Bigas Luna, Jamón, jamón,1992
To quote that wonderful old Specials song, “it's all a load of bollocks” - literally: the film starts out under a big black object which turns out to be the testicles of a bull on an advertising hoarding, closely followed by a close-up on Javier Bardem's hardon, and the word “cojones” features just about as much as Penelope Cruz's bare breasts (yeah, I guess some folks will thrill to that, as well as the pair of MILFs who rather unfairly get higher billing, Stefania Sandrelli and Anna Galiena..). Of course, Luna's having a ball poking fun at Spanish machismo – Bardem and his buddy bullfighting in the nude, haha – a sly nod to the wrestling in Women In Love?) - but overdoes the Freudian symbolism. And although it's a black comedy, the ending isn't funny at all. Worth a look though, and you won't have to stick a clove of garlic up your butt to enjoy it
Jean Grémillon, Le 6 juin à l'aube, 1945
Along with (Resnais's) Night and Fog and (Ophüls') The Sorrow and the Pity, one of the truly great French WWII documentaries.
http://www.culturopoing.com/cinema/sort ... d/20141120
Marco Bellochio, Fists In The Pocket, 1965
Truly stunning debut from Lou Castel in this dark tale of matricide, fratricide and incest http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/ ... -to-shreds but Paolo Pitagora is just as impressive as his sister, and drop dead gorgeous to boot. What a great, disturbing film
daichi saito, malcolm goldstein // trees of syntax, leaves of axis // 2009
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Masami Kobayashi, The Inheritance, 1962
Japanese New Wave Volpone, without the comedy (but with a smashing jazz Takemitsu soundtrack as consolation prize) – not a nice guy in sight in this tale of deceit, blackmail, identity theft and sexual harrassment, with everyone out to get their hands on a slice of the dying old man's will (and he's not very nice either)
I saw him briefly in a terrible Danny DeVito-directed film last night, Duplex, and thought of this post. what is this statement primarily based on (the Remar one)? just curious, I never watched Dexter...MRS wrote:Free HBO last weekend, caught one of the unpredictable recent Liam Neeson vehicles and 'What Lies Beneath' from 2000, an unqualified Zemeckis turd starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer. Yet in under 30 seconds of screen time my opinion reaffirmed that James Remar is our greatest living American actor.
Julie Taymor's A Midsummer Night's Dream -- Wonderful, if uneven. Unlike her Titus (magnificent!) and her Tempest (daring but flawed), this is a film of the stage production rather than a cinema production. We expect Taymor to deliver many visual delights and surprises, and she doesn't disappoint. It's a lively production that usually moves briskly and preserves the The Dream's sense of wonder.
Kathryn Hunter is the best Puck I've ever seen, and I've seen dozens. She alone makes the movie worth seeing, she is THAT good!
There were some nice modern touches to the rude mechanicals, and I thought they were quite good and their performance at the wedding was very funny and finally touching, as it should be. (That play-within-the-play is a send-up of Romeo & Juliet, written earlier the same year. Also wrote Richard II that year! How is that even possible?)
The Athenian and fairy kingdom royals were all solid to very good. The lovers were the weakest link in the production, and the repetition of some of the visual effects wore thin by the end.
Still, enough magic to make the premium ticket price worth it. What a Puck!!
"Time is the school in which we learn,/ Time is the fire in which we burn."
Georges Franju, Pleins feux sur l'assassin, 1961
Amusing if not exactly nailbiting Boileau / Narcejac tale of the rich old Count (Pierre Brasseur, and we don't get to see much of him either, unfortunately) who hides away in a secret cubbyhole in his chateau (wish I could find out where this was filmed), and dies there, apparently to piss off the next of kin who can't claim their inheritance until his body is found. Needless to say the assembled relatives start dropping like flies themselves.. Fun, even if it's only second division Franju. Then again, a second division Franju is probably better than most mainstream dross.
John Frankenheimer, Birdman of Alcatraz, 1962
"Who loves ya, baby.." Actually, Telly isn't the birdman in question here - it's another starring role for Frankenheimer regular Burt Lancaster. And just when you think that this soppy tale of hardened criminals falling head over heels in love with pet canaries (fuck, those cells must have stunk) can't be true, you find out it is. Though in real life Stroud, the bloke Lancaster plays, wasn't quite as loveable...
Gianfranco Parolini, Sabata aka Ehi amico... c'è Sabata. Hai chiuso!, 1969
Fascinating how the grammar of the spaghetti western evolved so quickly - though as usual the two great pioneers of the genre (if that's the word), Leone and Corbucci, are quite good at breaking their own rules - this particular tale is a fun-for-all-the-family relatively harmless spaghetti. Not so much gore, and Van Cleef isn't the vicious sadistic bastard we recognise from the Leones. But there are plenty of Yojimboesque double-crosses, stupidly overdramatic zooms in and out, and the de rigueur fat laughing Meskin. Roland Barthes would have had a field day with it
Serge Bourguignon, Les dimanches de la Ville d'Avray, 1962
This one got the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, but very few people remember it now, I'll bet. And the two principal actors - Hardy Krüger as the amnesiac, traumatised ex-pilot and Patricia Gozzi as the ten-year-old orphan who falls in love with him - have dropped off the radar like the director. Beautiful photography though - Henri Decae, olé - and the ponds at Ville d'Avray still look just like that. Believe me, we went there the afternoon we saw this
FWIW, I've never found Lancaster loveable. Unwatchable, maybe. What a mess he made in Elmer Gantry, which is kind of a fun novel (though, admittedly, the crappiness of the film wasn't entirely his fault).John Frankenheimer, Birdman of Alcatraz, 1962
Actually, Telly isn't the birdman in question here - it's another starring role for Frankenheimer regular Burt Lancaster. And just when you think that this soppy tale of hardened criminals falling head over heels in love with pet canaries (fuck, those cells must have stunk) can't be true, you find out it is. Though in real life Stroud, the bloke Lancaster plays, wasn't quite as loveable...
Aww, he's great in the Viscontis, and in Malle's Atlantic City. And utterly awesomely detestable in Sweet Smell of Successwalto wrote:FWIW, I've never found Lancaster loveable. Unwatchable, maybe. What a mess he made in Elmer Gantry, which is kind of a fun novel (though, admittedly, the crappiness of the film wasn't entirely his fault).
Viola Rusche & Hauke Harder, No Ideas But In Things, 2013
Enjoyable documentary on Alvin Lucier, but of course listening to his music through crappy TV speakers isn't the way to go. Nice to see him cooking tomato sauce though
Brian De Palma, Raising Cain, 1992
It took me some time to warm to De Palma, as previous snotty posts of mine no doubt still bear witness, but it's hard not to enjoy this, especially as he's awfully good when it comes to making fun of himself, when he's not throwing in sly references to Roeg (the cute little red riding hood coat's from Don't Look Now) and, of course, Hitchcock. Fun stuff
Ulrich Seidl, Good News, 1990
This is 25 years old now, and I hope that the streets of Vienna are no longer full of seriously struggling immigrants selling local tabloid rags for outrageously low wages. At times hilarious, at time heartbreaking.
Philippe Grandrieux, Un lac, 2008
The basic story is simple beyond belief – family eking out an existence cutting down trees in a wild forest in some unnamed Northern European country, brother and sister understandly (perhaps even alarmingly) close until an outsider arrives and eventually persuades the girl to move away with him – but Grandrieux's characteristically jittery and often seriously dark filming adds a strange and disturbing power.