When I cheer, I cheer. And when I don’t, I don’t. And when I’m looking at something else – or asleep – leave me alone so I can do that.
Tag Archives: film
Movie Day: “The Bear” to “Catch-22”
Movie Day The Bear to Catch 22
Watching films is an addiction, consumed one by one, regardless of story or value, but for how they are shot – the lights, shots and edits, watching as as alien, trying to understand the language of this world through Annaud’s The Bear, Zemekis’ Castaway and Luketic’s Paranoia. Finding the moments, beautifully or ridiculously rendered: Redford’s Ordinary People, Hiller’s Silver Streak, NIchols’ Catch-22 (Mike Nichols, 1970). And then the day is gone, lost in the confusion of make belief, and you are an alien no longer, just tired.
Utopia: No Place Like There
Utopia: No Place Like There.
a. Derived from the Greek, meaning no place or not on a map, the word was re-purposed by Sir Tomas More 500 years ago to mean paradise.
b. Modern-day Utopian stories are usually revealed to Dystopian: Forbidden Planet, Logan’s Run,The Truman Show, The Beach, and Pleasantville,
Oscars 2017: Best Live-Action Short
Oscars 2017 Best Live Action Short. This year’s Oscar nominations for Best Live-Action Short are all European: The Woman and the TGV (Switzerland), Silent Nights (Denmark), Time Code (Spain), Enemies Within (France) and Sing (Hungary). And while all have obvious merits, most fail at the short format, striving instead to be an abbreviated feature. Aske Bang’s Silent Nights is the most flawed in this regard – cramming in a passionate on-again-off-again affair, a mugging, death of a parent, deportation and sudden pregnancy into 30 minutes. Timo von Guten’s The Woman and the TGV, although entertaining and meticulously shot, suffers from a kind of Amelie envy. Kristof Deak’s Sing and Selim Azzazi’s Enemies Within briefly focus on the key of the short format – that of a specific and intense relationship – but both lose focus in the end. It is only Juanjo Gimenez’s Time Code – the shortest of the entries at fifteen minutes – that understands the structure of short films. It delivers from beginning to end with humor and insight into the human condition while never overshooting its mark – people are happier when they accept themselves.
DuVernay’s Documentary “13th” Needs To Be Seen
Ava DuVernay’s Academy-nominated documentary 13th exposes the intrinsic flaw of America’s 13th Amendment. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
While abolishing slavery is well and good – how did it ever happen in the first place?! – the amendment allows for the practice to continue through the penal system, a system that systematically incarcerates black males in America, a population that, only 4% of the overall population, accounts for 40% of prisoners. DuVernay outlines America’s dismal history of discrimination and servitude, citing Jim Crow laws as well as the systematic targeting of black leaders such as Angela Davis and Black Panther Fred Hampton.Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Clinton are all indicted for the role in the morass as well as So-Called President Trump. Most insidious of all is the monetization of the mass incarcerations – corporations such as WalMart and Time Warner directly profiting from these policies – as well as the understanding that another iteration of the racist laws awaits us all. DuVernay’s film needs to be seen. Okay, so what are you doing? Watch it now!
Canada’s Soul: St. John’s to Port Aux Basques
After three days at Will’s house in St. John’s, I began to hitchhike back west.
June 14, Ride One: St. John’s to Kelce Groose Turnoff (Brown Rabbit) Old and young guy, dog hair all over the back seat.
Ride Four: Argentia Turnoff to Marystown Turnoff (Red LTD) Scottish guy, still wild, music just as wild, “Watch yourself down there. It’s back woodsy.”
Ride Nine: Frenchman’s Turnoff to Fortune (Red Schneider truck) “LSD is shit.”
With the ferry service to the French island of St. Pierre Miquelon cancelled, I hoped for a ride on a trawler, the Marguerite, and stayed overnight in a cheap motel and watched Butterflies Are Free. The Marguerite left without me. I hitchhiked back up the peninsula and then across Newfoundland.
Ride One: Fortune to Grand Banks (Turquoise Ford) Wanted to do something for me…”If I wasn’t married.”
Ride Five: Trans Canada Highway Turnoff to Cornerbrook (Old blue car) Eldery lady spoke of mongoloid mentally retarded boy; offered me a little red bible.
Ride Six: Cornerbrook to Stephenville (Old green car with no back seat) Doug drove (getting married in two weeks) with Pat (intense, speed user) and Brian (hard drinker) in the front seat; all moose and salmon poachers, each been to jail a few times, went to the dump looking for bears; drank four beers by the time they dropped me off at the ferry.
Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers
The Battle of Algiers is known for its neorealism, cinema verite as they say, images so real that we have to be told they’re not.
Its strength, however, lies not only in its images.
But in its development of a central theme: our inherent inhumanity to one another.
The Cattle Drive in Howard Hawks’ “Red River”
It’s not the story nor the setting nor even characters that make Howard Hawks’ 1948 Red River an epic, but the images of the cattle drive.
A herd of 9,000 used in shooting this iconic story element. Nothing compares to these images throughout the 133-minute film.
Except maybe Montgomery Cliff sucking poison out of Joanne Dru’s shoulder.
That’s pretty good too.
The Failure of Parker’s “Birth of a Nation”
Birth of a Nation had promise – a compelling narrative most of all – but fails. Instead of exploring the contorted depths of American history, Parker trains the camera on himself, too often in close-up, reacting to repetitive brutality. Violent images dominate – people’s teeth getting hammered out, exposed brains – when the story of a remarkable man, Nat Turner, could have been developed, asking who really spoke of this: As we pushed on to the house, I discovered some one run round the garden, and thinking it was some of the white family, I pursued them, but finding it was a servant girl belonging to the house, I returned to commence the work of death. The film does not elucidate nor does it have vision, as did Steve McQueen in 12 Years a Slave, but is solely a chronicle of violence, flat and tediously rendered, craft-less as anything of the Superhero genre.
Looking-Outness in Film: Murnau, Ozu & Varda
I dream of looking outside the image.
Escaping from the frame.
Considering what could be.
Getting my head on different.