Chad Freidrichs, The Pruitt Igoe Myth, 2011
How nice to see Pruitt Igoe falling down without the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack.. I'm just ploughing through a 20CD set of "Minimal" Piano Music and wondering how on earth I could have been so stupid in my mid 20s to think Philip Glass was the best thing since sliced bread (nearly did my PhD thesis on Einstein On The Beach.. fortunately switched to the opposition just in time and wrote on Steve Reich's Sextet instead.. not that he's aged much better.. anyway enough of that). Chad Freidrichs' - yes, that seems to be the correct spelling - documentary on the notorious St Louis public housing project and its troubled history is well-researched and genuinely moving in places: yes, there were people who really loved the place before its slow inexorable descent into drug-infested filth and ultimate destruction.
Siegrid Alnoy, Elle est des nôtres ("She's One Of Us"), 2003
Without doubt one of the best films I've seen this year (ha, I've said that before) - Sasha Andres's performance as the aptly-named Ms Blanc, a woman "quite unable to fit into her surroundings" (quoting the first of six IMDb user reviews, but for heaven's sake don't read them if you don't want to spoil the story), stuck in dull temp jobs in Grenoble (I think) is magnificent in its unstudied banality - Andres is a rock singer originally, but this is a terrific acting debut. Shades of Dostoevsky, yes, as that reviews says, and the director's admiration for Antonioni (think Deserto Rosso) and Resnais (think Muriel) is evident. To which I'd also add Akerman's Jeanne Dielman and Goretta's La dentellière. But the use of sound is spectacular - Lynch fans will enthuse - and the camera work just as good. Really fine film, if you like the abovementioned others, do yourself a favour.
Jean Becker, Goupi mains rouges, 1943
Another great example of how smart directors could slip serious critique of the odious Vichy regime past the (admittedly lax) censors during WWII, there's a serious bite to what seems on the face of it a relatively harmless tale of a city boy called back to his rural relatives and ending up framed for a crime he didn't commit. Practice your French here http://www.dvdclassik.com/critique/goup ... ges-becker
Notable is the appearance of Robert Le Vigan (that's not him above, btw) as the unhinged war vet "Tonkin" (Le Vigan, despite the intervention of numerous artistic notables, was eventually imprisoned for his fascist sympathies - he was a friend of Céline's - and died destitute in Argentina)
George Stevens, Shane, 1953
"The Greatest Story of the West Ever Filmed!" trumpets the DVD box, and I suppose you'd have to include this in any self-respecting Top Twenty (or so) westerns, if only for the majestic Grand Tetons as a backdrop (my wife was amused to learn that that was their name.. big tits in French haha). Granite mammalian protruberances notwithstanding, it's a splendid story, and the three leads - Alan Ladd in the title role, Van Heflin as the landowner determined to hold the fort against the enterprising open range capitalist Ryker clan, and Jack Palance in one his finest roles as sadistic, coffee-swigging gunslinger Wilson - are all terrific. Li'l Brandon Wilde as young Joey is less convincing (he did get better - ten years later he was good in Hud) and ageing Jean Arthur as his mum aren't as three-dimensional, but solid minor characters including Ben Johnson and Elisha Cook make up for that. A good vintage.
Andrew Stone, The Night Holds Terror, 1955
Based more or less on a true kidnapping story - and also remarkably similar to William Wyler's The Desperate Hours (but here dig the splendid California clifftop mansion location) - this little B is worth a spin for John Cassavetes' bristling performance as the trigger-happy boss hoodlum. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast isn't on the same level (the wife and kids should have been shot to start with, that would have livened things up a bit) and the direction is rather banal, especially the sudden ending. Nice to see what the inside of a telephone exchange used to look like, though. Could have done without the voiceover narration too, methinks
Davide Manuli, Beket, 2008
The "c" is missing, but the numerous references to Godot and the closing caption quote from Worstward Ho make it clear who the inspiration was behind this amazing and amazingly frustrating art cinema headfuck of a film. Goodness knows what Sam would have made of the cheesy techno music, flying buses and (gratuitous? everything is in this movie, you could argue) lesbian love scenes, but I imagine he might have liked the barren Sardinian locations. I wouldn't try to make much sense of it, if I were you - though this review makes an admirable attempt to do so http://www.quietearth.us/articles/2009/ ... film-BEKET - if it doesn't drive you fucking bonkers and screaming for the off switch in the first ten minutes you might just like it. I did.. but I'm not sure why
I watched it hoping it would trigger some early childhood memories. It failed to do that, but I enjoyed the film on its own merits much more than I thought I would. It's well-paced, moves the story along quickly. The scary scenes are very effective, although stylized like the whole production -- the disembodied eyes, trees transmogrifying into menacing fingers, faces flickering in and out of the shadows . . . And some classic songs: Whistle While You Work, Heigh Ho Heigh Ho, and of course Someday My Prince Will Come. Trane's solo kicks in at 5'55"
THE REAL BUDDY HOLLY STORY (2004) -- hosted by Paul McCartney, provoked by the inauthenticity of the hit film, The Buddy Holly Story (1978). Lots of early (there is no other) footage of Buddy and The Crickets, the earliest known film of Elvis (visiting Lubbock, with Buddy and the boys), interviews with Keith Richards (struggling to articulate his words and yet bracingly insightful), the Everly Brothers, Jerry Allison, Sonny Curtis, more. Dead at 22. Recommended.
STILL DREAMING (2015) -- a gentle film about two young NYC directors going into an assisted living facility for retired actors and performers to stage a modest production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. An unblinking look at the frailties and delusions of old age, as well as the vitality and potential for renewal at advanced ages. There was an old woman with hunched back who never lifted her face to the camera and played piano the whole time who was smoking! The actors included a former struggling actor who never fully succeeded at making a living on the stage but was the most alive and active and competent of the group now. And two former broadway stars, an old song and dance gal with dementia who rose splendidly to the occasion and an dramatic leading lady (Aideen O'Kelly) whose vision would no longer allowed her to read the script and had to bow out before the production. Bittersweet film, not for all but my wife and I loved it.
And currently in the middle of watching three Richard IIIs -- Olivier, McKellen, and Cumberbatch.
James Whale, The Invisible Man, 1933
With the exception of the model train wreck (though I rather like the use of scale models in the films of the period), the special effects here still look absolutely terrific, and, clocking in at just over 70 minutes, there's not an ounce of fat on it - nor on Claude Rains (!), who landed the part because Boris Karloff refused it - sulking because his adoring public wouldn't actually be able to see him.. wtf did he expect, starring as an invisible man?! There's a distinctly Hitchcockian mix of the macabre and bawdy humour - or was that in the HG Wells original? I haven't read it, I'm afraid.
Bill Forsyth, Housekeeping, 1987
This one's up for grabs over at KG in a terrific 1080 HD rip, so now you know. Like many of their Featured Torrents, it's a film that deserves to be much better known, a touching coming-of-age story of two girls who are left in the company of their eccentric aunt - a great performance from Christine Lahti - in the Pacific Northwest (shot in British Columbia, but ostensibly set in Washington state, I believe).
Joseph McGrath, The Magic Christian, 1969
Couldn't resist an HD rip of this. Here's what I said about it three years ago - nothing to add
"Totally wacko and very enjoyable satire on all things capitalist and British, penned by Terry Southern but featuring a galaxy of well known (at the time) broadcasters (Alan Whicker, Harry Carpenter, Michael Aspel..) and star cameos (Raquel Welch, Roman Polanski, but also John Cleese and Graham Chapman who helped out with the script.. hence its Pythonic madness). Sir Guy Grand (Sellers) adopts Ringo Starr, and then proceeds to create as much mayhem as possible, including scuppering the Boat Race, hacking up a Rembrandt self portrait, paying a traffic warden (Spike Milligan) £500 to eat a parking ticket, and, most memorably, filling a huge vat full of blood, shit and piss and throwing in wads of money which the City gents gleefully dive in for. Then it ends up on a cruise ship which is hijacked by Marxist revolutionaries, and.. well, check it out and have yourself a ball."
Lindsay Anderson, The Whales of August, 1987
Bette Davis, aged 79 with a mouth twisted (as a result of a stroke?), looks considerably older and worse for wear than her 93-year-old co-star Lilian Gish, but was still sufficiently feisty to moan about not getting top billing. You could amuse yourself by guessing the combined age of all the actors involved (there's Ann Sothern - 92 - and Vincent Price - 78 - too). Whether or not Ms Gish was "as deaf as a post" (according to Ms Davis), her performance here is just wonderful. Assuming that is you like movies about old folks, things like On Golden Pond (I think this is better, myself)
Claude Chabrol, L'Enfer, 1994
After Henri-Georges Clouzot abandoned the shooting of his own script in 1964, principally due to his lead actor Serge Reggiani suffering from the director's punishing shooting schedule (and Clouzot himself ended up with a heart attack), we could only guess what the result might have been - until Serge Bromberg pieced together his excellent documentary L'Enfer de Henri-Georges Clouzot in 2008. But that indefatigable routier of French cinema Claude Chabrol took up the challenge of reshooting Clouzot's tale of an insanely jealous hotelier obsessed with the supposed infidelities of his sexy young wife. Emmanuelle Béart, three years after baring all for Rivette in La belle noiseuse, takes over Romy Schneider's role, and François Cluzet is the tortured husband. Chabrol was frustratingly uneven as a director, ranging from the sublime (Le boucher, La rupture..) to the absolutely fucking awful (La route de Corinth, Les innocents aux mains sales), but this is one of his better efforts, while never quite acheiving the paranoid madness of Clouzot. That said, few films could.
Paul Verheoven, Keetje Tippel, 1975
It's probably the occasional flashes of nudity, along with the odd (shadow of an) erect penis, that accounts for this excellent film being not as widely known as it should be. But if you don't know Verhoeven's early Dutch work, this is a great place to start, a splendidly sordid Zolaesque story of the poor girl trying to get ahead (no prizes for guessing how she does it). The trailer rather grandiosely namechecks Bergman (psychological subtlety), Fellini (tits'n'ass) and Bertolucci (historical flourish), and I can go with that. I look forward to a decent HD version someday. Recommended.
I have, but I have only the vague recollection of not liking it much.Dan Warburton wrote: There's a distinctly Hitchcockian mix of the macabre and bawdy humour - or was that in the HG Wells original? I haven't read it, I'm afraid.
But I never liked the movie either, so....don't go by me.
i liked the film very much, but not the book, which, if i remember correctly, is quite humourless (except some attempts to make fun of the local 'peasants') ... it's no fun anyway to not see the invisible man being invisible, but having to remind yourself of the fact all the time, since of course he's no more or less invisible to our mind's eye than any character in a book. also in the book the guy is completely unsympathetic, which doesn't help.walto wrote:I have, but I have only the vague recollection of not liking it much.Dan Warburton wrote: There's a distinctly Hitchcockian mix of the macabre and bawdy humour - or was that in the HG Wells original? I haven't read it, I'm afraid.
But I never liked the movie either, so....don't go by me.
Andrew Dominik, Chopper, 2000
I nearly followed this one up with a return visit to Refn's Bronson, but after about an hour of stabbings and fisticuffs I was feeling rather browbeaten. Based it seems on a true story - but if the guy's really as tough as he appears to be here (check out when he gets stabbed, holy shit), I'm almost afraid to read his books. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_"Chopper"_Read
Roger Pigaut, 3 milliards sans ascenseur, 1972
Jolly caper movie set in the soon-to-be-demolished tenements of Courbevoie during the construction of the French capital's high rise biznizz district La Défense in the early 70s. Plot's daft, but with a great cast - Reggiani, Bozzuffi, Bouquet and the deliciously bubbly Dany Carrel, plus a potty soundtrack by Teo Usuelli, who can resist?
Yves Robert, Nous irons tous au paradis, 1977
By way of homage to the recently departed Jean Rochefort, here's one his best outings, another one of those insanely involved French comedies roughly orbiting the theme of marital infidelity. Plot's too complex to summarise, but there's great chemistry between our four vitelloni.
Jean Renoir, The Woman on the Beach, 1947
Fan though I am of the ultra-compact B-movie - many of my favourite noirs don't get anywhere near the 90-minute mark - this one would have been much better if it had lasted that long instead of a mere hour and ten minutes. It's not really a noir anyway, more a psychomelodrama, dating from that strange period in Hollywood history when spellbound studios were beginning to take Freud and his theories semi-seriously. But Robert Ryan's traumatic nightmares don't exactly lead us or him anywhere, and the odd, vaguely sadomaso relationship between femme fatale Joan Bennett and blind hubby Charles Bickford isn't fleshed out all that satisfactorily either. Apparently, Renoir had problems with the studio interfering, which accounts for a few gaping plotholes and some strange cul-de-sac dialogue. But there's still enough Renoir flair and a good Eisler soundtrack to make it worth a hour or so of your time.