Capote – 2005 Bennett Miller

It’s a stunning portrait of Truman Capote with a triumphant performance by Phillip Seymour Hoffman I wish there was some of it but there’s some strong juxtaposition of establishing shots and transition editing with the open cold Kansas prairie landscapes with the posh NYC skyline (and then beautiful Spanish vacation spot later) PSH is the reason this film is excellent—it goes far beyond impersonation and mimicry—of course the voice and the laugh is studied—but PSH absolutely disappears- one of the greater “chameleon” performances showing an actor’s range CAPOTE, Philip Seymour Hoffman, 2005, © Sony Pictures Classics/courtesy Everett Collection

Capote – 2005 Bennett Miller2020-07-03T10:31:06+00:00

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover – 1989 Greenaway

A giant “M” Masterpiece and prime candidate for the singular poster child of film art expressionism and the greatest mise-en-scene in film history Simply one of the most beautiful movies ever made There is a different color for each room--- exteriors in blue, dining in red, bathroom in white, kitchen in green—some characters outfits change colors as does the cigarettes for Mirren The Hals painting, tapestry here is gorgeous and copied by Greenaway- he does this, with painting and art in every film The costume are stunning- Jean-Paul Gautier—pure expressionism The Nyman score is haunting and probably his best

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover – 1989 Greenaway2020-07-03T10:31:06+00:00

Sergeant Rutledge – 1960 Ford

It’s notable today for being the first western to star a black man—Willy Strode (a Ford regular). Strode actually played football at UCLA with Jackie Robinson. In that regards it’s a landmark film Strode shares with screen pretty equally with Jeffrey Hunter (surprisingly good as his lawyer) and Constance Towers It’s partially about the famous Civil War Buffalo Soldiers It was part of Ford’s apology tour in the 1960’s (7 Women for women in 1966 and Cheyenne Autumn for Native Americans in 1964) For Strode it was a big year as he also was in Spartacus Very solid use

Sergeant Rutledge – 1960 Ford2020-07-03T10:31:06+00:00

A Zed and Two Noughts – 1985 Greenaway

It’s a major leap forward for Greenaway and a clear precursor to the cook, the thief, hjs wife and her lover Like most of the rest of his films there’s a symbolic death ritual finale Also like most of the rest of his work there is a large amount of cataloging in the film- Greenaway is a pure artist but there’s also a mathematician in there- he’s very numerical and formal in his approach Rhythmic in the editing Personally the cataloging thing fits my brain (hence the website and Excel charts of movie’s I watch, etc) Greenaway is one

A Zed and Two Noughts – 1985 Greenaway2020-07-03T10:31:06+00:00

The Four Feathers – 1939 Z. Korda

Sadly it’s an overlooked and underrated film (not in the TSPDT top 1000 and it should be) A very British film Described accurately as a “ripping good yarn”. Solid adventure film Notable for the early use (any time we’re in the 30’s it’s early) of technicolor Best of the 3 versions of the film- the latest starred Heath Ledger and Wes Bentley A meditation on bravery and cowardice The red coast of the British troops absolutely pop here in technicolor More serious than Gunga din The two standouts in the cast here are Aubrey Smith (great shot of him

The Four Feathers – 1939 Z. Korda2021-02-08T19:42:34+00:00

Black Panther – 2018 Coogler

A very strong start to 2018, the continuation of Coogler’s ascension as one of cinema’s future greats, and the best film in the MCU to date The supporting cast is extremely strong for any film- but this genre especially—Bassett and Whitaker, veterans, are good, but it’s the young cast—led by Jordan and Boseman—that feel incredibly special. If you add Kaluuya (not sure I’d go off this alone but you combine this with Sicario and especially Get Out) it feels like this crop of young talent could be the beginning of something truly special. Boseman is up to the challenge

Black Panther – 2018 Coogler2020-07-03T10:31:08+00:00

The Draughtman’s Contract – 1982 Greenaway

Greenaway is an artist first and foremost- made a bunch of shorts and that really weird the falls (1980) 3 hour fake documentary which is not in my archives so this is his first real feature There are only a half dozen or so camera movements and they are all side to side tracking shots 3 hour original cut- I think it’s a blessing that this ends up at 108 minutes Symmetry in the frame—which is a Greenaway trademark starts here. Even from the opening he’s obsessed with mirroring—he has two twins dressed the same down to the spot

The Draughtman’s Contract – 1982 Greenaway2020-07-03T10:31:08+00:00

The Light Between Oceans – 2016 Cianfrance

It’s a strong melodrama- which is a genre- not a criticism (news to some critics) The plotting has issues and the name of the damn movie is tough to get past—but it’s beautifully photographed and well acted, even if it comes a as a disappointment because it’s from a talent like Cianfrance Fassbender is very good here. It’s largely an internal performance. He has that post-War WW1 stare. Classical storytelling with lush photography—not as strong but reminds me of Minghella’s work Strong score from Desplat The actual narrative set up is from the shining- he’s asked to be caretaker

The Light Between Oceans – 2016 Cianfrance2020-07-03T10:31:08+00:00

The Fugitive – 1993 A. Davis

Andrew Davis really wouldn’t be heard from again (the package, under siege) but this 1993 film is a major feather in the cap for Tommy Lee Jones, Harrison Ford and the entire action/thriller genre. It’s rarely been done better. It’s a towering genre achievement Apparently the Oscar winning Jones was ad-libbing and improvising many of his lines It doesn’t touch his Scorsese work but the DP here is Michael Chapman—really I actually prefer the editing work here- this film moves Fabulous formally sound reoccurring overhead shots of Chicago—it’s a great Chicago film with the hotels, the elevated train, the

The Fugitive – 1993 A. Davis2020-07-03T10:31:09+00:00

Titanic – 1953 Negulesco

It’s on the fringe but after one viewing I’m putting it in the archives. Negulesco doesn’t do anything amazing (probably best known for the mask of dimitrios) but it has a solid script from Charles Brackett (early collaborator with Billy Wilder) and the cast is solid Thelma Ritter, always reliable, makes a mean (good) fake unsinkable Molly Brown—it probably took her less than a minute to prepare for this role and Webb could play this aristocrat here in his sleep as well. It’s Stanwyck is drives the film and is as good as she usually is. Baseheart isn’t given

Titanic – 1953 Negulesco2020-07-03T10:31:09+00:00

The Tale of Princess Kagulaya – 2013 Takahata

Gorgeous and distinctive in it being hand-drawn and almost sketched and airy not only compared to most Hollywood animation but films like only yesterday and others from studio Ghibli Takahata 78 years old at time Soft pastel colors- pinks, lavender, light greens over and over again to create a visual rhythm Based on Japanese folk lore “princess bamboo”- again almost pantheistic Fable Flowers and birds and a woman coming of again Recommend but on the lower side despite the visual beauty and distinct patterns

The Tale of Princess Kagulaya – 2013 Takahata2020-07-03T10:31:09+00:00

Only Yesterday – 1991 Takahata

One of the early high water-marks of Studio Ghibli—Takahata is a co-founder along with Miyazaki. Gorgeous opening tracking shot of skyscraper—Takahata again and again tries to simulate camera with animation Rural Eden- almost a pantheism a theme he’d go to again and again From the modest opening credits you feel like you’re watching an Ozu film. It draws upon the changing seasons, memory and family. Set in 1966- a story about sisters- a story about and a meditation on nostalgia—heavy voice over and dipping in and oscillating back and forth through strong editing with flashbacks Superb way Takahata draws

Only Yesterday – 1991 Takahata2020-07-03T10:31:09+00:00
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