Samurai Rebellion – 1967 Kobayashi

It’s the 3rd archiveable (and very impressive) film I’ve seen from Kobayashi—we have Harakiri in 1962 and Kwaidan in 1964 From the opening credits you know this is an artistic work—we have multiple shots of gorgeous architectural structures- straight lines (I believe of the Lord’s opulent house). The patterns almost like a Saul Bass credit sequence Mifune is brilliant in the lead- he is so defeated (self admittedly “henpecked”) in the beginning- it’s a slow burn film and a slow burn performance for Mifune. He keeps it internal for the first 90 minutes (roughly ¾ of the film) as

Samurai Rebellion – 1967 Kobayashi2020-07-03T10:31:14+00:00

Boogie Nights – 1997 P.T. Anderson

Though it’s not P.T. Anderson’s true debut (Hard Eight), Boogie Nights marks the inauguration of a nearly unrivaled cinematic talent In my 1997 review I called it a “sonic boom”— there’s such electricity and energy in the filmmaking. PT Anderson is clearly excited to make this film and is in love with his camera, film history (the work of Scorsese, Altman, Ophuls), these characters, this era, and this story(or stories) A high-wire act of virtuoso camera movement He humanizes these characters (the actors, obviously, should get a ton of credit for it)—in nearly every role of the 12+ ensemble it’s hard

Boogie Nights – 1997 P.T. Anderson2017-12-28T16:09:51+00:00

It’s a Wonderful Life – 1946 Capra

It’s pure cinematic transcendence in narrative, acting and writing—that much is clear and inarguable. I think though, this viewing has taught me what a doggedly formal work it is so I’ve taken it to another level (and I already had it in my top 100 of all-time). Nearly every element in the film has a counterpoint (in childhood and then again later as an adult), bookend (there is sacrifice by Stewart’s Bailey and, in turn, he’s paid back), or doppelganger (in the Pottersville surrealism nightmare). There an unquestionable economy in the script but it’s more poetic than that—it’s about

It’s a Wonderful Life – 1946 Capra2020-07-03T10:31:14+00:00

A Christmas Story – 1983 Bob Clark

The film brilliantly blends five things: It’s cynical and nostalgic at the same time which is incredibly hard to pull off. Jean Shepherd’s deft wordplay (the voice over- which he also does the voice of) is perfectly accompanied by Bob Clark skill with visual gags (horror, broader comedy). The last element worthy of a lot of praise here is the period detail in the world Clark’s created here All of these elements, along with the skilled actors and comedians, make for an incredibly rewatchable Christmas season classic A string of vignettes perfectly connected by the character, time and place

A Christmas Story – 1983 Bob Clark2017-12-27T21:02:19+00:00

Black Christmas – 1974 Bob Clark

I was very impressed with the film aside from some awful scenes of attempted broad comedy (in otherwise a pretty straight horror) with Marian Waldman as Mrs. Mac Great POV opening that could’ve been in a De Palma film—there are hands coming out of the camera The two young beauties in lead: Olivia Hussey (from romeo and Juliet who is excellent here) and Margot Kidder whose character is drunk in every scene It’s both a who-done-it and horror with real suspense at the end about who the killer is (and it’s open-ended which works) Great tracking shot thru the

Black Christmas – 1974 Bob Clark2021-12-28T11:51:50+00:00

Darkest Hour – 2017 Joe Wright

There are really two stories here: Wright and Oldman-- For Oldman it’s a massive triumph. He completely disappears as Winston Churchill and, instantly, puts himself above other actors who have played him (Finney, Spall, Gleeson, Burton, Hoskins). Oldman is praised more often than Wright by the critics. Oldman is, truly, one of the great screen chameleons playing and disappearing into roles (this is the school of Paul Muni rather than the movie star (Wayne, McQueen, Tom Cruise) that forces their own personality on the character). Oldman plays Sid Vicious and Oswald). It’s a particularly good companion piece with Sid

Darkest Hour – 2017 Joe Wright2020-07-03T10:31:14+00:00

The 3 Penny Opera – 1931 Pabst

I’m not overly familiar with Brechtian style so have to do my best here to analyze the film based on my cinema knowledge. I do know that Brecht believed in the distancing effect—or the alienation/estrangement effect which basically (again, as I understand it) is about how he doesn’t want the audience to overly emphasize with his characters and I see that here and how powerfully it works Depression-era hard-hit Germany. It centers on the lower depths of society, crime, money, bread, survival, poverty—gorgeous opening shot down an alley. Talented shot by Pabst- reflection in glass at the absolute perfect

The 3 Penny Opera – 1931 Pabst2017-12-27T19:21:41+00:00

Creature from the Black Lagoon – 1954 Jack Arnold

B-movie budget 50’s sci-fi—not high production values and the acting, typical of Arnold’s films, is a little wooden—but I thought it was intelligent and, unlike many films in this genre from the era, not overly hokey Smartly, the film shows as little as possible of the creature for much of the film—not unlike how they used and showed jaws Reasonable explanations and discussions around evaluation and comparisons to recently discovered ancient animals—again- intelligent Influential on so many films- not just del Toro and jaws but plenty of bad films like anaconda For a few minutes down the amazon it

Creature from the Black Lagoon – 1954 Jack Arnold2018-03-28T18:14:43+00:00

Zodiac – 2007 Fincher

A masterpiece of both narrative brilliance and visual splendor A rich study in obsession—clearly influenced by the grittier 1970’s American New Wave cinema—like Lumet, Pakula and Coppola’s the conversation. At the very end a character tells Gyllenhaal that “you have that look”. She means that you have been worn down by this obsession and all three lead actors, have that transformation Methodical and procedural— men of obsession made by a man of obsession (Fincher notorious for his numerous takes, and being a bit of a dick to actors and crew with his perfectionism) Many critics, while praising or comparing this

Zodiac – 2007 Fincher2021-06-11T21:42:24+00:00

Pandora’s Box – 1929 Pabst

Pabst’s film features an enthralling narrative and rich characterizations Louise Brooks and her tragic character, Lulu, are/were so influential to the time and to cinema lore (see films and outright homages by Tarantino (hair by Uma in pulp fiction), Demme (Melanie Griffith in something wild), Fassbinder (actual film lola- 1981) and Demy (ditto- character and film named lola – 1961)—Brooks herself was a pop icon in the late 20’s and early 30’s from this film A rich study on the male gaze The structure of the film is set up in act’s- each scene/setting is an act—if they move

Pandora’s Box – 1929 Pabst2017-12-20T17:47:59+00:00

The Bishop’s Wife – 1947 Koster

It’s right on the fringes of the archives for me. Cary Grant and Loretta Young are very good it in Apparently Grant switched roles with Niven—and thank God- unless it was an entirely different movie (It would’ve been even with the same script) – it was a no-brainer for Grant The writing team of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett did pretty heavy re-writes (boy how bad was the original?) Grant is charismatic and he’s perfect in many ways to play an angel- he absolutely glides when he moves Photography by Gregg Toland but there’s nothing overly spectacular here I’ve

The Bishop’s Wife – 1947 Koster2017-12-19T19:45:16+00:00

Seven – 1995 Fincher

Seven is formal and visual magnificence. The precision in the execution more than makes up for whatever creativity the common and often repeated plotline looks like on paper. The results are one of the best films of 1995 and the creation of a detective film and serial killer film archetypes. A ridiculously low and laughable 65 on mc With Gordon Willis inactive at the time and beyond (he actually had one credit post 1995 and it was with Pitt again in the devil’s own) I’d like to officially call Fincher the master of darkness and clearly this is a

Seven – 1995 Fincher2017-12-18T19:54:23+00:00
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