Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Screening Log

Color coded via Dan Sallitt's method (Current or upcoming releases not included). Click on the titles to writing when applicable.

1. The Son (Dardennes, Belgium, 2002)
2. Tokyo Twilight (Ozu, Japan, 1957)
3. Hatari! (Hawks, USA, 1962)
4. Trail of the Vigilantes (Dwan, USA, 1940)
5. Umberto D (De Sica, Italy, 1952)
6. Manhandled (Dwan, USA, 1924)
7. Early Summer (Ozu, Japan, 1951)
8. Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (Ozu, Japan, 1952)
9. One Mile From Heaven (Dwan, USA, 1937)
10. Drunken Master II (Lau, Hong Kong, 1994)

Also Notable (No order besides color categorization): Paris Belongs To Us (Rivette, France, 1959), Record of a Tenement Gentleman (Ozu, Japan, 1947), The Munektata Sisters (Ozu, Japan, 1950), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (Meyers, USA, 1982), Birth (Glazer, USA, 2004), The Only Son (Ozu Japan, 1936), A Modern Musketeer (Dwan, USA, 1917), There Was a Father (Ozu, Japan, 1942), Stage Struck (Dwan, USA, 1925), Frontier Marshall (Dwan, USA, 1938), Brewster's Millions (Dwan, USA, 1945), They All Lie (Piñeiro, Argentina, 2009) Late Autumn (Ozu, Japan, 1960), Police Story 3: Supercop (Chan, Hong Kong, 1992), The Restless Breed (Dwan, USA, 1957), Driftwood (Dwan, USA, 1947), Rosalinda (Piñeiro, Argentina, 2010), Impolex (Perry, USA, 2009), The Iron Mask (Dwan, USA, 1929), Rendezvous With Annie (Dwan, USA, 1946), Dragnet Girl (Ozu, Japan, 1933), The Stolen Man (Piñeiro, Argentina, 2007), An Autumn Afternoon (Ozu, Japan, 1962)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Link Round Up: Shorts and Longs

When I saw the running time for Xavier Dolan's Laurence Anyways, my tolerance meter started ticking, as the film runs just shy of three hours. And seeing how Heartbeats already felt a tad too long at under 90, I was a bit concerned. However, Dolan is a strong filmmaker, and I was surprised by the nuance and emotion he brought to this latest film. I review it over at In Review Online.

On the shorter side of things, the new and wonderful Criterion Blu-Ray of Safety Last! has three newly restored shorts by silent clown Harold Lloyd. You can read about them over at The Film Stage

Over at Letterboxd, I have been going through the filmographies of Yasujiro Ozu and Alan Dwan. #Dwanmentum.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Link Round-Up: Christ Almighty!

"The power of Criterion compels you!"
Oh Jesus! The Christian savoir appears in both of my latest writings on cinema. Firstly, I indulge in a little Hollywood blockbuster shaming with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, which is an arduously silly event (thanks Christopher Nolan!). Read the piece over at In Review Online.

Of a bit more interest is the Criterion release of Marketa Lazarová, the Czech epic from František Vláčil. It’s not exactly the easiest film to indulge, as I get into the piece, which is basically a primer of how to watch such an insanely difficult film. That’s over at The Film Stage, so take a few minutes to read it.

A new Cinephiliacs features Andreas Stoehr on The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Also, my list of Letterboxd reviews has been updated.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Expressive Esoterica in the 21st Century—Or: What Is Vulgar Auteurism?

Miami Vice (Michael Mann, 2006)
The following post was originally developed in a graduate seminar I participated in earlier this year on the state of contemporary cinephilia. I originally became interested in exploring Vulgar Auteurism after researching and talking to Ignatiy Vishnevetsky for a podcast. So for a half dozen weeks, I watched  the “canon” of Vulgar Auteurism and read every post, comment, tumblr, and criticism that had been written on the subject. What I have developed below is part of a project that I hope to bring to next year’s conference for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. However, because Vulgar Auteurism has become somewhat of a hot debate after Calum Marsh’s Village Voice piece on the subject, I’ve decided to post a partial part of my work on the subject in order to give a full context and understanding how we can learn about contemporary cinephilia from the movement. As always, all feedback and comments are appreciated.

September 14, 2012 was a day of major anticipation for cinephiles that follow contemporary cinema. It was the official opening of auteur Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2012), a historical psychosexual epic shot in 70mm with two larger than life performances. However, there was another group of cinephiles excited for another release by Paul Anderson…Paul W.S. Anderson. Anderson’s Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), the fifth film in the zombie franchise starring Milla Jovovich, was released in 3,000 theaters without a single review to its name. For most critics who later watched the film, Retribution was a slog (Rotten Tomatoes describes the consensus: “[the franchise] seems to get more cynical and lazy with each film”).[i] But this set of very special cinephiles saw not just silly entertainment, but one made with as much craft and care as The Master. Ignaity Vishnevetsky, in his review at Mubi, argues, “Anderson is uncynical. His work is eye stuff: entertainment that rewards the viewer for watching rather than for being clever.”[ii] Critics disagree on films all the time, but what is going on with Retribution, and many other disregarded films of its like, is a new trend in cinephilia. Welcome to Vulgar Auteurism.

Since Jonathan Rosenbaum called cinema dead and cinephila the next step, critics and academics have spent countless words trying to define “contemporary cinephilia.” Some of this issue, perhaps, is that defining contemporary cinephilia as a whole is an impossible task—one must encompass bloggers, democratization, torrent cultures, DVDs and Blu-Rays, mashups, podcasts, social media, and the vast amount of stuff. To better understand cinephilia, I propose that instead of making an encompassing vision, we should instead take an in-depth examination of a small sect. Certainly, the cinephiles who laud and champion Vulgar Auteurism fit that definition.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

May Screening Log

Color coded via Dan Sallitt's method (Current or upcoming releases not included). Click on the titles to writing when applicable.

1. Mama (Yuan, China, 1990)
2. Pride of the Marines (Daves, USA, 1945)
3. Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi, Japan, 1955)
4. Disorder (Huang, China, 2009)
5. Vera Cruz (Aldrich, USA, 1954)
6. Gertrud (Dreyer, Denmark, 1964)
7. Gerry (Van Sant, USA, 2002)
8. Beauty #2 (Warhol, USA, 1965)
9. Broken Arrow (Daves, USA, 1950)
10. The Mother and the Whore (Eustache, France, 1970)

Also Notable: The Last Wagon (Daves, USA, 1956), Under the Sun of Satan (Pialat, France, 1987), One Way Passage (Garnett, USA, 1932), The Story of Qui Ju (Zhang, China, 1992), Cowboy (Daves, USA, 1958), The Flame and the Arrow (Tourneur, USA, 1950), Exiled (To, Hong Kong, 2006), The Red House (Daves, USA, 1947), Crash (Cronenberg, Canada, 1996), Apache (Aldrich, USA, 1954), Criss Cross (Siodmack, USA, 1949), The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (Rowland, USA, 1953), Marketa Lazarova (Vlacil, Czechoslovakia, 1967).

Link Round-Up: Stories We Tell and Sun Don't Shine

Two quick links to one recent post...and one not so recent (apologies apologies). The first is my first piece for The Film Stage, and it's an examination of Stories We Tell, the documentary from Sarah Polley. It's a spoiler-filled piece, and I found it quite problematic, much more than most people, and I've had some really fascinating conversations come out of it. So take a read, why don't you. 

Since I spent most of the spring teaching and gradskooling, I didn't have many updates outside this blog. But I did write a review of Amy Seimetz's Sun Don't Shine, a Florida set noir thriller that is a quite neat little work. Not perfect for reasons I get into, but certainly worth your time (and probably has the best final shot/line of the year to date). That's over at InReview Online.

If you haven't been keeping up with The Cinephiliacs, we have Ben Model on Modern Times, Vadim Rizov on Le Cercle Rouge, Ignaitvy Vishnevetsky on The Moderns, and a special round table on Roger Ebert with a whole cast of characters. So take a listen to them all on the site or on iTunes. (There's also this handy Letterboxd list to keep track of the films discussed).