Samstag, 30. Juli 2011

Greed (von Stroheim, 1924) - TSPDT #64

Story of a miner climbing and falling down the social ladder in his struggle for wealth and happiness.

It's quite an amazing film, although watching it without any sound was rather challenging, plus the many still frames from the reconstruction make it a bit tedious. The build-up is extremely slow and the subplots are a little bit cartoony (the love story of the elderly couple) but in the end the showdown in the desert is amazing.

The idea of the dead man being attached to the body of the evil winner has been repeated many times. I wonder if it can be traced back in time.

Donnerstag, 28. Juli 2011

Burn after reading (Coen, 2008)


A grumpy CIA man is fired because, well... hilarity ensues.

Not much to add to this film - I think it's great and I am rather sure I am gonna watch this at least twice more.

The ending is a bit abrupt, but the rest is really really funny. Underrated in my opinion.

Twister (de Bont, 1996)

A divorced couple reunites over some tornado-chasing.

The story per se is laughable, but it is extremely well constructed from a craft point of view. I have studied one or two scenes and is amazing how much by the book this whole thing is. (It is one of the most financially successful movies of all time). There are two or three funny ideas from the special effects department (the cow, the house).

Which makes me think: What makes this film so cardboardish Hollywood-esque? Bill Paxton's character makes the decision to follow his ex-wife into the storm. His new fiancee understands and leaves (without a fight, too much force of nature, etc etc) - he never loved her anyway(?). Which puts him deep into the clueless department. Helen Hunt on the other hand is in denial. Her balance of conflicting motives is more convincing. I think thats why, after he leaves his fiancee, the movie becomes all but hers. Her goals never "go away", they remain in constant struggle throughout the end.

Also, the side characters are just way too stylized. And the "bad guys" in their black cars are in comicland altogether.

Sonntag, 24. Juli 2011

Duck Soup (McCarey, 1933) - TSPDT #103


The new president of Freedonia tries a lot of nothing to prevent the bankruptcy of his country.

I can understand why this is a classic, but it doesn't hold up except for historical value. Some really chaotic things happening inside the thin story. The mirror sequence is a classic and still enjoyed watching it. Zeppo Marx?

Brick (2005) - TNCC #64

 A highschool sleuth finds his former girlfriend dead infront of a tunnel and he investigates.

A film noir set in high school - very genre, but highly enjoyable. Some great editing ideas
and some other funny little camera tricks. There is a lot of humor there which might be even
taken to a further level in one or two years.
Shouldnt watch this without subtitles, my English ear is just not well trained enough. With
subtitles it's easy to get into the "slang" after a while.

Freitag, 22. Juli 2011

Othello - (Shakespeare)


Very interesting read, I only now realized that I never really finished reading the play but only watched the film and read one or two summaries. As usual (for me in Shakespeare) it's hard to get through the first two acts and then it becomes really captivating. The English is very hard for me, but I try...

A lot of "accidents" involving the tissue being dropped twice... what would mckee say to that??

Donnerstag, 21. Juli 2011

Ikimono no kiroku -I live in fear (Kurosawa, 1955)


A man tries to save his family from the impending nuclear and wants to move them to Brazil against their will.

A nice tragedy with some philosophical undertones to it. Its really well acted by Tifune. The characters of the family are fleshed out very well. The dentist seems to have a rather strange roll in the whole story. In my opinion not perfect Kurosawa, but very very good.

Scenes to study are the moment where the old man collapses and family, mistresses and their children have to come to terms together. The showdown in front of the factory is also very intense in setup.

Mittwoch, 20. Juli 2011

The Tree of Life (Malick, 2011)


There are no dolphins in this film.

The only way I can make positive sense out of this film: it is a visual documentary about people that have absolutely no control over their lives whatsoever. No matter how hard they try to take decisions, no matter how they are bent - it just doesnt matter. Especially if you're protestant. Hovering on the edge of kitsch throughout. People whispering in voiceover for three hours gives it more of a catholic touch, however.

very good scene when the boys gang up to smash a window.

Still feels that one could get more out of Brad Pitt, even if he did quite a good job.

Moral: Thanks god, I'm Jewish! (even if I don't believe)

Hakuchi - The Idiot (Kurosawa, 1951)

Dostoyewski Adaptation by Kurosawa.

Editing-wise this film is a big mess. The original version seems to have been more then 90 minutes longer. The studio cut very arbitrary and there are screen wipes left and right all over, so you can only guess what the original version must have been like. Some surprisingly uninspired mise-en-scenes. Kurosawa didn't have the choreography of his later films and the people spend a lot of time staring at each other. I felt strangely disconnected to the main character.

Only film of Kurosawa that I didn't like - strange.

Shubuni - Scandal (Kurosawa, 1950)


 An artist tries to defend his good reputation from the yellow press.

Not the strongest Kurosawa but with some interesting thoughts. Especially the lawyer played by Shimura is an interesting figure in so far that he doesn't change his character throughout the movie, therefore defying any "hollywood" turnaround. There are some strange problems in the pacing of the film, it still seems Kurosawa is looking for a good way to edit scenes.

Donnerstag, 14. Juli 2011

Drunken Angel - Yoidore tenshi (Kurosawa, 1948)



A doctor tries to save a gangster from dying of leukemia and being eaten up by his yakuza surroundings.

A very nice story, especially the transformation of the gangster which is continuous throughout the film is rather believable because it comes in chunks of which some seem to be very erratic. Also the doctor is visibly pulled apart by his empathy and distrust at the same time for the young man.

One wonderful sunday - Subarashiki nichiyobi (Kurosawa, 1947)


A couple without money dreams through their dream of a happy life on their free day.

A slightly kitchy film with nothing too memorable, but it has some intense moments towards the end. The scene with the wind in the empty theatre is rather interesting and could be used for something. It's quite interesting that in the story there is no big change except in the characters attitudes. An American film might have given a more tangible hope at the end.