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.