William Wyler, The Heiress, 1949
This one has a 100% Fresh rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, and it's fully deserved. It's a very fine film adaptation by Ruth and Augustus Goetz of their 1947 Broadway play based on Henry James's Washington Square, with a truly stellar cast (Richardson, Clift and de Havilland were never better) and great dialogue, much of it culled directly from Henry James. Plus a fine Oscar-winning soundtrack by Aaron Copland, who should have written more for the movies than he did. Excellent in every way.
Raul Ruiz, L'eveillé du pont de l'Alma, 1985
Here's the IMDb blurb: "Two insomniacs, a peeping tom teacher and a hunch-backed boxer, meet one night on the Alma bridge. They watch a couple who takes a walk on the banks of the Seine: the woman is pregnant. Some time later, they meet up with her again and rape her. She commits suicide. Both criminals abuse other victims, including a doctor's patient. This physician was their first victim's husband." That makes it sound like a regular horror film, but of course it's nothing of the sort; we don't see the rape at all, and the mother returns at various stages of the film (though to call her a ghost wouldn't be very accurate) - nor is there any mention of her son, played to perfection by Ruiz's child prodigy Melvil Poupaud. It's more like an early sketch for what would later become Comédie de l'innocence (see reviews passim) - but much more impenetrable. As you can see, good images are hard to come by: there is a much-improved new rip at KG, but the English subtitles are appallingly bad. I'm trying to persuade somebody over there to redo them, because even I, after three decades living here, couldn't make out all the dialogue. So. You've been warned
Clara & Laura Laperrousaz, Soleil battant, 2017
This one probably hasn't made it to your side of the pond yet, so you'll have to make do with a French review: http://mondocine.net/soleil-battant-critique-film/# Basically, my advice for young mothers is: if you've lost your first daughter in an unfortunate drowning accident in your sister's swimming pool, you might want to wait until your twins are a little older than six before you tell them they once had a sister, and probably avoid returning to the scene of the event (the sunbaked Alentejo in Portugal, gorgeously filmed), especially if your husband still holds one helluva grudge against your brother-in-law who was supposed to be watching over the kid who drowned.. A nice directorial debut from twin Laperrousaz sisters (which leads me to suspect it might be somewhat autobiographical..) - but I wasn't convinced by the ending. Which I wouldn't dream of spoiling for you.
Michael Haneke, Happy End, 2017
Trust the Daily Torygraph to damn with faint praise - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/happ ... st-social/ - I thought this was excellent in every respect. Yes, the Great Manipulator returns to his favourite hunting grounds: the numbing effect of media (though Benny's Video is from a galaxy far far away - it's social media in Haneke's sights this time), the nasty aftertaste of post-colonial racism (explored earlier in Caché), the terminal decay of the grande bourgeoisie (nobody better than Isabelle Huppert to play the hardnosed businesswoman), child evil (what an amazing performance from 12-year-old Fantine Harduin) and, with the mighty Trintignant on board again (even better here than he was in Amour), impending death. And the setting in today's Calais, the approach to whose harbour with its two-metre high barbed wire-topped walls to keep those awful smelly blacks and Arabs away from Her Britannic Majesty's United Kingdom is truly chilling, is a master touch. I know folks here have mixed feeling about Haneke, as do I, but this was really a great piece of work, imho.
But a big shout out to Airport Stadium 12 in Santa Rosa for the huge upgrade in theater seats, from conventional to luxury-sized recliners.
Just checked KG, and I had a message that the rip I saw was deleted. New one looks lovely (curious which site the uploader is referring to by "a streaming video site"), and I hope the subs get sorted.
Just out of curiosity, anyone subscribe to a site that would be likely to screen under-the-radar films from the Chilean's oeuvre? I have Mubi, and while it's good, they recently raised the price a not-insubstantial amount, and the offerings don't appear to have improved. Plus, there's the watch-it-before-it-leaves gimmick. I would use Filmstruck, but I couldn't get good playback on it with my old laptop for some reason, and I've just sort of stuck with Mubi, admittedly largely out of complacency.
MARTY (1955) -- Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair.
"So, Marty, what do you want to do tonight."
"I don't know, Angie, what do you want to do?"
Probably the fourth time I've seen this, but it's been 30+ years. Paddy Chayefsky graduated from PS 7 in the Bronx about 20 years before me, but the neighborhood (Kingsbridge/ Marble Hill) was basically the same (St John's Church, Kingsbridge Ave., Fordham Road, the Grand Concourse to the east) and the movie is very evocative of my childhood streets and buildings. The sweetness and innocence of the film may make it seem dated, but the family dynamics and vulnerabilities of the characters still ring true. Based on Paddy's shorter TV play.
Rod Steiger turned down the title role because the studio wanted too much of a future commitment from him. Before this film, Borgnine played mostly villains. He said his audition for Marty was the best he ever did -- Chayefsky, director Delbert Mann, and the cameraman were all in tears. He figured if he even got to the cameraman, he must have nailed it.
Lasse Hallström, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, 1993
"Aww, don't cry Leo.. if Cameron doesn't give you the part, maybe I can get something for you with Tim Burton one day.." But it was DiCaprio who scooped up all the awards for his performance as the mentally challenged teen - a fine performance, sure, though Depp had the more difficult role as Gilbert and did a good job of it too, imo. But the abiding image I have of this film is of the obese mother, played by Darlene Cates (who weighed 549lb), who - amazingly - lived to the ripe old age of 69, dying in her sleep last year. I sincerely hope the Cates family didn't make the same kind of funeral arrangements Gilbert does here (what a stoopid ending, really).
Me too - my French is OK (yours must be too), but even I had difficulties making out some of the dialogue.dialectics of shit wrote:Love L'eveillé du pont de l'Alma—probably one of his densest films. The rip I watched looked like shit. New one looks lovely (curious which site the uploader is referring to by "a streaming video site"), and I hope the subs get sorted.
Quite - On Top of the Whale and La Chouette Aveugle are both terrible rips, but awesome films.dialectics of shit wrote:In fact, I've seen quite a few Ruiz films where the quality was poor, but they impressed nonetheless.
Alas, not I.. I have my time cut out chasing things on Karagarga as it isdialectics of shit wrote:Just out of curiosity, anyone subscribe to a site that would be likely to screen under-the-radar films from the Chilean's oeuvre?
Meanwhile, have you checked out the latest Bartas, Frost? Nice rip of that up there - haven't had time to get round to it yet, but I know you're a fan
Directed by Delbert Mann, fyiSteve Minkin wrote:
MARTY (1955) -- Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair.
I thought I scrawled something about this when we watched it a few years ago, but the site search engine doesn't seem to be showing much (type "Marty" and you get links to about 1500 Jon Abbey NBA posts ). This is one that still holds a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it netted awards a-plenty when it came out. I should probably give it another try - especially after adoring Betsy Blair in Calle Mayor recently - though Paddy Chayefsky scripts are notoriously wordy, often annoyingly so (Network, Altered States..). Reminds me, I still have to see The Catered Affair (though it was Gore Vidal who adapted Paddy's play), which I snatched as a free FT ages ago. So many movies, so little time..Steve Minkin wrote:"So, Marty, what do you want to do tonight."
"I don't know, Angie, what do you want to do?"
"I told you to stop crying, dammit"
Roman Polanski, What? aka Diary of Forbidden Dreams, 1972
"WTF" would be my suggestion for an alternative title. This spectacular post-hippie mondo topless Alice in Wonderland (not as much as it would like to be though) train wreck really has to be seen to be believed (though I can't help admiring Carlo Ponti's villa in Amalfi, where most of it was apparently shot). Roger's on form again here https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/diar ... reams-1976 - but there's more detail here https://film.avclub.com/polanski-tastic ... 1798218189 Anyway, if you ever dreamt of seeing Marcello Matsroianni being whipped in a tiger skin, you know where to go now.
Ralph Nelson, Soldier Blue, 1970
I'm with Roger on this one too https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/soldier-blue-1970 but I can see why opinions are divided. I read somewhere that Candice Bergen was miscast as the potty-mouthed, belching heroine, but I wonder who else could have done any better with the material provided (Karen Black, maybe? Perhaps Quentin was thinking of Cresta Lee when he created Daisy Domergue). And Peter Strauss is pretty limp, but so's the character he's playing. I'm sure the movie still resonates with folks here who are old enough to remember what living through the Vietnam War was like (not my case) - today, it feels rather dated. The final restaging of the Sand Creek Massacre is still pretty distressing, but now that squibs have become curiously chic on Planet Tarantino, I wonder how it strikes a younger generation. But the star prize for incongruity goes to Roy Budd for the soundtrack.
Olivier Assayas, Clouds of Sils Maria, 2014
Return visit - and it really disturbed me this time. Probably because the world has, post-Brexit referendum, post-Trump, lurched into the kind of social-media obsessed, starstruck superficiality that Assayas depicts here. Hard to say exactly where the director stands on the issue, to be honest - unlike Haneke, who makes no attempt to hide an evident mistrust of new media, Assayas is evidently fascinated by the way that they're changing the world. Nice to see people still smoking in films; I suppose they'll ban that someday too.
Georges Lampin, L'Idiot, 1946
Fine performances all round, notably Gérard Philipe, Edwige Feuillère and the great Lucien Coëdel (whose untimely Shadow Of A Doubt-like demise I reported on last time I wrote about him in Sortilèges). No mean feat, condensing a four-part Dostoevsky novel into a 95-minute film, but they pulled it off quite spectacularly. A BluRay reissue would be nice. Said that before, too.