I like your suggestion to watch those flicks with subtitles. The dubbing is often really annoying.
BTW, one issue I have with Kiki (which I may have seen 50 times, because my kids really liked it) is that the only human physical function I've ever been able to connect with Kiki's sitting on her broom, trying to remove everything else from her mind, and whispering to herself "fly," to make it happen---is peeing.
I do love those movies, though. Each scene is so beautiful. And stuff happens that doesn't have to be connected to anything else--like life. A character might fall down or drop something just because.....that stuff happens sometimes. There's randomness in the world. Not everything is a plot device or character development segment.
THE MARTIAN in 3D (2015) -- Ridley Scott, Matt Damon. A great yarn well told, terrific graphics and visuals, fine performances, a lengthy film (2'20") that never drags. Lots of surprises and reverses without gimmickry, no unnecessary characters or backstories -- Scott lets the story propel the film without gumming it up with meaningless digressions. And, for all the techy features of the plot and the production, there is an old fashioned sci-fi feel to the film. The premise -- an astronaut left behind on a planet -- has been around since early science fiction and this film examines it in light of the real contemporary technologies and organizations that could make it happen. Disco soundtrack -- the mission commander's collection of 70s music is all Matt Damon finds to listen to, much to his chagrin!
Jacques Rivette, 36 vues du Pic Saint-Loup, 2009
A gentle, light (though by no means second division) farewell to cinema from Rivette - I'm assuming this will be his last film, as when he turned up to the screening of Out1 Spectre at the Cinémathèque a few years ago he looked decidedly fragile - returning once again to his favourite ideas, the play-within-a-film (here an itinerant circus) and the mysterious (magical?) character, here played by Sergio Castellito. A fine write-up from our man Ed Howard (if you're still out there, bring back your magnificent blog!) http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.fr/2011/ ... -loup.html
J. Lee Thompson, St.Ives, 1976
Yep, that's Jeff Goldbum wielding the razor (he also played one of the nasty rapists in Death Wish.. and I wish he'd retired there and then). This is a fun period piece, very well filmed (some spectacular helicopter shots) and solidly cast - John Houseman, Max Schell, Jackie Bisset all ham it up very well - with Bronson deadpanning his way through a convoluted but entertaining plot. Actor and director obviously got on well, as they went on to make another eight pics together.
Pierre Etaix, Pays de cocagne, 1971
The amusing scene above where Etaix gets swallowed up in celluloid is just a prelude to a rather disturbing (if often amusing) view of the post-68 working class French on holiday, filmed in one of those many dreadful campings (more like a Butlins holiday camp, with horrendous "amateur night" song contests) which are now, mercifully, a thing of the past. Quizzing the locals on everything from advertising to sex to the Moon landing, and cutting (hardly subtly) to monkeys in a zoo and unflattering shots of the campsite urinals, it paints a rather bleak picture of a bygone world.
Paul Verhoeven, RoboCop, 1987
You may not believe it, but I've just watched this for the first time - and very good it is too (the cheery anchorwoman grinning her way through the daily atrocities.. I don't think the world's changed all that much since 1987), insanely violent, with buckets of blood and explosions a-plenty, and a hilariously cynical plot. Great cast, with (as it should be - ask Hitch) the baddies much more fun than the goodies: Kurtwood Smith's great as Boddicker (why haven't we seen more of this guy?) and it's hard to decide who you hate more, Miguel Ferrer or Ronny Cox. Of course, they both get dispatched in the end. I wonder at times how far we are away from a privatised police force.. yikes
Jacques Doillon, Un sac de billes, 1975
I wouldn't put it on the same level as Rene Clément's Jeux interdits or Louis Malle's wartime childhood tales Lacombe Lucien or Au revoir les enfants, but even in his second feature Doillon shows how good he is at working with kids. Based on a true story (of course) by Joseph Joffo of a Jewish family who crossed the lines into the South of France, as seen through the eyes of the two youngest sons (bravo Richard Constantini and Paul-Eric Shulmann).
Otto Preminger, Whirlpool, 1949
Ha, Miguel Ferrer (see above) obviously inherited it from his dad - José Ferrer's smooth-talking conman is terrific here, nearly stealing the show from the ever-fragile Gene Tierney, who's framed for a murder she didn't commit until psychiatrist hubby Richard Conte comes to the rescue. Like many melonoirs of the time, the soup is liberally seasoned with Freud (well, that Freud-lite Hollywood loved so much..) and the dénouement seems a little forced, but otherwise the Ben Hecht script is solid, as is Otto's direction.
Abbas Kiarostami, Zendegi va digar hich ("Life, and Nothing More"), 1992
Also known as "And Life Goes On", it seems. Can anyone out there translate the Persian title accurately? What a gorgeous film. As usual, when it comes to Iranian cinema, JR says it better than I could: http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.net/1992/1 ... an-sights/
Olivier Assayas, Clouds of Sils Maria, 2014
Not the first film about making a film in which the relationship between the actress and her assistant mirrors the role she has to play with her co-star, but certainly one of the most skilful - Assayas obviously likes the subject (Irma Vep trod similar ground..) and his fascination with new technology (as also evidenced in Demonlover) and the younger generation of actresses (Kirsten Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz) and how they interface with an established star (Juliette Binoche) makes for an engrossing couple of hours. Not so sure about the use of that hackneyed old Pachelbel Canon, but the shots of the snaking clouds in the Swiss valleys are terrific.
Joe Massot, Wonderwall, 1968
You can forget the "story" (absent-minded scientist spies on chic top model neighbour through chinks in wall), and the acting isn't amazing (Jack MacGowran wasn't exactly stretched by the part, and all Jane Birkin had to do was look pretty), but the mindblowing (even without LSD) decor - courtesy The Fool - and George Harrison's sitar-heavy soundtrack are what make this a cult psychedlic trip. Groovy, man
Claude Sautet, Quelques jours avec moi, 1988
It's quite an entertaining story - son-and-heir of supermarket chain goes AWOL in Limoges (not a place you want to spend much time in, honestly) and shacks up with his crooked store manager's chambermaid - until the last 20 minutes when he ends up taking the rap for murdering the girl''s pimp/lover/boss. Shame how many recent French flicks I've seen lately have run out of steam before the finishing line. Still, Sandrine Bonnaire's always good, and Daniel Auteuil (who looks alarmingly like current French PM Manuel Valls) deals with a difficult role very well. Good supporting cast, too.
Not just a French or recent or film thing, IMO. I think getting the end of a book, film, piece of music, tv series, (or in my own case, philosophy paper) right is often the hardest part. So many durational creations have denouements that are not only unworthy of what preceded them, but...well....suck on nearly every level.Dan Warburton wrote: Shame how many recent French flicks I've seen lately have run out of steam before the finishing line.
SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN (2012) -- Recommended this to two of my dancers tonight, checked to see if it had been restored to YouTube (it had! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXee4Elv0n4) and found myself watching it and being moved for the 4th time, so I suppose this has to be one of my all time favorite films, almost certainly the most rewatched music documentary.
Walter Hill, The Driver, 1978
Was just reading Bruce Dern's (not very interesting) memoirs, so thought I'd return to this one - splendid, especially the car chases Adjani doesn't have to do or say much, and Ryan O'Neal's pretty sphinxlike throughout, so Bruce gets all the best lines, including the classic "Gotcha!" when he finally nabs - or so he thinks - the cowboy.