Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random film catchup

I’ll abstain from writing about Meek’s Cutoff in honor of our friend Jason (though my next post on MC will be written in a secret code that can only be understood by those who have seen the film) and also so I can catch up on a few films I’ve watched recently.

Okay, I’ve changed my mind, I’ll say two things about Meek’s Cutoff (this is the VIP section of my post). Meek as a character has a poisonous quality to him, but I can see why you aren’t so quick to write him off, Ben. We would obviously want him to treat the Native with more compassion and kindness, but his perception of the Native is probably not just simple prejudice. Brandon and I discussed this briefly, but the Natives that Meek has encountered probably were violent and a bit ruthless. They had to be; they were being invaded by equally violent and ruthless settlers. Some Native tribes were mean fighters and I bet Meek has seen this first hand. This doesn’t justify his treatment of the Native they find but it might explain it. Meek is dishonest and arrogant, but he’s probably seen some real shit in his day.

Also, the only thing I did not like about the film was it’s brief There Will Be Blood flourishes. Brandon and I also talked about this, but the modicum of score that is used definitely sounds like Johnny Greenwood’s TWBB score. The film more than once seems to recreate the first shot of TWBB. Not that I can blame Reichardt, I’d feel inspired by Johnny Greenwood’s score too. But, I think the film could have done without it and been its own thing. That’s only a minor gripe though, I still thought the film was tremendous. It would have to take a lot to bump it from my 2011 list (that's right John, 2011).

John, that aspect ratio debacle is beyond me. Sorry about that dude.

All right, back to the regular post...

Jason, glad you loved Dr. Strangelove. It’s one of the greatest comedies ever made. It’s brilliant today, but considering it came out during the heart of the Cold War, it’s straight up genius. I love that Kubrick originally wanted to make a Cold War thriller about atomic war and then realized how absurd the situation was and made the blackest of black comedies out of it. He was such an incredible innovator. Oh, and Peter Sellers is pretty amazing too. Lisa, you should definitely see this.

Also, Lisa, I haven't seen Presumed Innocent, but I love All the President's Men too (I'm sure everyone knows that by now but I just had to say it again 'cause it's true).

Okay on to recent watches of films by some of my favorite directors:

Ace in the Hole (Wilder)

Billy Wilder is one of my favorite Hollywood directors. He excelled at digging deep into the heart of human darkness and exposing its vulnerability. He also made some flat-out entertaining movies. He had a wonderful career. Stalag 17 is probably my favorite film of his, though The Apartment and Double Indemnity come close. I’d been saving this one for a while now because I had heard how great it was. I’m glad I finally watched it because it sure is great. Kirk Douglas gives a pretty electric performance as Chuck Tatum. He’s really sleazy and desperate but also calculating. Very fine to behold. The film itself is pretty satiric and harsh, in a good way. It goes after the notion of public spectacle and the blurring line between entertainment and journalism. It’s a biting, incisive critique, one that still holds relevance today (maybe even more relevance today). It’s a pretty great noir because it digs down deep in the dirt of human filth and leaves you there just like the man trapped in the cave. The notoriously cynical Wilder knew how to make a damn fine film.

The Milky Way (Bunuel)

Every Bunuel film is an event for me. I purposefully tried not to see them all at once because I like having new ones to see and treat myself to from time to time. This is one I saved and couldn’t have been more delighted to see. Obviously, I’m an enormous fan of Bunuel. My friend Alex got to take a class on Bunuel and Cocteau and I’m extremely jealous of him for it. Bunuel was such a master; he’s one of my top five favorite directors for sure. This one is part of a loose trilogy with two of his other masterpieces–The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Phantom of Liberty. The Milky Way is like those other too in that it is completely absurd, wild, profound, derisive, and hilarious. It’s basically a panorama of the history of Catholicism (something Bunuel was all too familiar with growing up in Spain). It exposes all the Catholic lunacy and the lunacy of organized religion in general. I’m a staunch atheist so this appealed to me, but if there are any religious folk among us then this is probably not for you (unless you can take a good joke). Some highlights include: Jesus shaving and trying to catch his breath after a good run, the Pope being shot by a anarchist firing squad, a priest going insane while discussing the eucharest, and Marquis de Sade chastizing a young girl for believing in God. Wicked stuff. Bunuel was such a bold agitator and I love him for it. This is a brilliant and hilarious film from one of the world’s greatest film artists.

The Leopard (Visconti)

I had to re-watch this because the last time I saw it was on a VHS I taped off of TCM. Not the best quality to view this film on to say the least. Anyway, I’m really happy I re-watched it because it is one of the most beautiful and sumptuous films ever made. It’s absolutely a masterpiece and deserves its place as one of the finest films in world cinema. I probably can’t add any more to what has already been said about it so I’ll just say that it is simply stunning filmmaking and it features one of the hottest babes in cinema history–Claudia Cardinale (also a terrific Burt Lancaster and the great Alain Delon). I’m a huge fan of Visconti. I love La Terra Trema, Le Notti Bianche, and his other masterpiece Rocco and his Brothers (a film I highly recommend if anyone has not seen it). He often gets overshadowed by the other heavyweights in Italian cinema (Fellini, De Sica, Rosselini) but he is easily just as great and worth your time. Next up, I gotta watch his film Senso, which was just released on Criterion. I'm excited for it.

Once Upon a Time in America (Leone)

I was briefly telling John the other night that I was watching this. I’ve been saving it for a long, long time. I love the Leone westerns. If I didn’t include them among my favorite films then I was really not on the ball that day (sometimes I go back and look at the films I listed as favorites and want to hide my head in shame for forgetting so many obvious ones). Anyway, I’ve really wanted to watch this for so long but was constantly thwarted by its running time (it’s nearly 4 hours). I can sit through a long movie with no problem but finding the time to do it is another thing entirely. Since I’m done with school for now and have some free time, I thought I’d finally watch it. Damn, it’s an incredible movie. It’s extremely entertaining and absorbing. It’s filled with awesome gangster violence, some great performances, beautiful shots, and a lovely, haunting score by the great Ennio Morricone. I was thoroughly enjoying it and didn’t find its running time all that excessive (I’d even watch the 4 and 1/2 version if I could). I can dig a good epic like this when its filled with memorable scenes and actually has a great story to tell. Leone was pretty awesome. I’m really glad I finally watched this and can’t wait to see it again some day.

Next up: Jean-Pierre Melville’s Bob le flambeur (Melville is awesome so I’m stoked for this) and possibly Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait (In honor of my dear friend Brandon).

Also, I realized yet again from working on my 2000s lists and watching some of these fine films how much I love and prefer watching older films compared to just about anything recent.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blessed is the Meek's Cutoff

John, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you. Let’s definitely do something like that more often. Film club roundtable was real fun.

Ben, sorry you couldn’t make it. Hope to see you next time around.

Major Spoilers for Meek’s Cutoff ahead:

Seriously, what a great film we saw. John, I appreciate your comments on it and look forward to reading some more of them. Brandon, can’t wait for your thoughts too.

John, a very intriguing interpretation. It’s really got me thinking. I’m completely with you on the importance of the film’s first words. Not only have they “lost” their way literally, but have lost paradise as well. The connection between the inscription on the tree and the reading of Genesis 3 is unmistakable. I’m also with you on Meek being serpent-like. He’s proud and seemingly knowing but ultimately deleterious and misleading. At the end of the film, he is humbled and crushed and admits defeat. But, what do you mean by regaining the tree of life at the end? Do you think they have actually found something or do you suppose that by merely humbling Meek a fortuitous outcome will arise? I don’t think I can follow you on them regaining anything at the end of the film just because I’m going to stick with the film’s ending. I want to keep them in abeyance, forever lost and wandering across endless hills. I can’t see them reaching water (not the tree of spiritual life but the building block of actual life) but I can’t also see them being wiped out by some tribe Blood Meridian style. I like keeping them lost, but dude if you see some redemption in there then stick with it.

Keeping with your Genesis 3 reading, what do you make of Emily being a leader against the serpent Meek? I agree that she defends her husband Solomon as a good companion, but I think she is more than just a loyal attendant–she has agency. She’s the one pointing the gun at Meek’s face not Solomon. She has the most to do with crushing Meek (apart from nature). I only bring this up because in Genesis 3 we have Eve famously being hoodwinked by the serpent and bringing Adam down with her. In this, we have Emily refusing to be deceived or mislead by actively standing up against her deceiver. She is as wise as Solomon.

Straying from the biblical reading, Brandon and I briefly talked about this film’s relation to The New World. He and I have just been writing back and forth about that film’s portrayal of the myth of progress and its critique of Western civilization. Meek’s Cutoff certainly critiques these characters as products of Western civilization. At times they come across as downright ignorant, helpless, and ineffectual. And they do this to themselves. Unlike in The New World, we aren’t exposed to Native culture or civilization as a challenge to Western ways of living. We meet a Native but we hardly see the way he lives. He performs ambiguous actions and cannot be communicated with. He is mostly an observer to the Westerners who reveal their own failings. At the end of the film when Meek admits that it was all written long before they got there, we are left to interpret what “it” is. One way of looking at this is that he is admitting that Western history is not valid as universal history. The land itself and this Native’s civilization had been there long before Europeans arrived and they have their own history. The history of these two things will now determine the fate of these Westerners. The limits of Western agency and history have been exposed.

I’m still thinking about this film and much can be said about it. It’s ripe for interpretation. I would like to also mention how well composed the film is. It’s a slow, methodical film filled with beautiful and meaningful framing. Much is communicated to you just in the way it is shot. The next time you give me shit for liking Cache for these reasons, I’m going to remind him how much you liked this Brandon haha. Seriously though, this a visually very well crafted film (John, Ebert’s review of the film mentioned the aspect ratio and a note on how it should be projected. This technical shit is beyond me but you brought it up after the film so if our version was projected wrong then good eye dude).

There’s a wonderful dissolve shot early in the film that says everything about the landscape and the characters in it. One shot effortlessly flows into another as if they were the same image just as one arid landscape flows into another and one arduous day flows into another as if they were all the same. The characters are lost in this repeating wilderness.

Also, on a side note, there are some beautiful animals in this. I was rooting for them to find water too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

lots and lots of stuff

Here’s just a random, general response to a bunch of shit:

Match Point: Very right to consider his lack of punishment and initial lack of remorse as scary. He lives in world governed by pure chance. The terrific first shot establishes this and the motif of luck ends the film. He is framed within a world without any higher governing authority. This is the type of world that terrified Dostoevsky. I think Chris Wilton is more relieved than happy at the end. Just stunned that he got away with something so vile. But something is obviously eating away at him. Perhaps it will disappear over time, but at the end of the fill it is with him. Woody is terrific at exploring moral themes and this film doesn’t offer an easy answers. It’s a frightening scenario that he presents, and sadly one that happens all too often in our actual world.

The Beat that My Heart Skipped: I realized re-reading my post that Shoot the Piano Player was something I meant to mention about why I liked this. Shoot the Piano Player is a wonderful masterpiece (probably my favorite Truffaut). It influences TBTMHK. It’s like Truffaut’s film meets a 70s crime drama. It is also like the gritty version of High School Musical or even Footloose. Sometimes you just gotta break out and dance dude.

A History of Violence: Excellent call on the relation to Straw Dogs and Out of the Past. Very astute.

The New World is a beautiful example of the myth of progress. I agree. It isn’t so much an attempt to valorize Native American culture as it is to question our belief in Western culture as a progression along a fixed historical line. Western culture has a tradition of seeing itself as a agent of history and knowledge and universalizing its own values. In doing this, it has often treated other cultures as outside of history and/or unable to progress. But what the fuck does it mean to progress? Western standards of progress are not universal standards. The New world knows this in its bones.

I was a little bullish towards Zacharek. I can be too defensive about Malick. I don't have anything against her in general. She is definitely feisty. But she needed to be called on her bullshit.

Brokeback Mountain:

Thanks for stirring shit up about this, John. Obviously I like this film, but I’m not going to jump down your throat for not liking it. I do agree with Brandon that you are letting your aversion to homosexuality influence you on it. I believe you entirely when you say you are not homophobic, but if you feel that men having sex with one another is wrong then that is obviously going to influence your perception of the film.

Here’s my defense of one of your criticisms: I know you don’t buy that Ennis and Jack hook up, but honestly I don’t think it was just a whimsical choice they made one night. They are gay. Jack is a bit more experienced then Ennis, but that doesn’t mean that Ennis is just trying this out for fun. The film is setting up a meeting between two gay characters on lonely mountain together. Would you buy it more if one were an attractive girl?

Also, if you can’t buy that they hook up so quickly, I would use the defense that it is a popular film contrivance for people to either fall in love or hook up instantly. You love classic films. How often do people fall in love in them at the blink of an eye? Making the two characters gay doesn’t change this.

I can understand you not buying this aspect of the film, but that is how I would defend it in my eyes.

As to your comments Brandon, if the film has an anti-marriage angle it is because it is reacting against marriage as a heterosexual union that is forced on the two men. It’s reacting more towards the society that prevents them from being together and says that it is “normal” for a man to be with a woman. In doing this, it is unfair to the wives of the two men, but they have the unfortunate position of being caught up in the much larger socio-political statement the film is trying to make. I actually agree with you that the film is unfair to the wives and families, but for the sake of argument, I’m going to play devil’s advocate. The film is reacting to a tradition that says that marriage between a man and women is correct and that a man needs to marry a woman, have a family, and settle down somewhere. Certainly during the time the film is set that was the expectation, and it is still ongoing today. Heterosexual unions and the conventional nuclear family image is constantly being represented and championed through copious mediums. How often is a so-called “deviant” lifestyle of homosexuality championed other than through stereotypes and parody? The film obviously overcompensates in its preference for homosexuality by completely overlooking the issue of adultery and family neglect. But it is trying to provide a counter-image towards homosexuality that runs against the conventional representations of marriage and family life.

All I’ll say about Caché is that one man’s boredom is another man’s entertainment.

I agree with you about Broken Flowers and Sin City. Great comments. I don’t have anything to add to ‘em.

Batman Begins: I can’t argue against the flaws in this film. But I don’t care about them. I’m like a little kid when it comes to Batman. Especially something Batman that at least tries to get it right.

As to your list, it’s pretty great dude.

Grizzly Man is a great pick. A hell of an experience because it is entertaining but you know the whole time what it builds towards so it just feels haunting as well. Herzog knows how to put together a doc as if it were a narrative. I liked this when I saw it, but it has been so long.

Mysterious Skin is a great pick too. I don’t even remember it too well, so I need to see it again before I comment on it further.

I was disappointed by Corpse Bride when I saw it because I went with my friend and we both love A Nightmare Before Christmas and we were expecting something instantly iconic and beautiful just like that. At the time, I didn’t think the songs were up to par nor the story that great. BUT having seen it since, I really like it now and think it is lovely and fun to watch. It’s actually pretty great. Solid pick dude.

I need to see Junebug.

I don’t remember Munich and I need to see 2046.

We don’t need to get into a debate about it, but I see that King Kong is on your honorable mentions list. I straight up did not like that. I love the original. Why did Jackson feel the need to stretch out the film to 3 hours? There are so many ridiculous subplots that go nowhere in that movie. I’m looking at you story between Jimmy and Hayes. If the film had been much shorter it probably would have been fantastic. It just gets unecessarily stretched out and bogged down.

I also still gotta see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. If you and Lisa like it so much, it’s probably worth checking out.

Ben, if you do ever get the chance, I’d love to see some of your lists for top films of the 2000s. That goes for everyone else too. Feel free to at any point. I’d enjoy them immensely.

Lisa, if Bridesmaids is like something Tina Fey would write then I'm interested.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A tree with roots

The Tree of Life has screened a Cannes and the first reviews are flooding in. Apparently, it has divided critics and and the Cannes audience (who both booed and cheered it), which is something I expected and am, in fact, relieved about. The greatest films are often the most polarizing; films so grand and profound that not everyone can initially take them in and they become hated and adored in equal measure. I've tried to refrain from reading the portions of reviews that give plot details and specifics and have instead focused on the superlatives used by the reviewers. As expected, reviews often need grandiloquent language to describe the scope of Malick's vision. I can't blame them. I'll probably have to do the same when I write my thoughts on it. Every Malick film I have seen requires a whole new level of grandiose vocabulary to describe it and praise it. After all, The man's work does not operate on a small scale but a vast, expansive one. After seeing a film of his, you almost feel imbibed with a desire to discuss "everything"; his work makes you into a philosopher. I can imagine some are not ready to come along on this journey.

One thing I'll respond to from a review I saw from Stephanie Zacharek at Movieline. She says: "But through much of "The Tree of Life," Malick, characteristically, doesn’t seem to care much for people at all."
Having not seen the film I can't comment on this statement's accuracy to The Tree of Life, but I can comment on her insistence that Malick is "characteristically" indifferent to people. I would disagree, emphatically, and I think the rest of you would too. Malick has shown time and again his absolute, unwavering tenderness for people. He cares tremendously for people, their relations to nature, and the conditions they find themselves in. Has she ever seen The Thin Red Line? If that didn't show a great care for humans, then I don't know what does. Malick always does a wonderful job of placing humans within nature and given emphasis to all forms of life. Just because he cares for other things in addition to humans he is suddenly uncaring towards humanity? What kind of black-and-white anthropocentric bullshit is that? The truth is that Malick cares more about humans than Stephanie ever will and if she cannot see that then it is her loss. Anyway, she loses all credibility for calling The Tree of Life more of a "snoozefest" than The New World. Yes, go watch Furry Vengeance instead.

Also, Brandon and I were discussing how much we would hate to watch a film at Cannes. Can you imagine watching the Tree of Life and having someone boo afterwards? I'd probably get into a fistfight. I don't care if you don't like the film, but if you are going to boo anything Terrence Malick, there's going to be trouble.

Anyway, I can't wait to see this and am jealous of those who have.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm In

I'm definitely down for Meek's Cutoff and Summer People in Ithaca. I might ride there with my friend Alex, but if that doesn't work out, I'll work something out with you, Ben and John. I'll let you know. Should be a lot of fun! It would be great to meet you fine gentlemen.


Briefly, I have three highly honorable mentions I forgot to add to my list for 2005:

Sin City (Rodriguez and Miller)

I saw this about five times in theaters with various friends because I so impressed by it. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Incredible to look at and awesome as an unabashed noir/action film. It’s just damn cool, and it’s got great performances. It probably should have made my list.

Batman Begins (Nolan)

Yeah, I straight up love Batman. Other superheroes are cool and all, but he’s the most compelling and has the best rogues gallery. I usually see most of the superhero films for better or worse, though I haven’t liked most of the Marvel movies since X2. I’m pretty much just a Batman/Superman kind of guy (sorry to any Marvel friend is a huge one and is genuinely disappointed in me). Anyway, I loved this when I saw it. I followed its entire production and couldn’t wait to see it. Chris Nolan did a wonderful job with this. It used to be in my top 10, but has fallen slightly due to being overshadowed by The Dark Knight. But, still, a great introduction.

Broken Flowers (Jarmusch)

I admitted to Brandon last night that this could have and probably should have made my list. I love it and love Bill Murray. He's terrific in it, as expected. There is something extra endearing about him in this role.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Hot Dog! Just like an organ"

I love your responses to my lists, Brandon. They are enjoyable as hell to read, and so well written and astute that they get me thinking harder about my own perceptions of the films. You describe the films better than I ever could. I appreciate it.

I appreciate the responses everyone makes here. They seriously make my day. So thanks.

You are totally right about the narrative of The New World enhancing the visual beauty. Malick does a wonderful job presenting alternative civilizations and challenging the notion of Western industrial superiority. This is also done gracefully in The Thin Red Line. You can tell that Malick has a big heart. Even if he’s a recluse, he already gives so much to humanity through his beautiful storytelling and poetry. His films speak, melliflously, for themselves.

I hear you about wishing Scorsese wouldn’t do his musical docs (though I’m stoked for his film on George Harrison coming soon). It’s kind of weird to balance Shutter Island with Shine a Light or a cd called “Martin Scorsese presents the blues” that you can get on itunes. But the man loves music and I can’t blame him. No Direction Home is a beautiful project that needed to be made and under the best supervision possible. I’m glad Scorsese was there to perfect it. It’s a brilliant look at great man.

I didn’t think I’d get picked on for liking a gay themed film, but for being a huge sap (which I am). I know no one in film club would rail against Brokeback Mountain for the sexual preference of the characters. Everyone here is smarter than that.
But, you are spot on about this film dealing with self-hatred. Ledger’s character is almost like a tightly wound fist, afraid to open itself up and accept itself in a new way. He plays the role with such perfect restraint. I would absolutely agree with you and Lisa that Ang Lee is unfair to Michelle Williams’ character. It’s as if she is punished for preventing this beautiful love to occur between Ledger and Gyllanhaal, but she is in no way responsible for it. She is caught up in the situation, and she has every right to feel betrayed. I would agree that the film doesn’t give her a fair treatment, but that’s probably because it is so insistent on the love between the two male leads. Still, a beautiful film that I like more and more as the years go by.

Paradise Now is really great and worth seeing.

Shall we go at it with another Hanake film? haha. This fella seems to come up more than anyone. That is a funny quote from good ol’ Armond. There is probably some truth to it. I don’t know if I was ever excited watching the film. It doesn’t seem to care about being exciting (or maybe it does?). It seems more interested in the idea of “looking” than anything else.
I didn’t read it as a political statement. I’m sure there are numerous readings of it in a Foucaudian surveillance/power sense. Outside of school, I don’t care much to do something like that. I guess I just really liked it for the way the shots were composed. Maybe I read too much into them and assumed the film was more profound than it was, but I think Hanake is intelligent enough to make them laden with potential meaning. Perhaps he is trying way too hard, as you said, and perhaps he is trying to moralize to his audience. He certainly is a pretentious fellow at times. But I think he does a great job with this film in using the camera to convey meaning. I probably sound lame for saying that, so I’m sorry. But that’s what I liked about it haha. (p.s. yes, Lisa it is definitely SFL)

Dude, I’ve read great things about Woody’s Midnight in Paris. I’m so stoked for it. I seriously am always rooting for him to do well and make another great movie. I hope this is the ticket.

Lisa, thanks for respondin’ too. I’m glad you like Match Point and have got my back on it. It’s a great film. If you haven’t seen Woody Allen’s Crimes And Misdemeanors, the film I mentioned being almost an earlier companion piece to Match Point, you definitely should. It’s got the same moral themes and also some great humor on the side. I love it anytime Woody acts in one of his movies.

Capote is understated, which is definitely why it works. It’s not overblown or too sprawling. In Cold Blood is a great read, isn’t it?

I really liked Good Night and Good Luck as I said. I gotta watch it again. I bet it’s gotten better with age. I’m glad you are a fan. It’s solid.

I believe Brandon that you love A History of Violence. You can probably give a better defense of it than I could.

And Lisa, I love Jason Bateman too. Arrested Development solidified that affair. I don’t know if I could sit through The Switch without a cute girl forcing me to, but I’m glad you liked it. I’m rooting for Bateman. When are we getting that Arrested Development movie already?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

2005 part two

Jason, you’re right. The sounds of The New World are brilliant, beautiful, and they add to the film’s power. I don’t know if you’d get a better or worse experience watching the film silently, it would just be a different experience. I think saying it could work as a silent film is just a testament to how well Malick communicates through images. He’s a master at it. But, I agree, the sound contributes to making the movie hypnotic and I wouldn’t do without it.

Also, thanks for posting the link to your music listening blog. I love music and am always looking for new stuff to get into. Feel free to bring up music anytime on here too.

Speaking of music, John, glad you like New Morning. It’s a really pleasant album that I always equate with spring and usually bust out around this time of year.

To finish my list:

6. Match Point (Allen)

A lot of you probably think this is overrated, and perhaps it is. But, for me, anytime Woody does a movie with this much dexterity I’m thrilled. I love Woody Allen, and probably enjoy more movies by him than anyone ever should. This one is basically a retelling of Crimes and Misdemeanors (a great film in its own right), which was basically a retelling of Crime and Punishment. I love that novel, and certainly Woody does too. I don’t find it tired for him to repeatedly explore its themes. The man is fascinated by its moral conundrums and brilliant psychology, and I can respect him for that because I feel the same way. As much as I love Dostoevsky’s novel, I do also love that Woody takes the punishment aspect away. The guilt is there (perhaps its own punishment), but the punishment descending from some higher authority is absent. It’s crime and the absence of punishment in a potentially godless, unjust, indifferent universe. Say what you will about this movie or Woody Allen, but I will always be there to stick up for it and him as a filmmaker.

7. Capote (Miller)

This a cold, muted film that makes you feel the way it looks. It’s unsettling but effective. It worked on me at least. Biopics can be terrible when they try to do too much. This one works for limiting its scope and obviously for its incredible acting by Hoffman. In Cold Blood is beautifully written and contains some sentences that are so well constructed they made my jaw drop. I love literature and am fascinated by writers. Perhaps that was why I was so interested in this.

8. The Beat that My Heart Skipped (Audiard)

I wish I could play the piano. It’s a beautiful instrument. I’ve tried and failed on several occasions to teach myself. I have promised myself lessons some day when I have the financial stability to afford them. For me, it has an appeal like no other instrument.

This is a remake of a film called Fingers that I haven’t seen. I love the idea of being pulled between a life of crime and a life of piano playing. It seems almost comedic as a premise. But it reveals an important theme about overcoming the way you’ve been taught to be and becoming your own person. It’s something everyone should be encouraged to do. Explore the things you are passionate about and dig them no matter what you’re being told otherwise. This a film that is interested in that idea, but it has this great ambivalent ending that leaves you wondering whether it is truly possible to break out of the way you’ve been molded for so long. Audiard is clearly fascinated by American crime films.

9. A History of Violence (Cronenberg)

This falls a bit low because I don’t remember it well enough. I had it in my original list that I made a few years ago, so I kept it in because I at least remember thinking it was awesome. I’ll have to see again before I give it a proper evaluation. I’m not a huge Cronenberg fan. I wasn’t really interested in him until I saw this and Eastern Promises. I remember being 16 and thinking I had to like him because he was one of those great subversive weirdos like David Lynch. Lynch appealed to me, but it never stuck with Cronenberg. I have a different appreciation for him now. Anyone else excited for his movie about Freud and Jung?

10. Good Night and Good Luck (Clooney)

Dammit, this one falls low for the same reason as AHOV. I really have to see it again. I remember being very impressed and aware of its importance. Clooney made a fine film about a crucial moment in American history. Its themes still resonate today. I seem to bring up All the President’s Men a lot, but seriously it bears favorable comparison. Two exciting movies about standing up to corruption and unbridled political authority. They mean a whole lot in this day and age of media complacency and uniform acquiescence.

These last two could climb; I just need to see ‘em again. I do not doubt there potential to be great when seen by older, hopefully wiser Jeff. I really liked them when I saw them and put them on my list at the time. Is it wrong to keep them on there when I haven’t seen them in so long? I don’t think so. I trust my younger self for some things.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2005 part one

I haven’t watched any movies this past week. School ends this week, so I’ve been busy working on papers and such. Ben, I hear you, when you’ve got so much writing to do for school, it’s hard to want to write anything else, even for something as enjoyable as film club. But, I have some free time right now between classes so I can post...

Lisa, I watched Waiting for Superman a couple months ago, and I would agree with you about all that you said. I’m horrible at judging or evaluating documentaries though. I enjoy most of the ones I see, just because for me it is like watching something on the History Channel. I’m not good at comparing documentaries to fictional films because I don’t see that much of a connection between them. I probably haven’t seen enough documentaries to know how to evaluate them fully though. Since you watch a lot of docs, I’ll use your word to know which ones are worth seeing.

Jason, you are completely free to not get Lynch or Godard (and any other director for that matter). It’s not even as if there is something to get with either of them. I think you either like em or you don’t, and either way is cool as long as you are honest. I like Lynch but understand not digging him. He’s a certain taste, like Tom Waits when it comes to music. And Godard is also a certain taste, but one I don’t necessarily buy into as much as others do. I like quite a few of his films (Band of Outsiders probably being my favorite) but I don’t adore him as a master the way I do other directors.

Brandon, definitely let us know about Summer People being in that film. That’s awesome!
We gotta hang as soon as I’m done with school. I’ll be around next weekend when ya’ll play Jarvis and Alex and Wally have their grad party. Should be a blast.

All Right, since I don't have any other movies to write about, here’s part one of my 2005 list. I only had time to finish half of it. The rest will come soon.

1. The New World (Malick)

Was there even a chance that this wouldn’t be number one? I’m glad this is our most agreed upon film. It’s one of those films that is so beautiful and dear to your heart that you aren’t even sure about sharing with others for fear that they might forsake it and hurt your feelings. This is easily the most beautiful film of the decade. A poetic ode to nature and existence. It’s almost mystical in its beauty. It’s like discovering some secluded waterfall deep in the jungle and bathing beneath its almost sacred drops. You are so thankful and aware of its presence and power. I love nature and appreciate it beyond words. This film oozes that same sentiment and evokes it with every glorious frame. I bet one could watch it silently (the same for all of Malick’s films) and still be floored by its poetry. But the narration is poetry itself too, and it augments the visual poetry. I bet with sound or without, it’s still a great experience.

Malick has made four masterpieces, and I expect after The Tree of Life I can definitively say five. I agree, those were some beautiful words you posted about Malick, Ben.

2. No Direction Home (Scorsese)

This is mostly a personal pick and favorite of mine. I love Bob Dylan. I could talk to you fluently about every one of his albums (even the lesser stuff from the 80s) and all the different chapters of his life. I was straight up obsessed with him in high school. I bought every movie and book on him that I could get my hands on. He’s still my favorite musician, and I believe he’s the greatest songwriter of all time. This is a wonderful introduction to his life and music. It’s also a wonderful introduction to the times he was living in and the great folk scene in Greenwich village in the 60s. It’s got incredible interviews with all sorts of great people including the man himself. It’s just a fascinating documentary about a really interesting guy and a really interesting time period in American history. Now let’s get a Part 2 for some of those years after the motorcycle accident.

3. Brokeback Mountain (Lee)

Another beautiful film that has only grown in stature after the death of the great Heath Ledger. It’s a heartbreaking love story that transcends the sexuality of its characters, but that doesn’t mean we should be blind to their homosexuality. The cultural mores about homosexuality are the reason these two characters can’t be together (or feel as if they aren’t allowed to). We should see that first and foremost (and understand how it is still working today), and then appreciate it for all its other great qualities. It’s an incredibly human story, that is told effectively and communicated with tenderness. I don’t care who picks on me for liking it. I’m a romantic first and foremost.

4. Paradise Now (Abu-Assad)
A haunting film that I couldn’t stop thinking about for days. The final image is difficult to get out of your head, merely for its suggestive power and abeyance. You just want to jump through the screen and put a stop to it all. You care about these characters (at least I did) and don’t want to see anyone get hurt. It’s a great film about relativity and persepective (something we desperately need in our increasingly black and white War on Terror world). It’s point isn’t simply that one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, but that both are still human. I think we tend to forget that behind all these terms, abstract notions, and political ideologies we have humans, plain and simple. Not monsters, not abominations, just humans.

5. Caché (Hanake)
This a very patient thriller. It’s not what you are expecting. I had to watch it twice to understand the level the film was working on. It requires a lot of attention because it is so elaborately and deliberately framed. It communicates a wealth of ideas if you are willing to sit through it. The title is basically spot on. An ostensibly simple mystery film with deeper meaning hidden and diffuse throughout it. I appreciate films like this, though I can imagine others might find them pretentious as hell. I don’t think this film is trying to be showy. It’s just trying to explore film as a medium and asking you to come along with it. It is done with great care, and that is something I always appreciate. This is a great film from Hanake. It isn’t didactic at all, but just mysterious and expertly crafted. The final image encapsulates everything that is great about this movie, and beautifully represents its objective.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blow Out & Randomness

Ben, I haven’t read the pacifism article in Harper’s but I’ll try to check it out at BU. Thanks for the suggestion.

I try to be a non-violent just because I don’t want to be a violent person, but I obviously have my points of rage and it’s hard to maintain that ideal (just spend some time with me on a soccer field in a competitive situation and the rational, pacifist Jeff will disappear). I wish that everyone would practice non-violence in an ideal fantasy world, but I can still understand the imperative arguments for violence. I love Dr. King, but I love Malcolm X too, and I can’t say that some of his arguments for defending yourself against abuse, violence, and hatred are wrong. I wasn’t in that situation and I don’t know what it is like to be in a situation like that. I don’t have a great argument against violence as defense from violence other than that I wish that the original violence didn’t exist in the first place. I wish people weren’t violent to each other or to other animals (and I wish this for myself), but I can’t will this as if it were a universal truth because there are no universal truths. I guess all I’m trying to say is that I am for non-violence myself, but I’ve also never been in a position where I’ve needed to use it. Many others aren’t so fortunate.

If you live in a country where your family members and friends are being massacred, and you decide to join a rebellion and kill your oppressors to prevent more massacres, then who the fuck am I to tell you that you can’t be violent?

Let me clarify- I don’t necessarily care that violence was used against someone like OBL (though if we truly were committed to helping other people against violent dirtbags we would have helped folks in Africa long ago), but I do care about celebrating someone else's death like you aren’t going to die yourself. I just can’t do it.

Anyway, back to movies. I didn’t see A Scanner Darkly or Joyeux Noel, but interesting to hear two opposing sides from you guys. A friend of mine also loves Joyeux Noel and I was going to watch it with him and his kids around last Christmas, but we couldn’t stop watching Simpsons episodes. I’ll try to see it in the future.

Brandon, I can get down with a big dumb hollywood blockbuster. I was raised on them. I hope I don’t come across as being too snobby. I can dig artists and artisans, and I can dig your odd taste. I enjoy a lot of different genres of movies, though there are some exceptions. I think I might like Miami Vice, just because I usually like Michael Mann’s movies. If Miami Vice has more depth to it than the surface belies, then I believe it because Mann is pretty adept at mixing Blockbuster spectacle with actual substance. I’d love to watch that with you or any of your other picks, my friend. Let’s do it!

I hear you about Inland Empire, and can sympathize. A three hour David Lynch journey is probably not one to be taken on a couch where sleep is an option.

You can bash the suburb genre all you’d like. As you said, it's not your thing and that’s cool. I’m sure there are cinematic genres I can’t get into that you might be fascinated with. With Little Children, I guess I saw something more than just caricature and conventional genre technique. It’s probably something I can’t explain.

I totally get the idea that Scorsese is a 40s director trapped in a modern movie director’s body. It’s a great point and one that I should take into account more often. I love Scorsese. The dude knows more about film than I could ever dream of, and he worships it like nobody’s business. I respect and admire him incessantly for that.

I’m sure I would love A Prairie Home Companion if I were involved in all of that goodness, too. Sounds awesome. I love hearing about movies connecting to personal stories. It’s something, as film lovers, that I think we can all can relate to.

I did know that the Blood Brothers bassist is now in Fleet Foxes. Wild, isn’t it? I was surprised to see that, but also impressed. The dude has interesting taste. I like that.

Lisa, I can understand not liking Brick. It is a gimmick to take a Hammett/Chandler hard-boiled detective narrative and apply it to high school kids. Maybe it is a boys movie. I thought it was really fun, but maybe that’s because I wish I were in a hard-boiled detective narrative myself. Who doesn’t want to be Sam Spade?

Also, It’s cool that you like All That Jazz. I was the one who just wrote about it. Crazy movie. Bob Fosse seems like an interesting character to say the least.

I just watched Brian De Palma’s Blow Out (1981). I don’t know De Palma’s work that well. I really like Sisters and Carrie, but have only seen his more commercial shit other than that (like Scarface, The Untouchables, etc.). I first heard about Blow Out through Tarantino. He lists it as one of his favorite movies of all time. After watching the film, it’s easy to see why that is. It’s replete with homages to other films, and seems to be in love with film in general (two features that Taratino, obviously, will trademark for his own). The film was just released on Criterion, so I finally decided to get it, and I really loved it. I’d be curious to hear what others have thought if they have seen it or if they do see it.

This is a great old-fashioned thriller. You can find influences of Hitchcock, Antonioni, Coppola, Schlesinger, Carpenter, and many others I’m probably not even sharp enough to recognize. The film opens with this awesome Halloween-esque POV shot that becomes really fun in it’s awfulness. You’ll know what I mean if you see the film. The rest of the film plays out like the mystery/thriller Antonioni’s Blow-up never was (If you were frustrated by that picture, then you might like this instead). It’s interesting, exciting, tense, and has a really dark pay-off. Seriously, the ending is like a sick joke, but an inspired one. I’m surprised I didn’t see it coming at all. Thinking it over, the film is pretty much building towards it but I still was oblivious to it. Anyway, when it came, I thought, “damn, that’s bleak...but awesome!” It’s a great ending.

What I also really like about the movie is how much the line between cinema and reality becomes distorted in it. There is so much interaction between film and real life in this that even Travolta’s character’s back story is cinematic. Cinema functions on so many levels in this. If anyone has seen this or does see it, then maybe we can discuss this more. I don’t want to give anything away. But since this film is essentially about filmmaking, this might be a fun one to discuss.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Awww yeah

Thanks for sending me that link, Ben. The best part was when the women said not to be embarrassed for misquoting. It made me feel better about being an idiot. Again, I apologize for misquoting. I tried to search the quote when I read it to make sure it was factual and found it on, which was enough for me. My mistake. It is a great quote though. One I think that Dr. King would be proud of.

I’m not one to get on the soapbox either, but I’ve also never had a blog before. You saying something encouraged me to say something too, Brandon.

Thank you, Lisa, for your nice words too. You know what’s up and I appreciate that.
Also, don’t worry about how often you post. From what I can tell, this is a pretty relaxed forum, and I believe you can post at your leisure.

As a final note on this issue (I’ll keep beating that horse) I’m just not into celebrating death no matter how much of a dirtbag someone is. OBL was a vicious, violent dirtbag of the highest order, but as you said Brandon, so are many of our leaders and other leaders we align ourselves with. I wouldn’t celebrate the death of any of these people. Perhaps it’s because I know how tenuous a line it is between life and death. It is something that can be crossed by any of us at any moment and eventually will have to be crossed. I’m not religious and a don’t believe in Karma, but I do believe that celebrating death is a lousy practice and one that only leads to more hatred. OBL was evil and I don’t mourn his death, but I won’t dance around rejoicing either. Self-righteousness is bullshit, and I agree, Brandon, the lack of perspective in all of this is disheartening.

I know that emotion gets the best of us a lot of the time, but a non-violent ideal is something we should all strive for. Impossible in our society? Probably, but I still try to hold myself to that standard and wish in vain that others would too.

Now, as you put it greatly Brandon, let’s get back to talking about violent movies!!

Brandon, I need to see A Perfect Getaway. If you rate it so highly, then I am willing to check it out.

With In a Lonely Place, I never suspected Bogie of murdering the girl just because in his opening scene we see him act violently towards that studio producer’s son. So when he beats up that rando on the road, I wasn’t exactly shocked because it’s a part of his character. We know the whole movie that he is violent and aggressive and a drunk, but since we know that the whole time I never suspected him because I didn’t think he was hiding anything. He is what he is the entire film. Does that make any sense?

Thanks for your comments on my list. I always like reading them because you write more about the films on my list than I do, and your comments are so specific and interesting that they get me thinking deeper about my reactions to the films. So, again, thank you.

I don't have a lot of time to write detailed responses to everything, but here are some brief thoughts:

Inland Empire: You absolutely need to be in a certain place to want to go along for the trip. I’d say the best way to prepare oneself is to go into it with the least resistance possible. I’d say let go of any expectations you have for a movie or any narrative experience and simply take it for what it is. You don’t even have to bring meaning or sense with you, just an open mind. Maybe some substances would help too, but I don’t know. I’ve only seen it straight. Patience helps too.

Little Children: I don’t know the lesson either. I just think Todd Field is a fine filmmaker and loved the film for his talent. I need to see it again too though. It’s been awhile.

Del Toro is brilliant a juggling those two worlds. I agree and also agree that we need more like him. Well said.

Also, I agree with everything you said about The Departed, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, and The Proposition. Well put. You do a better job commending them than I ever could.

I still don’t like that last shot in The Departed. Lousy is a poor choice of word. I just felt lousy when I saw it because it was so obvious. For a film that consistently was able to surprise me, the last thing I wanted from it was an obvious final image. Oh well, great film anyway.

The gimmick still holds for me. Brick will always be fun in my eyes, but I can understand how it could lessen for you.

I wish I could take you to task for some of your picks, but I haven’t seen any of the ones that aren’t on my list! haha sad, I know. I need to see Old Joy. I liked Wendy and Lucy and am excited for Meek’s Cutoff. Reichardt is talented. I didn’t see Casino Royale, but your comments make me want to. I heard it was good, but I haven’t watched a Bond movie in ages. Not a big fan of the series, either. Too many films is right!

I didn’t see Prairie Home Companion. I’ve only heard an actual broadcast of it once, and I wasn’t in the right mood to enjoy it. I should have seen this though because it was Altman’s last film and because PTA was back-up director. I’ll check it out sometime.

I didn’t see Miami Vice or The Descent either. I’m interested in seeing Miami Vice just so I could respond to you about it. I wonder if I’d like it too? I kind of feel like I would...

I did see, however, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and it is a great pick. A joyous film with an infectious love for hip-hop. Dave is one of the funniest and coolest guys around. I forgot about this one. Again, great pick.


In other news, the new Fleet Foxes album was released today and it is incredible stuff. They are mad popular right now, but they deserve all the attention. Terrific band. I’m crushing on this new album hard.

Next up: watching Brian De Palma's Blow Out. Just released on Criterion and I've heard great things. Has anyone seen it?


I guess the quote was a bastardization of another MLK quote.

Apparently, here is something he actually said:

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, pp. 62–63 (1967)

The first part must have been made up and added onto his quote and it somehow spiraled. Like a game of telephone. Sorry to misquote. Who knew this thing called the internet could be liable to misinformation?

Monday, May 2, 2011

A wise man once said...

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Been seeing that around a bit, and it makes me feel better in light of today's disheartening celebrations . Again, I appreciate your comments, Brandon, and wish every one could be as thoughtful as you.

People can be pretty lousy at times. To paraphrase another civil rights leader, wrong is wrong no matter who says it or does it. We should try to be bigger than the people we condemn. Celebrating death is wrong no matter who says it or does it.

I'll get back to writing about movies in my next post, but I just had to get that out there because it's been on my mind all day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Here it is. My list of top 10 films of 2006, for what it's worth. I'm sure I'll get shit for a few, but that's okay. I can take it. Overall, a pretty decent year for films. I'm not even remotely consistent with any of these release years, so I'm sorry.

1. The Fountain - Has already been discussed, but a beautiful, brilliant film that is highly underrated. I never thought it would actually be made, considering how much shit Aronofsky went through after Brad Pitt left the production to make Troy (what a great decision that turned out to be, Brad). I was deeply excited to see it and it didn’t disappoint. Visually stunning, but it’s emotional grip is what drew me in so intensely. I was moved beyond words by the experience. I think it’s Aronofsky’s best.

2. Inland Empire - The ultimate David Lynch nightmare. A full measure immersion in all his glorious strangeness. It’s an experience. Baffling and frantic. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what happens, but I would be able to say that I loved every minute of it. Some might find this frustrating, but I just gave in and enjoyed the trip. Let me have it if you will, but I will hold firm. I love David Lynch.

3. Half Nelson - Before we knew each other Brandon, I saw this for the first time at the screening with Shareeka Epps that Mysterious Mysteries played. You guys were awesome and I loved the film. It’s crazy because Shareeka used to go watch my old band play at Ranelle’s and she approached me after the film. I was pretty honored because she is wonderful in it and I let her know. Too bad the screening was filled with all these wack yuppies asking lame questions, but still a great film and an incredible performance by Gosling too. An important film.

4. Little Children - Brandon, I already know you are going to say how much you hate this. I know you loathe films about suburban secrets and underbellies. But here is a film that is far superior to American Beauty and Revolutionary Road and any other film of the like. It’s all in the way it is directed by Todd Field. I think he’s a very fine filmmaker. He’s patient, smart, and adept as a storyteller and dramatist. Any film that can give you such a wide range of emotion for a pedophile is achieving something. Let the discord begin.

5. Pan’s Labyrinth - This one surprised me. I went into it thinking I’d get a straight fantasy like Alice in Wonderland, and instead got a brutal look at war and the desire for imagination as an escape from such a reality. I was surprised in a good way. It ended up being more profound than just a visual feast. It is beautiful and creative to look at, but much more heartbreaking as a narrative. Would make an awesome double feature with The Fall.

6. The Departed - I would have thought that a film that uses texting as a plot device would make me want to kill myself, but Scorsese can make you see past almost any of your stupid pet peeves. This is expertly directed by Marty and edited by the great Thelma Schoonmaker. The last shot is lousy, but it is so thoroughly interesting up until that point, that it gets a pass. Not among my favorites of Marty’s films, but entertaining as all hell and replete with a terrific cast of actors. A fun one to quote with an outrageously horrible accent.

7. The Wind that Shakes the Barley - My friend Liam, who used to play guitar in the band Titus Andronicus, is a huge fan of Ken Loach, Terrence Malick, The Simpsons, and 70s punk. We roomed together when I went to Manhattan College for a bit. Needless to say, we got along great and talked endlessly about our admiration for all those things. I haven’t seen him in a long while, but this one reminds me of him, so it gets a place on here. Beautiful Irish country side, Cillian Murphy, and a wonderful story that I reflected on long after seeing it. I need to see it again though.

8. The Proposition - This one only slips so low because I don’t remember it too well (sad, I know). I saw it once and that was too long ago. I remember digging the hell out of it. It’s an awesome Western, Cormac McCarthy style. Beautiful music by Nick Cave and a great script by him too. How badass is he? I need to see this again and then maybe it will rise on the list.

9. Brick - Very Enjoyable. I couldn’t get that great score out of my head after I saw it, and I kept wishing that I were in a film noir myself. It seems like it was fun to make. It had the potential to be gimmicky, but it ended up being damn cool and actually refreshing. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the man.

10. Children of Men - Beautifully shot and told. I liked this quite a bit when I saw it in theaters, but it slips because I had to read the book for a class and absolutely HATED it. The film deviates heavily from the book (which is good thing), but it still carries the onus of being based on that piece of shit. Unfair, I know. But a really solid movie regardless.

In a Lonely Quai

The next thing I do will be my 2006 list, but first I wanted to do brief write ups of two awesome films I just watched.

Quai des Orfèvres

Great Recommendation, Brandon. This is a tremendous film noir that is surprisingly benign, considering Clouzot’s typically cynical oeuvre (perhaps it had to be after the hullabaloo surrounding Le Corbeau). It’s much less interested in racking up tension as an investigation film than it is in reveling in its characters. The film cares about its characters. Deeply. And it cares about making them interesting by adding little details that suddenly change your entire perception of them. Dora is a great character, who really gets her due at the end when she reveals the actual object of her affection. Inspector Antoine is wonderfully played by Louis Jouvet, and he is another great character. How absolutely kindhearted are the scenes between he and his son? Maybe some would find them a bit mawkish, but I found them to be genuinely sweet and endearing. They are great humanizing scenes. And then, of course, there are Jenny and Maurice who we follow throughout the picture and who get fleshed out through the issue of class, which makes their relationship and behavior in the film that much more intriguing. How is class influencing their behavior, and how through everything do they still love each other so sincerely? Overall, the details of the characters are enough to have you analyzing them throughout the film and much longer afterward.

This is a well-constructed film, both as a police procedural and as a character study. What a fine filmmaker Clouzot was. I haven’t disliked a movie of his yet.

In a Lonely Place

I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t seen this. I’ve meant to for quite some time, but it never actualized. Brandon and John, you both have this as number one on your 1950 lists, so that was the final impetus I needed to see it. Boy, did I hold out on a great one. This is among the finest noirs I’ve ever seen. It’s so well written and acted that it is impossible not to be entertained. I dig that it’s almost a black comedy about showbiz at first and then becomes this tragic reflection on love. We know watching the film that Steele isn’t the murderer, so the film isn’t so much about unraveling a mystery as it is unraveling a relationship. It strikes tones of Othello in this way; suspicion, wrath, and outside provocation undo this genuine relationship between two people. It’s tragic stuff, but it’s thoroughly entertaining, in large part due to the razor sharp script, full of acerbic wit and sadness. Great film.

Brandon, sorry I couldn’t make it out last night. My ride to Bing fell through. I don’t have a lot of money right now and with gas prices so high, it’s been difficult to come hang out on weekends. But school is done in two weeks and I should be able to work out rides easier then, so I’ll be able to chill soon. I miss hanging out!