Jean-Daniel Pollet, Dieu sait quoi, 1994
Not quite so sure about the date, which - looking online - seems to be somewhere between 1992 and 1996, but Pollet's 22nd film is splendid, a meditation on things loosely based on texts by Francis Ponge ("nous ferons des pas merveilleux... L'homme fera des pas merveilleux s'il redescend aux choses, comme il faut redescendre aux mots pour s'exprimer convenablement), though one of its highlights is Philippe Sollers (I'm not usually a fan but will make an exception) reading Baudelaire's Litanies of Satan, while Pollet's camera turns lovingly around fallen fruits and enamel jugs in the Provencal jardin and the director's earlier works on the same theme - Méditerranée and L'ordre - play in loop on a TV in the corner of the room. A Cézanne still life of a film, beautiful (Henrik, as a Cavalier fan, you'll love this). Learn French: https://www.lesinrocks.com/cinema/films ... sait-quoi/
Michael Winterbottom, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, 2005
You can clearly see where The Trip came from. Here's what I wrote five years ago: "Terrific – and happy to report it's sent me back to read the book, which I started back my school daze when I learnt that my then hero Michael Nyman was working on an opera based on Sterne's sprawling novel. As it turned out, I never got further than 50-odd pages in, Nyman never finished his opera and he's definitely no hero of mine any more. But the book is awesome – if I'd been into Pynchon when I last tried to read it, I'd have got much further – and Winterbottom's film, which is, like the novel itself, the tale of a tale within a tale, the making of a film of the book starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, is a smart and thoroughly entertaining piece of work. There is a Nyman connection too, in fact – some of the music of The Draughtsman's Contract gets pillaged, along with soundtracks originally for Bergman, Fellini and Kubrick (Barry Lyndon, of course). And, in a further self-referential nod to his own 24 Hour Party People, none other than Tony Wilson shows up to interview Coogan. Hilarious. Watch out for cameos from Gillian Anderson and Kelly McDonald too. Great stuff."
I'm now happy to report that I have - at last, after five aborted attempts - finished reading the Sterne novel (the Anton Lesser audiobook - KG - helped enormously) and can appreciate the details of the film more. Some great lines didn't make it to the film (Trim's in Vol.IX Chapter Seven had me falling off my chair: "There is nothing so awkward, as courting a woman, an' please your honour, whilst she is making sausages"), but I was surprised how many did. Good stuff.
You're right there, not word one. Possibly the last person on earth to not have read him, I shall rectify.
Well, I only saw it the once and remember not liking it all that much. Maybe it's the length, feels like an undertaking to watch it, I should have another look. Images, 3 Women though, man... Love him when he gets all dreamy and weird. Do you rate The Player?Dan Warburton wrote: ↑Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:54 pmI love his work so much, which is why I hated the Altman when I first saw it. I see trawling through the archives I enjoyed it more second and third time. Not all that inclined to return to it again seven years later to find out how it stands the test of time. Interesting on your list above you didn't include Nashville - deliberate omission or oversight?
Among reasons. As I wrote, I have been working all through summer, dumb that I am, so feel a bit exhausted. I still watch a fair amount of movies and enjoy it, but the effort of putting thoughts and ideas succinctly in writing feels a little beyond me at times. Or I do many drafts on many different films, none develop much and my interest fades. Or I want to write something massive, like with Avant que j'oublie, so have to gather thoughts and energy to make that happen. But it is fun to write like this - like Shelley Duvall said in The Shining: just a matter of settling back into the habit of writing every day.
Well, I see it made it to the IMDb's Top 25 Best Movies About Filmmaking https://www.imdb.com/list/ls097433525/ (huh - what about Fassbinder, Truffaut and Wenders? oh, never mind) - and it's hard not to admire the virtuoso opening shot. Haven't seen it for a while but I remember liking it. But like you I prefer the earlier stuff, Images, hellyeah. Nashville is a sprawling affair, but I enjoyed it as I recall. (Not as much as Pauline Kael!) But I haven't Altmanned for a while.
You're welcome to it. And the Miyazakis seem to be available at Kg. I have the bluray boxset that was released a few years ago.
So nice to see you back (nice to see someone's still here) Alastair.. care to go into details? Top Ten Most Fucking Annoying Things About Woody Allen films, anyone? Anyway, in the light of what you wrote above, good job you didn't see this
Woody Allen, Cassandra's Dream, 2007
Woody's vision of England and the English is as woefully unrealistic here as it was in Match Point, and this time an incoherent and utterly improbable story line can't save it. In case you're interested (spoilers ahoy), there's no way Uncle Howard would ask his nephews to get rid of Martin when in the sleazy world he inhabits he'd have had no problem whatsoever finding a professional hitman - and without that quid pro quo, the story makes no sense, and Allen's beloved Dostoevsky moral anguish (Colin Farrell does anguish well, in fact it's just about the only thing he does do well) falls as flat as the ending, which feels as rushed and perfunctory as the hideous Philip Glass soundtrack. Someone should grind up some sedatives and stick them in his beer too, Christ. Elsewhere, both Farrell and McGregor have problems holding on to their faux East End accents, Tom Wilkinson is spectacularly unconvincing as the nasty Uncle, and though I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating Digestive biscuits and getting crumbs on the pillow, Hayley Atwell isn't as fatally attractive as Scarlett was in Match Point. But that's well that's, just like my opinion, man.
FOURTEEN HOURS (1951) – As soon as I saw Dan's posting of this I realized I saw this in the theater with my father, I would have been seven. With my acrophobia, maybe more exciting now than it was then. Solid and unusual film, well acted (Richard Basehart, Paul Douglas), some striking cinematography. Princess Grace's film debut – middle photo above. I don't think I 've come across it in the years since, so I would have to say it was a very underrated film, which can be seen in its entirety here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVJ5mRz ... Yvuz8WgSvi
Man, just those two dicks in that image is enough to have me running the other way!
Yes, the fate of that man is to be spectacularly unconvincing at anything other than a kindly Englishman. Don't get me wrong, I like him, a lot even, but my how his Americans suck. For instance.
Baltasar Kormákur, Brúðguminn ("White Night Wedding"), 2008
"Loosely based" (Wiki informs us) "on the play Ivanov by Anton Chekhov", Kormákur's "bittersweet comedy" (ugh, don't let that put you off), filmed in midsummer night sunshine on the remote island of Flatey, Breiðafjörður, western Iceland is a typically oddball affair - all Icelandic comedy is - but well-done and entertaining. Fans of the series Trapped will enjoy seeing Ólafur Darri Ólafsson and Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir in very different roles.
I'd never heard of Soundies before, thought that made it relevant to this thread.
My wife and I bailed on two movies recently, The King, which is based on Shakespeare's Henriad, rendered as a period costume drama, not bad actually, and Marianne and Leonard, about Leonard Cohen, the Marianne of song, and their time early in his career on the Greek island of Hydra, dreary and boring considering the subject matter.
Robert Rossen, Johnny O'Clock, 1947
Dick Powell plays the eponymous "hero", who's so hardboiled it's hard to see why any girl would fall for him, let alone the sister of the woman whose death he was, if not personally responsible for, at least partially implicated in. Lee J.Cobb plays the cigar chomping tough guy cop on his tail and that of the mobster and corrupt cop he's tied up with. It's all bit too hormonal and strident, not as good as
Robert Parrish, The Mob, 1951
A cracking little noir - great directorial debut too from Parish, though as an actor and editor (John Ford's) he knew the film industry inside out already - with Broderick Crawford going undercover to stamp out corruption on the docks (yes, it's a similar storyline to On The Waterfront and to be honest I enjoyed it just as much, Brando notwithstanding). Great cast - Borgnine especially - nice, tight, no bullshit dialogue. Cool. (Yes yes, that's Charlie Bronson, well spotted)
Frank Tashlin, The Lieutenant Wore Skirts, 1956
I have to admit, cinésnob that I am, that my original impulse to seek out the Tashlins was because Jean-Luc Godard was a big fan. You can see why in films like The Girl Can't Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? - all those garish primary colours and fourth-wall-breaking gadgets, Pierrot le fou isn't far off. Hollywood or Bust was OK, depending on how much Jerry Lewis you can take without throwing up (my threshold is rather low..). This one, once more featuring Tom Ewell - but not, alas, Jayne Mansfield - is your standard mid-50s American feelgood fare. Saith Wiki: "The Lieutenant Wore Skirts was conceived as a leading vehicle for actress Sheree North, who was being promoted by 20th Century-Fox as an alternative to the increasingly difficult Marilyn Monroe. The project originated in the fall of 1955, soon after North's breakthrough in How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955), a role intended for Monroe, but one she turned down. The studio attached popular director Frank Tashlin and comedian Tom Ewell (Monroe's leading man in The Seven Year Itch) to work alongside North, in an effort to ensure the film would be successful. Tashlin had the film's script tailored to fit North's talents, and molded his story along the lines of the popular romantic comedies of the era." Sheree ain't no Marilyn - she's more like Doris Day - and we're a long way short of the Seven Year Itch too. Second division Tashlin, go for Mansfield instead - the milk bottle gag works much better there, and there's decent music too.
Georges Lautner, Mort d'un pourri, 1977
Delon's always better when he doesn't have to smile too much, which he does rather too often here. Despite a cracking cast (Ronet, Bouise, Ceccaldi, Kinski (!) and three gorgeous leading ladies - Darc, Audran & Muti) the story's rather convoluted and Michel Audiard's dialogues don't sparkle the way they did 20 years earlier. Lautner loves set piece car chases too, but the one on the way to Klaus Kinski's hunting party (which is supposed to be in the same village where Renoir shot Le règle du jeu, haha) is pretty daft. Entertaining but not essential viewing.
Giuseppe Tornatore, Stanno tutti bene, 1990
Well old Groucho Vincent Canby didn't like it https://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/31/movi ... -of-5.html but I did - though I'm a sucker for late Mastroianni performances anyway. Very Fellini, has to be said - but that's not a problem for me either - with some splendid cinematography and a fine Morricone soundtrack. And surely even grumpy Canby was moved by the scene with Michèle Morgan. No, I haven't seen (and probably won't see) the remake with De Niro.
Joachim Trier, Louder Than Bombs, 2015
Not The Smiths album of the same name (no connection as far as I can make out). IMDb: "An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert, for once looking her age and without makeup, are) three years after her untimely death, brings her eldest son Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg, who's so annoying I'm eternally grateful I never saw The Social Network) back to the family house - forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene (Gabriel Byrne) and withdrawn younger brother Conrad (Devin Druid - wow, cool name dude) than he has in years. With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently." Lite on action but cleverly filmed and edited, it's as much a coming-of-age as a family-in-distress tale. Druid's sulky Conrad is the latest in a long line of awkward American teens - I had to laugh when Jonah asked him if he was thinking of going on a high school shooting spree (he reminded me a bit of Alex Frost in Van Sant's Elephant). Probably the only time I did laugh in the whole film, actually. Not bad at all though.