Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Screening Log

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

1. A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavetes, USA, 1974)
2. Traveling Light (Telaroli, USA, 2010)
3. Silver Lode (Dwan, USA, 1954)
4. The Fury (De Palma, USA, 1978)
5. Edvard Munch (Watkins, Norway, 1974)
6. Tennessee's Partner (Dwan, USA, 1955)
7. If... (Anderson, UK, 1968)
8. The Big Trail (Walsh, USA, 1930)
9. Love Streams (Cassavetes, USA, 1984)
10. Ashes of Time Redux (Wong, Hong Kong, 1994/2008)

Also Notable (No order besides color categorization): Fake It So Real (Greene, USA, 2012), Le Amiche (Antonioni, Italy, 1955), Brigadoon (Minnelli, USA, 1954), Kati With An I (Greene, USA, 2011), Slightly Scarlet (Dwan, USA, 1956), Escape to Burma (Dwan, USA, 1955), Gloria (Cassavetes, USA, 1980), Faces (Cassavetes, USA, 1968), A Child is Waiting (Cassavetes, USA, 1964).

Rewatches: L'Avventura (Antonioni, Italy, 1960), The Player (Altman, USA, 1992), Girl Walk // All Day (Krupnick, USA, 2012), The Straight Story (Lynch, USA, 1999), The Night of the Hunter (Laughton, USA, 1955)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Evidence and Processing: The Social Network and Computer Chess

       “This is our time!” screams Justin Timberlake at a pertinent moment in The Social Network, a moment meaningful within the context of the film, but also a moment many viewers latched onto for perhaps the wrong reasons. Do a Google search of reviews and think pieces and you’ll find countless words dedicated to how The Social Network is a film of its moment.  “It is a moment in time that befits our time in a way that no other film has achieved in a decade,” exclaimed one blogger. “A pungent examination of how it changed all of our lives overnight” is how another put it, while further resorting to a classic party line about technology by intoning, “The more connected we are technologically, the more disconnected we become in terms of actual discourse.” One couldn’t escape 2010 without thinking that no other film besides The Social Network spoke to “the way we live now,” without defining what that even meant.

        Computer Chess, the newest film from Andrew Bujalski, approaches “the now” through antiquated technology in a historical setting. It’s a film so psychologically manic and almost Lynchian in terms of its logic that on its surface, it might appear impossible to decode.  But it’s all there—the telling statements of computer vs. man (man as computer, really) and the changing role of technology in how we think. You want a movie of the now? Look no further. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Link Round Up: Do Podcasts Have Birthdays?

Happy Birthday? That's right, The Cinephiliacs made it one year into existence without missing an episode. To celebrate, I brought on the one, the only, the legendary New York Times chief film critic A.O. Scott. It's a very fun, wide-ranging episode, and includes a funny discussion of Robert Altman's The Player. Take a listen over here.

My other big experience of the week was finally revisiting L'Avventura, which I had written off at the young age of 17. This week, I murdered that young boy for being so wrong, and wrote an SEO-friendly piece comparing it to some of the major American works of this year. This includes my first published thoughts on films I had been avoiding writing about, including Spring Breakers, Upstream Color, and The Bling Ring (all of which I'm quite mixed on). But read about Antonioni's epic over at The Film Stage.

Over at the Boxd, I visit early Antonoioni, Le Amiche, and dive two Cassavetes: A Woman Under the Influence and A Child Is Waiting (Faces also forthcoming).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Link Round Up: Quotable Lions

Firstly, a little self-indulgence. Anyone following my Twitter rants knows the amount I am obsessed with Jazmin Lopez's Leones, which I wrote about during New Directors/New Films and discussed on The Cinephiliacs. While the film still does not have distribution, they did cut a trailer for international publicity, and felt kind enough to include one of my heartfelt phrases. Watch the trailer here; I'll keep everyone up to date on if/when it returns to the States.

Also a cause for celebration is the other Argentinean marvel of the year, Viola from Matías Piñeiro. I liked the film when I also saw it at ND/NF, but have grown quite amorous with it since then as well as Piñeiro's other three films, which I wrote about at The Film Stage. I'll later be posting something about his previous film, Rosalinda, but read my primer on approaching his work here.

My Criterion pieces for The Film Stage also continues this week with a look at Kenji Mizoguchi's The Life of Oharu. I use the opportunity to talk melodrama and bodies, with a little film theory as well, but mostly to talk about why you don't need a close-up to make great emotional movie. It also links to my favorite discovery of the week: Kent Jones's phenomenal piece "Do Movies Think?"

Finally, The Muriels have returned! This summer, we are counting down some of our favorite films from before 1962, and I was assigned to write about a little film called Vertigo.

On Letterboxd, my final posts on Allan Dwan and  If...