Monday, September 30, 2013

September Screening Log

Color coded via Dan Sallitt's method (Current or upcoming releases not included). Click on the titles to writing when applicable. (A smaller list that usual, mainly because New York Film Festival means I didn’t screen that many repertory titles as usual; and I’m a bit behind in writing about each as well for the same reason).

1.    The Rapture (Tolkin, USA, 1991)
2.    Hahaha (Hong, South Korea, 2010)
3.    Pulse (Kurosawa, Japan, 2001)
4.    I No Longer Hear the Guitar (Garrel, France, 1991)
5.    Written on the Wind (Sirk, USA, 1956)
6.    A Girl In Every Port (Hawks, USA, 1928)
7.    The River (Renoir, France/India, 1951)
8.    Twixt (Coppola, USA, 2011)
9.    Il Grido (Antonioni, Italy, 1957)
10. “The Chinese Fan” The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies (Edwin, USA, 1914)

Also Notable (No order besides color categorization): Russian Ark (Sukurov, Russia, 2002), Never Fear (Lupino, USA, 1949), The Cradle Snatchers (Hawks, USA, 1927), The Spoilers (Enright, USA, 1942), Upstream (Ford, USA, 1928), Trent’s Last Case (Hawks, USA, 1928), The White Shadow (Cutts, United Kingdom, 1924), Autumn Sonata (Bergman, Sweden, 1978), Fig Leaves (Hawks, USA, 1926), Paid To Love (Hawks, USA, 1927).

Rewatches: Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, Japan, 1954), M (Lang, Germany, 1931), The Big Sleep (Hawks, USA, 1946).

Friday, September 27, 2013

Link-Round Up: Looking Forward - Traveling Back

My favorite event of the year, the New York Film Festival, begins today with the world premiere of Captain Phillips. That one is a little wonky (more TK maybe Update: here on Letterboxd), but many of the other selections are not - in fact they're masterful. So for another year, I'll be covering them for The Cinephiliacs as well as a couple other places as well. Check out the first episode of these with In Review Online correspondent Carson Lund, as we discuss new films from Jia Zhangke, Lav Diaz, Hayao Miyazaki, Hong Sang-Soo (my first!), and the Harvard SEL! 

Also, over at The Film Stage, I get philosophical in discussing film history in relation to a fantastic new DVD from the National Film Preservation Foundation, a collection of New Zealand silent film treasures, including Graham Cutt's The White Shadow (written by Alfred Hitchcock) and John Ford's Upstream. There's also an ostrich carriage, which I sadly forgot to mention in the piece. You can read that here.

Some recent Letterboxd stuff is limited to some Howard Hawks silents: Fig Leaves, The Cradle Snatchers, and Fazil.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Link Round-Up: Pies and Cries (And Whispers)

Mr. Keaton always preferred the chase to the pie.
Over at To Be Cont'd, I continue our month long conversation on the summer blockbuster by examining the relationship to the Cinema of Attractions and Donald Crafton's idea of the "pie and the chase," and how we're moving toward a pie-centric blockbuster. I also expand on the ideological elements of blockbuster cinema, and explain how a great metaphor like Jaws works while Star Trek Into Darkness makes me want to destroy the very idea of a political cinema. Read that here.

The Strange Little Cat played at the Toronto Film Festival, and it's an absolute delight as I argue here.

It's Bergman Vs. Bergman over at The Film Stage, where I review Criterion's recent Blu-Ray update of Autumn Sonata, directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Ingrid Bergman. I also review the new late-term abortion documentary, After Tiller.

On Letterboxd, those who've seen Blue is the Warmest Color, the Palm D'Or winner from Abdellatif Kechiche, can read my spoiler-filled take on the very good, often misconstrued film.

I also have shorter pieces on Fritz Lang's M, Howard Hawks's Fig Leaves, Renoir's The River, Claire Denis's Trouble Every Day, Don Siegel's Coogan's Bluff. I also went kind of long and super ambivalent on Hour of the Furnaces, if you're curious about that one.

Finally, Jordan Cronk came on The Cinephiliacs, where we reviewed Repo Man.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dan Sallitt's The Unspeakable Act

Today sees the release of my friend Dan Sallitt’s The Unspeakable Act on DVD (and for rent on iTunes!), which remains one of my favorite films of the year after a recent second viewing. Originally, I was planning to do a longform dialogue with another writer for a publication on my thoughts as well as his two other films, but the circumstances between my relationship with Dan when I first saw the film and now are quite different. Before, I had only met Dan once and only spoke to him briefly. Now I see him quite often, and feel it would be improper, especially given “recent” fights about the relationship between filmmakers and critics, to write about the film for a publication without a very long disclosure. (There’s also a case of I’m currently working a paid project assigned by one of the collaborators on The Unspeakable Act, meaning now I really should recuse myself from writing about the film professionally).

However, there are a few things to say here. First of all there’s the Cinephiliacs episode Dan and I did back in February, which is a very excellent listen.  Secondly, I did excerpt some notes I had from my discarded piece on it:

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Link Round Up: To the Sky and Under the Sea

I am not attending the Toronto International Film Festival this year, because I am a working man with responsibilities and undergrads to teach. However, I was able to do a couple pre-festival reviews, starting with what might be my favorite release of the year: Manakamana, the follow-up to Leviathan from the Ethnography Lab at Harvard. It's quite awesome and the kind of humanist poem I adore, especially considering how much Leviathan is an (deliberately) alienating experience. I reviewed it for The Film Stage, so follow the action there.

Also new is To Be (Cont'd) is here, and the first post is by yours truly considering the state of blockbuster filmmaking. The first post is mostly about dispelling the old myths in order to frame the conversation, as well as considering the how and why of the emergence of blockbusters, as well as a reading of Nashville and Jaws, the two "event movies" of 1975. Take a read here, add to the comments, and get ready for next week's response.

My work with The Criterion Collection continues with half the capsules for the new Eclipse set celebrating the early films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. I wrote the introduction and the capsules for Love is Colder than Death ("What a title!") and The American Soldier. Thanks to Danny King for helping me out with the others.

On the Boxd - some spoiler considerations of Edgar Wright's The World's End, and Roger Corman's It Conqured the World, which I compare to Griffith of all things.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

August 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 Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Herzog, Germany, 1974)
  2. Coogan’s Bluff (Seigel, USA, 1968)
  3. Opening Night (Cassavetes, USA, 1977)
  4. Repo Man (Cox, USA, 1984)
  5. The Bottom of the Bottle (Hathaway, USA, 1956)
  6. The Man From London (Tarr, Hungary/France, 2008)
  7. Little Murders (Arkin, USA, 1971)
  8. 3 Women (Altman, USA, 1977)
  9. Trouble Every Day (Denis, France 2001)
  10. A Woman Is a Woman (Godard, France, 1961)
Also Notable (No order besides color categorization): Love Is Colder Than Death (Fassbinder, Germany, 1969), The Boston Strangler (Fliescher, USA, 1968), Native Land (Hurwitz and Stand, USA, 1942), Good Morning, Taipei (Hsing, Taiwan, 1979),  It Conquered the World (Corman, USA, 1956), The Unknown (Browning, USA, 1927), The Hour of the Furnaces (Satanlo, Argentina, 1968), Lucky Jo (Deville, France, 1964), The American Soldier (Fassbinder, Germany, 1970), Faster Pussycat! Kill Kill! (Russ Meyer, USA, 1965), A King In New York (Chaplin, USA, 1957), As Tears Go By (Wong, Hong Kong, 1988), The Hunger (Scott, UK, 1983)

Rewatches: Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, USA, 2012), Intolerance (Griffith, USA, 1916), Ikiru (Kurosawa, Japan, 1952).