The Testament of Dr. Mabuse – 1933 Lang

The in medias res opening is a dazzler- a long tracking shot through a cluttered (stunning mise-en-scene) basement. There are bicycle wheels in the frame, lights hanging in the foreground, objects- it’s Ozu and it’s Von Sternberg—film never really hits those heights again though Lang does paranoia so well- atmosphere- dire circumstance—perhaps only Polanski can match It’s a decent-sized ensemble and a procedural study of a corrupt mind—Fincher could make this film Mabuse as a character is utterly fascinating. He creates chaos, is brilliant, fear and anarchy—clearly an influence on Nolan and Ledger’s “joker” in The Dark Knight Heavy

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse – 1933 Lang2020-07-03T10:30:03+00:00

Bob le Flambeur – 1956 Melville

It’s both an important film (probably the most easy to point to singular bridge between noir and the French new wave) and a fantastic work of art without the important influence associated Heavily influenced by John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle Shot on location—Melville said he could not get Jean Gabin because of cost and turned down a young Alain Delon (for second lead) because he would have distracted from the film and Roger Duchesne’s Bob. I like Duchesne (Bob) and Daniel Cauchy (who plays Paolo) but this may be a film on another level (better) with Gabin and Delon

Bob le Flambeur – 1956 Melville2020-07-03T10:30:03+00:00

Shakespeare-Wallah – 1965 Ivory

Ivory (and Merchant/Ivory)’s 3rd feature It’s airy and delicate- takes it’s time with the romance and building the atmosphere (shot on location in India) of the traveling players Love the gorgeous sculpture montage in the opening and then the silent shot as they introduce the Shakespeare players on the train—playing cards, reading Lolita, etc. A slice of life romance With the group there’s an intelligent discussion on art. Vs commerce, the changing of generations, feels of nostalgia The film feels modern- a tribute to Ivory This is 1965 and the romance here is right in the middle of Sidney

Shakespeare-Wallah – 1965 Ivory2020-07-03T10:30:03+00:00

Cemetery of Splendor – 2015 Weerasethakul

I’ve seen it twice (which is not nearly enough for Weerasethakul but where I’m at right now it’s a step down from Syndromes and a Century (2006) and Uncle Boonmee (2010) which were his two most recent works Stealing from the great Justin Chang “ latest gently hypnotic cinematic enigma … Lacking the jungle-feverish exhilaration of the filmmaker’s greatest work,there are no abrupt structural divisions or elisions in evidence, and (somewhat sadly) neither are there any red-eyed Chewbaccas or cunnilingus-inclined catfish.  Few filmmakers this side of David Lynch are as adept or intuitive as Weerasethakul when it comes to

Cemetery of Splendor – 2015 Weerasethakul2020-07-03T10:30:03+00:00

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – 2010 Weerasethakul

  The opening is as strong as anything in 2010 (which puts it up there with the decade) or Weerasethakul. A beautiful short story of a bull (or water buffalo?) tied to a tree post dusk, natural lighting, silhouette work, its tame vs. wild, it tells the story of Weerasethakul’s and it feels surreal—it’s also a break because normally Weerasethakul’s openings are banal and slow (on purpose to juxtapose with his urban vs. wild chapter or divisions) Palme d’Or winner Beguiling and stunning to look at For the first time since his weak debut it does not have the

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – 2010 Weerasethakul2020-07-03T10:30:03+00:00

Syndromes and a Century – 2006 Weerasethakul

A visual atom bomb from Weerasethakul—his most accomplished and formally magnificent film to date. If you combine all the most gorgeous images from this, Tropical Malady and Blissfully Yours--- 8 of the 10 from Syndromes and a Century A series of paintings constructed formally- you have a very stark sterile hospital vs a tropical green paradise outside—in many ways it’s the same short film repeated twice An ethereal romance Opens on a tree in the wind Weerasethakul’s obsession with medicine and then naturalism and greens Monks talking about their dreams—reincarnation Like almost all his films Weerasethakul is almost daring

Syndromes and a Century – 2006 Weerasethakul2020-07-03T10:30:03+00:00

Tropical Malady – 2004 Weerasethakul

There is a quote in the opening about how we’re all wild animals and then the images of the soldiers smiling and posing over a kill background making shorts works here combining works 10 minutes in before the credits and song Medicine is one of Weerasethakul’s obsessions- we have a dog (of one of the protagonists) dying. There’s discussions about how one of the two lovers will “never die a natural death” It’s a slow-moving neo-realist like (and rather toothless) love story first half Pop music again 53 minutes in and we go into a full break back out

Tropical Malady – 2004 Weerasethakul2021-06-03T10:22:24+00:00

Blissfully Yours – 2002 Weerasethakul

Ranked #599 on TSPDT Almost entirely static camera Weerasethakul's background in shorts works combining vastly different segments here Greens all over the place—the first third of the film is at a clinic which is largely sterile and white but there is green painting. Then we have the second third which is the long car ride with the outdoor vistas, and then we have the sea of green jungle final third Long sequences in the car- neorealism? Transformation from tame/city to wild/rural jungle Weerasethakul obsessed with clinics and health- the opening is so banal- intentionally ugly? There’s a spirituality- animal

Blissfully Yours – 2002 Weerasethakul2020-07-03T10:30:03+00:00

The Way We Were – 1973 Pollack

The poster plays up the stars- Redford as big as they come in 1973 and Streisand a cross-over movie and music star and sensation Two Oscars—one for the title song and one for the score— Its an interesting romantic dynamic and chemistry—the outspoken Jewish intellectual and the WASP athlete. He’s smarter than meets the eye at first and Streisand more beautiful It’s a great star vehicle for both but particularly for Streisand- she had her second (and last) acting nomination (winner in 1968 for Funny Girl Timely in 1973’ with some of the politics and anti-war stuff on college

The Way We Were – 1973 Pollack2020-07-03T10:30:05+00:00

Grave of the Fireflies– 1988 Taktahata

It’s nearly unbearably tragic. It’s a gut-punch that wallops you like a Rossellini’s Germany Year Zero or Schindler’s List – roots-- Akiyuki Nosaka’s autobiographical novel Ebert’s great movies “deserves to be amongst the best war films”- a meditation on grief- it could easily be a live action film- feels neo-realistic—a change for animation—80% of the film is straight (part neo-realism, Empire of the Sun the year before from Spielberg) but the imagery (fireflies and firebombs), flowers to rice transition, the fireflies again from the war show surrealism flashback fireworks— Creates some of the great characters of the 80’s in

Grave of the Fireflies– 1988 Taktahata2021-02-04T02:09:06+00:00

Tully – 2018 Jason Reitman

It’s the fourth archiveable film from Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult)—third with screenwriter Diablo Cody (those three minus Up in the Air) and second with Theron (Young Adult) The ending surprised me and added tremendous value for me—I’m not sure it’s in the archives without it as just an insightful drama—I look forward to a repeat viewing but I felt like it was like a post-partum (old vs new self) Fight Club in many ways Has Cody’s trademark snarky and biting dialogue It’s a minor triumph for Theron who is on a hot streak going back

Tully – 2018 Jason Reitman2020-07-03T10:30:05+00:00

Battle of the Sexes – 2017 Dayton and Faris

  Published on: Oct 9, 2017  It doesn’t have the overarching formal visual pleasures of little miss sunshine- dayton and faris previous archiveable effort but it’s a return to the archives and return to form I absolutely love the foggy haze ethereal love story going on shot in claustrophobic close ups. The directors are dedicated to capturing the era and succeed—from the fantastic poster (granted I have no idea if they had a hand in that at all) to the music, the costume, and hair—it’s well done all around and many films fail at this level—this is well-earned and detailed

Battle of the Sexes – 2017 Dayton and Faris2020-07-03T10:30:05+00:00
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