Sunday, May 28, 2006

The world in 24 images

Twenty-four stills from twenty-four of my favorite movies.
From top to bottom:
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1976)
The Kid (Charlie Chaplin, 1921)
Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)
The Wind Will Carry Us (Abbas Kiarostami, 1999)
Les Bonnes Femmes (Claude Chabrol, 1960)
I Fidanzati (Ermanno Olmi, 1963)
In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)
Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)
Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966)
A Woman under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)
Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)
Ordet (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955)
L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934)
Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, 1982)
Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)
Rebel without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)
The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May, 1976)
Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
Naked (Mike Leigh, 1993)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
California Split (Robert Altman, 1974)

I hate directors who aren't interested in people's faces.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sometimes you see something so good you just want to give up

Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette) needs no superlatives from me, or anyone. It's shamefully not available on DVD. Get off your ass, Netflixers, and go to the video store. If you hate this film, you hate me.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I like movies

Some recommendations from the past couple of months:
Sans Soleil (Chris Marker)
Neil Young: Heart of Gold (Jonathan Demme)
L'Enfant (Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne)
Lonesome Jim (Steve Buscemi)
The Big Parade (King Vidor)
Le Plaisir (Max Ophuls)
Numero Deux (Jean-Luc Godard)

and especially
Perceval (Eric Rohmer)
Katzelmacher (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)


Learn how not to write by reading this article. Learn how to be an asshole by emulating every person quoted in the article. "Movies" are gross.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I like these guys a lot

Damn. Two Moviebot posts in one hour. This is, by far, the record. Anyway, here is a link to a short but sweet interview with Dan Clowes and Terry Zwigoff, whose second collaborative film, "Art School Confidential," should be coming to Austin soon. I'm going to heartily recommend it, though I haven't seen it yet, because Zwigoff and Clowes have yet to disappoint me, even a little bit. These guys are funny, smart, and they give a shit. They've also been accused of being misanthropes, but they care about our quality of life more than almost any two contemporary artists I can name. I've loved every Zwigoff film so far ("Louie Bluie," "Crumb," "Ghost World," "Bad Santa") and I've loved every Clowes comic I've read. There's so much wrong with our present culture, and it makes me feel good that there are two guys out there like Zwigoff and Clowes.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A clarification

I think my previous post might lead some to believe I have nothing but contempt for "Kill Bill" and the Coen Brothers, when in fact I had a great time watching the former and I have mostly great times watching the latter (especially "The Big Lebowski," especially not "The Ladykillers"). The point of my sentence, I think, was that a lot of people who love film seem to think Tarantino and the Coens are the absolute pinnacle of human achievement, while I think they are a hell of a lot of fun, but far from the top of the heap. I don't want to write them off as "entertainment," a word and definition I hate intensely (I prefer the word pleasure), but Tarantino and the Coens both seem genuinely afraid of real human experience, while my absolute favorites (I think I mentioned Cassavetes, Bresson, and Tarkovsky in particular) are absolutely fearless in their exploration of what it means to be a living human being and their works are far richer than Tarantino, etc., but nobody gives a flying fuck. If they do care, they usually grossly misread the films to fit whatever sociopolitical interpretation is fashionable this Wednesday. To me, art is at its best when the holy trinity of brain, groin, and stomach are simultaneously engaged, but I'm not some humorless intellectual who can't appreciate a good time. Tarantino and the Coens supply good times, and good times are important. There's just a whole lot more out there to discover if you spend a little time looking. I'm going to put my soapbox away now and drink some beer. Goodnight, everybody.

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