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Siân Heder CODA 2021
Very good "feel good" film. Dig the kid's King Crimson Discipline t-shirt. Great performances, especially by the father Troy Kotsur.

Jonathan Kaplan The Accused 1988
Essential late 80s film.

William Lusting Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence 1993
4k rewatch, as with other Maniac Cop films; co-produced and written by Larry Cohen. Robert Davi is great in these films, in MC 3 we find Robert Forster as a smooth talking self-as·sured Doctor Powell. Excellent score by Joel Goldsmith.

Joanna Hogg The Souvenir: Part II 2021
Very nice film!

Wes Craven The Hills Have Eyes 1977
Visually beautiful film, shot in the Mojave Desert by cinematography Eric Saarinen, who's father was the great architect Eero Saarinen, and grandfather Eliel Saarinen.

Jon Watts Spider-Man: Homecoming 2017
My friend described this as an homage to the more edgy 80s high school films. Good stuff.

Kathryn Bigelow Near Dark 1987
One of the best vampire films. Music by Tangerine Dream. Beautiful dark stuff, shot by Adam Greenberg (Terminator, Terminator 2, Ghost). Essential 80s film.

Billy Wilder Some Like It Hot 1959
Essential 4K rewatch.

John Huston The Maltese Falcon 1941
One only need meditate on the names involved: John Huston, Dashiell Hammett, Humphrey Bogart, Elisha Cook Jr., Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Ward Bond, Arthur Edeson (director of photography), Adolph Deutsch (music), Hal B. Wallis.

Chad Stahelski John Wick 2014
Essential 4K rewatch.

Richard Tuggle Tightrope 1984
Very strange Clint Eastwood film, prostitute obsessed detective in New Orleans after a serial killer.

Jane Campion The Water Diary 2006
Children reacting to drought.

Thomas Vinterberg Last Round 1993
Stunning early film by Vinterberg, starring Thomas Bo Larsen.

Thomas Vinterberg The Boy Who Walked Backwards 1994
Another beaut by Vinterberg.

Jesper Jargil The Purified 2003
Dogma 95 documentary.

Douglas Sirk Written on the Wind 1956
Manhattan to Texas with Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, and Dorothy Malone. Stunning photography by Russell Metty. Perhaps Sirk's best.

Jon Watts Spider-Man: Far From Home 2019
High school film with kids going on a cultural tour through Europe, with some trouble from water and fire.

Nicolas Winding Refn Pusher 1996
First Refn film, stunning performance by Kim Bodnia as Frank. Also early film for Mads Mikkelsen.

John Huston The Misfits 1961
Serious grown up movie with stunning performances by Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Eli Wallach, Montgomery Clift, and Thelma Ritter. Heavy themes. Screenplay by Arthur Miller, Cinematography Russell Metty whom also shot Written on the Wind a few films up.

Liu Chia-Liang The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter 1984
Brand new Arrow Films release of Shaw Brothers classic.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz All About Eve 1950
Eve = Evil.

Katt Shea Poison Ivy 1992

Michael Steinberg, Neal Jimenez The Waterdance 1992
Eric Stoltz, Wesley Snipes, and William Forsythe play paraplegics in a rehabilitation home. Pretty good film, Snipes and Forsythe are stunning. Grace Zabriskie plays Forsythe's mother.

Todd Haynes Far from Heaven 2002
Haynes on Sirk. Great film.

Peter Tscherkassky Train Again 2021
Noticed clips from Spirit of the Beehive and The Shining this time around. Great film.

Peter Tscherkassky Dream Work 2001
Great stuff.

Goliath Season 1 & 2
Watching these the last couple of weeks. Again good cast, with more Billy Bob Thornton and John Hurt plus Maria Bello, Molly Parker, Lou Diamond Phillips, Paul Williams and many more.

Grace Lee Barrier Device 2002
Short film on Criterion Channel with Sandra Oh.

Michael Anderson Logan’s Run 1976
Not a fan of the film but love Jenny Agutter & Richard Jordan in it.

Neil Burger Limitless 2011
I call this too fried on friday night to watch criterion....

Sunday, March 13, 2022

a record of consumption, part four (being a new film journal)

Otakar Vávra Witchhammer 1970

From Severin's boxset All The Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium Of Folk Horror. Czech film tells the story of the Northern Moravia witch trials of the 1670s. Interesting beginning, where a dirty bastard explains the origin of sin is to be found in women, over a montage of nude women in a bathhouse (Beauty comes from the Devil).

Delbert Mann Marty 1955

Perfect film.  What could be better than watching a movie of mostly failed dates.

Yorgos Lanthimos Nimic 2019

Alexandre Rockwell Sweet Thing 2020

Jane Campion An Angel at My Table 1990

Following up on my "watch ever Jane Campion film" idea this month, we now arrive at one of the heaviest An Angel at My Table, not an easy watch, but worth it to stick through it. A tad dull initially, but as we get more familiar with Janet Frame's trials and tribulations, the more engaging the film became.

Mauricio Corco Espinoza Yun  2020

Georgiy Kropachyov, Konstantin Ershov Viy 1967
Kåre Bergstrøm Lake of the Dead 1958
Viðar Víkingsson Tilbury 1987
Mario Andreacchio The Dreaming 1988
James Bogle Kadaicha 1988

From Severin's boxset All The Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium Of Folk Horror.

William Friedkin Cruising 1980

Arrow blu ray. Third time seeing this, besides it being just an overwhelming disorienting horror film, the use of music and sound design is brilliant throughout the film, having the music often times present but a little louder than it needs to be, adds to the disorienting quality to this film and gives the bizarre end that extra kick. Possibly the best Friedkin film?

Tsui Hark Once Upon a Time in China II & Once Upon a Time in China III 1992

Melvin Van Peebles Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song 1971

Opens with 12 year old Mario Van Peebles naked on top of and engaging with a naked prostitute. Crazy psychedelic stuff, highly creative, hard to watch, and truly avant'garde.

Melvin Van Peebles Sunlight 1957

Flickering black and white lushness, sometimes under exposed, sometimes over. Collision of music like Charles Ives collage of folk tunes, patriotic songs, and marching band music. Beautiful film.

Dee Rees Pariah 2011

Stunning film on the turbulent life of a young Brooklyn high school girl.

Alfred Hitchcock Rear Window 1954

Essential 4K rewatch. L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart) apartment acting as a camera recording the goings on in the facing apartment.

Alfred Hitchcock The Birds 1963

Wayne Wang Chan is Missing 1982

Wonderfully nonsensical San Francisco neo-noir. Our would be detective Jo (Wood Moy) interrogates a woman but we can't hear because her kid is playing music too loud in his bedroom. Keeps going from here with the private dick stuff..... like a bizarre version of the classic SF Noirs. Great film, a new favorite!

John Carpenter Halloween 1978

Essential 4K rewatch.

Josef von Sternberg The Devil Is a Woman 1935

From Indicator's boxset Marlene Dietrich & Josef Von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935. Hadn't watch Josef von Sternberg's films in a dog's age.

Ridley Scott The Martian 2015

Essential 4k rewatch.

Tod Browning Dracula 1931
James Whale The Invisible Man 1933
George Waggner The Wolf Man 1941

Essential 4K rewatch. From the Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection boxset.

Sydney Pollack Three Days of the Condor 1975

Hard to not be charmed by Pollack's take on the 70s paranoia aka Klute, Parallax View and All the President's Men.

Richard Fleischer Mr. Majestyk 1974

Watched the Kino blu ray. Favorite Bronson film sitting up there with Once Upon a Time in the West and Death Wish.

Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz Messiah of Evil 1973

Josef von Sternberg The Scarlet Empress 1934
Josef von Sternberg Shanghai Express 1932

From Indicator's boxset Marlene Dietrich & Josef Von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935.

Kathryn Bigelow Point Break 1991

My wife and I have watched this once a year since we met, never gets old. Still picking up strange expressions from Gary Busey (Pappas) on each viewing.

Peter Yates The Friends of Eddie Coyle 1973

Via Criterion. Essential cinema.

Josef von Sternberg Dishonored 1931

Christopher Nolan Batman Begins 2005

Essential 4K rewatch.

Tsai Ming-liang Stray Dogs 2013

On a Tsai Ming-liang kick after his recent film. Had not seen this one... jeez what a film. Slow beautiful stuff. Last shot goes on and on and on.... way after you expect the credits to come... but what a great shot, hard to find anything but the sublime in it. As a young man watching these films, I thought Tsai Ming-liang's main actor Lee Kang-sheng was sort of an eccentric screen presence, that was always a pleasure to watch, but over the last few months rewatching these films, his performances are really just so stunning you could count him up there with Gena Rowlands and John Cazale in terms of the skill as an actor he conveys to the audience... in Stray Dogs there is a cabbage eating emotional scene so powerful it is up there in top 10 screen performance. Lee Kang-sheng really can just do anything on screen.

Hirokazu Kore-eda The Truth 2019

Tsai Ming-liang Journey to the West 2014

Slow film focused on performances by Lee Kang-sheng and Denis Lavant. Tsai Ming-liang likes to sometimes put his actors through an endurance test, doing something physical or emotional (or both) that is clearly not easy for the actor. Here we have Lavant staring into the lens for what seems like forever and Lee Kang-sheng playing a Buddhist monk traversing so slowly through Marseilles it is like a minute a footstep. If not for a script, the film would be perhaps more of a filmed performance, but somehow a clear narrative sinks in and gives some complexity to the film. A shot where Lee Kang-sheng walks down some steps with dust from the space creating magical light flickers was truly a sublime event, with passers by mystified by his actions. The level of precision and focus the actor had to maneuver so slowly down the stairs boggles the mind. Even later as he traverses an alley, Denis Lavant attempts to imitate him and go slow through time and space, and really bringing attention to the virtuosity present in what we are seeing. Often a shot is happening for some time and one gets lost in the beauty, and finally the monk enters the scene both expected and unexpected. Amazing film, one of Tsai Ming-liang's best.

Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight 2008

Part II with Heath Ledger. Another masterclass in acting, this time with Mr. Ledger, definitely not an overrated performance.

Steven Spielberg Duel 1971

ABC Movie of the Week. Story and screenplay by Richard Matheson (I Am Legend), directorial debut of Spielberg. Sort of loser businessman Dennis Weaver drives across the California desert getting totally f*cked with by a deranged truck driver. Reminds me of the great line from David Lynch's Twin Peaks: The Return: "It's a world of truck drivers".

Stephen Cone Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party 2015 & Princess Cyd 2017

Julia Ducournau Raw 2016

Hard to watch! No messing around. Laurent Lucas from With a Friend Like Harry... (2000) plays the father.

Hal Ashby 8 Million Ways to Die 1986

Good vibe to this film.

Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight Rises 2012

4K rewatch, had only seen this once at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. Not as good as first two, but worth watching. Good cast besides regular crew: Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Mendelsohn, Matthew Modine, Aidan Gillen.

Sergio Leone The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1966

Essential 4K rewatch.

Edward Owens Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts 1968

Peter Tscherkassky Train Again 2021

Kurt Kren inspired train flicker film. Sound by Dirk Schaefer.

Jackie Chan Police Story 1985

Josef von Sternberg Blonde Venus 1932

From Indicator's boxset Marlene Dietrich & Josef Von Sternberg at Paramount 1930-1935. Previously my favorite von Sternberg film, still resonates very strongly.

Joseph Ellison The Burning aka Don’t Go in the House 1979

Arrow blu ray release, extended cut with original title The Burning. One tough film, the scene where the killer goes into a clothing store to buy a disco outfit and interacts with the sales clerk who says "I think it's a dynamite outfit" is pretty amazing. The initial burning scene with nudity is quite disturbing. Second time seeing this film and really appreciate it's timbre, underrated horror film. Stars Dan Grimaldi, whom is a recognizable character in The Sopranos. Shot at the Strauss Mansion Museum in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. On the blu ray, there is are two interviews with Joseph Ellison presenting him as an articulate artist with a strong aesthetic, surprised he didn't have a bigger career, he only made one other film Joey.

Calum Waddell, Jim Kunz Grindhouse All-Stars: Notes from the Sleaze-Cinema Underground 2017

Joanna Hogg The Souvenir 2019

Joseph Ellison The Burning aka Don’t Go in the House 1979

Watched with commentary by Stephen Thrower on disc 2 and by Joseph Ellison and producer Ellen Hammill on disc 1.

John Woo Hard Target 1993

Essential 4K rewatch. Some of the best action sequences ever filmed, especially the explosive end in the warehouse of antiquated Mardi Gras floats and statues. Kino discs has very informative extras like interviews with Yancy Butler, John Woo, and Lance Herniksen.

Charlotte Stoudt Pieces of Her 2022

Toni Collette, Bella Heathcote, David Wenham (LOTR and Top of the Lake), and Gil Birmingham (Hell or High Water, Wind River). Good acting, script is off.

John Carpenter Prince of Darkness 1987

Essential 4K rewatch.

Wayne Wang The Joy Luck Club 1993

Based on the novel by Amy Tan, four women play mahjong in San Francisco, and their various family histories are explained through flashbacks.

Sergio Corbucci Django 1966

John Carpenter They Live 1988

Essential 4K rewatch.

Daniel Petrie Lifeguard 1976

Was not familiar with this film, heard about it from the recent WTF podcast with Sam Elliott. Was a bit put off by his derogatory remarks on The Power of the Dog film, especially since I see Tombstone as nothing but a "piece of shit" "Chippendales western", but still hard to dislike the great actor who has been in a few good films like Road House and The Big Lebowski. Lifeguard could be added to the list of solid Elliott films, def has that 70s sleaze which is often great but can sometimes sink into something a little more slimy than you are comfortable with, which it does a bit in Lifeguard in the way women are presented, but overall the film has a good vibe and he is quite excellent in it.

Taylor Hackford An Officer and a Gentleman 1982

Beautiful film with love story between Richard Gere and Debra Winger, and more tragic one between David Keith and Lisa Blount (from Carpenter's Prince of Darkness). Solid performances by Louis Gossett Jr., Robert Loggia, and Grace Zabriskie! So used to seeing Zabriskie in the strange Lynch roles, it was a little jarring to see her in a more straight role. Strange score by the master Jack Nitzsche in which he mainly abstracts the melody from Up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes.

Bent Hamer Factotum 2005

Very good film with Matt Dillon as Charles Bukowski’s alter ego, Henry Chinaski. Alcoholism, degenerate gambling, inability to keep a job, and bad relationships. Hard to get that wonderful Bukowski quote from Sideways out of my mind: "Half my life is over, and I have nothing to show for it. I'm a thumbprint on the window of a skyscraper. I'm a smudge of excrement on a tissue surging out to sea with a million tons of raw sewage." Lily Taylor and Marisa Tomei also really wonderful in the film.

John Sturges The Great Escape 1963

4K via Kino.

Sam Raimi The Evil Dead 1981 & The Evil Dead II 1987

Essential 4K rewatches. Had never watched these films back to back, like a jazz song with 2 interpretations by the same artist. Joel Coen assisted in editing the first film. Blood is really stunning in 4k Dolby Vision!

Lawrence Kasdan Body Heat 1981

Rest In Peace Mr. William Hurt whom passed away today at age 71. One of the best actors of the 80s and 90s, even in films that are not amazing, he would elevate them to great heights. Going to spend the next few weeks savoring his filmography. Starting with one of the best, the South Florida neo-noir with almost unconfortable nudity, sweat flowing, greasy hair, great lines; just a perfect film, which is certainly very much elevated with Mr. Hurt's presence.

David Cronenberg A History of Violence 2005

William Hurt as the memorable gangster Richie Cusack with the strangely uncomfortable mustacheless goatee. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.