A Short Film About Killing
I don’t think I can fairly rate this one. I didn’t know it would just be a linear, longer telling of Decalogue V. I have no idea what I’d think of it if I were seeing it fresh.
I don’t think that’s a big stretch, or at least not a bigger stretch than “Nobody has ever noticed toys move on their own”. Kids get distracted easily, and parents of young kids are busy enough that they may just be in a rush and not see them and assume they are in the car. I mean, if you believe no toy store in the world has security cameras…
Melancholia- 8.5 out of 10
Zero for Conduct (Dir. Jean Vigo, 1932)
Vigo beats the New Wave by almost thirty years. And Zero for Conduct is way better than all but one New Wave film. A second viewing has confirmed my initial impressions.
Drive (Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011)
I had heard the the movie is very violent, and so it is; what surprised me was how still and quiet it could be. The narrative itself leaves something to be desired, but that lack is almost completely covered up for me by Refn’s mastery of tone.
Les Mystères du Château du Dé (1929) Man Ray, a founder of the Dada movement in Paris produced this 26 min. film exemplifying the Dadaist manifesto that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity. The small cast visits a moderne villa (with Victorian furnishing inexplicably), all with stockings over their heads, and participate in the exercises of those of the idle rich of the times. Scored initially percussive with drums then something that sounds like Le Hot Club swing, and finally some orchestical Satie. Not very disciplined but maybe that was the intention.
Very period costume and activities.
Running with Scissors (2006) Ryan Murphy takes us down memory lane with this painful tho’ meticulous recreation of the 70s US, zeitgeist. All involved give it their best, but did we really want to go back?
Color of Pomegranates: 7.5 out of 10
Waste Land 2010
DIR Lucy Walker
PROD Angus Aynsley, Hank Levine
DP Dudu Miranda
CAST Vik Muniz
ED Pedro Kos
About an hour in, I started thinking about the exploitation of these people.
Then the issue came up and Vik Muniz said something like, “You were saying oh this is going to mess with their minds. Well, maybe… their minds need to be messed up with.”
I think it comes down to sustainable futures Mr. Muniz.
Working my way through Gaumont – le cinema premier (1907 – 1916) (Gaumont DVD, 6 disc set). I’ve seen the first 3 discs in this incredible set, which includes titles not on the Kino Gaumont set. The package includes full color booklets on Emile Cohl, Jean Durand and Gaumont as a whole. with posters, stills, other materials that, for the most part, have never been seen outside archives before.
Many films are in better condition and more complete than previous circulating versions. In French only, but totally worth the money for film buffs.
Disc 1 & 2 : Emile Cohl – Gaumont, Pathe, Eclipse, Eclair films (57 shorts, plus 2 documentaries on Cohl)
Disc 3 & 4 : Jean Durant (40 shorts, plus 2009 Durant documentary)
Disc 5 & 6 : 24 films…also includes three “phonoscenes” with gramophone sound, fragments of early Gaumontcolor films, advertizing films, and a selection of Gaumont newsreel footage relating to Gaumont films and filmmaking.
Robinson Crusoe 7/10
After 28 years of complete solitude, why does he look like he’s in his 40s except for his white beard, and how does he speak such perfect English immediately?
Anyway, good film, but in this particular competition not enough to contend, probably.
Red State 1/5
as talky as the worst Smith film but without any laughs or horror (in this case). Most of the talk is the kind of exposition that does not pass muster in begining writing class.
the depiction of the sheriff is homophobic, which is a problem with this material.
Goodman delivers the goods, Parks, I could not understand a word he said.
Strange Days (Dir. Kathryn Bieglow, 1995)
Behind the dystopian trimmings there was a really great concept here. This is the perfect movie for a remake.
Pinching Penny (Director: Dan Glaser)
part satire on American consumerism and part violent action movie send-up…. And the two parts never really add up to much together however the film is fun and entertaining even if it doesn’t all work and it has a killer soundtrack too!
Nora’s Will 2008
Cinco días sin Nora
DIR Mariana Chenillo
PROD Mariana Chenillo, Laura Imperiale
SCR Mariana Chenillo
DP Alberto Anaya
CAST Fernando Luján, Enrique Arreola, Ari Brickman, Juan Carlos Colombo, Cecilia Suárez
ED Mariana Chenillo, Óscar Figueroa
MUSIC Dario González Valderrama
Things in the film work well, but the totality amounts to “That’s funny, the guy is a jerk.”
The ending must ruin that totality.
Seeing Take Shelter today hopefully. Will follow with a review and rating if I do go :)
Carmo, Hit The Road2008
DIR Murilo Pasta
SCR Murilo Pasta
DP Robbye Ryan
CAST Fele Martínez, Mariana Loureiro, Seu Jorge, Marcio Gracia, Rosi Campos
MUSIC Zeca Baleiro
Reviled by critics – Jesse Cataldo of Slant:….unlikely traveling companions …..fractured end is doubly annoying, …..are rarely blessed with great depth ….shallowness smeared-on grit reeks of shoddy characterization artificial edge. …any individual instance dull. ….dint of familiarity….. plot and characters mostly invalidated, …..approach beauty through a veneer of ugliness, ….hamstrings….. profusion of fussy touches …. inherent dishonesty…….. suffers from an inability to decide what it wants to present.
Yeah that is all true – if – if you think this is a road movie. I see ‘ham’ ( hamfisted, hamstrung) in a lot of reviews, which makes me wonder who wrote the first review. There are a lot of websites looking for reviewers and there is no time to watch a film, only enough time to rehash an initial misperception for the sheeple who read the reviews.
The film presents a character study of the ‘crazy girl’. The one that puts a proportional happy face on inner despair. Great depth? That facade is all she’s got and it is a wild ride if you’ve got the appetite for it.
The first feature film by Murilo Pasta, there are thematic things in the film that seem superfluous, but the feeling the film produces is good enough. If you don’t think Mariana Loureiro’s character is enticing, this isn’t gonna work.
If you do, keep it to yourself.
Swann in Love (1984) Is it love? or a bus ride to Palookaville. Volker Schlöndorff has adapted a tome from Proust’s In Search of Lost Time presenting a lavish period piece of the privileged engrossed in a society that calibrates the relative position of its players in millimeters. Charles (Jeremy Irons) a bachelor of impeccable taste and breeding, is obsessed by Odette (Ornella Muti), a high class whore, and is warned where this will lead if he persists. The film revolves around Charles’ dark night of the soul then fast forwarding to what appears to be Charles’ last days leaving out any real depiciton of the price he was to pay. So the film ends rather limply .
Charles in his dark night of the soul.
Last Exit to Brooklyn (Dir. Uli Edel, 1989)
By some miracle, this movie managed to be…uplifting. WTF!
Misery and Fortune of Women 9 out of 10.
Bitter Victory 4/5
Ornamental Hairpin I1941, Hiroshi Shimizu)
Only a few dozen times in my life have I been this bowled over by a film on first viewing.
Please don’t stop me.
Jerry – Ornamental Hairpin is great. I’m a little more partial to Mr. Thank You, but all the Shimizu movies in that set are great.
I thought Mr. Thank You was a great breezy Sunday drive film, but it did not prepare me for Ornamental Hairpin’s stomp on my gut.. Those are the only two movies in the Criterion set I’ve seen, but now I’m definitely checking out the rest.
Are these films from Shimizu’s silent box set?
I’m totally with you on this one Jerry, as you may have gathered from other mentions I’ve made of Shimizu. Ornamental Hairpin is my favorite of the films I’ve seen of his so far. Mr. Thank You is possibly my least favorite of his, which is to say that I only found it excellent rather than astounding. From the little I’ve gathered, many do find Mr. Thank You to be the best, but given that every one of his movies I’ve seen gets my highest marks, I won’t quibble over the disagreement.
Shimizu’s use of movement and space is what hits me every time I see one of his films. He moves his camera better than anyone this side of Ophuls, and even when his camera isn’t moving his characters are or are set in space suggesting a sense of potential movement or a divide which can’t be breached. I can’t think of a filmmaker whose films seem to really capture a consistent feeling of vitality in the same way, others have done it, of course, but with Shimizu it seems so wholly natural to him that most other filmmakers seem to be forcing it in comparison. Shimizu simply had a way of directing that seems totally his own and completely right even when it doesn’t fit ideas of what a filmmaker should do, and at the same time it doesn’t feel like a provocation or exercise meant to establish some new or different way of doing things. It feels organic and right in a way that only few other directors manage.
Only one of the films in the Criterion set is silent, the other three are sound.
Greg- what drove me toward this film was seeing you rank it so highly…I could swear I saw it #1 for you somewhere. You’re so right about movement and space… Shimizu, like Ophuls, never moves his camera to surprise with new information (a trickster’s practice) but to accompany and support his characters on their journey. His revelation of information is all in the framing rather than the camera movement: we aren’t even given close-ups of the two protagonists until about 40% into the film. And when I finally saw that they were Chishu Ryu and Kinuyo Tanaka (who I only knew as parents from 50s Japanese cinema), it was thrilling to see them given their own love story of youth.
And there are so many other treasures, such as a side character’s wife who is never given a close-up but dominates the mise-en-scene with goddess-like movements:
And the hot springs…and the masseurs who are all blind and whom the children cheer on as they cross the river:
And the fact that this movie captured the tender frailty of Japanese culture at the same time that Japanese militaristic aggression was being unleashed on the world. It captures a cultural poetry that disappeared as the film was being made, like Vigo did for France and Douglas did for the UK.