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.