Sunday, January 24, 2010

Viewing Log #30: Color cannot clean a canting [1/18/10 - 1/24/10]

by Ryland Walker Knight

Playtimes 1
—Sat behind Godard.

  • Casino [Martin Scorsese, 1995] # Like for the first time. I'm blown away. This is the ur-Scorsese picture. Everything's dialed up delirium, all the colors and lights and camera movements. For such a sad and scary movie, it's damned fucking giddy. I'm publishing this as I'm watching it, so my giddiness is sure to wane as these fools keep fucking up their silver lined lot.
  • Californication [Most of the third season] It was way too easy to do errands and little writing projects and just plow through this in one day. Rain played a part, but, also the sex.

  • Playtime [Jacques Tati, 1967] # Yes, the best. Really: the best.

  • The Seventh Victim [Mark Robson, 1943] # I tweeted a hash tag (#bestmovieever?) that gets at how powerful this thing is for me, especially at this stage in the game, with its weight and frisson of social anxieties. More Monday.
  • Cat People [Jacques Tourneur, 1942] # Simon Simone's nose, let me tell you, can do things to a boy. Also, Tourneur's pace is all wonky: a real jam of angles keeps this from slipping down easy. More Monday.

  • A Letter to Uncle Bonmee [Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009] Watched on The Auteurs for free (click here) and then wrote this little nugget about it.
  • "Parisian Goldfish" by Flying Lotus [Eric Wareheim, 2009] Watched at the behest of Danny while talking Coachella. It's really something. Watch it here. It's very NSFW. It's weird: how much is celebratory? How much is a joke? Can it be both? I'm continually flabbergasted by the audacity of T+E.

  • Band of Brothers, "Currahee" Episode 1 [Phil Alden Robinson, 2001] Halfway decent, but a lot of it is what I hate about war movies and World War II movies in particular. I appreciate that generation, of course, since it gave us its youth in ways I can't imagine, but I'm pretty sick of it getting called "the greatest" all the time. Weird to see so many British actors playing Americans, including Simon Pegg of all people.
  • The Sopranos "Live Free or Die" (S6,E6) [Tim Van Patten, 2006] # The world opens for one man, for a bit, in the form of a vase and a bed & breakfast. Too bad you know this natural can't escape that hateful haunting in his history. There's more Paulie's than Tony's in this world. Even with Bacala's dunderheaded "Well we can't have him in our social club no more; that I do know."
  • The Sopranos "Mr. & Mrs. John Sacramoni Request..." (S6,E5) [Steve Buscemi, 2006] # A devastating episode of perceptions: misinterpretation abounds, even from the people fearing it the most (ie, Tony). Then again, the biggest perceptive revelation—Vito's true identity, as a gay man, um, coming out into view—is deferred an episode by Tony's misguided attempt to reassert his power. Oh, man, men make bad choices.

Casino credits 1


  1. Re: JLG.

    For realz?

  2. I see so many British actors now in American TV programmes, such as "House" and "Flashforward", how do you rate their accents?
    Of course us Brits love to be snotty about Americans doing British accents, like Dick Van Dyke in "Mary Poppins".

  3. Anon, no, not really. But that's a good one, huh?

    Teabag, I haven't seen either of the shows you mention but Hugh Laurie's a prince so I don't doubt his accent's fine. Simon Pegg as a lackey private in the American army, on the other hand, was just too weird: it wasn't even some "we're in England, let's make some characters British" thing, either, he was trying his damnedest at the accent, and doing ok, but, call me crazy, that dude just LOOKS British. It jagged me.

  4. The main reason why I don't think Casino is on par with Goodfellas is that Ace Rothstein, at least until the last third, isn't a terribly interesting protagonist. But I remember seeing some interview with your main man Arnaud where he was raving about it, and I suspect he's right. Of the two, it's the one I'm more likely to watch when it comes on TV.

    Need to see more Tati, especially since I'm all gaga for Tsai Ming-liang at the moment.

  5. JF, I can see that argument against Ace, but I find his reticence really interesting: how'd this wall develop? how at odds is this demeanor with the film? with Marty? is he any kind of displacement? Put otherwise, this whole devotion-trust thing gets me curious in silly extratextual ways as much as internally. Further, as tied as Marty is to story, any character stuff is just an excuse, it seems, here more than any of his other films, to bang lights against each other. This is the truest spectacle he's ever mounted.

    And I should probly see more Tsai. Everybody says so.

  6. Oh, shit, forgot to add Episodes 2+3 of _Band of Brothers_ to this week. Oh well. They were easy to watch despite the macho shit, and the bloodshed. Some of the fight scenes were damned impressive and visceral. Damian Lewis is really good at the calm and collected thing. Ron Livingston is always ingratiating.