The Post – 2017 Spielberg

January 2018 It’s a top-notch intelligent screenplay and clearly Spielberg has hired two of the best to lead the cast (and the ensemble is very good as well)—but his choice to put this film on a dolly and have tracking shots throughout really gives it the energy and urgency that takes the film to another level. It’s as if Spielberg said “this will not be some stuffy history lesson” and although there are some small problems (a scene I’ll get to later, some messaging and speech-making) the aesthetic choice here with the moving camera has the desired effect Stylistically

The Post – 2017 Spielberg2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

Spirited Away – 2001 Miyazaki

Third or fourth time viewing- caught it on the big screen Picturesque-- still-frame beauty Miyazaki, if he hadn’t already, firmly cements himself as a master of surrealism—as far as cinema- along the likes of Luis Bunuel and David Lynch Wizard of Oz, Alice, pantheism- Yellow Submarine and perhaps early Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands)- like expressionism and influence Miyazaki is a world- creator- filled with color and imagination—draws such beautiful skylines, nature, grass and flowers Love the moving trepidation allegory- very real The narrative is imaginative for sure- but there’s a bit of random number generator feel to it- very

Spirited Away – 2001 Miyazaki2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

Call Me by Your Name – 2017 Guadagnino

January 2018 1.0 It’s one of the highlights of 2017 because of the cast, the photography (by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (who regularly works with Apichatpong Weerasethakul which may be why much of this film feels like a dream)), the songs by Sufjan Stevens, but it’s Guadagnino who is the star putting it all together. It’s his third archiveable film after I Am Love and A Bigger Splash. He makes unique romances set in a glorious backdrop (Italy). Excellent performances by Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, and the ever-brilliant Michael Stuhlbarg The entire film feels like a fond memory of your best

Call Me by Your Name – 2017 Guadagnino2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

Creed – 2015 Coogler

Coogler’s second archiveable film under the age of 30 Coogler’s direction and screenplay touches and uses the iconography, archetypes and clichés but executives it all so flawlessly Fruitvale Station announced the arrival and both Coogler as a potential (now fully realized) auteur and Michael B. Jordan as a major star- but if there were doubts or trepidation- those are long gone now after seeing Creed The great oner- shot in the fight between Jordan and Gabe Rosados “Leo ‘The Lion’” I think it challenges the original Rocky for the best film in the series and for the best performance

Creed – 2015 Coogler2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

The Beast with Five Fingers – 1946 Florey

Max Steiner riffing off of and using Bach music and a tremendous performance by Peter Lorre are the show here and the reason the film squeaks into the archives A great crane shot down into the big set piece entrance of the gothic castle with the piano Lorre can do insanity and unease unlike any other actor Gothic- big castle, shadowy, heavy on the music, candle lighting The narrative has problems- it just makes huge leaps about how an unknown (previously in the narrative) cousin knows Lorre and how Lorre has been leaching off of his cousin for years

The Beast with Five Fingers – 1946 Florey2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

Moneyball – 2011 Bennett Miller

Bennett Miller’s sophomore effort here proves his debut, 2005’s Capote was no one-man acting triumph—this is another excellent film Miller pulled out all the stops when putting this film together. He grabs Brad Pitt- one of the top 25 actors of all-time- for the lead, taps Wally Pfister as the DP, the screenplay is written by Sorkin and Steven Zallian (Schindler’s list), even gets PSH from Capote to play the thankless role of Art Howe Mychael Danna’s score is superb- a riff on Trent Reznor’s Social Network masterful score but a splendid one on it’s own One reason you

Moneyball – 2011 Bennett Miller2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

Backdraft – 1991 Howard

A very talented cast (sans William Baldwin in lead), gorgeous set-pieces, and a strong early Hans Zimmer score carry this film into the archives despite a weak screenplay 3 Oscar noms for effects Could lose the “heat wave” song—brutally on the nose On-location shooting in Chicago pays off with the set pieces Almost like a war-film at time with Russell playing John Wayne- they even call their unit the “fighting 17th”—which makes William Baldwin more of a Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity introspective type Russell steals the show (though Donald Sutherland chews the hell out of his

Backdraft – 1991 Howard2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

Night Train to Munich – 1940 Reed

Very Hitchcockian’- a train-bound thriller with Margaret Lockwood just like Hitch’s 1938 success The Lady Vanishes 7th and final collaboration of Lockwood and Reed- I can’t say I’ve seen or archived any of the others/previous Reed doesn’t just relay on Lockwood and Rex Harrison—he has these gorgeous miniatures throughout- stunning- he starts the film with strong simulated helicopter shot on a miniature and then goes through the window He does it again at the factory in Prague Paul Henreid is good here- he’s a Nazi spy- he’d go on to be cast on the opposite side of the struggle

Night Train to Munich – 1940 Reed2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

The Remains of the Day – 1993 Ivory

It’s more of an actors showcase than Howard’s End- which is not a compliment – I love the film but the acting is still probably better in Howard’s End. Long flashbacks and letters between Hopkins and Thompson formulate the narrative structure—both actors- collaborated with Merchant Ivory in 1992’s Howard’s End- are in top form and amongst the best in the world at that time Ebert- “I got some letters from readers who complained the movie was boring, that "nothing happens in it." To which I was tempted to reply: If you had understood what happened in it, it would

The Remains of the Day – 1993 Ivory2020-07-03T10:29:57+00:00

Howards End – 1992 Ivory

It’s peak Merchant/Ivory- A Room With a View is there, too Handsomely mounted by Ivory, Oscar-Winning script from Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and the cast is phenomenal- Redgrave is great in her small role, Bonham Carter- wow—but it’s Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins that are really revelatory. She won the Oscar here and Hopkins is in an incredible stretch and late-career renaissance started by Silence of the Lambs the year before Set direction- Oscar win as well First of four merchant/ivory collaborations with Hopkins Merchant Ivory mean period piece to most people- elevated material, great acting, often about the elite

Howards End – 1992 Ivory2020-07-03T10:29:59+00:00

Mr. & Mrs. Bridge – 1990 Ivory

It’s a strong bounce-back for Merchant/Ivory after 1989’s Slaves of New York Features real life husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward- Woodward is nominated here but they’re both superb Strong period piece study of an affluent Midwestern family—practicality and conservatism Woodward plays the naïve, well-intentioned but often nattering housewife=-- she’s painfully sheltered and captive Strong mise-en-scene—wallpaper and period detail- really a gorgeous film- I love the Papier-mâché at the school dance which is shown with a reverse tracking shot like a Curtiz slow-tracking establishing shot Kansas WASP- “the city can be the devil”, Eagle scouts, “meticulously detailed”-

Mr. & Mrs. Bridge – 1990 Ivory2020-07-03T10:29:59+00:00

A Time to Kill – 1996 Schumacher

It’s a tremendously flawed film but buoyed, and ultimately archiveable, because of the sheer entertainment factor-- and strong performances by an ensemble cast at the height of their powers in 1996. This isn’t peak McConaughey—that would come during the McConassiance of 2012-2014 -- but he’s a remarkably solid lead here- southern, good-looking, driven, charming- and he’s 26 and this is his 4th film and he had no training as an actor- it’s a feat to be able to carry this weighty material and lead this ensemble The rest of the cast is brilliant, too—Schumacher cuts corners with spot-on casting

A Time to Kill – 1996 Schumacher2020-07-03T10:29:59+00:00
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