Danse Macabre (Jean Renoir)

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Watch Toby Dammit, Federico Fellini’s Short Film Loosely Based on Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

Adam purchases guitars (Only Lovers Left Alive)

Fudoh: The New Generation — Takashi Miike (Full Film)

Two Stills From Yasujiro Ozu’s “Tokyo Story” (1953)

Screenshot from 2014-10-07 20:55:25

Screenshot from 2014-10-07 20:55:28

 

(Watch the full film here.)

The monkeys had some kind of panic attack and bit me all over (Werner Herzog)

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The Short and Curlies, A Short Film by Mike Leigh

William Friedkin Picks DVDs from the Criterion Collection Closet

Heart of Glass — Werner Herzog (Full Film)

Will Oldham on Terrence Malick’s Badlands

It would just be dumb not to include this. I have been once accused of being irreverent above all, and I am in danger of proving that here when I say that I find most Malick 2.0 movies to be ridiculous. I do like To the Wonder because it’s pulpy. When I heard that Malick was making The Thin Red Line, I checked James Jones’s book out of the library and sat in my attic sublet poring over it in anticipation of what was to come, and when it came . . . gee whiz but what an overblown lint ball of homoerotic bluster and worthlessness. And: there’s nothing wrong with Badlands. Beautiful, great music, magical pace, great, great acting. An ultimate movie, so good that it’s understandable how the momentum from Badlands alone can propel boatloads of people to believe that The New World has content. Springsteen appropriated Badlands, using its power to artificially light his Nebraska. Tarantino and Tony Scott used it to make the best screwball romantic comedy of modern times, True Romance. Badlands is as close to a perfect movie as I can think of (though I don’t hold perfection as the most desirable of qualities in anything), one that holds something to draw in almost any audience. Even the brutality that might otherwise repel is balanced enough with gentleness and charisma that I wouldn’t squirm watching the movie with a grandparent. Well: children probably shouldn’t see it. Maybe probably.

Will Oldham put Terrence Malick’s film Badlands at number #3 on his Criterion Collection Top Fifteen list.

A Short Riff on the Inherent Vice Film Trailer

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A. It’s likely that if you care about these things you’ve already seen the first full (non-teaser) trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s film adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Inherent Vice.

B. Here is that trailer:

 

C. What do you think?

D. I think it looks pretty great.

E. Well, I mean, the trailer still has the, I don’t know, rhythms and contours and tropes of, like, quirky indie comedy film trailers—verbal slapstick, slapstick slapstick (I love the bit at 00:27 when the cop knocks Sportello down, but the callback at 1:52 seems like it could squash a punchline), an affected scream, up-tempo soundtrack (although “Don’t Know Much About History” isn’t one of the many, many songs mentioned in the book). But hey, target audience, etc. etc. etc.

F. And I’m sure the target audience here loves to get a taste of Owen Wilson looking vulnerable and sensitive and just very Owen Wilsonish. (I, a target, enjoyed the taste).

G. And apparently Michael K. Williams is in this movie making his Michael K. Williams face.

H. And also: Joanna Newsom is supposedly in the film—both as a character and narrator. She narrates the trailer, but if she’s in it, like, physically, I think I missed that.

I. And we get this:

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J. And a New Age cult pizza party, staged in a loose approximation of The Last Supper.

K. And Eric Roberts.

L. And Josh Brolin shouting for pancakes in sloppy Japanese.

M. And guns! Yes, guns in the trailer, audience!

N. And some ass shots to boot, including our man Sportello, prostrate, cowering.

O. I like that the trailer—and I’m guessing the film itself (?)—uses the same neon-noir font that the book did; I thought the cover of Inherent Vice was horrendous, but ultimately made sense.

P. But what I find most fascinating here is how neatly Newsom’s narration sums up the novel’s plot in the first 20 seconds of the trailer, highlighting just how irrelevant the plot is in Pynchon’s novel. Inherent Vice: The Novel eschews plotting in favor of verbal style, mood, and imagery—which makes Paul Thomas Anderson an ideal filmmaker to handle the first (and maybe we should hope only) Pynchon adaptation.

Q. I’m usually pretty wary of film adaptations of big-ell Literature, but Inherent Vice is kind of on the bubble there. It’s a shaggy dog tale, just like the Coen brothers’ classic The Big Lebowski, or Tarantino’s best film Jackie Brown. (When I reviewed the book a few years ago, I brought up Elmore Leonard and Lebowski, along with Chinatown).

R. My big concern is that PTA, like his hero Robert Altman, can get a bit too shaggy. When he’s got a clear trajectory to follow (Boogie NightsPunch Drunk Love), PTA offers up a deep comic complex humanism. But then there’s that fine mess Magnolia. 

S. I loved the last film that Joaquin Phoenix and PTA did together though, 2012’s The Master.

T. And what do we think of Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello? Does he look a little bit, I don’t know, too old? I don’t know. He kind of looks a little bit like a stoned Hugh-Jackman-as-Wolverine here.

U. (That’s not necessarily, like, bad).

V. The trailer makes me want to see the film more than I had wanted to see it before, which was its job, so, like, good trailer, I guess.

Slavoj Žižek picks DVDs from the Criterion Collection closet (and so on and so on)

Werner Herzog’s Where the Green Ants Dream (Full Film)

Circular Confabulation