Thursday, January 24, 2019

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

Paul Schrader - Affliction - 1997
Fourth time or so watching this. Quite a film, from time to time a little dated but it has quite a stunning second half, really a beautiful film. Nolte is unreal, plays a superb traffic cop.

eXistenZ + Swingers
Two films I had seen in my youth, and this time had to turn them both off as they were just unwatchable. The former because the stupid video game culture nonsense, and the latter because the child actors made me disgorge in my mouth more than to my liking.

David Lowery - Ain't Them Bodies Saints - 2013
Not bad. Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Keith Carradine do some good business.

Barry Jenkins - If Beale Street Could Talk - 2018
Stunning movie by Mr. Jenkins. The guy has one unique visual style that is just a pleasure to watch.

Andrew Haigh - Lean on Pete - 2017
Second time seeing this film, had trouble the first time because I thought the depressing elements where a bit too heavy handed. I really loved the film this time but still had a bit of a problem with the ending (from Pete's demise on), with the exception of when he goes into the big city and gets a job.

Sergio Leone - Once Upon a Time in the West - 1968
A rewatch of this essential western.

Bradley Cooper - A Star is Born - 2018
The first half of this film moves really well and is beautiful to look at with great performances and story telling. Went down a bit with the American Idol type performances toward the middle, but came back with the major depression/addiction downward spiral. Not a great ending but overall this is a strong film. The two leads have the old screen magic.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

plato's cave eighty (being a film journal)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Lynne Ramsay You Were Never Really Here
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

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


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...")

C h i  Y u n :

1. Burning
2. Roma
3. Shoplifters
4. You Were Never Really Here
5. First Reformed
6. The Rider
7. Happy as Lazzaro
8. Minding The Gap
9. Western
10. Hereditary
11. Lean on Pete
12. Leave No Trace
13. Free Solo
14. Wild Life