Saturday, January 19, 2019

plato's cave eighty (being a film journal)

1.12.2019
Steven Soderbergh - The Limey - 1999
Third viewing. Transitional film from the 90s to the 2000s. Two decades that have a very distinct feel, this film is in the middle somewheres. Structurally the editing is a little heavy handed especially in the beginning, calms a bit as the film goes along. With these attempts to be unique mellowed out, the film would be much stronger, the damn dialogue alone is just wonderful. Terence Stamp and Luis Guzmán excel in fine actorshippe!

1.12.2019 - 1.18.2019
Amy Sherman-Palladino - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season one - 2017
Rachel Brosnahan is a lovely actress. The head forward quick talking bit gets to be too much but certainly the series is well put together with some fine actorshippe.

1.13.2018
Andrew Bujalski - Support The Girls - 2018
Catching up on some lesser know 2018 films. This one had some moments.

Bo Burnham - Eight Grade - 2018
The actress in this film has some screen magic.

1.14.2018
Ron Shelton - White Men Can't Jump - 1992
Had not seen this film which is not without interest. Hard to imagine being able to find a parking place with such ease in Venice Beach... the sex scenes lack magic.

Craig Gillespie - I, Tonya - 2017
Second time seeing this. Margot Robbie is stunning here, as are the skating sequences.

1.15.2019
Peter Fonda - The Hired Hand - 1971
Second time seeing this, don't know the film that intimately but the soundtrack by Bruce Langhorne I have listened to a thousand times, a truly profound piece of music. Always a pleasure to see the late great Warren Oates. Some slightly dated stylistic elements but they are ultimately pleasant to look at. Again with The Limey, perhaps the film would be more successful without some of these attempts to be novel.

Bing Liu - Minding the Gap - 2018
A documentary about riding skateboards and the abuse of women and children, a heavy film. Bing Liu is a talented young man.

Boots Riley - Sorry to Bother You - 2018
A film hovering around the Bay Area, but instead of the typical San Francisco it is Oakland. My wife said it seemed like a contemporary Terry Gilliam film which is quite accurate.

1.16.2019
Jim Cummings - Thunder Road - 2018
An uncomfortable performance. Cummings is certainly a talented guy, but it was hard to get totally into this film which in a way takes place within the tradition of 70s cinema, a period much obsessed over on this website.

1.17.2019
Baran bo Odar - Sleepless - 2017
Mainly watched this as Jamie Foxx was in it, and I dig his style.  Scoot McNairy plays a strange heavy, use to seeing his as the greasy punk in Killing Them Softly.

Don Siegel - Two Mules for Sister Sara - 1970
Revisiting a favorite western of mine. Just pure pleasure to see the film. Don Siegel was just one hell of a great director.

1.18.2019
Paul Dano - Wildlife - 2018
This is a really lovely film by Mr. Dano. Reminded me a bit of Altman, where screen business is often going on outside of the view of the spectator, but here this happens in a very quiet sort of way, the viewpoint of the camera is often quite provocatively awkward. This awkwardness reminded me very much of the stories of Raymond Carver. I have not read Richard Ford but would very much like to after seeing this film. The young man Ed Oxenbould is stunning, not just to watch him but his delivery of lines and the silence he brings. The cuckoldry in this film is quite difficult to watch, like when Jake Gyllenhaal asks Carey Mulligan if she "is stepping out", but more so imagining the child having to deal with the moment he realizes that his father has become a cuckold. I would definitely watch this film many more times.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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

12.24.2018
Stanley Kubrick - 2001: A Space Odyssey - 1968
Watched the new 4k disc in an amazing home theater with 5.1 and Sony 4k projector. Volume to the max.

12.26.2018
Denis Villeneuve - Blade Runner 2049 - 2017
Again the new 4k disc with some heavy as hell bass.

12.27.2018
The Brothers Coen - The Big Lebowski - 1998
Another rewatch this year of this film.

12.29.2018
Andrei Tarkovsky - Andrei Rublev - 1966
Finally watched the Criterion blu-ray, a favorite from my youth. One of Tarkovsky's best. Endlessly enjoyable music by Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov. A 10/10 or maybe 11/10 rating. The intro hot air balloon sequence never ceases to amaze.

Tamara Jenkins - Private Life - 2018
Ok film, always enjoy watching Paul Giamatti.

12.30.2018
John McTiernan - Die Hard - 1988
A rewatch of this Christmas in July classic.

1.2.2019
Alfonso Cuarón - Roma - 2018
Second time seeing this brilliant film. My favourite of 2018 along with First Reformed. The near drowning shot (above) is not only an emotional roller coaster but you watch trying to figure out how the hell he shot it. Cuarón said in an interview they used a type of underwater ramp to assist but it still remains a mystery of a shot.

1.3.2019
Susanne Bier - Bird Box - 2018
Not a bad film for a lover of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic films.


1.4.2018
Ari Aster - Hereditary - 2018
Second time seeing this film, I liked it better the second time. I don't know how intentional some of this is, but I find the film pretty humorous, like when the young girl has her head removed (images above). I found myself laughing pretty hard. Some great acting in this film and Colin Stetson's score is top notch.

1.5.2018
Christopher McQuarrie - Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation - 2015
I went about MI wrong and saw the most recent one first and then one through five after the fact. I basically couldn't watch the first two and found the last three to be the best in the series. The most recent one is beyond a doubt the best one for this viewer, this one starts a bit slow but gets pretty good starting with the motorcycle chase in Morocco. McQuarrie really can get the blood going.

Alex Garland - Annihilation - 2018
Second time seeing this. Not totally into Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, nor Oscar Isaac in this film but it does have some really lovely moments and beautiful psychedelic visuals. The soundtrack really grew on me this time, starting with British Folk inspired guitar and moving into some heavy Jóhann Jóhannsson like melodies.

1.6.2018
Henry King - The Bravados - 1958
Getting more deeply into re-examining the Univers du Western, the second time seeing this Gregory Peck film. Some truly stunning photography with deep deep reds and blacks by Leon Shamroy. Great film.

1.7.2018
George Stevens - Shane - 1953
Second or third time seeing this Alan Ladd film. I forgot that Ben Johnson was in it, nice to see him play a sort of heavy. Jean Arthur hams it up a bit as does Van Heflin, but Ladd (at around 40 years old) gives a really subtle and strong performance, up there with Clift or Dean. He is a very underrated actor, one would hear his name in SF often associated with films at the festival but not much besides that.

1.8.2018
Valeska Grisebach - Western - 2017
This is just one of those great films. I had heard about it recently and from bits of description, seemed like my kind of film. I decided after watching to not really read about it as I really felt a strong bond intellectually and aesthetically to it and didn't want some just out of college upstart's words to tell me how to feel about it.  This film is one of those contemporary films that can exist somewhere where words are not necessary. I remember studying with Ernie Gehr and he would constantly talk about "gut reactions" to works being more important to him than using text as a supplement. He and I had similar taste in books and when I brought a book to class he said he had purchased it as well and just started the process of looking at the images. How reading the text would have to wait until the images had been consumed. This film takes place in this great area of non-verbal understanding. At first our German hero (or non hero) struggles to communicate with the townsfolk in rural Bulgaria. He slowly comes to some sort of communication with some of them in a almost non verbal way, and then the communication appears to be not as strong as the film progresses. He is a great bullshitter our hero, a fellow not likable in many ways but truly a pleasure to watch. Sandwiched in between many other westerns I have been watching, the title goes well with the atmosphere I have set up in my mind lately, yet it is a stretch to call it a "vestin" as a German might say, yet in a way it has many common themes that run through the genre.

Felix van Groeningen - Beautiful Boy - 2018
Not a film I took a liking to but really was enjoying the Marin landscapes.

1.9.2019
Don Siegel - The Shootist - 1976
Third time or so seeing this. Initially saw as a young man and had a lot of trouble with it, maybe the aging (anti) hero part of it didn't appeal to me but I think more specifically the made for television feel of the film. A second viewing I fell in love. Reminds me of when I was a kid and all these great films were on AMC and you could watch multiple times and see films only your grandparents had heard of. This time I enjoyed it even more, such a strong performance by Wayne and Bacall, heavy subject matter. The style of this film is very striking, with quite raw sound and plain Jane aesthetics.

Lucrecia Martel - Zama - 2017
A film not without interest, subtly obscure NYRB narrative with a very intriguing soundtrack/sound design.

1.10.2019
John Sturges - Joe Kidd - 1972
Clint Eastwood western shot by Bruce Surtees. Good deep reds and darkness from the western master cinematographer who shot The Beguiled, Play Misty for Me, Dirty Harry, The Outfit, Night Moves, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Shootist, Escape from Alcatraz and some well know 80s films.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

rotating in the year of our lord 2018 from ingenting kollektiva




















M a t t h e w  S w i e z y n s k i :

Most listened to recordings of 2018

Autechre NTS Sessions
Gas Rausch
Toshiya Tsunoda / Taku Unami Wovenland
Peter Brötzmann / Juhani Aaltonen / Peter Kowald / Edward Vesala Hot Lotta

Reissues exploring sublime velocity

The Band Music From Big Pink
Henning Christiansen Stone-song
Alice Coltrane Lord Of Lords
Alvin Curran  Canti E Vedute Del Giardino Magnetico (Songs And Views From The Magnetic Garden)
Eric Demarsan Le Cercle Rouge
Terry Fox Audio Works
Jóhann Jóhannsson Englabörn & Variations
Takehisa Kosugi Catch-Wave
Steve Lacy, Yuji Takahashi, Takehisa Kosugi Distant Voices
Hans Otte Das Buch Der Klänge / The Book Of Sounds
Terry Riley Music For The Gift
Michael Snow The Last LP: Unique Last Recordings Of The Music Of Ancient Cultures
Spacemen 3 Dreamweapon

New recordings obtaining most original modes of stasis

Cristián Alvear & Taku Sugimoto H
The Beatles The Beatles (White Album) Super Deluxe Edition
Henning Christiansen PPHC
Henning Christiansen Den Røde Skov
Bruno Duplant - Taku Sugimoto / Suidobashi Chamber Ensemble Chamber And Field Works (2015-2017)
Bob Dylan More Blood, More Tracks (The Bootleg Series Vol. 14)
Adrian Dziewanski The Trail Loops Back
Jürg Frey & Magnus Granberg Ensemble Grizzana - Early To Late
Jóhann Jóhannsson Mandy
Low Double Negative
Alvin Lucier Illuminated by the Moon
Colin Andrew Sheffield Repair Me Now
Jakob Ullmann Müntzers Stern Solo II
Juhani Aaltonen, Esa Helasvuo, Teppo Hauta-aho, Edward Vesala Jazz Liisa 17
Edward Vesala Ensemble Jazz Liisa 18
Iannis Xenakis Persepolis

To obtain visual clarity

Alfonso Cuarón Roma
Paul Schrader First Reformed

Lee Chang-dong Burning
Alex Garland Annihilation
Debra Granik Leave No Trace
Andrew Haigh Lean on Pete
Alice Rohrwacher Lazzaro felice
Derek Simonds The Sinner season 2
Chloé Zhao The Rider
Ari Aster Hereditary
Lynne Ramsay You Were Never Really Here



T a r r l  L i g h t o w l e r :

Happy New Ears: John Cage
Hear the new sounds that kept me alive in 2018:

Autechre:  NTS Sessions 1-4
Low:  Double Negative
Howlround:  The Debatable Lands

Black Truffle:

Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, James Rushford: Face Time
Alvin Lucier:  So You...(Hermes, Orpheus, Eurydice)
Alvin Lucier:  Illuminated by the Moon
Massimo Toniutti:  IL Museo Selvatico
Eiko Ishibashi and Darin Gray:  Ichida
Joe Talia:  Tint
John Duncan:  Klaar

John Duncan:  Riot
John Duncan:  Organic
Toshiya Tsunoda, Taku Unami:  Wovenland

Room 40:

Scanner:  Mass Observation (Expanded)
Toshimaru Nakamura:  Re-Verbed
Merzbow:  MONOAkuma

Merzbow:  Noisembryo
Hilde Marie Holsen:  Lazuli
Eliane Radigue:  Oeuvres Electroniques

Penultimate Press:

Francis Plagne:  Moss Trumpet
Arek Gulbenkoglu:  A Gift Like A Hollow Vessel
Mark Harwood and MP Hopkins:  Disfigured With Abbreviations
Henning Christiansen:  PPHC (5 x Cassette box set)
Henning Christiansen:  Stone-song
Henning Christiansen:  Den Rode Skov
Henning Christiansen:  The Executioner
Henning Christiansen: Hesteofringen
Henning Christiansen:  Schafe Statt Geigen / "Verena" Vogelzymphon

Iannis Xenakis:  Persepolis
Jurg Frey and Magnus Granberg:  Early To Late
Jakob Ullmann:  Muntzers Stern
Anne Guthrie:  Brass Orchids
Lucy Railton:  Paradise 94
Jim O'Rourke:  Sleep Like It's Winter
Eiko Ishibashi:  The Dream My Bones Dream
Joe McPhee:  Nation Time
Mary Jane Leach:  (f)lute songs
Terry Riley:  Music For the Gift
Alvin Curran: Canti E Vedute Del Gisrdino Magnetico
Chris Watson:  Locations, Processed
Hans Otte:  The Book of Sounds
Roland Kayn:  Simultan
Francois Bayle:  Tremblements
Catherine Christer Hennix:  Selected Early Keyboard Works
Joe Jones:  Solar Music Tent
Terry Fox:  Audioworks
Ustad Zia Mohiuhhin Dagar:  Ragas Abhogi and Raga Yaman
Ragnar Johnson:  Crying Bamboos
Taj Mahal Travellers:  August 1974
Takehisa Kosugi:  Catch Wave
Philip Jeck:  Vinyl Coda I-IV
Bob Dylan:  More Blood More Tracks
Fire!:  The Hands
Arve Henriksen:  The Heights of the Reeds
Supersilent:  14
Jon Hassell:  Listening To Pictures
The Necks:  Body
Brotzmann, Aaltonen, Kowald, Vesala:  Hot Latta
International Harvester:  Remains

5.1 (Surround Sound) music:

Miles Davis:  Bitches Brew
Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Beatles:  The White Album Super Deluxe Edition
John Lennon:  Imagine the Ultimate Collection
Joan LaBarbara:  the early immersive music
Iannis Xenakis:  Le Legende d'Eer
King Crimson:  In the Court of the Crimson King
King Crimson:  In the Wake of Poseidon
King Crimson:  Lizard
King Crimson:  Islands
King Crimson:  Larks' Toungues in Aspic
King Crimson:  Starless and Bible Black
King Crimson:  Red
Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon
Suzanne Ciani:  Live Quadraphonic
Lou Reed:  Metal Machine Music
Black Sabbath:  Paranoid
Robert Hampson:  Repercussions
The Flaming Lips:  Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
The Talking Heads:  Remain in Light

Soundtracks:

Matthew Swiezynski:  The One Who Modifies Time and Light
Ben Salisbury:  Annihilation
Colin Stetson:  Hereditary
Johann Johannsson:  Mandy
Jonny Greenwood:  You Were Never Really Here
Thom Yorke:  Suspiria
David Shire:  The Conversation
Eric Demarsan:  Le Cercle Rouge

(I may be forgetting something..."For I am a bear of very little brain...")

Saturday, December 22, 2018

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

12.12.2018
Alan Clarke - The Firm - 1988
In 1994 the great filmmaker/professor Mark Lapore insisted I see the Alan Clarke retrospective at the MFA. I did and I saw the light. This one in particular left a strong impression. For years I got sick of telling people to see this great film with Gary Oldman and have them say "you mean Tom Cruise". Perfect film and beautifully put together, Clarke was a truly gifted artist. Strange but I couldn't find the film on imdb.

12.13.2018
Sydney Pollack - The Firm - 1993
Speaking of which, I watched the Cruise film too. Had not seen since it came out and I then honestly hated it. It actually is not a bad film, good white knuckle kind of ride. Gene Hackman is as always spectacular. Not sure if I would watch again or think about it much.

12.16.2018
David Lynch - The Straight Story - 1999
Another film I had not seen since it came out, in the movie theater I believe. This is one of Lynch's best films, so subtle for him yet full of his signature moves for the true initiates of his work. The bar scene (image above) is some really powerful and emotional stuff. Richard Farnsworth was quite the heavy actor.

Francis Ford Coppola - The Godfather - 1972
Of the handful of VHS tapes I had in high school, The Godfather One and Two were in there and were often viddied on our early 1990s shite television. Over the years I have watched this every five years or so and I was up for a screening, plus my wife had yet to see it. As usual "The Prince of Darkness" floats through my mind the entire screening.

12.17.2018
Steven Knight - Locke - 2013
A little boring of a film but worth seeing for the Tom Hardy performance. Great photography as well.

12.18.2018
Anthony Mann - The Far Country - 1954
I use to have the James Stewart: The Western Collection boxset and would watch the Mann films pretty frequently. Great films to watch over and over. William H. Daniels cinematography and Walt Brennan, John McIntire, Jay C. Flippen, Harry Morgan, and Jack Elam doing their business. Nothing better.

12.19.2018
Anthony Mann - Bend of the River - 1952
Another gem of a Mann/Stewart western. Arthur Kennedy is a strange actor, their buddy business is a bit uncomfortable but adds to the greatness of the film. Kennedy often plays a sob or morally corrupt person. Good stuff.

12.20.2018
Robert Altman - Gosford Park - 2001
Had only seen this once when it came out. Very lovely film, a little hard to follow which is a bit problematic. One of those films you have to watch often (like Miller's Crossing) to have the details make sense. I am use to Altman's dialogue being obscured and having multiple viewings bring the meanings to the foreground but here I am not sure how well it works as it is more names thrown at you rather than sound or words. Surely one of those films to see more than once with a solid cast.

12.21.2018
Michael Cimino - The Sunchaser - 1996
A Cimino film I hadn't seen. Only made it 20 minutes through, a bit of a dog with some bad music.

Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity - 2013
Second time seeing this but first time on a big screen. The photography by Emmanuel Lubezki is unreal, the first long shot your jaw hurts from hitting the floor so hard. Not Cuarón's best film but surely a great once to watch with much of the music being rather stunning. Ending could be modified in my opinion but still a film to watch more than once.

Michael Cimino - The Deer Hunter - 1978
Vilmos Zsigmond as cinematographer in Cimino's great film staring the late and goddamn great John Cazale along with Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, John Savage, Christopher Walken, and George Dzundza. Cazale had that true screen magic. Perfect film that one can watch many times over the years. My father served in the Marines in Vietnam, this film he showed me when I was practically in diapers. 

12.22.2018
Peter Farrelly - Green Book - 2018
Double feature with this and The Favourite. This film maybe was a bit light but I really enjoyed it and was ready to watch again when it ended. Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini are some of my favorite actors. They did a great job, beautiful film to look at as well.

Yorgos Lanthimos - The Favourite - 2018
Saw this in the theater today. I have seen most of Mr. Lanthimos' films, was looking forward to it. The trio of actors brings this film together quite nicely, especially love Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz. My one major problem with this film was the way it was shot. The wide angle lens panning was just so ugly to me visually, I had trouble getting past it. Even many of the static shots just looked unappealing.  I understand wanting to show off the architecture/interiors but the look it gave the film felt like kitsch to me. Also it just was too "Barry Lyndon", like he made an ersatz version of the great film. Not without interest though.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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

12.6.2018
Ariel Vromen - The Iceman - 2013
Second time seeing this, I enjoy the Michael Shannon performance.

Ben Affleck - Gone Baby Gone - 2007
Have seen this a couple of times, mostly a pretty good film.

12.7.2018
Terrence Malik - The Thin Red Line - 1998
My favorite Malik film, have seen this many times over the years. Purchased bluray and christened our new screening room with a viewing. Photography by John Toll and music by Hans Zimmer, Charles Ives (The Unanswered Question), Gabriel Fauré, Arsenije Jovanovic, Arvo Pärt, and Francesco Lupica. I hadn't thought of the very nice CD of Jovanovic's work which I plan to listen to this week.  Great soundtrack! I include an image of Elias Koteas as he just one hell of a great actor.

12.8.2018
Andrey Zvyagintsev - Loveless - 2017
From the director of The Return from 2003. The film starts with some breathtaking winter photography by Mikhail Krichman, and a window shot not unlike Josef Sudek. The film is just beautiful to watch. The plot and characters were a bit grating on me, a couple of Russian yuppies neglect their kid and he runs away or is taken. So many melon farmers like this in the world I find I don't want to watch movies about them, but definitely worth watching as Zvyagintsev is a serious filmmaker.

12.9.2018
Mike Judge - Office Space - 1999
Saw this was streamable and decided to give it a go as I was very tired and wanted something with a bit of humor. Stephen Root makes this film worth rewatching.

12.10.2018
Ted Post - Hang 'Em High - 1968
Early Western with Clint Eastwood. I use to watch Westerns quite often but have not as much in the last few years, so going through some of the lesser known classics. This one is problematic but has some good moments, Eastwood is dirty sob as he is in so many films, a pleasure to watch.

12.11.2018
Alfonso Cuarón - Roma - 2018
Watched this in the theater with Atmos sound. Have never seen a film with sound this overwhelmingly present in a theater, sound that washes all over you like a fog. The film transcends almost all contemporary films of the last 30 years and what they have to offer with the exception of Béla Tarr and a couple of Terrence Malik films.  Of course there are contemporary art house films but jeez louise many are like going to the dentist or too steeped in the Tarkovsky/Bresson/Ozu tradition to take seriously, this one transcends time and space throughout. I find many current arthouse films (one could use Loveless above as an example) have moments but you really need to make excuses for more than half of the film to talk about it with any kind of enthusiasm. Seeing Roma reminded me of my younger days seeing The Seven Samurai or Bergman Films or Andrei Rublev on the big screen for the first time. The shock of it, the pure pleasure. 100% and no fucking around. You get older and these shocks are less frequent.

For this viewer, there was a strong connection with the Structuralist filmmakers of the 60s and 70s like Michael Snow, Ernie Gehr, Malcolm Le Grice, Chris Welsby etc, and also with filmmakers deeply moved by these films whom moved into a more narrative space like Chantal Akerman. The artifice of the film itself is overwhelmingly a character in Roma, the movement of the camera and the relationship of architecture and people to the lens and therefore to the screen and how the viewer perceives the screen. One can say artifice as film is magic and not reality. Gehr had once said there was a desire for the Structuralists to remove the person, like how landscape painters had, yet the person does creep into many of their films like Snow's <-->Back and Forth. These filmmakers really played with sound in interesting ways as well which is what made me first think of them. An example in Roma is in the ending credits where the camera looks up towards the sky.  A few airplanes fly overhead (a big theme in this film). The sound is mostly field-recording based with some flute sounds here and there.  The first few planes go over and they give no sound, and then the last one goes past and we finally hear the familiar roar. Such a delicate touch, these delicacies occurs over and over in the film. Long takes with people floating by the lens. Early in we have a series of camera pans on the second floor of his childhood house followed by a cut where the camera is suddenly on the first floor and the pan continues with no effort or shock. Deeply poetic. Oftentimes the camera is a potential observer, an absent one or a loving one. Is the camera merely observing or possibly it is Cuarón looking back to his memories with some form of observation we all dream we could have. This dream/memory state gives Cuarón something rare in the history of cinema and this film such a force.

Along with First Reformed, this is the best film of the year. Roma maybe the best of the decade.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

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

11.25.2018
Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester By The Sea - 2016
About the fourth time seeing this. Great film with some spot on actorshippe. Really like the palette of the film as well, an abundance of oceanic blues.



11.26.2018
Coen Brothers - The Big Lebowski - 1998
Have seen many times. Needed an old friend to take the pain away after packing, moving, and unpacking. This and a bit of wine. Pictured above is from the mesmerizing performance by Jack Kehler, a key scene in the film. Reminds me of second-hand descriptions of Jack Smith performances I heard back in college. The art made ridiculous in this film is refreshing.

11.29.2018
John Boorman - Excalibur - 1981
Early 80s films have often times been analyzed here for their magical je ne sais quoi. Another good one here, a little silly at times but visually beautiful and a great cast which includes Helen Mirren, Gabriel Byrne, Patrick Stewart, and Liam Neeson & Ciarán Hinds in small roles. Photography by Alex Thomson is lovely. I don't know how I could have not seen this as a kid.

11.30.2018
David Gordon Green - Joe - 2013
Very nice David Gordon Green film with some heavy actorshippe by Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan. Some nasty sons of bitches in this film as well, makes you want to loose some spittle. Potentially his best film to date.

12.1.2018
Chang-dong Lee - Burning - 2018
Saw Mr. Chang-dong Lee's new film in the theater, the film is getting much praise and it is a hell of a film with a fucked up ending. Would have to see again to be more articulate about it but I really enjoyed the main actor's performance.


12.2.2018
Alice Rohrwacher - Lazzaro felice - 2018
Very much in the tradition of Ermanno Olmi's films. Great film, beautifully shot, sort of absurdity mixed with Italian realism. Second above image could have come from Erice's The Dream Of Light (The Quince Tree Of The Sun).



The Brothers Coen - Blood Simple - 1984
First film by The Brothers Coen. I have seen this many times over the years, my favorite part is M. Emmet Walsh. Such a sleaze in it, reminds me a bit of Peter Boyle in Paul Schrader's Hardcore. After having watched their films many times over the years, I noticed many connections between films that are in a way overly simplistic but potentially well thought out and sophisticated. Like in this film there is the connection with The Big Lebowski with the private dick and his little blue Volkswagen Bug. In The Big Lebowski you have Peter Stormare's Lingonberry pancakes and in Fargo his repetion of "pancakes house". Steve Buscemi mentions many times in The Big Lebowski In-N-Out Burgers and in Fargo he talks about the in and out with his call girl.

12.3.2018
John Hillcoat - The Proposition - 2005
I saw this when it came out and really took a strong dislike to it, although I loved the soundtrack (and of course the actors etc). I only remembered the look of it and the couple shots with high speed equus ian travel (not sure if that is a word) with cranked guitar and noise bursts. This second time I tolerated the film but didn't come to enjoy it like I was hoping. Not a bad film though, just possibly too much of a hodgepodge story or lacking some dynamite? Still loved the equus bit. Great acting too and the film looks fantastic.

The Brothers Coen - A Serious Man - 2009
Was listening to a podcast on the 5 best Brothers Coen films relating to the recent Adam Nayman book. My wife and I got to thinking about our favorites? Mr. Nayman said A Serious Man which I would potentially agree with. One reason being the concentration on Jewish culture which is unique for them. Also the more than usual subtle humor. This and The Man That Wasn't There are two strong contenders for best of films by them outside of the more obvious Fargo and The Big Lebowski. This film I have watched about 4 times so far, not as many as some of their others but the joys of watching a film over and over are starting to happen for me. One part I really enjoy is Richard Kind as Brother Arthur and his "just a minute"... never gets old. I hadn't realized the first few times just how many times he says that, often barely audible in the background overlapping other conversations.

12.4.2018
Boris Sagal - Omega Man - 1971
Childhood film rewatch. I like this film when he is alone but it gets a little dull when the other humans appear. Charlton Heston is a very intriguing actor, the more films I see with him as an adult the more I get to like his aura in movies.

12.5.2018
The Brothers Coen - No Country for Old Men - 2007
Another potential "best" Brothers Coen film. Have seen it around 20 times or more. I went with my mother to Marfa for a week just a year or so after this came out, more to see all the Judd works than because of my interest in film, but having seen this and There Will be Blood many times, and a recent rewatching of another great one Giant, one realizes what a great place it is visually in cinema. Even an idiot could point a camera at a bunch of dirt and get a good image around Marfa, some kind of magic there. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is another heavy film shot there.