A Fantastic Woman – 2017 Lelio

There’s plenty enough here visually to put Chilean director Lelio on the list of directors to keep an eye on- from the very outset the visual patterns are set with the heavy gorgeous colors during the massage scene- heavy purples, blues, --visual tone and form set early Solid review from “Time Out” calls it part Almodovar and part Boys Don’t Cry Penchant for striking visual colors again in the disco scene—another in the scene of them kissing with the red color on top of them, the flashing light from the parking garage, too What Daniela Vega’s Marina has to

A Fantastic Woman – 2017 Lelio2020-07-03T10:29:59+00:00

Letter Never Sent – 1960 Kalatozov

It’s the third Kalatozov film I’ve seen (after I Am Cuba and The Cranes are Flying) and it cements Kalatozov as one of the great stylists of this or any era of cinema. Letter Never Sent comes between those two films from Kalatozov, Cranes is 1957 and I Am Cuba is 64’ Opens with a gorgeous helicopter reverse tracking shot Heavy handheld camera work in the Siberian River and Taiga forest There’s a magnificent graphic match dissolve edit—we go from one set of eyes (sender of the letter) to another set of eyes (receiver of the letter) in a

Letter Never Sent – 1960 Kalatozov2020-07-03T10:30:00+00:00

Tale of Tales – 2015 Garrone

Visually inspired baroque fantasy Starts with a long tracking shot walking and arriving into this amazing world Décor detail is truly inspired- there interior of the castle with the maze-like walls A gorgeous shot on a bridge before the Toby Jones introduction The maze—Kubrick in The Shining The three thrones are beautifully designed- ornate It’s eerie and unsettling but there’s deadpan humor as well that’s quite effective. In a aftermath of an orgy scene with Vincent Cassel (perfectly cast as a sexual marauder for the 10th time) he kicks a peacock out of the way- it’s great Shot of

Tale of Tales – 2015 Garrone2022-02-09T23:12:27+00:00

Maurice – 1987 Ivory

Like almost all of Ivory’s film’s the ensemble is fantastic, a young Hugh Grant (first archiveable film), Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow (in a key and gorgeous early scene at the beach), Ben Kingsley and a spot appearance by Helena Bonham-Carter Wins at Venice for awards- Oscar nom only for costume (a staple for Merchant Ivory--- justifiable praise and appreciation for their eye for mise-en-scene and décor detail Love the shots of Cambridge—establishing mainly- lawns, buildings and campus It’s about the elite- another novel from EM Forster- cricket Gorgeous interlude in sun kissed Greece on location I don’t think Denholm

Maurice – 1987 Ivory2020-07-03T10:30:00+00:00

A Room With a View – 1985 Ivory

Easily the strongest effort to date in 1985 from James Ivory and his producer Ishmail Merchant—it was a box office hit of sorts- and the Oscars loved it as well- 8 noms, 3 wins (screenplay, art direction costumer) and other noms for picture, Ivory, the DP, Denholm Elliot, and Maggie Smith Adapted screenplay was won by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala—she’s really the third part of Merchant Ivory as she wrote many of their works and almost all of their best ones Helena Bonham Carter’s film debut at 19- a revelation Many critics at the time noticed that new-comer Daniel Day-Lewis

A Room With a View – 1985 Ivory2020-07-03T10:30:00+00:00

The Searchers – 1956 Ford

John Ford’s The Searchers is many things: a meditation on wilderness and civilization is chief amongst them An update of Melville—John Wayne is Ahab here, obsession—monomaniacal My #1 film of all-time, #9 on TSPDT, #7 on Sight and Sound The greatest work from 4-time Oscar-winning best director John Ford Dazzling on-location shooting in Monument Valley. Ford shot there often, but never like this aided by VistaVision—the stunning red rock made of sandstone make for true architecture as character This is from Ebert- he compared the low-brow humor which is a running trait in Ford’s oeuvre- to Shakespeare’s clowns- I

The Searchers – 1956 Ford2020-07-03T10:30:02+00:00

Wedding Crashers – 2005 Dobkin

It’s an odd combination for the archives: Dobkin’s direction is amazing in the first 15-20 minutes with the set-up of the initial scene and of course the wedding montage—great work. Then the superior talents of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson then take over. These are two performers who have collaborated on more artistically ambitious works (Wilson’s work with Wes Anderson of course and Vaughn in Swingers). Key supporting performances from up-comer at the time Bradley Cooper, Christopher Walken (getting in his calling card-- a dance scene) and Will Ferrell combined with a great dialogue-centric (Vaughn, in particular, is going

Wedding Crashers – 2005 Dobkin2021-06-17T13:27:15+00:00

Mandy – 2018 Cosmatos

Clearly influenced by rock opera Tommy and revenge films like Death Wish this has still has the feel of a unique voice. Nods for sure to the surreal nightmare world of David Lynch. Cosmatos paces the film like an art film, designs the hell out of a set like an expressionistic film—but there are elements of horror and b-movie action A huge debt from Cosmatos is owed to the late Johann Johannsson. Johannsson’s score carries parts of the film entirely and elevates and accentuates the qualities of the rest. It’s amongst his best work (Arrival, Sicario)— it’s a great

Mandy – 2018 Cosmatos2020-07-03T10:30:02+00:00

The Bostonians – 1984 Ivory

A strong supporting cast (including Jessica Tandy, Lina Hunt, Wallace Shawn) but this is Vanessa Redgrave’s show. She’s superb—so much so that it magnifies the unremarkable work of Madeleine Potter and Christopher Reeve as her co-leads Strong adaptation of Henry James Love the details of the organ instrument on the opening credits It’s really a love triangle with Reeve and Redgrave competing for Potter- lesbian film- there’s intelligent insulations throughout “a friendship that means so much to you” as someone says to Redgrave If played for comedy (and he’s smiling) Reeve has some lines here—like “she looks so pretty

The Bostonians – 1984 Ivory2020-07-03T10:30:02+00:00

Quartet – 1981 Ivory

Period elegance from Merchant Ivory. Set in 1927, trendy society in New York- but it’s a dog eat dog world—the young and beautiful innocent Isabelle Adjani (great casting) is almost served up as lunch or Red Riding Hood to rich Alan Bates and Maggie Smith Beautiful wallpaper historical décor and detail Not sure they’re in any scenes together in Gosford Park but Bates and Maggie Smith would team up again in Altman’s film 20 years later It’s not Goodfellas but there’s a gorgeous long tracking shot of the three arriving at a party and going down the stars and

Quartet – 1981 Ivory2020-07-03T10:30:02+00:00

Local Hero – 1983 Forsyth

A unique and rich take on the comedy, the fish-out-of-water comedy If there are 10 reviews 8 mention how “charming” it is and it extremely charming. Affirming-- filled with Forsyth’s splendid wit Love the scene of the oil executives whispering because their boss (a perfectly cast Burt Lancaster) is sleeping through the meeting— quirky memorable touches throughout like this Love the comet and constellations conversation from Lancaster as a rich eccentric with a good heart—there aren’t any villains in this film or any Forsyth film- if you watch a lot of movies you keep waiting for one—the innkeeper, the

Local Hero – 1983 Forsyth2020-07-03T10:30:02+00:00

2001: A Space Odyssey – 1968 Kubrick

A supreme visual and aural achievement—when combined with the utmost formal exactitude— it leaves us with one of the best three films of all-time If you still need more evidence of Kubrick’s genius--- how about his post-production decisions on the soundtrack and casting for HAL. He changed it from a more Spartacus- like- adventure-like Alex North score to Strauss—brilliant. (North is great by the way- he did Spartacus as I mentioned- but also A Streetcar Named Desire, Cleopatra, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?—it just doesn’t fit here)-- Kubrick had Martin Balsam doing the voice of HAL and replaced him

2001: A Space Odyssey – 1968 Kubrick2020-07-03T10:30:03+00:00
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