Samstag, 30. April 2011

Toni Morrison - Beloved (1987) Audiobook


The story of the inhabitants of a house of Cincinnati, the family of freed and a escaped slave women and the wounds the lives in slavery have left in them and those near to them.

A great book, very well read by the author herself.

Strong character, a strong story and although the audio book is definitively not short, I've never lost grip. I really liked the structure of the story, how memories slowly drift to the surface, to reveal the truth but nevertheless building up to the great mystic interpretation, that is just as possible, as the more historical approach.

I wonder if there is a movie, where memories - safely stored away - break to the viewer and start to puzzle together the greater picture. Great concept.

Strategia del ragno (1970) - TSPDT #751



A son comes back to his old Italian village to investigate the killing of his famous anti-fascist father, only to find that the stories around his death don't seem quite true.

The concept of the story is certainly a nice one. The script, very psychedelic and loaded with way too many political references. The film was a big hit on RAI when they first aired it, but it's hard to watch and although one can guess at later accomplishments.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I doubt it, since the film is really slow. But if you're Italian and remember the late sixties well, you might find a treasure - forever lost to me, unfortunately.

Montag, 25. April 2011

Miami Blues (1990) - Cult Cannon #4


A one man empire who wants to marry his criminal behavior to suburbian ideals becomes his one man crime chasing syndicate.

This is a really recommendable film. Tarantino has lifted tons of stuff out of this one. There are some really amazing details, that make this film enormously entertaining. Loads of quirky ideas get followed through to the end. My favorites: the teeth, the hacking woman, the weird co-worker, Leigh's acting (fantastic), the incredible clothes, the muscle shirt gangsters, etc etc.

Favorite quote:
Officer Mosley: "Freeze, Police!"
Junior (yelling back out of habit): "Freeze! Police!"

Funny!

Donnerstag, 21. April 2011

Megamind (2010)

The evil scientist faces an existential crisis after the benevolent superhero decides to die - he might even have to turn good.

Great things to watch out for: the "evil" sidekick. A fish in a robot costume. Brillantly animated, too bad he can talk.
The rest of the film is pretty much what was to be expected, and loads of small hommages to other films (I guess, but have no idea). Not as brillantly animated as Entangled, but nice nevertheless.

Donnerstag, 14. April 2011

Aguirre (1974) - TSPDT #91


Retells the fate of the historic expedition of Pizarro into the jungle of Peru in search of El Dorado.

A certain intimacy is playing well of inside this small expedition group, where most of the cast doesn't say close to nothing. Obviously, Aguirre, the crazy shadow of the El Dorado's emperor gets most of the interesting action.

A beautiful moment: When the wounded and humiliated leader of the expedition is taken away to be hanged, there is a moment of incredible beauty and sadness when his lover stares into the reflecting water in grief.

I liked it a little more than the first time I saw it, and I could relate a little better to the documentary feeling it has. In the beginning there is something wrong with my suspension of disbelief. It feld like people running around in costumes in the jungle.

Audiobook - Pamuk - Das stille Haus

Definitively one of the most linear of Pamuk's stories. His constant shifting of perspective, and telling the story through those very different eyes constructs an invisible grid of relations, guilt and hope.

A really amazing book. I should try and make a film. The characters are so universal, that this story could take anywhere. T. Dreyer would have loved this material (should re-watch some of his films!) - This would be so much fun to make a screenplay of!

The german audiobook - read by a whole cast of actors - is very good and after a while you get so used to this personality switch every couple of chapters, that at least I already know I'm gonna miss it.

Mittwoch, 13. April 2011

Chelovek s kino-apparatom (1924) - Man with the movie camera - TSPDT #97

Experimental visual diary of a cameraman in the late twenties in Russia (Odessa?)

The editing is extremely fascinating and loads of the camerawork still feels modern
and "up-to-date". One can easily assume that this film must have had an
enormous impact on future visual techniques.

Interesting is the "in and out" from observing the cameraman at work and seeing the world with his eyes. The music which was provided with this copy was pretty good and put the pace even higher.

Something I haven't seen lately, but I really like it was the difference in scales that he used sometimes
in the half-masked shots. Would be nice to see something like that again.

Montag, 11. April 2011

Catfish (2010)


A young photographer from New York tries to find out about the young girl that sends him beautiful renderings of his own photos.

Quite nice, but at points it seemed a little too stretched for the time running. That the filmmaker tried to portray the delusional Angela with a lot of empathy made me feel warm and fuzzy, but I also think that this helped the movie a lot.

The total focus on Nev is also a little tiring and once or twice his cluelessness (real?) made me laugh. It did give me the idea to start a facebook group for film making siblings. I should follow up on that...

Un prophète (2009) - Cesar Best 2009

 
A young criminal is transformed by the realities of prison hierarchy into a smooth and smart cartel boss.

An amazing movie, I was totally intrigued from start to finish.

One of the things that most intrigued me was that there were absolutely no explanatory moments that I could think of. Everything was well hidden. Sometimes when something was explained it was later used in some really interesting way, for example his reflex tongue showing, whenever he is searched and the inadvertent use at the airport. Really really good stuff here.


I really like the Luciani character's transformation from Mafia boss to a broken man and the total anti-climax feeling of the two main characters in the prison yard at the end of the film. I can only imagine how long the fight between producer and director must have been (just kidding)

Donnerstag, 7. April 2011

Seven Up (2011, me) - First Storyboards


Here is an early storyboard of the short I am working on. Interestingly, it is much easier for me to draw the "wrong" way, ie from right to left, probably because I am left-handed.

The first step of production has started, but I still have some thoughts about the story.

The documentation is of the ongoing project is on productionc4d.blogspot.com

Dienstag, 5. April 2011

Neal Stephenson - Anathem (Audiobook)

Oh well, it had some nice parts in it. But it focused too much on trying to get the different "philosophies" across which hindered the story in getting forward.

At one or two points there was so much philosophy first semester babble between the scholars that I started to actively hate the main character. It's weird when characters explain theory to each other. Doesn't work in films and, surprisingly, for some reason not in books either. (Sokrates?)

Inception (2009) - Academy Best Film Nominee 2010


A thief operating inside other peoples dream is trying to get back to his children by taking on the ultimately dangerous mission.

Very nice SF movie, very Philipp K. Dick style, but pleasantly intelligent - it had one or two "dumbed down moments" - eg when it tried to make its point that dream time is by some x factor slower than in the level above. But apart from that I rarely felt like a complete idiot when watching it.

Solid camera work, one or two "showy" special effects but the rest was beautifully subdued and doing the job to get the story from one point to the next.

Di Caprio made a good impression, but pretty much everybody did a really good job here. I didn't feel that anybody was unbelievable.

Only little thing that annoyed me was Hans Zimmers score. Some of the synthesizer passages were definitively very 80s and played on some weird Yamaha synth from the 90s. (Only in some places, but when I noticed it it nearly tore me out of the story)

Fantastic editing in the car chase scene. Worth studying.

Enter the void (2010) - TNCC #124



Out-of-body experience POV of a ghost after a boy is being shot when dealing with drugs.

Stunning camera stuff, although they pull some of the tricks way too often. Once you figure out how it works, you get bored by it. Interesting mixture of real, CGI, and other trickery.

I sort of remember the sound being great.

The story, unfortunately also becomes predicable. My wish that the guy could somehow manifest himself gets basically unbearable somewhere halfway in there. When he does - in possibly the most bizarre scene of the movie - I was suddenly totally alert. But very disappointed right after that again.

Cut out an hour and this would be a great film. The ending is a "short film" ending - somehow the whole thing feels like a short film, I just don't know why.

It must have been extremely hard on the actors. But well done.