Category Archives: Movies

Violation of Spatial Integrity

I love media. All sorts of media. So nothing pisses me off more than crappy stories, shitty characters, poor production, or crappy editing. I vowed that I would seriously reduce my watching of crap, even if that means I am a late-adopter of a great movie or two. I do like to watch B movies, amateur films, documentaries, whatever. As long as there is a story or a character or even the way it is shot strikes me as novel, I will consume it. One of the things that I would love to have more time to do is to deconstruct my favorite movies and narrate their goodness. This guy has done an excellent job of the opposite: deconstructing a shitty scene. In this case the chase scene from Batman: The Dark Knight. This scene probably bugs you as much as it does me but here is shot-by-shot narrative as to why.

early Kubrick

I really enjoyed The Killing last night. This early Kubrick film from 1956 was fantastic! It had an interesting narrative structure, skipping back and forth from character to character back and forth in time as they plan to rob a racetrack. Great characters! The pacing of the horserace in an early scene must have been great on the big screen in a theatre. I hadn’t seen that Kubrick film before but his budgets grew from this early gem.

On another note, my hallway floor is now 75% complete. I will post images when finished! My buddy Darren is great with renovations so I am lucky to be getting such great work! :)

The weather is turning cold and it is damp. I really noticed it this morning as I went to the gym. Scary stuff!

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Jiro dreams of sushi

Many thanks to MB for the suggestion to watch David Gelb’s 2011 documentary on the greatest living sushi master: Jiro Ono. Tokyo’s own 85 year old sushi master is a Michelin three star restauranteur who specialize in high end sushi. This is the story of Jiro and his two sons who work with him, learning at the heel of the master. Really great stuff!

Here is the link on wikipedia!

And here is a link to yet another Top 10 movie list at Open Culture. This one is interesting. Vertigo supplants Citizen Kane. I watched the first 5 on the list before falling asleep during 2001. Attempting to discern the “best” film is like, in this case, asking what is better: Cubism (Vertigo) or chiaroscuro (Welles)?

I had never seen Sunrise, Murnaus’s 1927 silent masterpiece. I found it riveting! The soundtrack was excellent, from the lonely horn as he calls to his wife to the set design – an entire city block complete with cars! I’m no silent film aficionado or anything but I really enjoyed this. Tokyo Story is blissful.

Im looking forward to finishing watching the rest of the films on the list… maybe this weekend. And then maybe a Fellini marathon 😉

Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
Tokyo Story (Yasujirô Ozu, 1953)
La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939)
Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
8½ (Federico Fellini, 1963)

Superman!

So Tristan and I went to see Superman in 3d last night. I was expecting the story to be overwhelmed by the special effects but I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. I, like the author of this review in The New Yorker, appreciated the deeper allegories and metaphors littering the story. Some were too much, the scene of Clark Kent discussing who he is with a stained glass of Jesus in the background, mentioning TWICE that he was 33 (year of Jesus’ supposed death). That, and some other simmering religious allegory does, however, provide a clue to the utility of the original storyline created in the early 1930s and why this movie works: the desire for someone to save mankind from itself is desired in difficult times. Mired in what later came to be know as the Great Depression, many longed for salvation. The German people would elect Adolf Hitler as Roosevelt replaced Hoover. The novus homo was strength incarnate. But this is (and was) a morality play: what limits does power put to itself? I noted that young Superman was looking for those answers in Plato. Perhaps more people should.

But someone really needs a steadi-cam for their birthday. Enough already with overused shaky in-you-face camera work! It was quite distracting in the first part of the movie but perhaps someone had a discussion with the Director of Photography since it did get better, and less distracting. But boy did I love those space scenes with the fast focus pull perfected in Caprica. Awesome graphics when they were not over-used, which happens a couple of times, but is entirely forgivable!

Tonight’s movie: some classic 1970s martial arts!

I can’t wait!

I saw The Man From Hong Kong on a crappy Beta (don’t ask) tape when I was twelve or thirteen! Yu Wang and George Lazenby in a international drug dealing, hang-gliding, kung-fu on top of Ayers Rock, over the top sound effects, Australia-Hong Kong butt kicking old time kung fu film! More here! If I have time I may also watch The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, the 1978 master piece of Chinese kung fu and re-live my youth 😉

World War Z

So that book about the approaching zombie apocalypse, World War Z, is soon out at the theatres. I had meant to read the book. Alas, Hollywood’s ability to convert text to pixels is outpacing my ability to read. Truly Sad. Here is a link to the movie website. It is quite a nicely integrated site with my iPad.

As I ruminated on the continued proliferation of the zombie genre I couldn’t help but to think that, like Paul Krugman and other, that the zombie metaphor is the metaphor of the age: no matter how dead you think an idea is, wrong. It is still alive. Ideas that inhibit the growth of our culture and our society still linger, old hatreds die hard. Or, I think, don’t die at all. Horror movies used to have a single threat, a Jason or a Freddie. Now all of use are potentially the destroyer of all that is good. So much for inevitable progress!

I’ll put the zombie movie on my list, although that list is growing and no plans to hit the theatres in my immediate future. Oh, and Superman looks good too! Nice iPad site too!

Early anti-Nazi film re-discovered

In the early part of the last century Cornelius van Derbilt IV, the descendent of the railway tycoon, was in a unique position to interview some rather lofty players in the game of European politics including Adolf Hitler. In 1934 he produced a film called Hitler’s Reign of Terror that was censored and denied access to distribution due to its inflammatory nature. It has been recently re-discovered in the Belgian Archives. More here.

Did I mention that the film was censored and denied distribution in the United States?

This time, Hitchcock!

I have decided to jump into another filmography, this time with Director Alfred Hitchcock! Hitchcock was a rather prolific director so the list is long. I will start with him films from 1925-1934. The list is as follows:

1925 The Pleasure Gardens
1927 Downhill
1927 The Lodger
1927 The Ring
1928 Champagne
1928 Easy Virtue
1928 The Farmer’s Wife
1929 Blackmail
1929 The Manxman
1929 Juno and the Paycock
1930 Murder
1931 Rich and Strange – East of Shanghai
1931 The Skin Game
1932 Number Seventeen
1933 Waltzes From Vienna
1934 The Man Who Knew Too Much

Phew! This will take me a while!