28 November 2013

on thanksgiving you know what i did? let me tell you

on thanksgiving i took an excuse to make another list. i guess i'm experiencing a list frenzy

the theme of this list is i'm excited to make it and i have no goal in mind

the sandlot
the adventures of milo and otis
the buttercream gang

done. happy thanksgiving(?)

09 June 2013

movies that are examples of movies i'd make a list out of

thought "i've done this before." i've done this before

this list is barely different from that list

the docks of new york, '28 von sternberg
killer of sheep, '79 burnett
chungking express, '94 kar-wai
friday night, 2002 denis
shadows in paradise, '86 kaurismäki
rebels of the neon god, '92 ming-liang
two or three things i know about her, '76 godard
vampyr, '32 dreyer
unknown pleasures, 2002 zhangke
kes, '68 loach

guess for the movie from recent years that's on a future list
fish tank, 2009 arnold
paranoid park, 2007 van sant
lost in translation, 2003 coppola

27 April 2013

three stacks of movies

today i was curious about my self and wondering which movies i'm glad to own. i went through my collection and made three stacks of movies, and these are lists for the stacks. this event occurred quickly and i can't think of a reason to describe it, k

stack 1 (three cardboard dvd cases):
two-lane blacktop by monte hellman
vampyr by carl dreyer
the docks of new york by josef von sternberg

stack 2 (dvds):
sparrow by johnnie to
time and tide by tsui hark
the goodtimes kid by azazel jacobs
devil's island by fridrik thor fridrikkson
2 or 3 things i know about her by jean-luc godard
band of outsiders by jean-luc godard
what have i done to deserve this? by pedro almodovar
grey gardens by albert and david maysles
spirited away by hayao miyazaki
paranoid park by gus van sant
pather panchali by satyajit ray
aloha bobby and rose by floyd mutrux
hysterical blindness by mira nair
over the edge by jonathan kaplan
the brown bunny by vincent gallo
24 hour party people by michael winterbottom
rebels of the neon god by tsai ming-liang
goodbye south goodbye by hou hsiao-hsien
melvin and howard by jonathan demme
l'avventura by michangelo antonioni

(the only quote i remember taping to a wall, back in ohio, was from antonioni about his movie l'avventura:
and here we witness the crumbling of a myth, which proclaims it is enough for us to know, to be critically conscious of ourselves, to analyze ourselves, in all our complexities and in every facet of our personality. the fact that matters is that such an examination is not enough.

stack 3 (blu-rays)(a timebased list? i wonder):
amarcord by federico fellini
vivre sa vie by jean-luc godard
tokyo! by michel gondry, leos carax, and bong joon-ho
prince / purple rain by someone
the postman always rings twice by tay garnett
speed racer by the wachowski brothers
the adventures of robin hood by michael curtiz
3 women by robert altman
chungking express by wong kar-wai
fallen angels by wong kar-wai
red desert by michalangelo antonioni
risky business with tom cruise by someone
wings of desire by wim wenders
kes by ken loach
trainspotting by danny boyle
lost in translation by sofia coppola
detention by joseph kahn
milk by gus van sant
akira by katsuhiro otomo
the leopard by luchino visconti
fish tank by andrea arnold


28 February 2013

Bird of Paradise ('32)

encounters w pre-code hollywood movies have been small bets with big payouts

the movies tend to be fast and tight,
sprawling narrative arcs in sub-90mins
still in the fast lane, eighty years later

bird of paradise is 1:22.35minutes long
and it takes place in fucking polynesia

i was attracted to the movie because of its period
and because karl (who let me borrow the movie) said he liked it a lot
although karl and i agree that he enjoys adventure movies more than i do
but then also i read here:
(i've helpfully bolded the exciting parts!)
one of hollywood's strangest, sexiest pre-code fever dreams, king vidor's 1932 bird of paradise is a potentially tawdry tale of a seafaring sexual adventure to the tropics that transcends its titillation (though it does have plenty in the way of the risqué going on) to offer up a true dream world -- a sheerly escapist, almost entirely invented analogue to any recognizable reality, with dolores del rio no more believable as its "native" virgin isles princess as joel mccrea is as the seasoned sailor, and it doesn't matter, because their attractive limbs here look like they were made for the sole purpose of being entwined. the whole thing plays like the sexually/racially charged fantasy of a "civilized" (read: white) dreamer as regards a voraciously fetishized and irrationally feared darker people, but as potentially problematic as that is, it enhances rather than saps the film's interest. at this point, its story of the forbidden, intensely erotic passion between a muscular white american and a bronze, nubile islander feels much less like actually objectionable racial simplemindedness than a privileged peek into someone's (perhaps even yours or mine) fascinating, delirious, delusional subconscious, not to be taken at face value; it plays like a wet dream, with about as much plausibility and with the same odd, sometimes unexpectedly beautiful and focused intensity. it's rife with a kind of quasi-pornographic reduction of character to erotically physical presence, but however crude its racial and cultural assumptions may be, the appeal and power of bird of paradise survives its surface nonsense and soars anyway, escaping the fate of being a mere relic through its unique narrative structure, potent imagery, and the palpable eroticism and chemistry that engulfs its two leads in a swooning, hyperdramatic blaze of passionate sensuality and doomed love so hot that it leaves the viewer a little singed in its wake, too. 
about to watch it and take photos on my phone like the old days
this is king vidor, one year after the father-son boxing melodrama the champ, three years after the all-black musical hallelujah!
joel mccrea (sullivan's travels, barbary coast) stars
14:08 minutes into the movie
i paused the movie to check a tumblr i remembered during a stray thought
there were youtube video updates
the videos were related to shapes and architecture and time
i watched a little from 2/3 of them

so in this movie,
they arrived at their destination by their boat
all the natives came out on their canoes
the people on the boat threw "gifts" (i.e. their goodwill clothes and things like ice blocks and an alarm clock) into the ocean
the villagers dove for the gifts
they threw a knife for a woman

she caught it in the water with her teeth
a shark came
a guy tried to do something with a rope and the shark
he fell into the ocean tied to the shark
the woman cut the rope with her knife

they arrived at the island,
i think a celebration is happening itm (in this movie)

paused at 17:30 'cause i thought i saw someone
and then couldn't figure out if i thought i'd seen dan duryea or richard widmark
but neither appear to be in this movie, anyway

paused at 28:34 while the woman gets whipped
which is brutal
so much has happened
they went skinny dipping together
the american stayed behind when the boat left
and the old boat captain was like 'i think it's a good idea. wish i'd done it when i was young' or something
there were flying fishes

32.27 to watch the man slide down the hill on the plant while he cradles a squealing pig
34:41 paused for line "white man want you to stay here with him always" (tapping his own chest)
paused at 43:48 to record decreased interest in writing about this movie
unrelated to man getting a "paint job" (blackface) to rescue the woman
as she danced in the middle of the fire circle
something happened with the volcano
i think earlier they explained something about the volcano
but i wasn't interested in the volcano, at that time
anyway the volcano exploded
1.18:23 only like four minutes of the movie left, but i just had an instance of awake-dreaming, or something like that, like i was still awake and watching the movie but there was also a dream texture, and i was sure i was watching the movie with a friend at a friend's house, when that wasn't the case at all
so i'm going to sleep and i'll finish tomorrow
so close to the end lol

i finished the movie
karl likes adventure movies more than i do but
this was fun

15 January 2013

Fav Twelve of Twenty Twelve

laurence anyways -- part of me thinks it's so exceptional that it could be praised based "on principle." but that's like silly. xavier dolan throws a cinematic bash for his sweet laurence. i think the movie is a cinematic party and everyone's invited. i feel this movie confirms what i suspected, that dolan cares, his feelings are substantive, and i think accusations of self-indulgence are at this point unreasonable. dolan's emotional reach extends beyond the screen and into, at least, my heart. laurence anyways increased my sense of self. it made me feel less lonely. and in the evening of my viewing i felt sharply self-empowered, and during and after the movie i had fireworks in my soul. hope it sticks when it's released in the theaters. it could be cinema's ambassador.

post tenebras lux -- this girl runs through water puddles chasing cows and the sky darkens from deep purple to black and lightning cracks and mountains huddle in the background.

tchoupitoulas -- just thought "this movie is balzacian" and i think it is

bad fever -- movies like this will always be important, imo. ones that kind of strip things away. its ugly honesty, its secret tenderness. kentucker audley as eddie is like totally human and by the end of the movie you want things for him, like he's your dude, and i think it's amazing when movies do that.

dark horse -- my friends and i cheered for the cougar. i think we clapped for her and sometimes sighed and just got really into her. laughing thinking about her car and house. feel like solondz kind of mellowed his pessimism, 'cause this one's tough and sometimes mean and terrible, but i felt like he was saying "try harder," and i feel like if one sees that life is worth fighting for that's like, a good step forward.

the master -- i think a lot of us wanted pt to do something else. this movie was like flamboyantly formal. it's a formal exercise, sure. and we were like, what, we cried like toddlers. somehow this movie has struggled to align itself with values outside cinephilia. the scientology thing didn't stick. the best friends angle didn't ignite. post-war spiritual desolation, brand making, animalism, alcoholism, self-inquiry, magnetic personality -- none of it has really stuck out. but it's all there. in time it'll become more obvious that pt didn't let cinema down, we let pt down. only the movie matters. good movie. good job.

only the young -- i like felt like the movie was about me, you know. good job

blood of my blood -- don't want to forget how much i liked its handling of overlapping conversations/moments

open five 2 -- seems like kentucker audley really thought about what it'd feel like to watch this movie, which consideration seems like an advancement from like previous or other lowbudge movies. it's fluid. it's the new marker, that's all i mean

rust and bone -- it's so fun to remember and describe this movie

turn me on, dammit! -- kind of expected, right. a pretty, feeling, sexual-coming-of-age story. this one dialed me up.

perks of being a wallflower -- squeezing this one in 'cause it talked about depression and had rocky horror picture show reenactments. those things need movies. i don't understand like what happened with the aunt and i don't think that was necessary maybe. but, good movie.

the end

21 December 2012

William Never Married

The sole line of writing I contributed to this Open Five 2 entry was a parenthetical caption that speculated on whether I just like any ol' movie with a dirty windshield. I'm also inclined to like movies with fireworks.
William Never Married begins with fireworks, and then a medium shot of a person with fireworks behind her,
and then a closeup of the person with fireworks behind her.
(It was easy for me to double-check this sequence because, as of right now, the full feature is available online and for free.)

Fireworks strike me as excellent material for cinema, 'cause their size and color "work" visually, and 'cause they can connect a person with a reallife memory that's likely to be positive and special. So right away I liked William Never Married, directed, co-written, and co-edited by Christian Palmer, who also stars, because it began by gifting me with a cinematic treat. Sometimes you can watch an entire lowbudge movie and not receive a single cinematic treat.

The reasons I like dirty windshields are unrelated to the reasons I like fireworks, and it's their nonrelation that's important, vital -- these things feel like good launching points for discussing cinema and reality and the way reality interacts with cinema.

To summarize, basically, unrelated things (or dissimilar things, like reality and artificiality) can end up complimenting each other and achieve a cinematic harmony, if the person making the movie wants to do this.

Like many conversations about cinema, this one has precedent in a quote by Jean-Luc Godard, who said "the cinema is not an art which films life: the cinema is something between art and life. Unlike painting and literature, the cinema both gives to life and takes from it, and I try to render this concept in my films. Literature and painting both exist as art from the very start; the cinema doesn't."

Whether one wants to call cinema art, it's a thing someone has to create for it to exist. Cameras and editing and maybe other things are used to create cinema. Conversations about reality and artificiality in relation to cinema are sometimes kind of confusing, 'cause one sometimes feels that these lines are arbitrary, and ideas about "limited manipulation" and "artistic emphasis" can become fuzzy, and overwhelming, and sometimes the conversations are frustrating because a person can try very hard to steer the conversation one way or another, and anyway maybe sometimes one doesn't want to have the conversation. So instead of that conversation, I'll talk about William Never Married, while secretly talking about this. Or maybe I'm talking about this and secretly talking about William Never Married. Anyway,

by beginning with fireworks, I feel like Palmer began with specialness, and that specialness is related to consideration (if it's selected, which these fireworks were), and that cinema takes special consideration.

In this movie, which can lean toward the poetic (e.g. fireworks), the characters are the dirty windshields,
the thing that might not exist in a movie that attempted to clean material in order to deliver it germ-free to the audience. The lead in William Never Married is a depressive alcoholic whose sufferings are sometimes external and always internal.
The character's depression and alcoholism have the melodramatic gravity they do in real life -- they can seem ridiculous, unnecessary, too much. Obviously wrong. One sortof wishes he'd "snap out of it." I felt uncomfortable sometimes.

In this way, William Never Married has the open-eyes open-heart quality that I like in cinema. I like when a movie is faithful to its characters first, and I like when the cinematic machine is used to mine something out of the character, and help the audience discover the substance of the character.
During a movie like this beautiful collisions can occur between cinema and its reality. A thing can be shown in a special way that enhances the emotional comprehension without subtracting from the reality of the moment, such as the above shot, a god's eye pov. Here the technique doesn't damage the sense of reality.

There's a funny thing about productions -- it seems like with lots of resources and time a moviemaker can go further in crafting reality, but one knows or senses the large apparatus controlling the reality, and with limited resources and time the reality can be automatic or pre-supposed, and one knows or senses the tininess of the apparatus.

However tiny the apparatus is, it exists, and why should it be disregarded, if it can't be dispensed with. Some lowbudge movies seems like they're saying "this was just happening and we stuck a camera there, believe it. BELIEVE IT." For example Snow on Tha Bluff, a movie I like for many reasons, forces a framing device that I feel kindof cheapens the movie, 'cause I don't understand why a moviemaker would have to insist that what's happening is reality (and like, if that's supposed to help you imagine the movie is reality, why use the imagination in such a limited and duplicitous way).
Instead, it seems better to insist that the person in the movie is feeling this thing or that thing, and that what's happening on screen is the best possible representation of a multi-layered reality of living moments.

A moviemaker can't dig more truth out of reality, which just is what it is, but a moviemaker can add truths to reality, I think.

20 December 2012

Open Five 2

(think I like any movie with a dirty windshield)
"There is a degree to which I don't have older people in the movies because I don't want there to be an easy relation point for everyone. Like sorta, okay, so -- you're an older actor, if you see an older person in these movies you sort of see his perspective, or her perspective, and you think 'oh, I can find my way into this.' But if you don't have that, you're sort of left adrift. That's an interesting experience for me. You're sort of having to go through this world and not be -- like, you don't know anybody at the party, okay so, you have to go talk to somebody, that you don't feel comfortable with, or you have to just leave and go home. Both are reasonable responses, but I think that's an interesting kick off."
"As far as themes, I don't work with themes until the editing. And very loosely in the editing. I try to steer as clear from themes as possible. I don't think that they can be reduced to a theme. Um. I don't even know what the theme would be. I think they're about relationships, and trying to build a comprehensive view of my relationship and my friend's relationship -- not entirely comprehensive, but just trying to come at it from different angles."
"I don't always want to make films this insular. I realize that there's issues outside of myself. And, um. But. I think, that that stuff will come, and I'm not in a rush to change the subject, to change the world that I've spent a couple years trying to establish, and I'm not in a rush to create something else, or to get outside myself. But I will. But I don't think insularity cripples the films, and I don't think they come and go so quickly, I don't think that these films -- I think they'll be around."

(quotes from)