Blade Runner – 1982 Ridley Scott

Simply put it’s an expressionistic masterpiece and perhaps the greatest example of production design and mise-en-scene in film history Has many roots in noir and detective/crime films and fiction—the fire bursting from the city reminds me of Walsh’s White Heat with James Cagney in 1949 Every scene is pouring with steam from the streets and cigarette smoke (noir) It’s perpetual rain and perpetual night just like noir Harrison Ford has more screen time but it’s Rutger Hauer’s film Hauer is in roughly 32 minutes and it may be the greatest 32 minute performance of all-time. Ford’s performance isn’t transcendent

Blade Runner – 1982 Ridley Scott2020-07-03T10:31:16+00:00

1984 – 1984 Radford

An overlooked film for sure—underappreciated—it’s very notable for Roger Deakins photography (this was his big break so to speak) and the slow-burn narrative/performance by John Hurt Deakins bleach bypass technique completely washes out the color and it’s quite stunning in its effectiveness—rumor (IMDB trivia) is he and Radford wanted black and white but were turned down by the studio. Also notable for Richard Burton’s last film—sadly he passed away really young (age 58). It’s not the triumph for him it is for Hurt but he’s quite good here in his few scenes Uniform uniforms and lots of extras give

1984 – 1984 Radford2020-07-03T10:31:16+00:00

Lady Bird – 2017 Gerwig

I didn’t find it to be the devastating formal work Paterson is and the visuals don’t rise to a level of Blade Runner: 2049 or Dunkirk but I keep thinking that this film is just about as good as a film can be without checking those boxes (telling that Mr. Rex Reed gives it a glowing 4 stars) Gerwig has yet to develop (or perhaps more correctly been given a change yet with only 1 film) her voice or rhythms as a director in a way that Baumbach and Linklater have been able to do (largely because of the

Lady Bird – 2017 Gerwig2021-03-19T13:12:12+00:00

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – 1987 Hughes

A near perfect odd couple comedy with both John Candy and Steve Martin giving perhaps their best performance. I think it’s the same John Hughes home alone house in the Chicago suburbs for martin’s family here- can’t be sure Near the opening there is a wonderful mini-film montage of Martin and Kevin Bacon fighting for a cap Just like later and weaker Hughes effort Uncle Buck the film ends with a freeze frame on Candy’s face. It’s a great shot Amongst Ebert’s great movies… “movie continued to live in my memory” after a generic thumbs up positive review upon

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – 1987 Hughes2020-07-03T10:31:16+00:00

Hannah and Her Sisters – 1986 Allen

Amongst other triumphs of the film, which is a masterpiece, it’s enchanting to watch Allen’s camera float around the opening and closing thanksgiving as he eavesdrops on conversations and digs into these 5 fascinating characters (Allen, Caine, Hershey, Farrow and Wiest). These characters and settings are very lived in and natural—for Farrow, the film’s title character and centerpiece (we have her two sisters, her ex-husband and current husband as the leads) we have her actual apartment, her mother and children are actually used and she, of course, is very similar to this successful actress character IMDB facts—according to USA

Hannah and Her Sisters – 1986 Allen2020-07-03T10:31:16+00:00

The Ghost of Yotsuya – 1959 Nakagawa

Four separate set piece sequences make this a top 10 of the year quality film There’s a gorgeous opening tracking shot of a man killing two men who turn down the marriage proposal for his daughter. You have obstructed mise-en-scenes views and a booming drum music to accompany the brutal killing. It’s a great opening Another stunning tracking shot through the walls of a massage place The narrative is bloody, murderous and deliciously vile- very Dog-Eat-Dog nihilism like Kurosawa but with a gothic supernatural twist I’m not 100% certain but I don’t think there were a tremendous amount of

The Ghost of Yotsuya – 1959 Nakagawa2020-07-03T10:31:16+00:00

Mudbound – 2017 Rees

A strong period drama with biting timely modern parallels to racism and frankly black people being treated better overseas than here at home It’s well-acted throughout but to me the standout is Jason Mitchell’s work We have as many as 4-5 voice overs— more than even casino (but not as many as say the thin red line) but it’s a big sweeping sprawling film (another comparison is cold mountain) and the voice overs help us jump immediately to the level of intimacy and sympathy for these characters Intelligent and potent- covering the tough life in Mississippi I absolutely love

Mudbound – 2017 Rees2017-11-21T20:28:47+00:00

The Florida Project – 2017 Sean Baker

Baker more than succeeds in making the location, Orlando, and the hotel a living breathing character into the film. It’s a full transportation into the world of the film Baker has proven to be a talented auteur giving voice to the poverty stricken and those on the fringes of society Beautiful photography- gaudy pastels and street signage—It reminds me a little of Wim Wenders’ Paris Texas though it doesn’t quite have Wenders (and I believe his DP was Mueller’s) photographical eye Also reminded me of last year’s American Honey though I found Andrea Arnold’s film to be the superior work… I think David

The Florida Project – 2017 Sean Baker2017-11-21T20:12:30+00:00

Snake Eyes – 1998 De Palma

For me the technical and stylistic achievements are enough to carry it into the archives despite the wretched lead performance by Nic Cage and some of the plotting issues and just generally weak overall narrative The 13 minute opening shot (it’s not 20 like most RT critics say it is) is a stunner- It’s impossible for me to think of snake eyes with the oner- opening and not think of bonfire of the vanities- which also has a dazzling opening shot and then is just pretty putrid for the remainder A fair critique of the film is that they

Snake Eyes – 1998 De Palma2020-07-03T10:31:18+00:00

The Lobster – 2015 Lanthimos

Lanthimos is a master world builder. The lobster is a great film in a vacuum but it was important to prove that dogtooth was no fluke. Part Bunuel, HG Wells, Kafka, Wes Anderson (that deadpan)—and wholly Lanthimos—he’s very big on a world with strict rules. Absurd rules Great opening with a woman driving and shooting animal in the face. Sets the tone Love Farrell’s big belly and dedication to this character I hesitate to say it’s his best (he’s in the new world after all) but it’s up there. The use of Beethoven and the procedural way they check

The Lobster – 2015 Lanthimos2017-11-17T14:23:10+00:00

The Usual Suspects – 1995 Singer

Is first and foremost a masterful screenplay- won the Oscar Certainly has noir elements in the film- some from 1949’s  D.O.A which I love (flashback structure of course, seedy elements (asphalt jungle group of criminals) – we have the brilliant dueling narrative structure of the flashback/interrogation Singer was 27 when he directed it—He’d never really fulfill the promise of this debut- both Singer and his composer here John Ottman struck gold here Very large talented cast. Yes the 5 in the lineup are impressive (Baldwin is amazing and Kevin Spacey is a revelation) but we have Dan Hedeya, Giancarlo

The Usual Suspects – 1995 Singer2021-09-15T20:49:36+00:00

Atonement – 2007 Joe Wright

Atonement is even stronger than Wright’s 2005 pride and prejudice which gives him back to back masterful adaptations of very heavy literary works (this one from Ian McEwan) Big 4 star review from travers Mindful sweeping art—it’s a painful tale of life and love cut short Oscar winner for best score—the use of the typewriter in the score is very inspired The cast is loaded with great actors (Saoirse Ronan, James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Vanessa Redgrave, Juno Temple, Benedict Cumberbatch… a small role for Jeremie Renier (usually works with the Dardenne brothers) – it’s a major accomplishment for Ronan,

Atonement – 2007 Joe Wright2017-11-16T19:44:12+00:00
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