Cédric Jimenez, La French, 2014
Did Judge Pierre Michel ever meet godfather Gaëtan Zampa alone on a country road, or is that just rookie director trying to score points by alluding to that overrated Pacino / De Niro faceoff in Heat? Whatever, the two French actors are not in the same league. Yes, this is one of those "based on a true story" gangster tales, so expect a lot of Scorsese: there's Tany strutting across the Krypton dancefloor like Ray Liotta in the famous Steadicam walk through the kitchens in Goodfellas, and that awful mawkish fusion of Dinah Washington's "This Bitter Earth" and Max Richter (who's awful and mawkish enough as it is) is lifted brazenly from Shutter Island (rather morally dubious: makes it seem like Zampa is the hero not the villain). Elsewhere, the crew took pains to recreate the 70s - cars, clothes, furniture, and music. Shame about that Dinah ripoff, as otherwise it's quite a good selection (Al Wilson "The Snake", yeah!). But overall, at least twenty minutes too long and not very interesting. Go back and watch The French Connection again, it still kicks ass.
Joseph Losey, Mr. Klein, 1976
http://seul-le-cinema.blogspot.fr/2011/ ... losey.html
Allow me to quote David Ehrenstein's post following Ed's review (above), if you will:
"This is Losey's best film, and Delon's as well. [..T]here's no actor alive who could do this part. It's not simply that he's the embodiment of the suavely sinister, but as film acting requires bringing out everything to the surface of the face Delon is expert at presenting human duplicity. It's not simply that Klein offers a "self" to the world that's constantly shaded -- its' that he hides from himself as well. See Delon in everything from Plein Soleil, La Piscine, Un Flic and (Losey's underrated) The Assassination of Trotsky for the evolution of this persona. But here it reaches its apex -- at the film's end. For Delon's Klein truly thinks he's escaped -- even though he's headed straight for the extermination camps. All the other actors in their turns (particularly Moreau and Berto) are superb. And the anti-semitic cabaret (performed by the "Grand Eugen" troupe) must be seen to be disbelieved."
Hrafn Gunnlaugsson, The Crimson Sunset, 1977
Scary little film about two guys who decide to take a "restful break" in Djúpavík, a deserted fishing village in a godforsaken fjord in North-West Iceland.. Take two large shots of Brennevin and add a huge dose of guilt and paranoia and things go badly wrong.. Made for TV, so far only available as a very dodgy VHS rip over at KG, but well worth a look - and a decent reissue, though that will probably never come..
Peter Hall, Perfect Friday, 1970
The director's best known for founding the Royal Shakespeare Company, but he made a few forays into cinema between 1968 and the mid-70s. This bank-heist is an ingenious tale, with Stanley Baker (looking very Basil Fawlty-ish at times) as the Deputy Bank Manager, David Warner - sensational - as the deliciously effete Lord Nicholas Dorset and Ursula Andress as his wife. The real revelation here is Andress, who proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was not just a pretty body emerging from the surf, but a damn fine actress. File alongside your favourite heist movies!
Maurice Tourneur, Impasse des Deux Anges, 1948
Strange swansong from Papa Tourneur, featuring Paul Meurisse as an ex-con safecracker called upon to rob the woman who turns out to be his former gal (Signoret, a delight) and who then has a change of heart. It's an odd combination of melodrama, noir and poetic realism which I'm not sure works - but the ending quite possibly inspired Melville (L'armée des ombres) - though in that masterpiece it was Signoret who took the fall..
Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971). Very bleak and sweaty movie about a school teacher's descent into hell in the Australian outback. I don't think that any movie ever made has shown more actual cruelty to animals than this one does. Very graphic scenes involving hunting (and torturing) kangaroos were used, presumably to get publicity for the horror of this "sport." But it's not the only degradation. Like Lord of the Flies, but with alcohol, a nymphomaniac, and Donald Pleasance drinking beer while standing on his head to demonstrate peristalsis. Very disturbing.
Takashi Miike, Dead or Alive: Hanzaisha, 1999
- but buggery, bestiality and drowning in excrement instead. I guess the pic above is what La Monte would call drawing a straight line and following it Thoroughly enjoyed it, actually - I'd always wondered where the middle ground might be found between Kitano and John Woo.. here it is, with plenty of genuine madness thrown in for good measure (the final bazooka atomic meltdown showdown is a great way to go out).
Ken Loach, 3 Clear Sundays, 1965
Or Kenneth, as he was known at the time. Originally aired as one of the BBC's Wednesday Plays, this was a fine debut from Loach, coming as it did just before the Death Penalty was finally abolished in the UK. Probably based on the true story of Timothy Evans, and written by an ex-convict, Jimmy O'Connor, who had himself had a death sentence commuted, the action is intercut with sung ballads encapsulating the story and - thanks to a great performance from Benny Hill-regular Rita Webb - is often as funny as it is chilling. More info here https://itpworld.wordpress.com/2014/06/ ... s-uk-1965/
the hateful eight
i loved the first half of this film - quiet, brooding and emotional. by the intermission the hateful eight was set to become one of my favorite tarantino films, but the second half (while still being lots of fun) didn't quite live up to the first. a welcome change of pace for a tarantino film. he's a lot better at playing with characters than he is with guns. 7.5/10
We went back to this one the day before yesterday, and - although it's still a real emotional bruiser (one feels dislike and pity for Yanne's character in equal measure, and frustration with Jobert's), I found more to laugh at this time round. Don't know what that says about me, or how my tastes have evolved during the past four years of cinebulimia, but one thing I really appreciated this time round was how exquisitely it's shot and edited. As with Rohmer, the directorial mastery is never thrown in your face, but you'd notice it if it wasn't as bloody good as it is.Dan Warburton wrote:
Maurice Pialat, Nous ne viellirons pas ensemble, 1972
Jean Yanne said he had a hard time playing this obnoxious macho beauf son of a bitch (and as the film is unashamedly autobiographical you can understand why he fought with Pialat all through the shoot), but he does it so well you feel distinctly uneasy throughout. Apparently this was a big box office success when first released, which presumably means the French public has a masochistic streak. If you do too, you might enjoy it. I found it a rather sour, depressing experience myself.
Grant Gee, Patience (After Sebald), 2012
One of my New Year's Resolutions is, finally, to read Sebald - and this impeccable documentary will make you want to too. Nice Leyland Kirby soundtrack too. L'il New Year quiz for y'all - who can identify the building in the photo above?
that's funny - i wish our data prices were that low here in australia! a vpn keeps me nice and safe all the same ^.^Piano Mouth wrote:I walked out of this in the theater but that's because I had some margaritas before hand, and the movie was putting a damper on my drunken delightfulness. Ended up downloading it, second notice from Comcast about obtaining pirated content, unplugged everything like Mr Robot, joined the karma go portable wifi movement (50 bucks for unlimited data) and will return to the second half of this movie soon.
i never thought of reservoir dogs while i was in the theatre, but now that you mention it, the films are very alike. the way the film was structured (split into two distinct halves, with each half focusing on a different group of four people) made me think of death proof. definitely safe territory for tarantino, but the characters and twists kept me from getting bored.jon abbey wrote:I really like Tarantino, but thought The Hateful Eight was excruciatingly dull, and in large part a rehash of the way more interesting (certainly at the time) Reservoir Dogs. I hope he's not done a la Scorsese, but I'm not optimistic.
Neither am I, frankly. We might go and see this one - in a real cinema, for a change - tomorrow. My son went, sort of liked it, but.. hasn't said a word about it since. Same with the Star Wars thing. Hyped to death?jon abbey wrote:dunno, he always has lots of twists, so you expect them, if not specifically what they are. I just didn't care at all, I hope he can find a new area to explore in the future but I'm not optimistic.
That's very noble. I should follow suit.. will certainly buy more winePiano Mouth wrote:one of my new year's resolution for me is to download less and buy more.
Fine investment - yep, I did buy that! - you won't regret it, I think. But I warn you that the first episode may drive you totally crazy - but STICK WITH ITPiano Mouth wrote:I just ordered the Jacques Rivette Out1 DVD box set, I think it's like 6 Blu Ray Discs, and 7 or 8 regular DVDs
that's also funny - that set appeared on my hard drive out of nowhere a couple weeks ago.Piano Mouth wrote:one of my new year's resolution for me is to download less and buy more.
I just ordered the Jacques Rivette Out1 DVD box set, I think it's like 6 Blu Ray Discs, and 7 or 8 regular DVDs
yes.Dan Warburton wrote:Hyped to death?
Ken Loach, Raining Stones, 1993
This was shot only three miles from where I grew up on the dreary housing estate of Langley, Middleton (which is technically in my home town Rochdale, but halfway between R'dle and Manchester in fact) and I can vouch for the authenticity of the accents - though there are quite a few Liverpudlians around too. That said, I really did not like it at all, but it seems I'm in a minority. The whole idea of the film, Joe's determination to get the money for his daughter's communion dress at all costs as another heart-on-sleeve portrayal of the Nobility Of The Great British Working Class, fails to convince. Rather than punching the air, inspired at Our Hero's struggle for humanity in a hostile world (blablabla insert cliché of choice), I just can't believe he's as bloody stupid as he is stubborn. Putting aside my own personal mistrust of the daft rituals of the Roman Catholic faith (hey, if twiddling beads on a rosary and saying Hail Mary 1500 times makes you feel better, go for it), and assuming that Joe urgently needed £115 for something more worthwhile than a girl's dress, there were, even in the bleakest corners of Thatcher's Britain, other ways of getting it than resorting to crime (but of course, in Loach's world, it's OK to cause criminal damage to the Conservative Club Bowling Green). Even the priest (who has a bottle of Jameson's and a few choice expletives to hand - "praise de lord and pass de ammunition") can't talk him into borrowing a perfectly decent dress. The depiction of the local loan shark is as brutally caricatural as one of Leigh's yuppies in High Hopes or Naked. Lines like "Pretty daughter, isn't it, that? Do you want her to stay pretty? Take the fucking rings off!" belong in some tacky TV series (somebody ought to have pointed out to the director that his lead actress was still wearing three rings when Joe came home later - one of several sloppy continuity goofs I spotted). The car crash is a cheap cop out, and the police showing up a Joe's flat at the end quite implausible, given what we know about the van at the beginning of the film. Why make it so bloody dramatic? Life in places like Langley just isn't.