Friday, April 26, 2013

Masterpieces Classics: North by Northwest (1959)

Q: What's green, white, and bursting with style?
A: The title sequence to North by Northwest!

Right from the title sequence, Alfred Hitchcock tells the audience an open secret: This will be fun. The titles depict a patterned building and flying text with names of all the important players in the film. This is self-awareness to the greatest extent, with Bernard Herrman's booming score, one can only imagine the frenzy and fun, despite the picture's plot not even beginning.

So when the plot does begin, we feel within the first 10 minutes that this isn't Vertigo Hitchcock, but this is instead 39 Steps Hitchcock. We see Roger O. Thornhill, an anti-Don Draper, a Manhattan Ad-man with so much on his plate that a day off would do wonders. Ironically, he gets his free time when he is kidnapped rather smoothly from a dinner meeting by men of Phillip Vandamm (James Mason, in a sinister role), a Communist spy in the USA. Let me remind you that this is still within the film's first 10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Only God Forgives, red-band trailer

Announced for Cannes. Looks great.

The Bling Ring, Trailer 2!

Cannes 2013 lineup!

Can't wait!

In Competition
Only God Forgives, dir Nicolas Winding Refn
Inside Llewyn Davis, dir Ethan and Joel Coen
Borgman, dir Alex Can Warmerdam
La Grande Bellezza, dir Paulo Sorrentino
Behind the Candelabra, dir Steven Soderbergh
La Venus a la Fourrure, dir Roman Polanski
Nebraska, dir Alexander Payne
Jeune et Jolie, dir François Ozon
La Vie d'Adele, dir Abdellatif Kechiche
Wara No Tate, dir Takashi Miike
Soshite Chichi Ni Naru, dir Kore-Eda Hirokazu
Tian Zhu Ding, dir Jia Zhangke
Grisgris, dir Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
The Immigrant, dir James Gray
Heli, dir Amat Escalante
Le Passe, dir Asghar Farhadi
Michael Kohlhaas, dir Arnaud Despallieres
Un Chateau en Italie, dir Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Masterpieces Classics: Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset is neither my favorite movie of all time, nor is it even the best of 2004 (I would put Million Dollar Baby and Eternal Sunshine ahead of it). But that does not mean the film is masterpiece, because it quite simply just is.

The film is a direct sequel to Before Sunrise, a sumptuously romantic film that I thought was missing something. And after watching Before Sunset, I figure that it was chemistry that was missing. You can argue that since Jesse and Celine just met, they wouldn't have much chemistry. That is a true point, but maybe Before Sunrise was just destined for imperfection.

Friday, April 12, 2013

To the Wonder (2012)- What is the love that lives among us? (3½ Stars)

The second film in Terrence Malick's self-named Texas Trilogy, with the first being the moving Tree of Life, and the third presumably set in the Austin music scene. That all is besides the point. Right now is To the Wonder, a film shot with an expert's eye, told with expert abstractness, and requiring an expert amount of attention, if that makes any sense.

The story begins with Marina (Olga Kurylenko), a seemingly naive Parisian in a relationship with the near-silent Neil (Ben Affleck). We see them in the middle of a relationship, and Malick oddly never chooses to show the beginnings of their first or second relationships. Marina has a child, and that child is her daughter that wants to move to the US with Neil.

Tatiana, the child, is what we the audience view as the childish one in the relationship between Neil and Marina, since she is the child. Marina is our subject, and like The Tree of Life, is one subject that comes of age. Marina begins naive, free as a bird. The film depicts Marina feeling rejection, lust, anguish. All three of those, not in any order nor variety.