Sunday, August 23, 2009

Viewing Log #8: Eyes so green [8/17/09 - 8/23/09]

by Ryland Walker Knight

—I can stare for a thousand years.

  • Gaslight [George Cukor, 1944] # So much more painful this time, though I can't imagine it not being painful. I really need to re-read Contesting Tears.

  • A Little Death [Gina Telaroli, 2009] Gina tells me this is a work in progress but it certainly looked cohesive and complete to my eyes.
  • Johnny Guitar [Nicholas Ray, 1954] # Color like you wouldn't believe, and all kinds of ideas of hierarchies. The stunt falls in the finale set piece really look like they hurt.

  • Inglourious Basterds [Quentin Tarantino, 2009] A blast, no doubt, despite prattle calls of ideological failure. More in The Notebook tomorrow (plus some extra notes at home). Gonna try to go again this week.

  • Design for Living [Ernst Lubitsch, 1933] Despite the class stuff, this could be made now. (Class is a no-no, it seems, in modern American comedy.) In fact, it's got a much more progressive idea of love and friendship than something like, say, Funny People. A real treat. And scandalous, too.
  • Trouble in Paradise [Ernst Lubitsch, 1932] # You can't change! Society is rigged! Hilarious!

  • The Thick Of It [Armando Iannucci, 2005/2007] Watched the whole show, including specials, all too quickly because I couldn't quit laughing at all that bile. Man, I am happy I don't know any Malcolm Tuckers.

  • In The Loop [Armando Iannucci, 2009] Yup: hilarious, biting, wonderful casting. I, too, take points off for the "aesthetic" but that's small potatoes in the bigger, faster, nastier, funnier scheme of things. Coogan cameo is brilliant.

  • Portrait of Jennie [William Dieterle, 1948] Kind of devastating idea of inspiration: that what haunts us propels us—and we're lucky if we ever find an error in time to grasp that feeling in our hands. Jennifer Jones' aloof attitude is perfect; Joseph Cotton has the worst hat in cinema.
  • Night of the Demon [Jacques Tourneur, 1957] The power of writing to change the world, more often for ill, makes this windy tale spin. Lots to unpack. Was fun to revisit Kevin's work with Chris Fujiwara, maybe my favorite of the Shooting Down Pictures video essays.

down low


  1. Not "ideological failure" for me so much as "formal failure." Though Phelps's original Notebook piece isn't up anymore, I think it's dead-on.

    Try Dickinson's GASLIGHT. Even though there's no Boyer, it's even better.

  2. Ive often thought my HUSBAND was trying to play Boyer's part!Oh WHERE is Joe Cotten when u need him??lol