1/25/09

My Week in Film (1/19 - 1/25)



Dream of Light (1992)
(Directed by Victor Erice)


I didn't even realize this was a doc at first. The first 20 minutes were pretty sublime, just the painter getting home and setting up to paint. Watching him was sort of fascinating/boring to me with it switching from scene to scene. I wish it was just footage of him painting and struggling and whatever rather than him entertaining guests (even if it sometimes illustrates his thinking process). Mostly, this is kinda like Kiarostami in that I find its ideas interesting or whatever but that only gets me so far. Formally, it even resembles those films somewhat (+ self-reflexivity!). Probably the best part of the whole affair is this narrated sequence near the end where Antonio is sleeping and he describes some type of tree he'd never seen before and the light that hits it. Those two minutes do more for me than the entire film (probably because they're so different than what came before). It not only sheds light on the artistic process but also is extremely poetic (in a different way + it has great music).

Editor's Note: This review turned out to be less interesting than my actual experience which involved falling asleep to the film then listening to the dialogue from it like 30 minutes then falling asleep again, starting it over, falling asleep, rewinding, etc. I did finally watch all of it. It was very weird.

★★1/2




Ornamental Hairpin (1941)
(Directed by Hiroshi Shimizu)

So good. All relaxed and happy and yet there is an air of melancholy behind it all. This tells the story of just some people at a inn who hang out while they're there and become friends for a while. Chishuu Ryu (who has the worst limp ever) steps on a hairpin, then the owner of said hairpin comes back to apologize and get it back. She sticks around for a while. Everyone hangs out. Seriously. It's all treated with a light touch so things don't get too serious (it's really funny) but the end sort of gives way to an ending that's kind of devastating to me. And, yet, although that makes the film great to me. It's hard to negotiate that with some of the silliness here like this asshole professor (but lovable) telling some dude not to consult his wife's opinion, trying to find a (blind) masseur, just hanging out at the hot springs, playing go, walking around, the children screaming and laughing. There's so little here and yet so much (I esp. loved the tracking shot that links all the rooms together at the inn, I saw a comparison to one of Godard's Tout va Bien tracking shots which fits my memory of that film). uh, I want to check out the Eclipse when it comes out :)


★★★1/2



Peeping Tom (1960)
(Directed by Michael Powell)

Whoa! I know the link between the camera-eye and voyeurism is all for there to see but I can't think of a movie that deals more directly with it. This thing was fascinating on all counts. I can see why Scorsese loves it. All those fantastic camera moves def reminded me of his work. I think I liked the fact that at first the movie is just made up of two big set pieces that are all about playing with light and stuff. Also, this movie is just so deliciously creepy (hi face!) and yet so sensitive (I really dug the main actor with his almost fey accent). I also dug that the Powell brought back Shearer from The Red Shoes just to have her dance. I really need to see Psycho again cuz I can't tell right now which is better (and considering I put Psycho in my top 20 films this is high praise). So good!


★★★★


Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
(Directed by Chantal Akerman)

My flippant smiley review of it is:

Image

Or, I can see why people like this so much. I know people get off on this kind of formalism-to-the-extreme stuff but it's never been for me. Mid shots, still takes, everyday chores. That's all here. That's what the movie is and I understand the purpose behind all the repetition and shifts in routine stuff. What I'd argue is perhaps its effectiveness on me as a viewer. I've read responses in which people are shocked when Jeanne's everyday routines start changing slightly which strikes me as baffling. I guess it's a question of how involved you find yourself in what's going on. For me, it was just something to note, I was never wrapped up in anything (much like I'm never wrapped up in anything when I'm doing chores :lol:). Anyway, its ideas are interesting and the length and execution are without fault (they are necessary). But...

Anyway, what was the whole son's deal going on about "the length of the climax, orgasm, and my member as a sword..." :lol: Is that some shit regarding how she is only a sexual object or some shit? Whateverz.

★★1/2



The Palm Beach Story (1942)
(Directed by Preston Sturges)

Yes! This was great! Loved the sexiness at play with all the great dialogue and great repetitions with that old man. I didn't really expect this to be so funny, clever and all that nonsense. I think most of the enjoyment of the film is just from the way McCrea delivers his lines and that one dude pushes up his miniscule glasses. Then there's the "who are we kidding?" stuff with the dress and that one song and just the fucking ridiculous awesomeness of the ending (top 5 worthy!) and sort of weird no bs sentimentality (kind of) and shit and yeah. I loved that pajama :D

★★★★



The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
(Directed by Jacques Demy)

Man, I have been on a tear. It's just been great viewing after great viewing lately (well, :roll:) This sort of takes the melancholy and artificiality of Umbrellas and takes it up nine notches and goes all sorts of crazy with it. Deneuve and Dorleac are so awesome in this (as is anyone and everyone else, except that painter douchebag). And, then, BAM! motherfucking Gene Kelly shows up all smiling, wearing pink and being awesome and this takes the movie into overdrive and I'm smiling like there's no tomorrow and the music of Legrand is so great and everything is so colorful and lovable and fucking French that I may just go crazy... Anyway, I'd have to watch more MGM musicals to see how it plays around with those conventions but just the sort of blending of realism/fantasy modes with each one sharing part of the action at all points (like Love Me Tonight) is great and all the camera movements/cinematography/whatever is awesome and all the girls are cute and all the songs are catchy and wtf happened to Piccoli?! and yeah, loved this.

★★★★1/2




Rear Window (1954)
(Directed by Alfred Hitchcock)

That's the best part of Rear Window.

Well, the rest is good is too but doesn't really stand up to me with the awesome voyeur shit in Peeping Tom (cuz that film's pervy as hell and that's how we like it at roujin mansion). The discovery of Grace Kelly is really the major highlight for me. She's all kinds of awesome/gorgeous/wow and I need to see more of her films just to ogle at her (she was a fucking princess? wtf?). Stewart is fine and all (but he really is just staring out a window for 2 hours, just like he drives around San Fran for 2 hours in Vertigo) but I liked him when he was all fucked up and possessive in Vertigo much, much more. Also, the film's kinda too on the nose a couple of times, "We're all peeping toms..." and whatever the neighbor say after they pwn her dog ( :lol:, fuck those beasts). Another thing is that I liked how the film sort of kept an ambient soundtrack while Stewart just looked out the window and whatever. That was good (plus nice camera movements whatever).

★★★1/2



Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)
(Directed by Peter Sollett)

After some calculations, I've come to the conclusion that this is the greatest movie ever.

Okay, not really. In fact, only at 2:58 AM (which is when I watched it) could this movie be considered good... or something. Well, not really to that either. I sort of find it interesting that this movie even exists. It's like... this weird pseudo-indie thing that someone's trying to exploit... it's kinda funny. If you like those bands, you'll like this movie. This is the movie for you! This is the movie of your generation! Buy Tickets! Buy the DVD!!! I'm very removed from this sort of shit so I find it humorous and interesting... but who knows... Well, the actual movie is pretty harmless and entertaining. It helps that the two leads are very appealing in their own way. Sure, there's a lot of stupid jokes (and gross ones, too, -- why the gum?) but I can overlook it because the film's way of looking at things is so funny. Oh mah gah! We like the same band! It's also funny that the main deal is that Norah needs to have an orgasm... lol... this movie... it's the movie I expected to hate... but won me over... I think... here are some more ellipses...

Editor's Note: Self-loathing... ftw.

★★★



Romance and Cigarettes (2005)
(Directed by John Turturro)

Interestingly gaudy little half-musical hybrid thing. The characters burst into sing-alongs to popular songs as if the songs are playing on a radio nearby (well, not really... but that's how it feels like). There's points when it all kind of gets too annoying and I kind of noticed how much Christopher Walken can sometimes creep me out but overall this was worth it. The performances by the leads are actually pretty excellent, especially Susan Sarandon as Kitty. The film is at its best in the musical sequences (and the film's best moment is just plain startling in its out-of-nowhere beauty and poetry, Kate Winslet + underwater + awesome song). But I think the film hits some very interesting notes at its end and though it's sort of cliche, I really enjoyed the quiet resignation that it aspires to. What a weird thing to say. But, though I like a lot of it, I just can't bring myself to really like this just cuz of the gaudiness (it's a bit jarring to me) even though that's what makes the film interesting. The hunger is insatiable...

★★




Suspiria (1977)
(Directed by Dario Argento)

This movie is awesome. I mean, the story is some stupid shit about witches. But who cares?!! This whole thing is so fun just in the way it sets tone/mood/whatevs. It has this really kickass score that's like a weird creepy lullaby thing that sort of will have these cool atonal moments. The real cool stuff though is just the ridiculousness of the color and sets and everything in this movie. There's this one scene where everyone's going to sleep and when the lights turn off, everything is tinted red and everything is like 10x creepier just cuz of it. And, also the totally fun and inconsistent way that they use it, too. Like, at one point in a scene, it'll be lit greeenish or whatever and then they cut to some other angle of the same thing and now it's red (I love that). The plot is kinda sluggish and there's some bad dubbing here (why the hell do they bother dubbing Udo Kier?!!! Why?!!!) and it's only totally awesome when there's a death or whatever but those highs are totally worth it for me. Whatever. Completely dug this.

★★★★

Jhon's Movie of the Week is... The Young Girls of Rochefort

2 comments:

face said...

Relatively correct on Peeping Tom and Suspiria, and terribly terribly incorrect on Jeanne Dielman.

Go watch Jeanne Dielman again and make time for Je t'aime, je t'aime to atone.

4 more months till I start on you about Marienbad.

Bill Thompson said...

Glad to see you dug Suspiria, such a trippy film of awesomeness.