Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The other day I had to get back to Barnes & Noble. This is the worst month out of the year for me because so many great releases are coming out with great prices because of the sale. Either way I picked up the Eclipse box set "Up All Night with Robert Downey Sr.", "David Lean Directs Noel Coward", "Berlin Alexanderplatz", "Sanjuro", and "Walkabout". All of these films I had not seen previous to buying them besides "Sanjuro" and "Brief Encounter" which is a part of the David Lean box set. Looking forward to finish watching all of these great films and spew my pointless thoughts around.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Yesterday I went back to Barnes & Noble and picked up some more gems from the Criterion Collection sale. One of those gems happened to be something I have put off purchasing for a long time. I am talking about Rainer Werner Fassbinders Berlin Alexanderplatz. I was putting this off for so long because I love Fassbinder and whenever I start watching something of his I cannot stop. You may ask why is that a problem? Berlin Alexanderplatz is essentially thirteen films at fifteen and a half hours (making it the longest running time for a film in history).
For those of you who do not know who Fassbinder is, he was arguably one of the greatest if not the greatest filmmaker of the past century. He completed forty four projects in eighteen years and died at the age of thirty seven. With films like The Marriage of Maria Braun (one of my all time favorite films), Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, and massive television films (such as World on a Wire and Berlin Alexanderplatz) Fassbinder showed legitimate depth and understanding of the social, political, and personal aspects of his people. He grew up with German guilt that he was born with along with an entire generation that never deserved it, because they were not even alive during the war.
I am currently two episodes in to the film, which puts me at two and a half hours and a basic understanding of what is going on. The main character is Franz Biberkopf, a man who is just released from jail after serving four years for beating his girlfriend to death. He is no hero nor an anti-hero. This is a character that is extremely complex with no real rhyme or reason, and is supposed to be studied and perhaps admired for his complexity? At the same time he seems like an absolute moron. He has his moments of genius and his moments of stupidity and might just be a caricature of what the average German man was like in Weimar era Germany before the rule of the Nazis.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
Moonrise Kingdom is a very touching story. It may be the closest Wes has ever come to making an "absolutely human" movie. With this film Wes Anderson has done something that he has done time and time again. That would be the "coming of age" story. But the reason why this film is so effective is that for the first time besides Rushmore he is actually dealing with children that are "coming of age". This is unlike his other films. A good example of what I am getting at would be The Royal Tennenbaums. In The Royal Tennenbaums the better part of the characters are adults who are extremely childish, and by the conclusion of the film they "come of age" and learn their life lessons.
But in this film the two main characters are probably the most effective and touching characters Wes has ever written (with Roman Coppola) and the performances by the lead and supporting kids were all really great.
Another point that I am hearing from major fans of this film is this: "It doesn't look like any other film he has ever made". In my opinion that is completely ridiculous statement. Wes uses the same exact color palette and shooting techniques (French New Wave inspired) that he has used in all of his films. If their is one thing that I can appreciate about Wes Anderson it is the world he has created for himself. Saying that it looks different than anything else he has ever done discredits his creativity and his style that he has always worked in. It is the way he views the world around him (which has also been very childish). You know when you are getting in to a Wes Anderson movie as soon as any of these things flash in front of your face or you hear a newly composed song by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Anyway, last night I watched "Rosemary's Baby" for the first time ... and it blew my mind. I cant say that it is any "Chinatown" because it definitely is not. But it is a grade A thriller through and through. I cannot begin to say good things about this film. It is beyond creepy and works well off of the material and Polanskis direction, and it doesn't use fast cuts or any of the garbage that horror filmmakers use today for cheap screams. This film sets a mood that is creepy as hell from the beginning and only builds from there.
I wont go in to detail for the risk of giving away too much for anyone who has still not seen this classic. The basic gist of the film is that a couple (Farrow and Cassavettes) move into a new apartment which has a history of witches that may or may not involve their neighbors. Once Farrow becomes pregnant the rest of the film is generally ambiguous and up to your own personal interpretation.
Another point of interest is the way the film was shot. Polanski, no matter how great of a DP he has on his films is very controlling of the framing and general layout and look of the film. Scene after scene you witness some very beautiful and interesting camera work (almost in a "Hitchcockian" style). You can see other great examples and perhaps even better ones in "Chinatown".
Overall, I cannot remember the last time a film had genuinely creeped me out so much. This is a gripping film that is worth multiple viewings, and will now be a part of my all time favorite films particularly in the horror genre. 10/10
Here is the real deal on this movie. It looks fantastic ... sounds fantastic ... has some fantastic scenes ... but is taken down a few pegs due to corny dialogue and undeveloped characters. Some of the dialogue (especially a couple one liners) were absolutely not funny and very painful to hear. I've never seen Charlize Theron try so hard to actually act in a film ever. She is such a great actress but clearly did not have proper material to work with. Although I will give credit to Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace who both really gave it their all and it shows with standout performances.
Another issue that I had with the film was the score. If they were trying to go for an "Alien" type score they failed miserably. It does not fit in to the film whatsoever. Besides those two complaints (which are actually pretty big ones) I enjoyed the film thoroughly. From a visual aspect it was great (cinematography and set design were on point) and there were some really tense scenes which I appreciated greatly. The conclusion of the film is the real payoff though. Be prepared for inevitable sequels. 7/10