the busy bee has no time for sorrow.
I got an AMC email with a code for (up to) 4 FREE tickets for Begin Again. It's only good this weekend, 8/29 to 9/1. Anyone plan on seeing this movie and want me to forward the email?
Stars Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightly and Adam Levine, from the producers of Once.
"This is a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta and her long-time boyfriend Dave are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan, a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City."
Watched this over the weekend. Completely insane. And William Hurt's debut to boot!
I absolutely love that movie.
8/7/16 - Sufjan Stevens @ Hollywood Bowl // 8/8/16 - Radiohead @ Shrine // 8/8/16 - Boris @ Regent
9/14/16 - Wilco @ Theatre at Ace Hotel // 9/18/16 - Kraftwerk @ Hollywood Bowl
My first viewings of Scanners and Altered States were both done in the same sitting back to back, with Altered States being the one that took days to settle in afterwards. If it hasn't been discussed yet (it probably has), Ken Russell's The Devils is even more fucked up and should be required viewing.
Selected Blu-Ray entries in the Cohen Film Collection are now on sale by the way
Last edited by Grandma; 09-03-2014 at 07:46 PM.
Last edited by Grandma; 09-05-2014 at 02:05 PM.
the busy bee has no time for sorrow.
Anyone looking to stream some recent foreign / independent films needs to get acquainted with Vyer Films immediately. It's a two-tiered service, in which you pay $14/month to watch the films offered in a given month's program, or $20/month to access their full catalog (26 films and counting). Depends on your appetite and available time for film watching, but based on the curation of the first two months, either option is a great deal. There are a couple films I can already confirm as great: Un Lac (which was my favorite film of 2009, though it was never released in the US) and The Temptation of St. Tony (which also made my best of 2010 list). Several others have been on my watchlist for a while, including Extraordinary Stories, Exit Elena, and Himizu (from Sion Sono, the maniac who made the 4-hour upskirt-photography epic Love Exposure). And of course Leones.
What is Leones, you ask? Well, after a few days of reflecting on my first viewing this past weekend, I feel comfortable saying it's:
- Easily among the best three or four films of the current decade.
- The best debut film since at least Redland (my best of 2011 pick), and possibly since Buffalo '66.
- In a rare category - along with the last two films by Carlos Reygadas* - the only films I feel TRULY replicate the experience of watching a Tarkovsky film for the first time.
Yeah, it's that essential. I want to say as little as possible and still get you to throw down at least $15 to watch it sometime in the next couple weeks. Narratively, it can be boiled down to five teenagers walking through the woods, trying to figure out their their circumstances (bye, Randy and possibly/hopefully not several dozen others). Formally, it's 82 minutes worth of 35mm tracking shots, most of which flirt with the 11 minute mag limit, several of which are among the most stunningly-choreographed in recent cinema. The result is a jaw-dropping cinematic landmark that explores man's relationship with this world and whatever is to come in the next one.
I hope that was enough.
* - I was torn on whether to include Bela Tarr in this list, as there are many formal and tonal similarities. But in Tarr's own words: "The difference between Tarkovsky and me is that I don't believe in the god." That elides a HUGE component of Tarkovsky's work, and also Silent Light, Post Tenebras Lux and Leones.
I'm urgently writing my magnum opus. It's my answer to Donnie Darko. Starring Michael Rapaport.
did you ever see Special with Michael Rapaport?
turns out he's actually a pretty decent actor. It's more psychological Super/Kick Ass type movie
Nope but I will now. I miss the man. Oh I saw him in a The Heat. Sandra Bullock and the large rough lady play cops.
Have any of you seen the Zowie Bowie Mars movie? It's worth a watch.
you should - it's on netflix.
I've not seen the zowie bowie mars movie. I'm also doing a bad job of tracking it down on imdb
It's on Netflix. Oh I mean the Zowie Bowie Moon movie.
I was Maui Wowie when I watched it.
Finally got a chance to see Blue Ruin over the weekend... FANTASTIC.
Also, thanks to Netflix, I caught up to 1984 and watched Beverly Hills Cop for the first time ever. So that was the 2nd highest grossing movie of that year, eh?
Coachellas attended: 2007-present
Holding out for that app they mentioned on Twitter.
Today, I watched Blue Ruin and re-watched Winter's Bone, they paired nicely.
10/29 Hot Chip @ The Fox Theatre
11/07 Rufus Du Sol @ The Mezzanine (?)
11/13 Mr Little Jeans @ The Rickshaw Stop
11/20 Keep Shelly in Athens @ Awaken
I'm still scratching myself from watching that a few years ago.
Decided I wanted to really delve back into film again, watched a couple of good/interesting things over the last week.
Hoop Dreams. Decided to bite the bullet with this one since it's about to be taken off Netflix Instant and it's known as one of the great documentaries. Can't say I have many arguments against that. For someone who doesn't give a fuck about sports, it almost got me engaged with the snippets of games they showed. Obviously it's far more a human interest story than a sports movie, but watching these kids try to pursue their dreams and find a way out of the ghetto, I felt the tension of wanting them to succeed with every shot they took. Not going to start watching sports or anything, but it conveyed the excitement of the game in a way I hadn't experienced before. Otherwise, it was a pretty scathing indictment of a broken system, but there were some great human touches, like watching the mother of one of the boys pass a significant hurdle in her career. It was interesting to see how high school sports could be a double edged sword, on one hand giving poverty stricken kids a chance to strive for a better life for themselves and motivate them to focus on their education instead of falling into the same old traps of addiction and gang violence, but on the other, setting them up for disappointment and disillusionment when they don't make it to the exceedingly competitive and difficult to breach pro level and opening them up to the predatory machinations of talent scouts. It managed to stay pretty engaging for it's fairly lengthy running time.
While we're on the topic of lengthy running times, I just watched Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles in an attempt to close the gap on the Sight & Sound Top 50 films I haven't seen yet. It was one of those films I dreaded watching in a way, knowing it to be nearly 3 1/2 hours of almost nothing happening (it basically just follows a widowed woman with a teenage son as she goes through the routine of menial housework over three days and occasionally turns the odd trick for extra cash), but it wasn't nearly as difficult to get through as I had anticipated. Obviously, anyone who isn't interested in art, experimental, or non-narrative films can stop reading here, but if you're open to it, it's a pretty hard film to shake. The tedium and boredom are inevitable but intentional. By spending so much time with this woman as she fills her every moment with some kind of basic chore, you really feel the weight of her empty existence weighing down on her. Minor events become amplified and a scene as simple as a woman morosely peeling potatoes has a more devastating emotional impact than it has any right to be. Delphine Seyrig gives almost nothing away with her performance, barely letting her inner turmoil crack the exterior (in large part because she's hardly letting herself acknowledge it in the first place), but minor expressions betray a wellspring of despair and confinement. Few films convey the suffocating emptiness of an unfulfilled life like this one, and it's extremely bold to present it with so little exposition or explanation. We understand her malaise not through monologues or visual metaphors, but through experiencing her daily grind the way she experiences it. The viewer almost never knows for sure what's going on in Jeanne Dielman's head, but when she begins to unravel, it's perfectly clear why. Again, this is the kind of film that is only going to appeal to an extremely limited portion of the population, but if you're open to slow moving films without a lot of incident, it's worth experiencing at least once.
I also watched another Sight & Sound entry and seminal non-narrative feature, Man With A Movie Camera. Despite only being just over an hour and full of rapid cuts, I actually felt the time pass a little more slowly than with Jeanne Dielman. Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy it, it was just a little more focused on form and function. It's clear why this was an important film at the time, although I feel like since its innovations have been absorbed by the history of film, the impact is a bit dulled in this day and age. Still, what remains is a distinctive portrait of Russian life in the 1920's, a self reflexive meta-commentary on film's watchful eye and how the camera interprets reality, an ode to the proletariat, and a fascinating study in visual rhythm (the version I watched was the Kino version on Netflix Instant, which had the Michael Nyman score, which I enjoyed a lot and thought worked well in tandem with the visuals). Again, it's not the kind of thing I'd recommend to non-cinephiles, but outside of its historical importance, I think it's fairly enjoyable if you can turn off the part of your brain that looks for story and appreciate the splendor of the images.
The Telephone Book. This is an obscure cult oddity from the NYC underground of the early 70s that got rescued and is now inexplicably available on Netflix Instant. Supposedly, it's one of Steve Martin's favorite films. It's this really offbeat softcore sex romp sharing DNA with underground art films of the era. Definitely a big Warhol influence going on here, with some of his Superstars in minor roles. It's about a squeaky voiced, bubbly naif who meets a series of sexual deviants while hunting down the man behind "the world's greatest obscene phone call." There's also fourth wall breaking interviews with former obscene callers who have found more "healthy" alternatives. It's a really weird mix of tones. In some ways, it's got this really quaint, gee-whiz approach to sex that's typical of the era, like a kid who just learned a dirty word and wants to show it off. But there's also a lot of sophistication to the camera work and editing. There's some really funny bits, some pretty out and out weird bits, and some bits that are just corny or don't really work. The highlight is the extended monologue from the obscene caller once the girl finally finds him, delivered from behind a pig mask. It's one giant piss take on middle America and our sexual mores that's a lot more perverse and funny than some of the more outright sexual gags. It's definitely worth a watch if you're into that whole era of gonzo filmmaking or cult films in general. It's a bit of a mess, but it's really completely its own thing, which you can't say about a lot of exploitation trash.
Finally, I watched the 1940 Thief Of Bagdad, which was just a bunch of fun in the way those early Technicolor epics are. I wish Hulu Plus had subtitles for it, as I had a lot of trouble hearing the dialogue over the dramatic music, so it was a bit of a frustrating watch at times, but that's more of my own technical difficulties than any fault with the film I think. Some of the effects are definitely a little goofy now, but most of them are charming in their dated ingenuity. I'll take slightly unpolished camera trickery over CGI just about any day. It made me want to do a Powell/Pressburger marathon, as I've only seen The Red Shoes (and Powell's Peeping Tom, which I'm overdue for a re-watch).
Ah! Forgot about The Telephone Book, my ex wanted to watch that a long time ago and it's sat in my queue since. Probably going to put it on tonight now that you mention it. Not sure what prompted me to get The Red Shoes on disc at home, but it's here. Going to watch it soon hopefully. The Thief of Bagdad is awesome, I watched that with some strong drinks a few months ago and it worked wonderfully. And yeah, Man with a Movie Camera is unlike anything else. I'd like to get to Hoop Dreams before it's gone, but 3 hours is such a daunting running time, especially with this heat and no air conditioning.
Really liked The Congress, glad to see have seen it after missing it at AFIfest. Still thinking it through but has anyone caught it? Thoughts?