Bluh, I feel pretty shitty tonight, so I apologise if my commentary is unintelligible. I'm currently missing th Joann Sfar Gainsbourg biopic at Pitcher & Picture, oh well.
(image from m'boy http://nosex.tumblr.com)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010) - 4.0
Seen at Pitcher & Picture last Tuesday; I've previously seen two of Weerasethakul's other features, Mysterious Object at Noon back in high school, & Tropical Malady; I've always felt a bit torn toward his filmmaking, intrigued but generally my short attention span is tested to its limits (especially by th latter.) But w/ Uncle Boonmee, just about everything fell into place & Weerasethakul's meandering style enhanced th film instead of hindering it. I'm even more curious to see Blissfully Yours & Syndromes & a Century, though like his other films th reviews are kind of mixed. I know I haven't really written much about th film specifics, but I feel like I need to rewatch it soon to gel my thoughts a bit. Otherwise haunting & near-perfect.
Favourite moment: Ghost monkey is of course amazing, but I was fascinated by th catfish scene...Oh, & th cave, & th denouement, so great.
A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009) - (short) - 3.0
This was fine; kind of an accompanying 'gallery-style' film, I didn't really understand it until I did some research aftewards regarding th political details underlying it all. I liked th cyclical camerawork.
Favourite moment: kind of hard, I guess th smoke coming off those weird pods.
My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007) - rewatch - 5.0
Definitely a strong contender for top-favourite Maddin, alongside Brand Upon th Brain, Careful & Archangel. I showed this to Michael & a friend of ours last week, they both seemed to love it. Obvs. Guy's most personal film, which is really what I'm all about in his work. I know a lot of people are down on Maddin & label him a bit hackneyed/schtick-ish, but I've always adored his magpie tendencies. Easily favourite living director, etcetc. I could blather on for a million years about how much I love him & this film. I won't, because I feel terrible, but I can. Also, I really need to suck it up & purchase a copy (& also th book!!) so I can screencap it, there are next to no good ones on GIS (no stills of th "dance of hairless boners" intertitle, for shame!")
Favourite moment: too many to name, though th standout image will always be th frozen horses.
Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, 2004) - 4.0
I don't know what kept me from watching this sooner. I read th book when I was a child, & didn't really remember too many details, so it surprised me a bit. Th steampunk flavour works here, plus th castle's architectural design is super-reminiscent of th work of Jacek Yerka, whom I love. Th CGI bits (mostly used for tracking shots of th town to give an illusion of depth of space) were jarring & not to my Ghibli cel-animation sensibilities, as those in Princess Mononoke were before it. (Sidenote: so glad Ponyo was fully cel, I loved th naive-style underwater bits toooo much!) Otherwise really quite lovely, & I wish I had naturally silver-gray hair. Also, anticipating Th Borrowers so badly.
Favourite moment: th little dog sticks out in my brain, too cute.
(my image, I just haven't gotten round to uploading them all properly!)
School of th Holy Beast (Noribumi Suzuki, 1974) - 3.5
Deliriously blasphemous! Th kind of flimsy, trite excuse for a plot doesn't matter, & only bogs down th iconic nunsploitation imagery. Really highly recommended, who doesn't like lesbian nuns & flagellation & other super-OTT things? There is even a cat! Cinematically-speaking, th camera setups are inventive, & Suzuki's use blocking & depth of field create lovely composition in a (sometimes too) artistic way. I capped this & plan to make tons of gifs as soon as I finish my Repulsion ones, lots of rose-whipping action!
Favourite moment: A tie between th rose-whipping & th impaled nun!
Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984) - 4.5
Wow. Despite being overly long (I watched it on Netflix Instant, so I kept feeling super-antsy during th more meandering bits), near-flawless though soul-crushing (but still somehow upliftingly soul-crushing.) I'm v. picky about children in films (see my love of Ana Torrent), & Hunter fits my bill well; th relationship between him & Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) is touching but not an iota of schmaltz is involved. Nastassja Kinski at her most magnetically beautiful (holy hell that fuzzy magenta sweater!), though her approximation of a Texan drawl is dodgy at best. Lots of beautiful layers in this film, really far more than I am able to marvel at currently.
Favourite moment: Hunter & HDS walk home from school together, across th street from one another.
Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders, 2009) - 2.5, maybe 3.0
Watched w/ friends. In high school, I went through a blaxploitation fix (Putney Swope will always be my favourite), so I really wanted to like this a bit more than I was able. Hilariously funny in spurts, but not continuously. A decent homage/parody, at least it gets th tone right most of th time. Not sure if it will be better or worse on rewatching. Tickled by Cedric Yarbrough's cameo as Chocolate Giddy-Up.
Favourite moment: th music is pitch-perfect awesome, some surprising & guffaw-inducing jokes ("I threw that shit before I entered th room!")
Panic in th Streets (Elia Kazan, 1950) - 2.5, maybe 3.0
I'm not a bit Kazan person, I'll be th first to admit, but felt compelled to see Jack Palance's film debut (as well as anything w/ Richard Widmark!) Kind of off-kilter, not-really-noir, but a nice use of location-shooting & super-awesome performances from th aforementioned Palance & Widmark. Have I ever waxed on about how much I love Richard Widmark before? Here, he is far from his seedy usual role, but he still plays his part w/ cajones. Some off-colour casual Asian racism really made my eyes roll.
Favourite moment: Widmark Widmark Widmark (& Jack.)
Erotikon (Gustav Machatý, 1929) - 4.0
Watched on youtube. Really lovely Czech silent melodrama. Trying to expand my early cinema knowledge outside th usually channels, & this was a pleasant venture. Th opening sequence is brilliant, cinematically beautiful & on par w/ some of th best imagery in Murnau's Sunrise (barking dog, rain & fog, & o that love scene!!) Th narrative stagnates a bit toward th final third of th film, & th ending is a bit cliche. Otherwise beautiful, & it reminds me a bit of one of my favourite films OAT, Menilmontant. Lots of impressionistic touches. Also, th lothario resembles Al Columbia a tiny bit.
Favourite moment: love scene, hands-down; camera momement & close-ups, I hate to say it but "ahead of its time."
(I had to cap this from youtube, there are literally no stills of decent size anywhere)
Duvidha (Mani Kaul, 1973) - 3.0
Watched on youtube, which might be one of th few ways to see it; I actually really love th aesthetic as it looks like it's an old vhs-rip. Anyway. Beautiful, haunting imagery. Reminiscent of Souleymane Cisse's Yeelen, in that it's gorgeous & v. cinematic but nearly incomprehensible from a Western viewpoint. Maybe I'm just dumb, but it tried my patience, though it was beautiful to look at while it did so. I'm hardcore into glacial beauty & such, but I guess I'm a plebe that prefers Bollywood to Indian art cinema. (Thanks to oh__tsarevich I will be having a Bollywood marathon of rewatching & capping & gifmaking this week! Om Shanti Om, Teesri Manzil, Awaara, Bobby, Gumnaam & Caravan are on th projected bill!)
Favourite moment: th saturated yet faded colours, use of music.
Celia (Ann Turner, 1989) - 3.0
Watched on youtube. Disappointing, though that may be mostly my fault for building up my expectations. V. uneven in tone, it never really strikes a proper balance as a film about childhood, veering between 'children's film' & 'decidedly-not-a-film-for-children', so it doesn't succeed as either. Somewhat similar to Reflecting Skin or Paperhouse, but not quite as good as th latter & about on par w/ th former (to me, see my earlier rewatched-review of how disappointing Reflecting Skin was five years after initial love.) Rebecca Smart does a competent turn as Celia (I really do like when child actors are good), whose life just doesn't seem fair, & she looks unsettlingly like Patty McCormack in Th Bad Seed. Not as atmospheric as I was hoping, but still morbidly enjoyable if you like creepy-ish coming of age stories.
Favourite moment: Poor rabbit, also th shooting of th police captain & its aftermath, quite intense.
Morgiana (Juraj Herz, 1972) - 5.0
Watched on youtube, finally! I've been searching for this for ages (really wish I could use my KG account, need real internet!) Exactly as I'd hoped it to be, easily top 100. It ticks just about every box of mine: cat, duality, supernaturalism, etc. Th Edwardian costumes & makeup design are perfect, th settings are perfect, th score is perfect, everything. It hurts I love it so much, really. Iva Janzurová is v. convincing as both sisters, her interactions w/ herself were up there w/ Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers (which I desperately need to rewatch!)
Favourite moment: when Viktoria goes down to th waves, it's like something directly out of my head.
Funeral Parade of Roses (Toshio Matsumoto, 1969) - rewatch - 4.5
Watched on youtube, after not seeing it for many years. Holds up even better than remembered, especially after my Japanese New Wave mania & increased knowledge (I think initially I just loved th OTT-ness & th bloody denouement.) Really, I can't say what hasn't already been said, it's a classic for a reason. Plus, I am now super-tired after writing all this.
Favourite moment: th documentary moments where people are interviewed, hands down.