Christian Petzold Phoenix 2014
Entrenched in bird song and Kurt Weill's Speak Low. Stunning performance by Nina Hoss, really loved this film.
Céline Sciamma Bande de filles (Girlhood) 2014
Great double feature, 2 films from 2014. Sciamma means business.
Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz Messiah of Evil 1973
Bleeding eyes means you are in trouble, and it is too late. Discovered when watching Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself. A bizarre film starring Joy Bang, notable for telling Woody Allen he is a watcher, not a doer in Play It Again, Sam, and also in Cisco Pike and Night of the Cobra Woman. Strangely perplexing performances from Marianna Hill, Royal Dano ("they took me, and they did this to me"), Anitra Ford and Elisha Cook Jr. Walter Hill shows up as the Stabbing victim in Prologue. The Albino Trucker scenes are beyond disturbing, and I love his Wagner pronunciation. The Ralphs section so extremely nightmarish and of course it is hard to not think of the Dude writing a check for milk in The Big Lebowski with George Bush's "this aggression will not stand". Williard Huyck is known for writing American Graffiti, which boggles the mind a tad as it is so very different from this film. A pleasant lack of kitsch in this film, there is a Night of the Living Dead minimalism about it that gives the film a unique quality. The nightmarish art in the father's house really permeates the rest of the film and seeing his burnt corpse on the floor looks like some bizarre Viennese Actionist work or straight out of Japanese Gutai. Early sequence (and then again the last shot) of a light decimated hallway in a mental institution with our star wondering through looked like Ernie Gehr was asked to shoot it after the director saw his 1970 film Serene Velocity, wouldn't that be wonderful. Great film.
Saul Bass Phase IV 1974
Kenji Misumi Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance 1972
Wong Kar-wai Happy Together 1997
I have watched most Wong Kar-wai films many times over and over and this is by far his best for this viewer. Perhaps one of the greatest shots in film history is when Leslie Cheung is leaving the bar in a cab with Tony Leung receding in the street with Frank Zappa's Chunga's Revenge adding psychedelic overtones. Rest in Peace Leslie Cheung!
David Lynch WHAT DID JACK DO? 2017
Lee Jeong-beom The Man from Nowhere 2010
Not a great film but has a couple of action sequences that are quite stunning.
Kenji Misumi Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx 1972
This is possibly the most intense action film I have seen, at least in the Samurai genre. Beautifully put together, boggles the mind how they made it. Have never seen blood look so magnificent, every line like poetry too.
Edward Yang Yi Yi 2000
Michael Mann Heat 1995
Heat I watch once or twice a year. Here are some observations from this current viewing:
- Like Mann's Thief, the criminals rarely use word contractions but instead say I am instead of I'm. Even if not taking note of this during a viewing, the dialogue has a strange quality.
- Pacino's performance might come off as his later period bravado, but if you watch over and over and tune into the subtleties, there are many nuances perhaps not initially clear. Listening to the (very good) Rewatchables podcast, they noted Pacino said in an interview that in the beginning of thinking about his Lt. Vincent Hanna character, he was supposed to be perpetually coked up. Pacino had that in mind when doing the performance, which comes across very clearly on multiple viewings. He is often hyper aware and mentally on overdrive. The in between moments of him processing information and then boredom is especially noticeably in the famous restaurant scene.
- I was quite shocked to see this interview where De Niro and Pacino write off the qualities of previous films they shared roles in, and consider The Irishman to be the first genuine collaboration. Can these 2 greats not gauge their own performances and the qualities of Heat?
- Val Kilmer is not an actor that ever moved me but damn he gives one great performance here. His reactions during scenes of dialogue is so calculated. The way he moves through space and fires his weapon during the bank heist sequence is honestly unreal. I feel like I am watching actual footage of military trained criminals when watching this.
- The director of photography Dante Spinotti has a great eye. Watching this projected one notices how much of the photography is shot close-up to action and actors.
- Over many repeat viewings; if one considers the bank heist to be an ultimate example of cinematic magic and perfection of acting/photography/editing/sound design (with Brian Eno getting the ball rolling) and think of it as the pinnacle of the film, then you realize the idea of a pinnacle section of the film is confused because there is not one dull moment preceding this sequence and not one dull moment after. How rare is a film that can carry that kind of momentum throughout and have the idea of a pinnacle structure become blurred. Meaning the film itself is really at level 10 throughout, and perhaps the bank heist is at 11?
- I remember seeing this film when it came out in a nowheresville theater outside Boston with my father. One of those films that delves into my personal art of memory...
- A viewer obsessed with 4AD and ECM, then this is one great film with music ranging from Terje Rypdal and David Darling to Michael Brooks and Lisa Gerrard. Moby's two contributions are some of the best parts of the film. Mann has a great sense of music + picture relationship up there with Kenneth Anger and Martin Scorsese.