…I will be resuming the normal routine of posting movie stills, so I won’t be responding to questions for the time being. Thanks for all the great conversations though! Until next time.
I like to compare Stoker to Black Swan. Both films are incredibly overwrought, have very little subtlety, and occasionally tread the line of camp, but that’s exactly what I want out of my hysteric melodrama. No great sexually-charged, psychologically-tinged melodrama comes without clunky, exaggerated flourishes.
Also, thanks for the blog appreciation!
I think Koyaanisqatsi is a stunning achievement because of its ability to express its themes - the failures of modern life, the clash between humans/industry/nature, the unstoppable flow of change, the stasis of nature, etc. - using the power of images and music alone. It’s an awe-inspiring snapshot of modern life that captures “life out of balance” perfectly.
Nailing down a solid definition of an “indie film” is difficult, because you have independent-minded filmmakers (Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, etc.) who nonetheless receive production aid from “independent” studios owned by Hollywood (see: Focus Features, Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, etc.). I’ve tried to narrow down my selection of indie comedies to those works which did not have a major studio backing during its production (thus preserving the low budget, independent ethic), but might have eventually been picked up by a larger company for distribution purposes only. Additionally, I find that “independent cinema” (specifically comedies) is a largely American tradition stemming from the work of auteurs like Solondz, Hartley, Linklater, and Haynes from the 1990s festival circuit (looking at you, Sundance) and onto the present day. Anyway, here goes.
Favorite Indie Comedies
1. Dazed and Confused | Richard Linklater | 1993
2. Beginners | Mike Mills | 2011
3. Kicking and Screaming | Noah Baumbach | 1995
4. Rushmore | Wes Anderson | 1998
5. Happiness | Todd Solondz | 1998
6. Tiny Furniture | Lena Dunham | 2010
7. Little Miss Sunshine | Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris | 2006
8. Me and You and Everyone We Know | Miranda July | 2005
9. Heathers | Michael Lehmann | 1988
0. Jeff, Who Lives at Home | The Duplass Brothers | 2011
MARTIN SCORSESE, PART 2
7. Raging Bull
9. The King of Comedy
0. The Aviator
I always laugh when the dude dressed as the nun falls over on his bicycle and just lies on the ground. I also love Dali’s cameo as a mildly bemused religious figure. Also, the use of that Wagner piece is seconded only by Lars von Trier in Melancholia.
Buñuel is a great filmmaker, and I love his absurdist sense of humor. Aside from the playfulness that pervades all his films, I also think he’s a deeply significant figure of surrealism and film history. The opening scene in which Buñuel cuts open the woman’s eye is a pretty great reflexive visual that suggests that the filmmaker himself elects to cut off the normal way of seeing the world, transforming perception with his own authorial self-inscription. The filmmaker even plays with words with this visual pun, literally “cutting” (in terms of editing) to an actual image of cutting.
In short: Un Chien Andalou works well as a great surrealist comedy and Buñuel is also a very cool dude.
i wrote a blurb about it on a partner blog. here’s the excerpt:
“Leave it to the Soviets to make the most intense, emotionally brutal, unflinchingly terrifying, and un-heroic war film ever made. Rather than uplifting audiences with insincere cries of honor, bravery, and valor, the film leaves you feeling utterly disturbed. Like a good war film should.”
also, it has a cool movie poster.
Favorite Movie Soundtracks/Scores/Whatever
01. Miles Davis - Elevator to the Gallows
02. various artists - 2001: A Space Odyssey
03. Philip Glass - The Hours
04. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network
05. Simon & Garfunkel - The Graduate
06. The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter (the documentary)
07. Ennio Morricone - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
08. Bernard Herrmann - Taxi Driver
09. Vangelis - Blade Runner
10. Howard Shore - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
11. Mozart - The Magic Flute
12. Paul Mercer - Ménilmontant
Favorite Romantic Comedies
1. Annie Hall | Woody Allen | 1977
2. The Apartment | Billy Wilder | 1960
3. Before Sunset | Richard Linklater | 2004
4. Bringing Up Baby | Howard Hawks | 1938
5. The Graduate | Mike Nichols | 1967
6. Harold and Maude | Hal Ashby | 1971
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | Michel Gondry | 2004
8. Pretty In Pink | Howard Deutch | 1986
9. Punch-Drunk Love | Paul Thomas Anderson | 2002
0. Some Like It Hot | Billy Wilder | 1959
The mark of a true auteur is the ability to do comedy well, much less a really great romantic comedy.
I meant to write a review for this. I will get on that eventually. Here are some bullet point observations.
- it’s playful at times, but definitely treats its tricky subject matter with respect: i.e. politically correct, inoffensive, and harmless entertainment other than to those who may be queasy to violence
- dammit, Christoph Waltz does NOT play essentially the same character as Hans Landa. His Dr. Schultz is the warmest character Tarantino has ever written, a far cry from the slow burning villainy of Landa
- there’s a deeper intertextual structure beyond the film’s racial dynamics: the Uncle Tom’s Cabin thing with Sam Jackson’s excellent Stephen villain, the whole idea of Django basically putting on a “performance” or “acting” when in the presence of others, the film taking the framework of a German folktale, the spaghetti Western tie-ins, etc.
- it’s also satisfying and fun.