They Live By Night – 1948 Nicholas Ray

It is a key film in the history of film noir Also well-known and often cited as one of the best film debuts of all-time Begins Ray’s exploration and medication on youth (specifically troubled youth) that he would revisit throughout his oeuvre- most notably in rebel without a cause­- there are countless comparisons between these two films including these two young lovers playing house and trying to be happy normally just like the Natalie wood and james dean character (with sal mineo as their faux-child) Very busy mise-en-scene- repeatedly shows these characters trapped and behind bars- it’s really well

They Live By Night – 1948 Nicholas Ray2020-07-03T10:31:42+00:00

Repo Man – 1984 Cox

Certainly well known in circles as cult classic. Cox is/was a huge fan of spaghetti westerns and there’s a lot of the western touch here. Many of the car chases feel very much like western horse chases, the rookie (estevez) getting schooled by dean stanton, the old pro- feels very much like countless wayne westerns doing the same thing (rio bravo for one). Tracy Walter- who always plays weirdos, outdoes himself here Estevez is good here as well- he’s the man alone who loses his job, best friend, and woman in the first 5 minutes Another LA basin scene

Repo Man – 1984 Cox2017-03-31T17:24:26+00:00

Gojira – 1954 Honda

It’s a fantastic film. The reputation of the film suffers for two reasons. For one, there have been countless regrettable sequels. Secondly, the film rights were bought in the US and the film added a bunch of scenes with Raymond Burr (find actor but is awful in these scenes) and re-released as a dubbed version with added scenes as Godzilla in 1956. This version should be avoided. Shimura made the film the same year as seven samurai­ – he’s very good here It’s serious and political- this is not camp The opening shot of the wake off a boat

Gojira – 1954 Honda2020-07-03T10:31:42+00:00

La Chienne – 1931 Renoir

Renoir’s first sound film There is some really nice work with some of what would come to be known as the Renoir trademarks- he does a great job doing a shot, tracking the action, reframing, and doing it again. It’s simple but revolutionary in 1931, elegant and powerful Really shows off Michel Simon’s range when you compare his weak character here and Boudu the following year What looks like a hand-held camera working and tracking during the waltz scene- very well done Framing in the window with the flower bed in the bottom of the mise-en-scene- goes back to

La Chienne – 1931 Renoir2017-03-29T14:59:34+00:00

Stalker – 1979 Tarkovsky

  I’ll start here- it’s simply one of the greatest films in the history of cinema Whether you call it a sci-fi film, a religious film, parable, allegorical, philosophical, it doesn’t really matter—it’s controlling, potent-- and the visual rendering by Tarkovsky is his strongest- which puts it up there with the rest of cinema history as the strongest The casting is also his strongest- all 3 leads are superb but Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy gives a top, all-time level performance There is mist/steam in nearly every scene just as there is water or dripping water on the soundtrack in almost every

Stalker – 1979 Tarkovsky2017-03-28T14:31:48+00:00

Mirror – 1975 Tarkovsky

Extremely personal “auteur” cinema but at the same time very political Features, like many of his other films, much of his fathers’ poetry There are some gorgeous shots features rain or water dripping- a reoccurring visual trait for Tarkovsky- there’s a stunning one featured here with rain dripping from the roof in the foreground with a log cabin burning in the background Features many black and white sequences intermingled… doc footage of the war as well The wind is constantly moving objects There’s a definite surreal or Dali influence Dream sequences featuring slow motion of woman (mother/lover) washing hair

Mirror – 1975 Tarkovsky2021-05-31T15:14:03+00:00

Eastern Promises – 2007 Cronenberg

It features an absolutely superb international cast: Mortensen is from the US, Watts from the UK, Mueller-Stahl from Germany, Cassel from France—all of them equally superb here and Viggo is the lead of course and received a well-deserved Oscar nom Very graphic- the fight scene- for which it’s famous for- in the Turkish bath is a reminder, much like the stairs sex scene in a history of violence that you are watching david cronenberg I still don’t think the trilogy of films Cronenberg and Mortensen did together (hoping for more) is fully appreciated. It may not be full body

Eastern Promises – 2007 Cronenberg2017-03-27T20:37:50+00:00

The Godfather – 1972 Francis Ford Coppola

  It’s certainly not hard to find more and more to say about the godfather even after 5-10 visits and times revisiting The opening long take is an absolute stunner and certainly not something I appreciated when I first started getting into cinema I think I may have referred to Fincher as “the master of darkness” on a recent post but of course Godon Willis- the DP here- is that. Pakula films, Woody Allen films- but nothing better than this. So many dissolves in the editing style took me back here. I love it. one highlight is the ellipsis

The Godfather – 1972 Francis Ford Coppola2020-07-03T10:31:42+00:00

Beauty and the Beast – 1991 Trousdale and K. Wise

  The stained glass window opening prologue is absolutely stunning Many simulated tracking shots in an out of scenes is definitely worthy of praise It’s before the advent of metacritic but still- the retroactive 95 score is really solid 30th Disney animated film Love the Maurice Chevalier-like voice work for the Lumiere character Filled with charming songs but some of the highlights are the Busby Berkeley-like animation work in “Be Our Guest” and the Angela Lansbury sung title song with a stunning simulated crane shot The film is traditional and flawless First Animated film nominated for best picture Bordering

Beauty and the Beast – 1991 Trousdale and K. Wise2021-08-28T11:18:03+00:00

Shivers – 1975 Cronenberg

  I’m not sure it’s technically his debut- he made two earlier works but they are borderline home movies/shorts so this is generally considered to be his debut The Romero influence is heavy- but again this is body mutation horror and really he wouldn’t change that much for the next 40 years- he’d just become a better director, crisper, stronger visuals Uses shock gore and nudity to sell films but there’s much more going on here- it’s a flamethrower at the “Me” generation of the 1970’s (precursor to yuppies)- he makes a note of aiming his target at people

Shivers – 1975 Cronenberg2020-07-03T10:31:44+00:00

Solaris – 1972 Tarkovsky

Many of the critics point this out but you really do have to get acclimated and adjusted to the pace of the film- once you do it’s very absorbing Explores, very intelligently, the mysteries of human connection, memory (major Tarkovsky narrative and thematic trait), death, rebirth Called the soviet answer to 2001 but they are very different films stylistically You can see the influences in zemeckis’ contact and obviously soderbergh did a remake Scenes of surrealism, inner demons, existential and religious discussions- a very deep (and difficult)l film From a photography standpoint there are some washed out- almost b/w

Solaris – 1972 Tarkovsky2017-03-24T18:25:57+00:00

The Damned – 1947 Clement

This is a ruthless ugly film showing the horrors of the Nazi’s pretty honestly, especially for a 1947 film It’s both a prison film, a war film, and a submarine film and borrows from all 3 sub-genres There’s a great tracking shot of the French doctor being forced through an entire German U-boat Marcel Dalio is great in a small role- so slippery The coffee warehouse is a very nice set piece There are some flaws- like the central action is shown outside of the privy of the main character and narrator- really for the first time- it’s a

The Damned – 1947 Clement2017-03-23T15:52:43+00:00
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