Monday, April 26, 2010

Convergence for your phlegm but not your expectorants (4/26/10)

by Ryland Walker Knight

Most morning start like this

—Don't be or put on a sad face

Vinyl is heavy and Vitti is forever #39

by Ryland Walker Knight

—Maybe don't

Viewing Log #42: What's broken's broken but glue's going around [4/19/10 - 4/25/10]

by Ryland Walker Knight

not a knock knock
what's in the background

  • Treme "Right Place, Wrong Time" [S1E3, Ernest Dickerson, 2010] A marked, knowing improvement that casts a shadow on a lot of bad behavior and surprises with some real evil behavior and a genuine apology. Also, a beautiful final shot capping a beautiful final scene. Still don't like the scraggly keyboardist dude.

  • Marwencol [Jeff Malmberg, 2010] Watched it in pieces over the week. It plays next week at the festival. I recommend it. I'll try to write something a little longer in a bit. Here's the film's website.

  • Party Down "Steve Guttenberg's Birthday" [S2E5, Bryan Gordon, 2010] Not sure why Starz is showing this one now on demand, but of course I'll watch it. Guttenberg's great, really commits, and Ryan Hansen is perfect as that bleached idiot. And this one had not just a McLovin cameo but also Lizzy Caplan in a hot tub and jokes about people in AA having "real" drinking problems that Ron doesn't have; funniest is that you kind of believe him, that AA's just a put-on for him.
  • Party Down "Jackal Onassis Backstage Party" [S2E1, Bryan Gordon, 2010] Everything I loved about the first season, minus Jane Lynch. Except Megan Mullally is an apt substitute in a different (ok: shorter, stupider) way. Still love Lizzy Caplan's insecurity and her smile (like a lot of boys, I trust), and Adam Scott is pretty underrated for his tight-wad act. I'm sure it'll unravel, though, as tensions and jokes mount.

  • 36 vues du Pic St. Loup [Jacques Rivette, 2009] # Big surprise, I know: on film it's even better. The colors mean a ton, as does the graceful slide of most camera set ups. Even the static ones aren't static—they likely push somewhere, or open another space through simple framing or an edit. My favorite edit is the one along that wall when Birkin's getting ready to leave; she walks across the pipe dividing her and Sergio Castellitto and then past him off camera; he turns, smirks, and follows; there's an edit to five more, different feet of wall adjacent; a new tact of conversation begins, however hesitant, until Sergio disagrees and exits in the opposite direction (the way he came in). My favorite camera move is the one from outside the tent, watching Sergio walk over wires to stay in the frame as he approaches André Marcon in the foreground, then their little dance plays out in medium, then Sergio moves into the tent with the camera to find Birkin alone on a riser surrounded by blue. That's the other joy of this little, dense film: Sergio Castellitto dances through it, enters every scene as an interloper from the background and then stirs things up or plays a bit in a messy way. It reaches its apogee when he takes the stage. I should try to write some more about why I love this thing, but all the regulars are there: acting, physical comedy, some wordplay (in secondary languages), a cohesive mise-en-scene that makes jokes out of every scene's structure, sadness mixed with hilarity, and brevity. Also, just my luck that got to see it with Danny. Then I made this from materials at home.

  • Lost "The Last Recruit" [S6E13, Stephen Semel, 2010] Certainly entertaining, but still table setting. We watched it with a lot of noise, so that might also explain why I only did some images in this post.
  • The Holy Girl [Lucrecia Martel, 2002] # Looking at a certain scene for a certain piece of writing that should have been done ages ago.

  • Treme "Meet De Boys on the Battlefront" [S1E2, Jim McKay, 2010] The first half had me not just let down but actively pissed off at its narrow ideas; but the murder and a few other things in the second half made me think twice about writing it off. Clarke Peters sure is something.

a real world

Saturday, April 24, 2010

SFIFF53 #3: 36 Vues

by Ryland Walker Knight


—C'est un entrée


—Ce sont des corps de blagues


—C'est un mur vrai, vraiment debout


—C'est ça


—Ce n'est pas une lune

SFIFF53 #2: Everyone Else

by Ryland Walker Knight

Look at me

Nothing's sounder: Birgit Minichmayr won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at Berlinale 2009 for her performance in Maren Ade's Everyone Else. Ade's film works because of the performances of both lovers acting out in different and not quite complimentary ways. But Minichmayr uses her body to go with her face and her voice to make her Gitti not come alive—it's a film of presence, or immanence, so "becoming" never happens, though the story does chart a sort of trajectory towards understanding—so much as, well, feel like a real person. Or, you get a sense of everything inside and behind her without a mention of any history (of old lovers, of youth) or much explaining. Everything registers on the surface—on her body, in her gestures—even her defenses, her silent treatments.

It's really hard to talk and/or write about this kind of acting or this kind of direction of acting, you just sense it; it's an energy or a verve you pick up on or not. But it's not an affect since this is not a film of faces; or if it is an affect its not made into images the way, say, Cassavetes could because Ade mutes things the way Cassavetes always amplified things. Nor is it really a film of bodies, though it is a film of actions and, again, gestures. It's a recording, primarily, with a few ideas about the fluidity of form and off-camera space. Its best, laugh-out-loud joke about spatial awareness (or lack thereof) dictating character is filmed like it happens, like an accident, without grace over a shoulder. It's pragmatic filmmaking, the camera in service of its subjects and largely free of anything like a style or a tic-trait or a tripod. Its duty is just to be there.

All Ade seems to want is to watch these people (these young people) amble about in the sun. For the lighting, either that amber of the Sardinian sun or the indigo of a bedroom at night, is the most interesting thing about the images. The sex scenes, for example, are hardly lit and shot in one take without close ups; not exactly the "sexy" stuff of, say, Bad Timing, though its intimacy is not without its sexiness. Or that room with the knick knacks registers just white, its pale walls and shelves another way to say this mom's passions aren't passions but filler, time-killers; this extends to her music collection, which is aptly trite; but it should be noted that nothing in this room is played for laughs. In fact, for all its jokes and on-screen laughter, nothing's truly played for laughs. Not that laughs are necessary, but it makes all the goofy stuff look a put-on, like these people can never remove a mask. And that's the brilliance of Minichmayr's performance (and I supposed Ade's direction): to give the feeling of layers, or intentions never voiced nor exactly seen.

After a prologue that shows Gitti already acting out, or only ever acting, though she's also giving directions on how to act to a young girl, things start happy enough. It's a vacation, the sun shines and they barely wear clothes. But that erodes just as soon as can happen (and how can it not happen?) as its stories' wonts. So as things get said, other things are left unsaid, and fissures begin. New masks grow, and Minichmayr stops sitting with her legs open, starts crossing her arms more. The couple stops embracing as much, they walk apart; interaction is forced. The relationship doesn't crumble or implode so much as evaporate, or dry up, which is seen in reverse as the deal breaker is when Gitti gets tossed fully clothed into a pool after a disaster of a dinner party. Minichmayr exits the pool cutting her eyes across it, tugging at her clinging dress, and inside she doesn't dry off. Instead she jumps out a window. Where it goes from there should be no surprise, but its limp-limbed finale may clamp you enough that the last line jolts some hope into your mainline. After all, it's about something truly cinematic though it's shot, again, like an accident over a shoulder or two: it's a plea to be seen.

[Already released in New York City by IFC,
Everyone Else plays SFIFF three times, all at the Kabuki: Sun, Apr 25 at 8:45pm; Tue, Apr 27 at 3:30pm; Thu, Apr 29 at 6:15pm.]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last Lost: "The Last Recruit"

by Ryland Walker Knight


X never marks the spot


Go on, tell her


Hipster hair, sneer


Smokey ringing loud

Vinyl is heavy and Vitti is forever #38

by Ryland Walker Knight

—Capelli tempo gravi

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Viewing Log #41: We won't be your babies [4/12/10 - 4/18/10]

by Ryland Walker Knight

This will happen

  • Arrested Development [Most of season 3] # Still untouchable. The few hours I spent with it, the one that I keep thinking about is "Forget Me Now" and Gob pleading, "Take this and love us again!" Also, the 3D tomato toss. And Mrs. Featherbottom.

  • Everyone Else [Maren Ade, 2009] Amazing physical performance from Birgit Minichmayr. Not much in terms of images, though, which is kind of a bummer. The most interesting cinematic thing is how Ade lights scenes, or doesn't. Then again, it's clearly directed super well since these actors are all so good. And that's hard to talk about. But I'll try at a little longer length shortly. Link coming.

  • Nymph [Pen-ek Ratanaruang, 2009] Awesome first shot: an unbroken 8-minute meander through a jungle that is less about documenting than scanning, a kind of spiritual surveillance, complete with ascension into the sky. However, after that things just drone on to match the score and its "morals" are pretty hamfisted. Can't say I recommend it, but it's probably good to see on a big screen (instead of on a festival screener), and/or if you like this dude's other movies and/or gorgeous, skinny Thai babes looking sad all the time. Here's the SFIFF listing.

  • Lost "Everybody Loves Hugo" [S6E10, Daniel Attias, 2010] Lots of laughs. More here.

  • Treme "Do You Know What It Means" [S1E1, Agnieszka Holland, 2010] Some of it's annoying, yes, as I often find David Simon projects, but the music's great. And, though Steve Zahn's character is largely an ass, I love that he put on Mystikal. But I already tweeted this. Something new: that dude Kermit has it figured.

A piece by my new friend The Feral Child
We'll be making moving pictures after SFIFF

Thursday, April 15, 2010

SFIFF53 #1: Waiting for the lights

by Ryland Walker Knight

Next week, as I'm sure you know by now, the 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival commences. There will be a big Opening Night at the Castro, where Jean-Pierre Jeunet's latest, Micmacs, will play and probably delight a lot of the audience. It's fine, it's cute, it's what you expect from the guy behind Amélie: it's absurdly "sweet" despite its revenge hijinks. Even I walked out of it smiling, surprised at least in part by its delicious final shot, which felt like the most natural thing in the picture, a literal bit of animation that signals exactly what this director should be doing: making real cartoons, not just a bunch of goofy faces. But, hey, the grey hairs will love it. You know the type, the kind who think "French cinema" is a genre.

In any case, there's a slew of other French flicks on hand (as soon as the next day, even) at the festival this year to prove that, as one of the three great national cinemas, those frogs contain multitudes, too. And, of course, the two films I'm most excited to see on a big screen—on film!—are French: Jacques Rivette's 36 vues du Pic St. Loup (or Around a Small Mountain), which is sublime and deft and smart, and Alain Resnais' Wild Grass, which I've been waiting to see, despite certain avenues open to me, since Danny wrote that bit of rapture from Cannes last year. Since SFIFF is basically the end of the line in terms of festival tours, many words have already been spilt on this pair, but I'm going to go for it all over again, so keep an eye out for that. Then there's other Frenchies to watch out for, including: a new Claire Denis (always anticipated over here) starring Huppert, some young lady's movie about some dad, that rescue job about a failed swan song, a Bruno Dumont, a Eugene Green (he counts, right?), a Sylvie Testud, a Gainsbourg biopic. Yet, stamp be damned, there's other countries making movies to attend. It's an international festival after all.

Mexico's Alamar is quite nice, and quiet, and a real pleasure. It's about three generations fishing together, primarily, and I don't want to say much more about it other than you'll get a better familial vibe in this one than Micmacs, but that's not saying much either. And the picture that Roger Ebert's highlighting at his event, Julia, takes place in part in Mexico, despite starring that British wonder woman, Tilda Swinton, as an American. There's borderlines of all kinds in that film, which I love, and am tempted to see again on film instead of on Netflix Watch Instantly. More exciting, though, is the screening of I Am Love, which boasts one of the best trailers I've seen in recent years, which I've watched approximately fifteen times. If you haven't watched it (if I haven't forced it on you yet), I'm embedding it below.

[You can also watch it in even higher quality over here.]

I love this thing for a few reasons. First of all, I love Tilda Swinton. Next, I like a lot of the images, with all those colors and all those hesitations, but I also like the words chosen to let through, like "fabbrica" and that little speech Waris Ahluwalia gives to close the spot. The close, too—and the clothes—that rush of multiple zooms—is a thrill—and scored so well, as is the whole spot. I also like stories about temptation, and lust's complication of love, as much as I love stories simply about love. And a Vertigo shout out? Sure hope the movie lives up to my anticipation. To say the least.

Moving along, but sticking with the editing theme, the one Live & Onstage event that really has me excited is the Walter Murch "State of Cinema" afternoon. Murch is a smart man and I've never seen him talk, though I hear he's been talking around the Bay a lot of late, so I may stop by that to hear what this once-pioneer sees in a "prehistory" of cinema of his own design/imagination. Maybe he'll have some things to say about the current festival, too, and where he sees good form. Hell, maybe he's seen the Rivette and he can say something about what it's like to whittle things. Which is what I'm going to do to this preview post right now.

The point is the festival is practically upon me and us and it should be fun, full of great films I'm happy to finally see after skimming so many articles and closely reading a few others. If anything, it'll be worth it for those New Wavers and their wacky attacks on what's cinema. Is is all a show? Does it need an audience? Is it the neon haze from the marquee carried inside and glossed onto the screen? Is it clownish? Is it creepy? Can I see it all?

—Hang time

Last year, my pal Mark Haslam was still living and teaching in California and he covered SFIFF52. You can click here to read what he wrote. This year, now that I'm back home after a wild ride around the country in 2009, I'm happy to have my credentials and my sanity (or some) and enough free time (or some) to follow suit. Like Mark, I'll use a catalog-count as I write my way through the festival. Unlike Mark, though, you might see some of my coverage at places other than VINYL IS HEAVY; that is, in addition to the words I write here; but more on that later. If you see some goof who looks like this walking around the festival, don't hesitate to say, "Hi," and compare notes over some coffee.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Convergence for your athletics (4/14/10)

by Ryland Walker Knight

—Who cares about 1988 anymore?

Last Lost: "Everybody Loves Hugo"

by Ryland Walker Knight

—I see people

This episode was worth my time, I'll tell you what. Consistently hilarious, somewhat surprising, an all around good time with three beers in my belly. Things started out great with that goofy (but not quite goofy enough) video celebrating Hurley for his generosity, but things got kicked up a notch when he said he had an event the next night at "The Human Fund," nodding at Constanza's fake charity, and signaling just how "false" these sideline stories may in fact be. Or, perhaps, that this idea of charity, this vision of a more perfect universe, is in fact a lie. No surprise there, I suppose. But funny to think it's a nod to the best sitcom ever that does this for us (for me!) here.

And that was just the beginning. That was before Ilana got blowed up, before Dark Locke threw Desmond down a well, before Desmond RAN OVER LOCKE WITH HIS CAR! Seems like we could go around these interwebs talking in all caps about Lost for the rest of its run. It holds that much promise—to spin wacky events and characters into one another—in my heart. Things just keep getting sillier, and funnier, and that's never a bad thing on a show this convoluted and, by most lights, all too self-serious. So good for them for making fun of themselves so much this episode. (Also, Ben's little reflection on what the island will do to them, the remaining principles, once its done with them, smacks of last week's winks at the audience.)

This episode also had a few great actor moments, too, though. First of all, Harrold Perrineau makes the most of his cameo, as if that wouldn't happen. He sells not only a terrible explanation of how he's not Dark Locke (he's the voices of those who cannot move on?) but also that cheesy apology he wants Hugo to deliver. Next, Henry Ian Cusick has been typically calm and winsome since his return to the island and the show; his line reading of "what's the point in being afraid?" was superb. As was Terry O'Quinn's puzzled reaction before the throwing of the Desmond down the well. I guess we see a little more of why Desmond was brought back after all: if he can scare Dark Locke, there's a good chance he can stop him, too, somehow. However, especially after his own "big moment," which had some pretty terrible spell-it-out dialog, it's hard not to think that Jack will be the one to grab tighter reigns on this beast of an island.

Jack said he's trying to let go, but I can't see that lasting very long. There's the "worry" that Dark Locke will prey on Jack the same way he preyed on Ben (or any in his crew), but I'm guessing Kate's skepticism will likely win out and convince Jack to "do the right thing." Which, once again, makes this a table-setter despite the incidents both fantastic and hilarious. And, with that weird sample of "The Rowers" over the promo for next week, I'm guessing we can expect a few more surprise deaths, or at the least a few more injuries in the sideways story.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vinyl is heavy and Vitti is forever #37

by Ryland Walker Knight

—Look what we did

Monday, April 12, 2010

Viewing Log #40: On earth as it is [4/5/10 - 4/11/10]

by Ryland Walker Knight

Around polo time 3
—How it falls, plays, waves

  • Alamar [Pedro González-Rubio, 2009] This one's playing SFIFF53, and I watched it on a screener with headphones. That seemed okay to me. It's a quiet, small thing. But it's also impressive photography of a world I'll likely never know but through this magic medium. It further impresses me that González-Rubio is his own cinematographer and that he barely gets in the way of these three generations and their time with water, and an egret. More in my festival preview, I promise, which should probably hit the webs this week.
  • Read My Lips [Jacques Audiard, 2001] Supremely entertaining and ingratiating quasi-thriller. I think it's more interesting than Beat That My Heart Skipped, too, though its aural effects are only employed when it suits the filmmaker, not the story; or, though it's clearly Devos' movie (and what a joy that is!), the forced perspective registered by the soundtrack is inconsistent. Which is to say that Audiard has a lot of ideas, no doubt, but he's not exactly rigorous and he's not exactly free-wheeling. Will be interesting to see how this flux plays in Un Prophète, which I expect to like, as I've liked the other two I've seen. In all honesty, it'd be great to make something this accomplished, sturdy and engrossing. There's even a few jokes.

  • Dodsworth [William Wyler, 1936] Nice to see something with a happy ending after the bittersweet, brush-the-edge finale of the McCarey. Walter Huston is a little loud, but still nuanced, and Mary Astor's calm makes me somersault with hope that, yes, life is long and I'll be presented plenty of opportunities to find a real help meet some day down the line. Also, Wyler's got some chops, duh, and a penchant for playing with focus in key moments. Brian already tweeted about the pivotal phone, but I'd also like to point to the mirrors, specifically the one in Vienna that keeps fantasies "outside" or "off" the real world.
  • Make Way For Tomorrow [Leo McCarey, 1937] Lived up to the hype, and the precedent set by the other McCarey films I love. But I don't have anything to add to what Danny wrote here, or what Tag Gallagher wrote for the new Criterion disc, which I'd urge anybody to enjoy with or without a lover. Also, I'd urge you watch The Awful Truth directly afterwards. And then I'd urge you to keep your job.

  • Greenberg [Noah Baumbach, 2010] As Dan Sallitt said to me last week, I don't get why Baumbach has to make everybody so nasty. But I laughed a lot, and loudly, in that almost-empty theatre. Hiring Harris Savides was a wise choice, as was casting Greta Gerwig, whose seemingly natural élan turns preternatural next to Ben Stiller. I don't know how she sold that attraction so well, but it's got a lot more to do with lust and loneliness than with true chemistry. And the movie seems to get that, too. But I don't think Ben Stiller can play that as well as Gerwig can, and everything she does masks that in the ways we all mask those impulses. A curious picture that's almost something; if it weren't hilarious, it'd be nothing.
  • Micmacs [Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2009] As far as festival openers go, this is fine. Will probably make everybody exiting the Castro on the 22nd smile a lot, and desire company. That is, its capricious (arch?) proclivity for goofy gears at work is amiable enough and the filmmaking is Jeunet's least expository, to say swiftest, if forever ostentatious/ornate. Great final shot, though.

  • The Sopranos "Made In America" [S6E21, David Chase, 2007] # Nearly every single line makes me laugh, but it's dry and dire, too; nothing's as outlandish as it could be. Some of that's the performances, too, but a lot is the writing and the directing. It's the best kind of surrealism that matches "the world" to dreams' fluid, deft, associational tilt on actions—or that possibility in formal arrangements—be they sounds, like the ring of a door opening, or accidents, like a car in neutral rolling over a dead head, or anything else, like the aphasia one faces in a sea of others or like the absurdity of a cat staring at a dead man's cheesy portrait.

  • Plastic Bag [Ramin Bahrani, 2009] Finally got around to watching this because a good friend said he liked it. Doesn't "side firmly with things" in the end, as Ignatiy wrote here, and it's only the quality of Herzog's voice (and what kind of intentionality that brings) that gives the little ditty anything. It's pretty, I guess, but it's still about human desires, not a bag's. (Similar problems as with that Pixar paean to bathos and trash.)

—I should look for leaves?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Last Lost: "Happily Ever After"

by Ryland Walker Knight

Well, I suppose the last two episodes have raised the stakes some as we wind down the series, but I cannot quite stomach all the overt, to say wall-to-wall, sentimentality that drives a lot of these twists and turns. Or, as my friend Eric put it, Jeremy Davies is the last person you want playing sentimental. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the Desmond-Penny connection. But, good grief, give me more people in electric chairs, or chambers, or between two coils of light.

There was plenty of fun to be had in the 2004' plot given its fits of stupidity and the literal plunge into a new future it takes midway through. It was great to have it framed as a way of seeing, too, with that damned Eloise Hawking-Widmore-Whatever (why can't we get more Alexandra Krosney?) getting all haughty as usual and telling us, through Desmond, that we're not ready to see why things are the way things are in this primed world because, well, there are more episodes to come. It's kind of great just how much Cuse and Lindelof talk at the audience, but it's equally forever infuriating. Nobody likes a tease unless things really cut loose later. And there's millions of us hoping, some probably praying, that we get a great consummation in the end, a real happy ending.

Which brings me to the episode's title. "Happily Ever After." In true Lost fashion, it's a flip: this supposed idyll of an alternate 2004 will not, in fact, be a simple and tidy and happy all over place. In fact, it may well be a dream or a fantasy or some kind of projection as much as an end. And Desmond's new purpose, to show the other passengers something, screams oracular ambition. It also ties into that other show on ABC, "Flash Forward," which I've never seen but understand enough to form a funny hypothesis about, just as last season spoke to another sister series on the same network, "Life on Mars." Lost, as far as I can tell, is easily about the medium of television and its history, incorporating all kinds of shows (as well as "physics" and "religion") into its mythos, and it only makes sense that Season Five incorporated time traveling to the 1970s in a way to talk to "Mars" (or rhyme with it) as Season Six talks about seeing the future, or the past, and how to maybe change it, in a way to talk to "Flash Forward." Also, there's that word "flash," which everybody uses to describe the alternations between timelines on Lost. In any case, it could be simple happenstance, but it makes it more fun for me to imagine these dudes playing with these kinds of resonances.

Because what's a television spectator but unstuck in time, vacillating between stories based on electronic pulses formed by human technology? Put otherwise, Desmond is the ultimate audience surrogate. No wonder he's so popular. So, yes, I was thrilled to see him follow Sayid, and excited for what he might see and do; and, yes, I was excited by his choice to embrace the visions of his other life. I haven't read enough physics to know just how these dudes are going to rationalize this crossing of the streams, nor do I know if they'll rely on it as they seemingly have in the past, but I do know that these Widmores will play a part, and that more signs point to a satisfying ending for everything.

Look at the titles of the final episodes, for one, and tell me you aren't giddy to know who "The Last Recruit" and "The Candidate" are (I'm guessing Desmond and Hurley, for what it's worth), or, for that matter, "What They Died For." And don't forget the probably-will-explain-it-all "Across the Sea," which is purportedly about Jacob and The Man in Black, nor "The End," which I'm hoping is as much a physical location as a marker-answer to Jacob's line at the beginning of "The Incident" that "it only ends once."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Letters sent and not sent

by Ryland Walker Knight

stolen from glenn

Though of course I would have loved to receive a review copy of the Letters from Fontainhas box set, for whatever reason I ultimately did not. This is not really a problem, to be honest, because I feel it's a certain duty of mine to buy the box. Or, I want to. That is, I learned a lot a couple years ago when Costa visited the PFA and I hope I can learn a few more things looking back at these films presented this way (instead of the, um, illicit way). Granted, these aren't exactly party pictures, and they aren't my favorite (that'd be Où gît votre sourire enfoui?), but they will be a fine addition to my nerd collection. Once I do get around to watching them, I will likely write a few more words about what it means to watch them now at this remove. That is, I want to see how time has shaped me as much as these people, since that's a definite part of the project at hand: the change in Vanda, and her cough, is one of the most obvious lines to trace aside from Costa's evolution as an image-maker, which I like to see as going from somewhat classical, everything's a bit perfect, to a grimey pragmatism, which renders a different and steady beauty, to a new realm of myth expressionism that makes shadows (and spot-lights) colors of time and character. I'll try to elucidate that when the time comes.

Speaking of letters from places, like home and not home, my still-mint Ackerman set needs watching, too, come to think of it, and that might just happen soonish. Heck, I may even buy that Gadamer book while I'm at it, since I added it to the widget at right, along with the trilogy and Close-Up and the Brakhage anthology (both Blu Ray). Which is to say that I think a Blu Ray player of some kind (perhaps the gaming kind) may be on my May birthday horizon.

[Top image stolen from Glenn, purveyor of delicious lasagna and, along with His Lovely Wife, an altogether generous host for a late Easter evening meal. Second image stolen from that invaluable blog the art of memory.]

Vinyl is heavy and Vitti is forever #36

by Ryland Walker Knight

—Past participle of spring

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Viewing Log #40: A green fort in a city forked [3/29/10 - 4/4/10]

by Ryland Walker Knight

I shot some video, too

  • Lightning [Mikio Naruse, 1952] Pretty great, of course, and the lightning does surprise in a way I didn't expect. Didn't expect it to be as funny as it is, nor as bleak. But I'm told that's par for the course with Naruse. Now I'm definitely compelled to watch those copies of Repast and Flowing I have at home.
  • Hideko, the Bus Conductress [Mikio Naruse, 1941] Loved how aleatory and almost silly the whole thing was, and its brevity, but I was pooped and passed out for maybe half of it.

  • Groundhog Day [Harold Ramis, 1993] # The less said, the better, probably, but this time, aside from the usual hilarity (pretty much every interaction makes me laugh), I'm struck by the idea that, among other things, this is a movie about what it means to be an actor in a movie. You get all the chances you need, really, to perform in exactly the "right way." Does morality work like that, too?

  • Close-Up [Abbas Kiarostami, 1990] The new print that just ended a run at Film Forum, and will likely make its way West, is indeed beautiful. I'm sure the Criterion will look lovely. And what a lovely movie! Only the second Kiarostami I've seen (I know, right?) and it topped the other, Taste of Cherry, with ease (and I own that one). Maybe I'll say more about this one if I see it again back home, or simply at home on that upcoming disc. (I should probably see some Mohsen Makhmalbaf movies at some point, too, since he seems like quite a sweet human being.)

  • Street Angel [Frank Borzage, 1928] Yes, very romantic and histrionic, with a humungous set as backdrop. The conceit of lighting matches to see somebody's face in the fog on a wharf was pretty amazing. The final "redemption" was not. Still, worth seeing with a crowd of old people in the middle of the afternoon.

  • Lost "The Package" [S6E10, Paul Edwards, 2010] Saw this with a mighty fine crowd, and a few Dharma Beers in hand. In fact, I ordered a "Sawyer," which is a beer and a shot; I chose whiskey; as Chris said, not a sipping whiskey. But it was fun. And the episode was good, too, I suppose. Very happy to see Desmond back in the mix at last.

Not a gym mat

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Convergence for your cover fool (4/1/10)

by Ryland Walker Knight

An adventure to any extent