Monthly Archives: May 2011

See you in June

It’s time for me to fly to Charleston to face off against the Goldring graduate capstone project by covering the Spoleto Arts Festival and Piccolo Spoleto. The blog and I will be back in mid-June.

In the meantime, everyone who reads this should go out and watch El Topo. It’s been a weird favorite of mine throughout college. And if my recommendation isn’t enough, John Lennon liked it so much he funded the follow-up.

Acid western, anyone?

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In Frame: A Dinner Scene (A Nos Amors)

Just noting the composition of this dinner scene from Maurice Pialat‘s A Nos Amors (1983). In motion, these shots are all  along a single pan track. It’s really cool, but doesn’t quite translate to frozen frame form.

In Frame: The Axial Cut (Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left For The East)

These three successive shots, taken from somewhere in the middle of the long and meditative Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left For The East, illustrate an excellent scene featuring axial cutting. It reminded me of something you might find in a bizarro zen Kurosawa film.

As for Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left For The East (1989), it’s beautiful film, painstakingly shot and edited by director Bae Yong-Kyun, who was trained as a painter at the time and is a South Korean art professor. It’s a bit long, though, and I think Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003), another South Korean film, more successfully conveys a similar theme, and it does so in 103 minutes and in glorious HD.

Mandatory Viewing: The Cove

Not everybody wants to see a documentary, but there are some documentaries everybody should see. Documentaries that can teach you things about worlds you may never have known existed otherwise. Documentaries that can make you better, smarter people. Documentaries that will leave you happy, sad, excited, or mad. Documentaries that will enrich your lives. That’s what Mandatory Viewing is here for.

I’m trying to inflate this blog with enough categories for me to post every day. I can’t (or won’t) write seven full reviews a week, so we’ll see how I do with subcategories like this one and yesterday’s Why I Love Movies. With Mandatory Viewing, I’m not going to lay down any lengthy plot summaries or petition you to watch this documentary because blah blah blah. If you’re interested but on the fence, Wikipedia will give you all the info you need to decide whether to take my advice. All this is is a recommendation, and I can guarantee I’ll never make a bad one. You’ll just have to trust me until you can believe me.

I’ll even throw in those Wikipedia links (The Cove The Cove The Cove) and trailers to sweeten the deal. You won’t even have to look anything up yourself.

Now that the explanations are out of the way, go watch The Cove. It’s an espionage-laced animal rights documentary that’s not nearly as hippy-dippy as you’d probably expect such a thing would be.

Why Love Movies: Exhibit A – The Fall

Filmed over four years in over 20 countries and funded largely with director Tarsem Singh‘s own money, The Fall (2008) is one of the better best films I’ve seen during this Watch A New Movie Every Day For A Year experiment. Half 1920s medical drama, half epic fantasy, it has everything a good movie needs except a satisfying climax, but what it lacks in payoff it more than makes up for in visual style.

Catinca Untaru and Lee Pace improvised many of their interactions while the cameras were hidden from the 6-year-old actress for maximum authenticity. Their performances are so natural as to occasionally be upsetting.

If the trailer below interests you even a little, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. It’s on Netflix streaming. You have no excuse not to.

Be careful, though. This trailer is full of spoilers.