Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More from the Criterion sale

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

Berlin Alexanderplatz

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.

So far it is as enjoyable as any Fassbinder film I have seen. It has the same eccentric characters that I am used to seeing, more than an average inventiveness behind the camera,  and a pace that is slower but more than bearable considering the subject matter and everything that goes on. Hopefully I will have this film finished by next week to give a full review about how I feel about the film as a whole.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Criterion sale and impending reviews

Today Barnes & Noble has begun their semi-annual Criterion Collection sale. This is pretty much the highlight of my year, (which is pretty pathetic) but at least I get what I am normally buying for 27.99-30.00 for 16.99 or less. Today I purchased five blu rays. Alfred Hitchcocks The 39 Steps, Charles Chaplins The Gold Rush, Hal Ashbys Harold and Maude, Otto Premingers Anatomy of a Murder, and Yasujiro Ozus Late Spring. Slowly but surely I will be reviewing each and every one of these films and the purchases that are sure to follow later such as the Eclipse 33: Up All Night with Robert Downey Sr.The Samurai Trilogy, and David Lean Directs Noel Coward box sets.