Friday, May 23, 2008

Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, 2007)

Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, 2007)
Rating: 6.8

The film begins with a gorgeous time lapse shot of a bridge and a piece from a Nino Rota score before the nonlinear story intercut with consumer grade video clips of skating teenagers gets underway. Van Sant later returns to an even more beautiful time lapse scene during a storm after the most pivotal scene in the film. The film isn't short on striking imagery, but it is lacking in adequate acting. Throughout the film, the main character named Alex dictates the letter he is writing which reveals a gruesome accident he was involved in. The narration is seriously grating; it's like in grade school when kids are asked to read a passage from the textbook out loud only the material is much less articulate. I also found the gratuitous use of unmotivated slow motion shots became tedious, not to mention the over the top eclectic for the sake of it soundtrack which probably included double digit genres ranging from Beethoven, experimental/electronic, jazz, country/folk, Elliott Smith, hip-hop, opera, metal, as well as sporadic pieces of Nino Rotas scores from Amarcord and Juliette of Spirits as mentioned before. I was most impressed with the sound design for a film of such a small scale. There is some really great stuff going on during the shower scene, railroad scene, among others, but my favorite part was when Alex's internal thought process is running through his head; dialgue overlaps with different echoes and reverbs making for a great effect.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973) aka I Remember

Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973)
Rating: 10

A beautiful bittersweet nostalgic film that really evokes a love for life, especially after watching so many depressing films lately. I almost want to say this is my favorite thing I've seen from Fellini. Nights of Cabiria, 8 1/2, and La dolce vita are all extraordinary films, while La Strada and Satyricon are great, but I think this one resonates with me more personally than any other.

Il Gattopardo (Luchino Visconti, 1963) aka The Leopard

The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963)
Rating: 8.4

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Man Who Laughs (Paul Leni, 1928)

The Man Who Laughs (Paul Leni, 1928)
Rating: 9.3

I saw this at The Silent Theater with live music accompaniment by Ariel Pink, Plastic Crimewave and Jimi Hey. As a child, Gwynplaine has a permanent smile carved on his face by a group of gypsies. Years later he becomes a popular clown and falls in love with a blind girl named Dea, but their love is jeopardized when it is discovered he is a royal heir. The character later served as the visual inspiration for The Joker. The art direction in this film dark film was incredible. I also enjoyed the adorable apple throwing monkey and the heroic wolf dog named Homo.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994)

Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994)
Rating: 9.0

A 7 hour film primarily driven by rhythm, tone, and beautiful black and white photography with many shots lasting over ten minutes in length. Scenes are also repeated throughout and displayed through perspective's of different characters.

Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1991)

Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1991)
Rating: 8.0

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Un Tranquillo posto di campagna (Elio Petri, 1969) aka A Quiet Place in the Country

A Quiet Place in the Country (Elio Petri, 1969)
Rating: 8.3

IMDB keywords for the film include:

The film also boasts a pretty incredible list of talent including an original avant- garde score by Ennio Morricone, actress Vanessa Redgrave, and a story provided by the legendary Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra whose amazing laundry list of writing credits include films for Antonioni (L'Avventura, L'Eclisse, Blowup, The Red Desert), Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, Tarkovsky's Nostalghia, as well as films for Angelopoulos (Voyage to Cythera, The Beekeeper, Landscape in the Mist, Ulysses' Gaze, Eternity and a Day, The Weeping Meadow), and many more. A Quiet Place in the Country is the story of an artist who purchases a country villa in order to escape the city and focus on his work. The film is very atmospheric and in many ways very similar to The Shining. It is also very psychedelic and surreal and even plays with dualistic ideas between realism and surrealism; Redgrave's character is labeled as the practical realist, whereas Leonardo (Franco Nero) is an eccentric painter on the brink of insanity.

Thursday, May 01, 2008