Tag Archives: movies
Hurrying Through Leisure
The whole attitude seems to be: Let me get through this thing I don’t especially enjoy so I can do another thing just like it, which I won’t enjoy either. This is precisely what Paul Virilio means when he talks about living at a “frenetic standstill” and what Hartmut Rosa means when he talks about “social acceleration.”Alan Jacobs
I say: If you’re trying to get through your work as quickly as you can, then maybe you should see if you can find a different line of work. And if you’re trying to get through your leisure-time reading and watching and listening as quickly as you can, then you definitely do not understand the meaning of leisure and should do a thorough rethink. And in both cases maybe it would be useful to read Mark Helprin on “The Acceleration of Tranquility.”
This reminds me of two things, both of which I probably learned about from Jacobs.
- This article from 2016 about watching everything on 2x speed (there have been lots of articles about this same thing since then)
- This article about watching everything ex-treme-ly slow-ly
Hold the emotion, thanks
I got to make my heist film with Gene Hackman. Like many of the stars in the above-instanced works, he is an actual tough guy. Lee Marvin was a marine commando in the Pacific, Hayden in the Adriatic. Hackman was a China marine, racecar driver, stunt pilot, deep-sea diver.
These men, and their performances, are characterised by the absence of the desire to please. On screen, they don’t have anything to prove, and so we are extraordinarily drawn to them.
They are not “sensitive”, they are not anti-heroes. They are, to use a historic term, “he-men”. How refreshing.
There will always be the same number of movie stars. There is a table of operations, and the vacant places must be filled, as with politicians, irrespective of the distinction of the applicant pool.
But I vote for the tone of a less sentimental time. Look at the photographs in the family collection, of dad or granddad during the war, or the Depression. We see individuals captured in a moment in their lives, not portraying themselves for the camera. I used to look at them and think one didn’t see those faces today.
I saw them on September 11. I was in the air when the bombings took place, flying back to Boston from the Toronto film festival. We landed at a small commercial aviation field. A customs officer escorted us to a room, where a group of pilots and passengers watched the immediate aftermath on television.
I had never seen faces like that in my life. They were so intent, resolved, completely unsentimental, trying to make sense of a disordered and a very dangerous world; as were the men and women who created the genre of film noir, to which I respectfully submit my addition.David Mamet
Going the Distance
The best thing about The Bear, I think, is that it tries so hard. The writing alternates between brilliant and painful. (For examples of the former, see this monologue and basically anything Richie says.) The setting is rich and detailed, but also strangely empty. (Why do we never see any customers?) The filmmaking is boring in one episode and gutsy in another. (Episode 7 is one continuous shot set during the ten minutes before the lunch rush.) The one thing that is consistent is that Jeremy Allen White never stops looking like Rocky Balboa.
Maybe that’s enough. Maybe the unusual charm of the show comes from the fact that it feels like a film made by an MFA student on a shoe-string budget, the kind of film where no one gets paid, but pours their guts out anyway; where the cast and crew are basically the same people and craft services is someone’s mom dropping off chili. That scrappy vibe serves the show well because it’s also what the story is about—a restaurant that could be great but isn’t quite there yet. The Bear, The Beef, and Rocky all seem to have the same goal: to prove that, despite appearances, they’re not just some bum from the neighborhood.
UPDATE: I added some things to make my point more clear.
The Five Best Movies I Watched for the First Time This Year
Thanks I Hate It
If you want to know why I boycott Disney’s live-action remakes (and why you should, too), watch this video on 2017’s Beauty and the Beast. (Thanks, Alastair, for sending it to me, even though it took me roughly three years to watch it.)
If Disney ever gets around to remaking The Aristocats as a misunderstood-villain version focusing on Edgar, I’ll fork over the dough. Otherwise, the boycott stands.
Taste Blood to Be a Man
The director Sam Raimi once remarked that the Coen brothers’ movies obey three rules—the innocent must suffer, the guilty must be punished, and you must taste blood to be a man. There might be a fourth rule, Raimi added: The dead must walk.from David Mikics review of Joel Coen’s Macbeth
For my birthday, T got me a three-month subscription to the Criterion Collection’s streaming service. Why three months, you ask? As she pointed out, it’s a time frame short enough to motivate us to watch as many movies as possible to get our money’s worth. Plus, for a teacher, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the most relaxing time of the year. I expect to be glutted with film by the end of February.
Last night, we watched Kurosawa’s High and Low, a police procedural from 1963. I’m not planning to review each Criterion movie we watch, but here are a few notes about the film.
- Along with obvious “high vs. low” imagery, Kurosawa plays with light and darkness. Gondo’s living room is flooded with white light, which makes him vulnerable. He must close the curtains to be safe. His wardrobe also goes from white to dark over the course of the movie.
- T commented on how Westernized everything in 1960s Japan was. The characters wear business suits. The children pretend to be cowboys. There’s an extended scene in a frenetic dance club populated by Americans (where, according to IMDb, Tarantino got his inspiration for the famous scene in Pulp Fiction). Mrs. Gondo goes back and forth between wearing a traditional kimono and wearing the garb of an American housewife.
- In American crime dramas, the detective almost always works alone, sometimes outside the bounds of the law. In High and Low (as in Memories of Murder, which I also watched recently), the detective is surrounded by a team. This is extremely obvious in the scenes where the members of the team report on their progress. The whole frame is packed with people.
- Kurosawa’s long takes let the actors make the most of the time between cuts. ‘Twas delightful.