Matt L's Posts
Displaying comments 1 - 30 of 415 in total
What are you watching now? over 4 years ago
Just this weekend I watched a rare Frank Borzage film titled: MAN’S CASTLE. Made in 1933 it stars Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young in Depression era America who find each other. It’s both romantic and tough. I say it is rare because it is not on video or DVD. One of the reasons could be because it is 66 minutes long. Great film.
Rate The Last Film You Watched over 4 years ago
Two best films I saw at the AFI festival in LA were Revanche an excellent Austrian film by Götz Spielmann and The Headless Woman the latest film by Lucrecia Martel who has helped give a lift to Argentinian film. Both have distributors and are more than worth a look.
Ratings? Who knows?
Suffice it to say I would just highly recommend these two films.
10 directors 1 movie almost 5 years ago
Frank Borzage – History is Made at Night
John Ford – The Prisoner of Shark Island
Howard Hawks – Only Angels Have Wings
Mitchell Leisen – Death Takes a Holiday
Ernst Lubitsch – Trouble in Paradise
Leo McCarey – Ruggles of Red Gap
Joseph von Sternberg – The Scarlett Empress
Raoul Walsh – The Roaring Twenties
William Wellman – Nothing’s Sacred
William Wyler – Dodsworth
Blow Up...What the hell? almost 4 years ago
A few things about Blow Up. In many ways – like all art – just about any interpretation is welcome. No filmmaker or other critic should tell you what to think about it. Any good critic will simply open the door to different interpretations. Even the filmmaker [artist] themselves will not usually tell someone they are wrong in their interpretation.
There are facts and there are truths. In the case of Blow Up we can discuss the facts about what happens in the narrative and we can discuss the facts about the actual shooting of the film and we can discuss the facts about what Antonioni said the movie was about. But after that there is no reason to think anyone has a lock on the film’s meaning.
My take is that the photographer, Thomas, is so profoundly shaken by the experience of the dead body that his view of reality changes. Up to that point his reality was created behind the camera lens. Note that in one of the significant scenes of the film he goes to the park to find the body and he forgets to bring his camera!
In this way – like many Antonioni films – the main character goes through an internal change. The film is therefore not about the murder, or who did the murder or why they did the murder – but instead is about the way the murder changes one man’s view of reality.
What do the mimes represent? That seems to me to be Antonioni’s view of the sixties generation’s view of reality. They are in touch with a reality that is only in their head. How it fits into the film seems obvious.
Anyway, it’s a great film.
The longest movie you've ever sat through almost 4 years ago
Satantango at 450 minutes. There was an intermission for dinner. Quite an experience. Better on the big screen.
Other than that I loved La Belle Noiseuse by Rivette which was around 4 hours.
Blow Up...What the hell? almost 4 years ago
Blow Out and The Conversation both deal with paranoia and conspiracy theories that ran through America after the political turbulant sixties. Blow Up, on the other hand, deals more with Antonioni’s fascination with the psyche of an era that was in denial about reality. But not necessarily political reality so much as social and spiritual reality. In this way, the films are not really related.
Personally, I dislike Blow Out. The first half is pretty good but the second half falls apart in the way most DePalma films fall apart – like cheap B movies. [Not to say I don’t like B movies]. But the Conversation is defintely one of the best films of the seventies and really captures the mood of the era.
criterion predictions almost 4 years ago
Nostalgia – Tarkovsky
A Jacques Becker box set [maybe on Eclipse]
Maurice Pialat box set
Favourite film of the decade (so far)? almost 4 years ago
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
In The Mood for Love
The Lives of Others
The Gleaners and I
Tough one because I need to see many films again to confirm if they really are as good as I remember. Then there is determining ‘best’ from ‘important’.
Masterpieces By Mediocre Directors almost 4 years ago
Spielberg is in no way a mediocre director. He may have made some below par films but the guy can direct and he has far too many films more people than not can agree are great films.
I think a mediocre director would be one who just about EVERYONE can agree is mediocre and yet they put out a great film at some point.
So I’m thinking:
Joel Schumacher who made Tigerland and Falling Down
Adrian Lyne who made Jacob’s Ladder
Antoine Fuqua who made Training Day
In no way masterpieces but better than they usually put out.
Peter Bogdonovich with Last Picture Show.
James Toback with Fingers
Michael Cimino and The Deer Hunter [although I personally don’t much like the film].
Richard Rush with The Stunt Man
DISAPPOINTED BY DISTRICT 9 almost 4 years ago
I always recommend going into a film with an open mind rather than with expectations.
All too often a major film comes along with baggage attached to it that has nothing to do with what the filmmaker intended.
The press, the media and the marketing campaigns frequently take a movie way beyond its expectations.
Think about if you made a film that three months ago no one had heard of and some major critic came along and said it is the best film of the year. And then the marketing campaign uses the critic’s quote to promote your film.
Suddenly as a filmmaker you are, in some ways, saddled with this hype that you have nothing to do with and you didn’t necessarily ask for.
I mean, you want people to like your film but you don’t want them to kill it with too much praise. [Although the money payoff may make it all worth it in the end…]
But I say, try to judge a film on its own merits not on the merits set by the press or the critics or the buzz or your friends.
I’ll give an example: I was at a festival a few years ago to see a relatively rare film made in the 80’s. The film was introduced by a big name critic who made the cardinal sin of telling the audience that this film was THE best film of the past 20 years. Right there he essentially killed the film for many of the viewers. How could the film live up to that hype? It couldn’t. And, judging by some of the comments afterwards, it didn’t.
[I won’t name the film for that very reason – although it is a great one].
Best Eclipse Series so far over 3 years ago
I’m just loving the ‘Travels with Hiroshi Shimizu’. I knew the Mizoguchi and Ozu films and, yeah, those are great as well. But I knew nothing about this Shimzu guy and he has some delightful films.
Most depressing film you have ever seen? over 3 years ago
Why has it become "fashionable" to hate Tarantino? over 3 years ago
Because he is popular. Period.
Darwin drama Creation spooks U.S. distributors over 3 years ago
Actually, I don’t believe the hype about why this has not got a distributor yet. Think about it. Controversy sells. And so I think the producers are trying to build some controversy into the film to help get it picked up and released. From the Variety review it seems the film is less about the subject of evolution than about loss and grief – a “well-worn dramatic hook”.
Note that Jennifer Connelly plays Darwin’s wife.
YOUR FAVORITE SILENT FILM, PLEASE. over 3 years ago
A Story of Floating Weeds
Man With a Movie Camera
what are paul schrader's best films over 3 years ago
Five good ones – that he has directed – that I’ve seen.
Affliction – Terrific script and acting.
The Comfort of Strangers – Great cinematography and camera movement. Well acted.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters – Multiple film references throughout and good staging of scenes.
Blue Collar – Very good with a serious Richard Pryor.
Patty Hearst – Great first hour – then becomes standard.
Auto Focus – Sort of mainstream but worth a look.
Schrader is one of the underrated Auteurs.
Christian films over 3 years ago
“Andrei Rublev” by Andrei Tarkovsky is one of the best I can think of. The final scenes of the film get right to the heart of what Christianity meant to Tarkovsky.
Von Trier vs Tarkovsky over 3 years ago
Have you seen THE ELEMENT OF CRIME?
It has many scenes that are basically von Trier copying Tarkovsky’s cinematic style. Especially STALKER.
1st and 3rd favorite foreign films from the second half of 1994 over 3 years ago
Don’t forget 1994 was also the year of CHUNGKING EXPRESS, ASHES OF TIME, WILD REEDS, CARO DIARIO, QUEEN MARGOT, BURNT BY THE SUN, VIVE L’AMOUR, LAMERICA and IL POSTINO.
Depending on where one lives in the world or what festivals they attended these may not have been seen until later but all were ‘released’ in some capacity in 1994.
is truth important in a film? over 3 years ago
Not sure what you mean by ‘Truth’? I think you actually mean ‘Facts’? Truth is a different thing all together. People define truth in their own way and they don’t always square up with facts.
Facts with regards to events such as World War I, World War II, The Holocaust, etc are things most of us agree happened and most of us can find consensus about the overall outcome. A film that deals with a particular subject usually sticks with the facts to the degree that they don’t completely rewrite history – unless the film is sci-fi or fantasy. But you seem to be talking about films that deal with actual facts so I’ll stick with that.
You mention Schindler’s List with regards to ‘Truth’ and, in fact, there is one really egregious scene in the film that calls into question Spielberg’s intentions and that is the scene where the concentration camp prisoners are hauled off to what most likely seems to be a gas chamber death but instead turns out to be a shower scene. [!].
If there is ‘truth’ in that scene is is the truth of a Spielberg movie.
Why would Spielberg shy away from the horror of death at a concentration camp? It is his prerogative – and cinematically you could say it is his artistic truth. But he clouds the facts in that case. And many have criticized him for it.
So, is truth important in movies? If you mean truth to be facts about actual events the answer is yes. If you mean truth to be artistic truth with regards to an artist’s aesthetic then the answer is also yes with a qualifier. And that qualifier is understanding the actual facts not only of what happened in a particular event but the kind of ‘truth’ a filmmaker usually pursues to tell us a story.
PARIS, TEXAS is to be Criterioned! over 3 years ago
My favorite Wenders’ film. I have two copies already. Guess I’ll have three copies now.
FAVORITE/BEST FRENCH FILM? over 3 years ago
I actually had someone ask me this in a store recently and I froze – I couldn’t really boil it down to one or two.
But with a bit of thought I would say these few are pretty darn good.
La Grande Illusion
Pépé le Moko
La Belle et La Bete
Un condamné à mort s’est échappé….
Jules et Jim
Ma nuit chez Maud
Céline et Julie vont en bateau
There are so many more of course.
Best Westerns over 3 years ago
Day of the Outlaw
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
My Darling Clementine
The Naked Spur
Ride the High Country
The Wild Bunch
Can Truth be Represented in Film? over 3 years ago
I sort of answered this in a previous post:
I would think the more focused question is, ‘Can reality be represented’. Because truth is always subjective and can have many meanings. For instance, an actor acting and a cinematographer shooting and an editor editing all involve truth – albeit film truth.
Or take a Robert Flaherty documentary like Nanook of the North as an example. Even though it is a document of what Nanook and his people do – it is completely staged. So there is truth in the actions of the people [or of Nanook] but once you know what the filmmaker did the real truth turns out to be that the director directed the people to do things so he could film them and then make a movie of it all so that the viewer would think they were watching something that was representative of what historically really happened with these people.
In Nanook of the North there is truth – but with a little investigating you find it is just not the truth the director intended. [Although, I guess, if one did not know of Flaherty’s manipulations then the ‘truth’ he intended would be represented.]
Truth can also mean the message the director / writer is trying to convey. A film is essentially faked reality but the manipulation of the medium is done ultimately to convey a message to the viewer. And in the message is the real truth the filmmaker wants to impart to the audience – such as ‘War is bad’ [Paths of Glory] or ‘Corporations are evil’ [Michael Collins] or ‘Making people laugh is more valuable than making message pictures’ [Sullivan’s Travels] or ‘Avoid a mother’s rage’ [The Birds].
But, of course, a movie can represent reality and get its message [its truth] across just fine. Anti-war films, if done right, can make us hate war even if none of the actors really die in action. Or a film about poverty can easily get its message across even though the actors playing the parts are not really poor.
But it is a wide open subject and open to good debate.
Can Truth be Represented in Film? over 3 years ago
Okay I saw your rephrase.
I didn’t realize you were talking about documentaries.
The camera has a great effect. So in that case the reality [or ‘truth’] would have to be understood in that context. A lot of people think documentaries are ‘reality’ but really they are just another form of fiction. Although not always pure fiction.
ANYONE ELSE DISAPPOINTED over 3 years ago
Sounds like you wanted it to be about ‘A’ but instead it was about ‘B’.
Why blame the movie for that?
Your expectations might have been too high.
I try to go into every movie with low expectations. [Even the classics].
Obviously, this one is hard to do that with because the critics love it. It’s got a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Bad Lieutenant Remake over 3 years ago
I watched the film last week and have mixed feeling about it. Cage is good and [at times] appropriately over-the-top. But the direction by Herzog is rather erratic. Some scenes approach the raw power of the original film but others take random ‘artistic’ turns that didn’t work for me. And yet other scenes sort of just end up in a dramatic cul-de-sac.
The film [to me] seems to lack a cohesiveness that Herzog achieved in his great 70’s films. He and Cage seem to be riffing and sometimes it shows. But the film does have good moments and everyone I have talked to either likes it a lot or a little.