Category Archives: Other Articles

Alexander Coleman on “Moon”

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Alexander Coleman over at Coleman’s Corner in Cinema elucidates on the film far more successfully than I might have been able to, although I do still plan to put down something on it, eventually.

“Sam Rockwell plays Bell, and contributes to Jones’ vision a performance of nearly startling emotional complexity and breadth. The words “nearly startling” should not take away from Rockwell’s turn; it is only nearly startling because for those who have experienced Rockwell’s performances, his starring tour de force performance in Moon will not be seen as altogether surprising. There is already a doomed existentialism to Rockwell, which at its fiercest is unshakable. Especially desperate moments in films such as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Snow Angels are punctuated by Rockwell’s fidgety earnestness and convincing verisimilitude. Here is an actor who always possesses an air of doom and attrition. Rockwell’s isolated self is an amazing performance, worth seeking out.”

You can find it here.

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Pauline Kael on Stanley Kubrick

While I may never, ever agree with anything she’s written down, Kael almost always makes for a good discussion starter, particularly on the subject of Stanley Kubrick. I imagine if these two were ever placed in a room together, were they still alive, they’d lock eyes and make a mad dash to see who could reach for their guns first, Kael making fun of Kubrick’s glasses and Kubrick giving her that Benjamin Linus-esque stare of his.

Then, Kubrick would call in Paul Thomas Anderson, and it would become El Mariachi. Which she also wasn’t that fond of, if I’m remembering correctly.

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On Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange:
“When I pass a newsstand and see the saintly, bearded, intellectual Kubrick on the cover of Saturday Review, I wonder: Do people notice things like the way Kubrick cuts to the rival teen-age gang before Alex and his hoods arrive to fight them, just so we can have the pleasure of watching that gang strip the struggling girl they mean to rape? Alex’s voice is on the track announcing his arrival, but Kubrick can’t wait for Alex to arrive, because then he couldn’t show us as much. That girl is stripped for our benefit; it’s the purest exploitation. Yet this film lusts for greatness, and I’m not sure that Kubrick knows how to make simple movies anymore, or that he cares to, either. I don’t know how consciously he has thrown this film to youth; maybe he’s more of a showman than he lets on — a lucky showman with opportunism built into the cells of his body. The film can work at a pop-fantasy level for a young audience already prepared to accept Alex’s view of the society, ready to believe that that’s how it is.”

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On The Shining:
“We go to The Shining hoping for nasty scare effects and for an appeal to our giddiest nighttime fears — vaporous figures, shadowy places. What we get doesn’t tease the imagination. Visually, the movie often feels like a cheat, because most of the horror images are not integrated into the travelling shots; the horrors involved in the hotel’s bloody past usually appear in inserts that flash on like the pictures in a slide show. In addition, there are long, static dialogues between Torrence and two demonic characters — a bartender and a waiter — who are clearly -his- deamons: they are personified temptations, as in a medieval mystery play, and they encourage him in his worst impulses. (They also look as substantial as he does.) The taciturn bartender is lighted to look satanic; he offers Torrence free drinks. The loathsome, snobbish English waiter goads Torrence to maintain his authority over his wife and child by force. During these lengthy conversations, we seem to be in a hotel in Hell. It’s a very talky movie (a Hell for movie-lovers). Clearly, Stanley Kubrick isn’t primarily interested in the horror film as scary fun or for the mysterious beauty that directors such as Dreyer and Marnau have brought to it. Kubrick is a virtuoso technician, and that is part of the excitement that is generated by a new Kubrick film. But he isn’t just a virtuoso technician; he’s also, God help us, a deadly serious metaphysician.. . .”

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More of Charles Spearin and The Happiness Project

This has become one of my favorite concept albums.

“Mrs. Morris -“

An interesting interview and semi-aught music video anthology –

Best Synchings of Images and Music

Prince’s “Partyman,” Tim Burton’s Batman

Art Garfunkel’s “Bright Eyes,” Martin Rosen’s Watership Down

Aye Ron Butterfly’s “In The Garden of Eden,” Michael Mann’s Manhunter

The Beach Boys “Do It Again,” George Miller’s Happy Feet

A Few Essays on “Gojira/Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

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While I work on a few other articles that should be up relatively soon, here’s a few interesting essays on Inoshiro Honda’s “Gojira,” which is probably one of the only films in the twenty-odd series it spawned that can actually be considered a real classic, in it’s own right – and more than that, a good film, which is even rarer (though, not completely exclusive to this one film). While it’s not without its flaws, which are mostly technical (while the model-work works wonders for the most part, every now and then there is a sign of what was to come, later on in the series – in particular the infamous ‘firetruck’ sequence), it’s still well-deserving of what acclaim it’s garnered, as well as the re-release it received just recently.

The first comes from Cult Reviews –

“A well-known story is of course that of producer Tomoyuki Tanaka from Toho Company Ltd. who was one day gazing out of the window of an airplane while flying over the Pacific Ocean. He wondered what could live in the dark depths of these waters and then imagined a ‘what-if’ scenario about a prehistoric monster rising from the deep to terrorize modern civilization – on an side note: a similar story circulates about a producer from Daiei Studios who was day dreaming on an airplane and when he looked outside the window he thought he saw a flying turtle. He then went on to produce the first Gamera movie. A lesser known story (but an actual fact) is that director Ishiro Honda was a prisoner of war during WWII. He only returned to Japan when the war was over. As he passed through Hiroshima, he saw the devastation with his own eyes. Buildings destroyed, cities turned to dust. And, according to his wife Kimi Honda, that planted the idea that fear influenced his work and brought forth the images of Tokyo being destroyed in Gojira.”

and it can be found here.

The second is a piece by John Rocco Roberto, “Japan, Godzilla and the Atomic Bomb” –

” After Gojira’s release it was attacked by several quarters for “profiteering from the Lucky Dragon tragedy.” Although none of the crew members actually died until September when the film was more than half complete, and later it was determined that the man had actually died because of an unrelated case of hepatitis. However what Honda was hoping to convey was the sense of realism in an unreal situation. “How would people react,” Honda stated, “if such a huge monster came to the Japanese islands? How would politicians, scientist, the military react?” “Inevitably under those circumstances,” Honda said, “the film came to feel like a documentary. [Godzilla would have been most successful] if there had been some way to convince the viewer that it was really happening.”

– which can be read in it’s entirety here.

And, just for kicks, here’s some amazing artwork I came across during my search for the accompanying picture above.

Gojira

The thing in it’s full-size can be found here.

Two Interesting Essays

In trying to delay the time before I actually have to post more of my writing, here’s a couple of interesting essays from two frequently read sites that I thought I’d throw up for everyone else’ reading pleasure.

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“Liberations of Mind, Spirit, and Vision: The Fall, a film directed by Tarsem” – by Daniel Garrett

” For me, the film is first about the relationship between two people, an American silent film stuntman and a young Romanian girl: in a California hospital, he is depressed by the accident that has paralyzed him and the broken relationship with the woman he loves, and she is recovering from an arm broken while working in orange groves with her family; and, secondly, the film is about storytelling, specifically about a fable the stuntman tells the girl of betrayed love, personal and social violation, and justice that takes place in different parts of the globe, involving mythic characters. The film is a tribute to the silent film age and one of its themes is the costs of storytelling (it has cost the stuntman his body and his lover; and it threatens the well-being of the young girl).”

– which can be located here.

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“Do We Need A New Hero? (Is There Any Escape From The Noise?): George Miller’s ‘Happy Feet'” – by Dr. Devo

“Miller went finds the lyrics: abstractisation sets (both showers), temptation and denial, then cohabitation of photo-realism of certain plans with Impressionism turnerien of others who, moreover, will not prevent the cold the synthesis itself (great idea reflections in plexiglass, because in both film, screenplay and theoretical), increasing quality and media, gaming perspective, and ignoble about accuracy! This last part in a foreign land is unbelievable. Miller then approximates a form that is his alone and that found in any beauty in Lorenzo’s Oil: a sensitive consistency that has, by itself, especially pushing the film toward abstraction and the most unbridled lyricism. One could think of a grand son of Ken Russell if you do not already know the animal Miller.”

(This is originally a French essay, and the above is a translation filtered through what Google Translator could give me, which is still very readable and coherent, though there is probably a better one out there, no doubt. In any case, it’s worth a read). It can be found here.

Pure Atomic Cinema

Footage of the detonation of atomic bombs is some of the most simultaneously beautiful and devasting stuff I’ve yet seen. There’s something so simple and unintentionally poetic about these idiosyncratic, bulbous shapes forming out of the fire and smoke, and the track-lines that follow them –

Set these reel to reel, and I could watch them for hours on end.

Bojangles of Harlem

Fred Astaire pays tribute to one of the pioneers, in this Berkeleyesque number from 1936’s Swing Time.

Attending the performance was John Bubbles, one of the Great Old Hoofers and one of Astaire’s many teachers, who reinvented the form with the incorporation of the percussive heel. There’s a future post, in here.

“Mad Max and Hang ‘Em High,” by Benjamin Carter

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There’s an interesting article over at Tales of Disinterest, comparing and contrasting the two films.

“I will be comparing these two texts as Westerns, more specifically as Revenge Westerns; both films are about a man seeking revenge/justice against a group of people who cause grief or harm when they sought revenge/justice against him. The differences being that Jed Cooper finds himself forced back into law enforcement in order to seek his justice, while Max Rockatansky goes rogue leaving law enforcement and ends up viewing himself as no better than the criminals he kills.”

You can find it here.

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