The Quick and the Dead – 1995 Raimi

Sam Raimi’s sixth film assembles a dream cast and crew. This was largely Sharon Stone’s project (she had a hand in the casting as well- including selecting Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe at a time when they were not yet Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe) and she was a massive star in 1995 (this is still in the wake of 1992’s Basic Instinct- and the same year as Casino). Gene Hackman had a boom in 1992 as well with Unforgiven. Leonardo DiCaprio is 21 years old- and this is after his breakout in 1993 with This Boy’s Life and

The Quick and the Dead – 1995 Raimi2021-11-30T14:18:31+00:00

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! – 1989 Almodovar

This marks Pedro Almodovar’s eighth film (six in the archives)- a very busy decade (debut in 1980). Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! Also makes for five archiveable films with actor and collaborator Antonio Banderas at this point in their careers. Almodovar has a new collaborator here in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! - Ennio Morricone. This is the only collaboration between Almodovar and Morricone (I am sure Almodovar had a bit more budget to play with due to the boost in notoriety from 1988’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown). This is another dangerous stalker

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! – 1989 Almodovar2021-11-29T13:59:37+00:00

Fat City – 1972 Huston

John Huston’s bleak Fat City opens with longer take observing Stacy Keach (as Tully) in his depressing, tiny jail cell of an apartment. This is Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt and in that Huston is telling us all about this character from this shot without dialogue. He cannot find a cigarette, the place is a disaster, there is bourbon on the nightstand and holes in his underwear. Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” makes for a perfect accompaniment. The arrangement above is just one example of Richard Sylbert’s work as the production design of Fat

Fat City – 1972 Huston2021-11-22T18:11:24+00:00

Carnival of Souls – 1962 Harvey

Heck Harvey directs Carnival of Souls- an early 1960s low budget horror film starring Candace Hilligoss as Mary Henry. It is part Lynne Ramsay (a past trauma—a drag racing accident- leaves the protagonist an empty vessel drifting through life) meets Antonioni (alienation in modernity) as much as any horror film. Clocks in at 77 minutes. Shot (on 35 mm though- not 16mm) in parts of Kansas—and the Carnival itself is in Utah. Eerie organ music from Gene Moore- and Mary is an organ player- certainly fitting. Mary is haunted by the accident- but also by a

Carnival of Souls – 1962 Harvey2021-11-22T15:41:16+00:00


best film:  2046 from WKW Four years after In the Mood for Love, WKW’s follow-up is the third and (so far) final film in the unofficial Love trilogy (Days of Being Wild from 1990 being the first) featuring Tony Leung as Chow Mo-Wan and Maggie Cheung (here only as a cutaway memory really) as Su Li-zhen. The story is more opaque than most of WKW’s films, with the added layer of Chow Mo-Wan writing science fiction – and 2046 (on top of the political meaning-the 50-year period the Chinese Government promised to let Hong Kong remain as it is) having two


Freud – 1962 Huston

Freud is a substantial biopic (running 140 minutes) and a solid addition to the resumes of both John Huston and star Montgomery Clift. The first of eighteen Academy Award nominations for Jerry Goldsmith (score for Chinatown, The Omen) providing the music. Freud opens with authoritative voice of Huston himself talking about the lineage of brilliant minds from Copernicus to Darwin to Freud. Starts set in 19th century Vienna. Clift only made seventeen (17) films before he died young at the age of 45. Twelve (12) of those are in the archives- this is his second to last film made

Freud – 1962 Huston2021-11-21T13:32:21+00:00

The Good German – 2006 Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German is steeped in pastiche. Even the marvelous poster apes Casablanca. However, the sort of real life documentary footage used to open the film is just not how these studio films started in the 1940s—Soderbergh makes a lot of choices here echoing past Hollywood filmmaking in The Good German- but not all of them land cleanly. The pastiche continues with the wipe edits—certainly more common in the mid-20th century than 2006. 1.66 : 1 aspect ratio is used- and Soderbergh only used studio era sound equipment. However, the language, violence, and carnal relations on display

The Good German – 2006 Soderbergh2021-11-24T14:17:19+00:00

About Endlessness – 2019 Andersson

With 2019’s About Endlessness, Roy Andersson, further bolsters his legacy as one of the 21st century’s greatest voices in cinema. Andersson is an absolute master of composition. About Endlessness clocks in just under 80 minutes. Andersson was 76 years old in 2019 at the time of About Endlessness so let us all hope that he has another film or two left in him (long gestation periods as well—2000, 2007, 2013, and now 2019 for his four big films). This is Andersson’s first after his Living trilogy, but the mode and tone is much the same. Each shot is a

About Endlessness – 2019 Andersson2021-11-20T16:53:30+00:00

Crimson Tide – 1995 Tony Scott

Tony Scott infuses enough energy into Crimson Tide to make the achievement of the film more than just the colossal performances of Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington. To be clear, these two great actors and movie stars are more than up to the task. Their verbal sparring and screen presence tug of war is a pleasure to witness. Hackman and Denzel are surrounded by quite a who’s who of future stars. James Gandolfini is part of the ensemble, as is Viggo Mortensen. If you blink, you’ll miss Ryan Phillipe as part of the crew. Jason Robards was a big

Crimson Tide – 1995 Tony Scott2021-11-22T18:06:39+00:00

Breaking News – 2004 To

Johnnie To’s Breaking News is justifiably well known its opening shot. The shot lasts nearly seven minutes in total and has been compared some of the great opening shots in cinema history. To’s camera starts on a skyscraper and then floats down to street level. From there it roams back up through a window – pauses-- and tracks along to the street —all via a crane. The camera hovers around a suspicious car (if any cinephile was not already thinking of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil... they are now) before violence breaks out. There are a hundreds, if not

Breaking News – 2004 To2021-11-21T13:35:06+00:00

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – 1988 Almodovar

This was the fourth archiveable film collaboration for Carmen Maura and Almodovar- though they had a falling out during the making of the film and Maura would not appear in another Almodovar film until 2006’s Volver.   Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown starts with one of the single greatest open title sequences in cinema history. It is a work of art in of itself. This feels rooted in his admiration for Hitchcock and potentially Fassbinder. The story opens with Pepa (a never better Carmen Maura) dubbing Johnny Guitar (rooting Maura’s Pepa in Joan

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – 1988 Almodovar2021-11-20T13:12:27+00:00


best film: Lost in Translation from Sofia Coppola With Kill Bill married to the second half of the film, which came out in 2004, it is pretty easy to declare Lost in Translation the best singular film of 2003. The only other film, or part of a film, that is close, is the totality of Peter Jackson’s 10+ hour The Lord of the Rings but not only is it broken out over three years (2001-2003), but 2003 is the weakest entry of the three. Coppola’s work in Lost in Translation is her most perfectly realized - a meditation on

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