Undertow – 2004 Gordon Green

I certainly hope David Gordon Green returns to this more experimental version of himself—he’s still only in his early 40’s and has 5 archiveable films but going back and reading roger eberts 4 star review of this film and praise for the 29 year old gordon green is a little sad—Ebert says “green has a visual style that is beautiful without being pretty” and I love that—so true- he also picks up on the clear influence of night of the hunter The “southern gothic” style, here and in George washington (by Gordon Green- his stunning debut) and badlands (malick

Undertow – 2004 Gordon Green2020-07-03T10:31:24+00:00

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – 2007 Lumet

The great auteur Sidney Lumet proves that at age 83 he still has it. The film is a completely enthralling morality play that is strategically edited and filled with great performances It has much in common with Woody Allen’s match point and Dostoevsky which makes sense given the influence of the Russian author on allen’s work It’s still a lumet new york story even if its set in Westchester—we have the strip mall with the new york kosher deli Features a superb carter burwell score—burwell is the coen brothers composter and this one reminds me of both blood simple

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – 2007 Lumet2020-07-03T10:31:24+00:00

Black Swan – 2010 Aronofsky

The opening scene, a dream sequence, has an absolutely astounding use of cinematography. It’s very distinctive as well- aggressive camerawork despite it being a tracking shot and ballet. The wound in Portman’s back are reminiscent of the wound in the house in mother!, the track marks on jared leto’s arm in requiem, the skull of Max in pi—the mutilation and body horror also reminds me of cronenberg of course The editing in the mini-montage of portman prepping her shoes is pure filmmaking skill on display the Vincent cassel character (and damn he’s perfect here) says “strip black swan down

Black Swan – 2010 Aronofsky2020-07-03T10:31:24+00:00

Wild River – 1960 Kazan

It’s in color and cinemascope but is still very much a Kazan film- driven by characters, their discourse and paced with strong performances Solid color photography- location shooting in Tennessee Opening doc footage in black and white A tender performance by Clift debut of bruce dern in a very small role similar topic to deliverance and o brother with the flooding Kazan is such a marvel with actors- the trio here- clift, lee remick and jo van fleet are just superb—Clift, even after his accident when he’s no longer a matinee idol with his looks and surgery- stiffer features-

Wild River – 1960 Kazan2020-07-03T10:31:26+00:00

Dead End – 1937 Wyler

  The film is an early one for Bogart, and he’s good in it, but it’s in the archives based on the strength of Wyler’s direction It’s so weird to see Bogart get third billing- he’s behind Joel Sylvia Sidney and Joel McCrea here Gregg Toland work as DP- he’s just sensational- not enough is made of his work with Wyler- this is his 2nd of 6 oscar noms- he died way too young at age 44 Bogey is playing his typical 1930’s era heavy before high sierra and Casablanca Depression era strikes and people hard on their luck

Dead End – 1937 Wyler2020-07-03T10:31:26+00:00

The Snake Pit – 1948 Litvak

From an evaluative quality comparison standpoint it is not as good as milos forman’s one flew over the cuckoo’s nest, sam fuller’s shock corridor or terry gilliam’s 12 monkeys but it’s still an archiveable film—it’s not quite as good as a beautiful mind from ron howard even It’s a bit of an exposes- reminded me of 1932’s I am a fugitive from a chain gang (meant to exploit the prison systems)- this actually got laws changed in a lot of states. De Havilland isn’t quite Paul Muni here and the film isn’t directed by the great LeRoy 4th of

The Snake Pit – 1948 Litvak2017-09-18T21:18:20+00:00

Top Gun – 1986 Tony Scott

There’s enough to praise from an artistic standpoint to earn a right into the archives The aerial sequences, oscar nominated sound is really superb But mainly it’s Tony Scott’s frenetic montage editing- which was incorrectly laughed off and criticized by some at the time for being an “mtv style”- especially in the air- which puts this film in the archives—an 80’s version of howard hughes’ hell’s angels Cruise is also a plus- he’s crude and cocky and wonderful at it Sure the music ages the film but so do films with jazz in the 20’s—I think the only fair

Top Gun – 1986 Tony Scott2017-09-18T20:32:25+00:00

Swiss Family Robinson – 1960 Annakin

Gloriously shot in Panavision (disney’s first) on location in Tobago It is a decent narrative- but there’s a bit of a trader horn travelogue “trip to the zoo in 1960” feel to it. Not nearly as bad as the 1931 film but still Predictable peaks and valleys of the narrative- ship wreck to open, pirates 5 minutes later, sharks 5 mins after that, etc John Mills and Dorothy McGuire are excellent in the leads and give the film instant credibility- Sessue Hawakawa from bridge on the river kwai is good here as are the kids. We have Janet Munro

Swiss Family Robinson – 1960 Annakin2020-07-03T10:31:27+00:00

The Last King of Scotland – 2006 Macdonald

Most notable and solely archiveable for the performances- chiefly the Oscar winning performance from Forest Whitaker. His Idi Amin would make a good comparison with Idris Elba’s work in beasts of no nation. Whitaker is charming in one scene, paranoid and edgy in the next and then horrifying. It’s a great role and since his work in the crying game he’s good at his accepts Solid support is led by James McAvoy (who is technically lead as it’s his story) as the equally naïve and arrogant (with some charm of his own) Dr Nicholas Garrigan and with Kerry Washington

The Last King of Scotland – 2006 Macdonald2020-07-03T10:31:27+00:00

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan– 2006 Larry Charles

Sacha Baron Cohen is a comic genius and this is his greatest achievement to date. He’s a provocateur like lenny bruce or richard pryor A rare 4 star review from RS Peter Travers—but then he put it down at #8 on his top 10 of 2006 Cohen is bold—going up and kissing people on the subway in New York City is legit boldness Non-stop visual gags I see influences of early Woody Allen especially with fish of water comedy like bananas, sleeper, love and death Invokes midnight cowboy in a hilarious touch with Harry Nilsson’s “everybody’s talkin’” Clearly a

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan– 2006 Larry Charles2017-09-14T19:10:42+00:00

The Wrestler – 2008 Aronofsky

It is an excellent film but it’s the least “aronofsky” (or tied with noah) of the aronofsky films and therefore near the bottom of his films when ranking his oeuvre- its stylistic ambitions are not that substantial (in comparison) Shot in 16mm handheld A subtle and nuanced film (especially for aronofsky in the subtle department)—clichéd in some ways but the execution is so perfect it transcends the clichés Love the 80’s hair, hair bands Heavy self-mutilation and punishment—an aronofsky auteur trait—there’s a Christ reference It’s more of a Rourke (and tomei) film than a film blown aronofksy film like

The Wrestler – 2008 Aronofsky2017-09-26T13:14:54+00:00

Apocalypse Now – 1979 Francis Ford Coppola

Apocalypse Now is the second best film of all-time, which makes it the greatest war film, perhaps the greatest singular usage of set pieces in cinema, coppola’s finest film, amongst other praise I’d love to heap upon it. Coppola’s use of smoke as a visual device stuck out to me-- so much dry ice/smoke is used in this movie. The colored usage during the wagner score attack and used by the emcee after the playboy bunnies dance. Atmospheric for sure. It seems like it’s the rare scene/set piece where it isn’t used. Synthesizer score. Of course the film has

Apocalypse Now – 1979 Francis Ford Coppola2020-07-03T10:31:27+00:00
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