Thursday, June 22, 2017

satellite of love


satellite's gone up to the skies
things like that drive me out of my mind
i watched it for a little while
i like to watch things on TV

satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of

satellite's gone way up to Mars
soon it'll be filled with parkin' cars
i watched it for a little while
i love to watch things on TV

satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of

i've been told that you've been bold
with harry, mark and john
monday, tuesday, wednesday to thursday
with harry, mark and john

satellite's gone up to the skies
things like that drive me out of my mind
i watched it for a little while
i like to watch things on TV

satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of love
satellite of

(first time i heard this was as a young wet behind the ear bugger, in the vu boxset peel slowly & see. i gravitated to it and listened repetitively. didn't take drugs, but found it as a suitable drug. finally heard the lou reed transformer version when i was closer to 30s. somehow never got into the solo work until i was clear of my twenties. such lovely music. i think the beck cover is quite nice too. those fuckers in the background sure can sing, same with the transformer version. unreal business it is)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

trains in cinema, part 11

- john carpenter - escape from new york - 1981

- walt disney etc - dumbo - 1941 (thanks andré cortines)

- atom egoyan - the sweet hereafter - 1997

- sidney j. furie - the ipcress file - 1965

- todd haynes - far from heaven - 2002

- todd haynes - carol - 2015

- john hillcoat - triple 9 - 2016

- john huston - wise blood - 1979

- ted kotcheff - wake in fright -1971

- yorgos lanthimos - the lobster - 2015

- mike leigh - high hopes - 1988

- mike leigh - another year - 2010

- joseph losey - the romantic englishwoman - 1975

- david mackenzie - hell or high water - 2016

- anthony minghella - the talented mr. ripley - 1999

- chan-wook park - the handmaiden - 2016

- alastair reid - armistead maupin's tales of the city - 1993

- wim wenders -  kings of the road - 1976

- billy wilder - some like it hot - 1959

Friday, May 19, 2017

plato's cave twenty eight (being a film journal)

recent films the last couple of weeks

peter yates - robbery - 1967
first time watching. one great film. white knuckle

jordan peele - get out - 2017
strange twist on the horror genre. not without interest. kill those wonder bread force feeders

denis villeneuve - arrival - 2016 & prisoners - 2013
second time for both of these films. i love them, and the jóhann jóhannsson soundtracks are just pure pleasure. i have watched sicario a few times in the last year as well, probably my favourite of the three. intense film. actorshippe is very strong in the three of these: hugh jackman, amy adams, benicio del toro

cohen brothers - no country for old men - 1996 & the big lebowski - 1998
watched both of these recently for the hundredth time. never gets old. especially pleased watching tbl under the spell of a g&t or two

mike nichols - working girl - 1988
those haircuts are painful. I like alec baldwin in it

john carpenter - escape from new york - 1981
another film i have watched endlessly over the years. not one of my favourites by him but there is some real magic to the film and a great cast

joshua marstan - complete unknown - 2016
i like the cast but the film was not quite there, something didn't work, maybe the story. after reading stories by folks like proust and melville, this kind of story seems a bit like old shite. the cast is good which is why i watched

Saturday, May 13, 2017

plato's cave twenty seven (being a film journal) two woodfords

anna boden & ryan fleck - mississippi grind - 2015

some loser night/exterior shots from mississippi grind. second viewing of this off/almost-masterpiece. typical of all gambling films; the viewer (or this one more specifically) is very uncomfortable from beginning to end. even when they win they are losers in the most poetic sense. 

reminds me of peter wright's tune song for the losers. this tune simply exemplifies something essential in understanding works like these: only losers can experience the dreary (3 film stills above) in a true sense. the way charles baudelaire's fleur du mal excites.  the occasional shot of a loser bar or a dreary part of town has more meaning in this film than just connecting it aesthetically with 70s cinema.  for this viewer, these shots tap into the vision of our two characters. they experience the world in a unique way. a life comprised of 80% depression/misery and 20% euphoria with 10% of that euphoria drowned out and forgotten from drink and the like.

another brilliant performance from ben mendelsohn. he is indeed one of the best living actors. what he gives to these films is something not easy to calculate. an extremely subtle almost non-performances. and in that way, virtuosic.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

plato's cave twenty six (being a film journal) le samouraï opening shot

jean-pierre melville - le samouraï - 1967

last evening at film forum : melville's classic le samouraï on a wonderfully/lovely worn 35mm print. the print had some evocative "ellipsis" as p. adams sitney explains when describing joseph cornell film oeuvre in the classic museum of modern art monograph published in 1980. i read it probably 20 years ago, but my memory is how sitney writes about the wear to prints as cornell constantly viewed and edited found-films in his collection, and the beauty of the ellipsis that were both necessary and non-intentional.

le samouraï i have seen many times. this was my third time on 35mm. i use to own the criterion dvd and would often watch it often. the opening sequence always reminded me of michael snow's wavelength from the same year. how very strange that they came out the same year, must have really been in the air that year to have a long take of a room, where there is so much "nothing" happening, that a viewer almost does not notice all that actually is happening. a lazy viewer of snow's film would not notice all of the activity in wavelength, and just see a slow zoom. people are coming and going, traffic sounds, the beatles song, electronic interactions... it is all very exciting. even more exciting to this viewer has always been snow's back and forth. almost like a popular 80s high school film (say fast times at ridgemont high from 1982) mixed with snow's severe mechanistic exploits.

the moment in le samouraï that has always fascinated me is about 30 something seconds into the opening static shot. the focus starts to slowly shift and there are tiny zooms in and out and we end up with a slightly wider shot that we began with, and a minimal shift in perception of the room occurs. yet this very minimal shift is like a bomb going off (at least for this viewer). i spent 20 plus years thinking about the reason for this strange business. recently found this article which has a sort of regular analysis of it. yet for me there has always been some kind of mystical experience in that slight shift. in a dark room your relationship to sound and images is drastically heightened. your perceptions change (think of james turrell's work, esp his meeting at ps1)... with the shot slightly widening, the main character becomes more apparent, but i think more than that a shift in the viewer's perception happens with that widening and something magical begins to happen, like in live music when the band hits a psychedelic crescendo that makes you feel like you are in another dimension (i recently saw supersilent and the necks live which was full of these moments).

elsewhere in the film similar shifts occur, like when jef costello is on the walkway bridge with the middleman (clip here, seen at 1 minute 8 seconds) and trouble happens.  a split second before shots are fired there is a hard cut, and the camera moves from the bridge to a distance and is moving parallel to it rapidly. again, this edit is light a bomb going off in the theater. i wonder if over-thinking these subtleties does harm to a true experience with the work?, and that one should simply accept them as a viewer and be ready to perish with the explosions?

michael snow - wavelength - 1967

Saturday, April 29, 2017

plato's cave twenty five (being a film journal)

wim wenders - kings of the road - 1976
seen recently at BAM. second viewing (first time on VHS)

cinematography in this film by the great robby müller (covered elsewhere on this website) and martin schäfer, in which roger ebert compared to the photography of john ford films. stunning. i love the image of them filming into the moving truck, serious guys.

music by axel linstädt, member of the german krautrock band improved sound limited. gets very heavy.

i can't say i like the other two films in the trilogy much, but this is one of wenders' best films, and one of the great films from the new german cinema.

it is a truly cinematic experience to watch the two male characther's relationship to one another progress over this three hour film. teaming up after what i saw as the hanns zischler character's falling asleep at the wheel (but read was a light-hearted suicide attempt), and spending much of the beginning of the film not speaking, to finally being very close to one another in an uncommon way.

in fact, the rüdiger vogler character seems to pass on a relationship with the beautiful lisa kreuzer (memorable in wenders the american friend), to be reunited with his traveling mate. very touching. 

living in a time and place where one must spend all of one's time working to pay expensive rents and groceries; seeing a film like this with two gentlemen and scholars vagabonding across germany makes one really displeased with the way the world is operating now.

Monday, April 24, 2017

plato's cave twenty four (being a film journal)

simon donald - fortitude season one - 2015

my wife and i have just started taking care of a puppy. his name is leviathan, and he lives up to his name. he is trouble.

have not watched as many movies the last few weeks due to that and a cold. have watched some television. specifically bosch, goliath and recently fortitude. the first two, despite some good actorshippe (from the wire etc. and billy bob thornton) were basically rubbish. fortitude was a little better, with its lush landscape and alcoholic disorientation and depression, but also not stellar. one thing making it stand apart was the ben frost soundtrack. mr. frost started with a bang with steel wound, theory of machines, and by the throat, then somehow lost me. but who the hell cares about my opinions, i am ashamed to even have them. if anything, perhaps mr. frost got carried away with the intense volume and machismo of live music which is all the rage. mr. frost surely did add some bass-oriented heavy atmosphere to fortitude, that was often times wonderful, but it gets lost in the sound design (or something....), and the moments of mediocre television.  still basically glad i watched it.

from the stills, it is clear the photography by wojciech szepel, john conroy, david luther, gary shaw, and christopher ross is very nice. the relationship to john carpenter's the thing is apparent. in terms of actorshippe, richard dormer is pretty amazing!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

plato's cave twenty three (being a film journal)



hugo weaving double feature. i can't figure out why, but i had never seen stephan elliott's the adventures of priscilla, queen of the desert. a great film, with some stunning performances by weaving,  terence stamp, and guy pearce. memorable photography by brian j. breheny. the australian and new zealand films have really been speaking to me lately, with the bizarre landscapes, gritty photography, and top notch actorshippe.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

plato's cave twenty two (being a film journal)

alexander korda - that hamilton women - 1941

second time seeing this film. stars laurence olivier, vivien leigh, alan mowbray, and sara allgood. in addition to the nuances of these fine actors, i was taken by the cinematography. the film was photography by the respected rudolph maté.

other noteworthy films photographed by rudolph maté :
- carl theodor dreyer - michael - 1924
- carl theodor dreyer - the passion of joan of arc - 1928
- carl theodor dreyer - vampyr - 1932
- fritz lang - liliom - 1934
- rené clair - the last billionaire - 1934
- william wyler - dodsworth - 1936
- leo mccarey - love affair - 1939
- garson kanin - my favorite wife - 1949
- alfred hitchcock - foreign correspondent - 1940
- ernst lubitsch - to be or not to be - 1942
- sam wood - the pride of the yankees - 1942
- zoltan korda - sahara - 1943
- charles vidor - gilda - 1946
- orson welles - the lady from shanghai - 1947, w/ charles lawton jr. & joseph walker

there are many more i have not seen. will check them out further

Sunday, March 26, 2017

plato's cave twenty one (being a film journal) mike leigh

mike leigh - all or nothing - 2002

the films of mike leigh part five

"it's about love and passions and coping on a low income." mike leigh on mike leigh.

along with mr. turner, this film is (among other things) a collaboration with the great actor timothy spall. his character in this film ranks with leigh's best. mr. spall has made his mark in profound ways in many good and mediocre films, his actorshippe is beyond compare. other notable performances by him are as peter pettigrew in the harry potter films, as winston churchill in the kings speech, and in sweeney todd: the demon barber of fleet street.

timothy spall
"if it hadn't have happened, you might have driven...
around the next corner and killed a little kid.
it's what's-its-name, fickle finger of fate.
if you knew what was gonna happen to you...
when you woke up in the morning, you'd never get out of bed.
that's life.
the old clock ticks, world turns around...
tide comes in, tide goes out. you're born, you die. that's it."

"phil (spall's character) suffers from being a romantic and a person with an imagination" mike leigh on mike leigh

other mike leigh films :
- home sweet home from bbc1 play for today tv - 1982
- life is sweet - 1990
- secrets & lies - 1996
- topsy-turvy - 1999
- mr. turner - 2014

lesley manville
other mike leigh films :
- grown-ups from bbc2 playhouse tv - 1980
- high hopes - 1988
- secrets & lies - 1996
- topsy-turvy - 1999
- vera drake - 2004
- another year - 2010
- mr. turner - 2014

paul jesson
other mike leigh films :
- home sweet home from bbc1 play for today tv - 1982
- vera drake - 2004
- mr. turner - 2014, as william turner snr

marion bailey
other mike leigh films :
- meantime - 1984
- vera drake - 2004
- mr. turner - 2014, as mr. turner's lover sophia booth

sam kelly
as sid, "sweatin' like a pig ain't i?"
image 2 "tell me again how lucky i am to work here"

other mike leigh films :
- who's who from play for today tv - 1979
- grown-ups from bbc2 playhouse tv - 1980
- topsy-turvy - 1999
- mr. turner - 2014

helen coker
other mike leigh films :
- vera drake - 2004

alison garland
her only mike leigh film

timothy bateson
as harold, this is his only mike leigh film

sally hawkins
other mike leigh films :
- vera drake - 2004
- happy-go-lucky - 2008, her leading role with leigh, a stunning performance

ben crompton
his only mike leigh film, known for eddison tollett in game of thrones

alex kelly
neurotic women in cab

other mike leigh films :
- vera drake - 2004


alan williams
as drunk guy in cab

other mike leigh films :
- vera drake - 2004


gary mcdonald & diveen henry
as neville, cab company owner and sister
her only mike leigh film, other leigh films with mcdonald:
- secrets & lies - 1996

daniel mays
as the right bastard "i don't wanna talk, i wanna shag" and many other despicable things

other mike leigh films :
- vera drake - 2004

ruth sheen
other mike leigh films :
- high hopes - 1988
- secrets & lies - 1996
- vera drake - 2004
- another year - 2010
- mr. turner - 2014

peter taylor
as the mc, his only film, only mike leigh film

martin savage, dorothy atkinson, and heather craney
as silent cab passengers

other mike leigh films with  martin savage :
- topsy-turvy - 1999
- vera drake - 2004
- another year - 2010
- mr. turner - 2014
with dorothy atkinson :
- topsy-turvy - 1999
- mr. turner - 2014, as turner housekeeper hannah danby
with heather craney :
- topsy-turvy - 1999
- vera drake - 2004

joe tucker
as fare dodger

other mike leigh films :
- secrets & lies - 1996
- career girls - 1997

edna doré
other mike leigh films :
- high hopes - 1988
- another year - 2010

cinematography by dick pope

other mike leigh films :
- life is sweet - 1990
- naked - 1993
- secrets & lies - 1996
- career girls - 1997
- topsy-turvy - 1999
- vera drake - 2004
- happy-go-lucky - 2008
- another year - 2010
- mr. turner - 2014

music - andrew dickson
other mike leigh films :
- meantime - 1984
- high hopes - 1988
- naked - 1993
- secrets & lies - 1996
- vera drake - 2004