Wednesday, March 23, 2022

THE PINK SMOKE PODCAST: EPISODE 97 - THE KILLING FLOOR

 


I joined my good friends John & Chris over at The Pink Smoke to talk about Bill Duke's complicated feature film debut; The Killing Floor.

Click here or the image above to go to the episode.

Enjoy...

Thursday, March 10, 2022

TWIN PEAKS COMMUNITY SHOWCASE

 


I was asked to jump on Take The Ring’s Twin Peaks community chat to talk about two of my favorite things; David Lynch & movie comparisons.

Click here or the image above to go to the episode.

Enjoy.

Friday, March 4, 2022

FIRE



If Claire Denis’ latest film is supposed to be an on-the-spot improvised pandemic-era exercise/experiment - then I’m willing to go easy on it. But if it is meant to be taken like a serious well-crafted film in the vein of her stronger efforts like Beau Travail, No Fear No Die or 35 Rums - then I am a little disappointed. Disappointed as if I’m watching an A+ student intentionally get a C- on a test because they find it amusing. I don’t think Denis has the ability to make a “terrible” movie, and no matter how head-scratchingly vague/empty the movie felt to me at times, it does have me thinking about it non-stop well after watching it. Perhaps that is a win on some level...

For those of you familiar with Denis’ entire filmography, Fire feels like an even more playful & loose iteration of something like L’Intrus. Not in terms of plot but in terms of execution. From the beginning we’re introduced to characters and information in a very “in the know”/speakeasy kind of way. Claire Denis is the queen of hints & implications and with Fire we see Denis pushing that form storytelling to the limit.

As a fan of movie references & homages I should love this. For those that don’t know, the tone of this film is very much in the school of Jacques Rivetter right down to Denis casting Rivette regular; Bulle Olgier. Fire’s most Rivette quality is the way it weaves in & out of being silly/playful and incredibly intense (the film's playfulness also owes a bit to the French new wave while it's intense finale feels like an argument from a Cassavetes film).
A movie from my favorite filmmaker (Denis) drenched in vague homages & movie references from older filmmakers I love (Cassavetes, Rivette, etc) should be right up my alley but unfortunately it just  didn’t click.

Outside of the Rivette homage there is a basic premise/plot that involves a couple’s relationship being put to the test when various outside forces try to come between them. But ultimately this film almost felt like an inside reference that I wasn’t privy to (which is incredibly frustrating considering my love for Claire Denis).
Anyone who knows me is aware I’m Claire Denis’ biggest fan but I’m no authority on her or her work (even if I come off that way at times). I encourage everyone to watch this (Fire is being put out by IFC films so it should be somewhat easy to see). Perhaps there’s something I just didn’t get or understand. I plan on watching this many times over in the future so maybe things will change.

And Fire isn’t without some incredibly positive qualities…

Tindersticks make yet another amazing musical contribution to the cinematic world of Claire Denis (the score is more in line with other “moody” scores like Bastards or L’Intrus).
The cast of Fire feels like a family affair with appearances from almost every era of Claire Denis regular. Watching Alice Houri, Vincent Lindon, Juliette Binoche, Gregoire Colin, Mati Diop and a (mute) Lola Cretan all share the screen feels like watching a fun-yet hastily put together experimental all-star game.

Again - I encourage as many people as possible to see Fire. I know I’m not raving about this like I have other Claire Denis films but I’m really curious to know if there are pieces I didn’t get in order to fully appreciate it.

Please watch and report back. I'm incredibly open to chat about this with any and everyone…

THE SCHOOL OF MAYA DEREN: PART 16

 Part 16 of my ongoing series where we look at the visual similarities (some intentional, some coincidental) between the films of Maya Deren and the work that followed.

Enjoy...


Meshes Of The Afternoon / On The Silver Globe

Meshes Of The Afternoon /
On The Silver Globe


Meshes Of The Afternoon / On The Silver Globe


Meshes Of The Afternoon /
2001: A Space Odyssey

Meshes Of The Afternoon / 2001: A Space Odyssey

Meshes Of The Afternoon /
2001: A Space Odyssey

Meshes Of The Afternoon /
2001: A Space Odyssey


Meshes Of The Afternoon / Carnival Of Souls

Meshes Of The Afternoon /
Carnival Of Souls

Meshes Of The Afternoon /
Carnival Of Souls

Meshes Of The Afternoon /
Carnival Of Souls

Meshes Of The Afternoon /
Carnival Of Souls

Meshes Of The Afternoon /
Carnival Of Souls


At Land /
Poison/
Sparky To The Pier and Back


Meshes Of The Afternoon /
Paprika/
Inception

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

THE SCHOOL OF CHANTAL AKERMAN: JOE PERA TALKS WITH YOU *UPDATED*


Jeanne Dielmann /
Joe Pera Talks With You

 

When I have a favorite television show I go through various stages. First it’s the initial viewing. Then I go back and watch it again. The third time is to see if I missed any of the details or small moments. After that I just have it on in the background as I’m doing something else because I’ve become so comfortable with it. After that I move on to something else for a while. Then it’s the re-discovery period which brings about a whole new appreciation.

This has been my journey with Joe Pera Talks With You.

Over the first wave of the pandemic in early 2020, adult swim played reruns of Joe Pera and I honestly forgot how perfect of a show it is.
What stood out the most during my re-watch were the visual similarities between it and the films of Chantal Akerman (mostly Jeanne Dielman... but quite a few of her other films as well).
Much like how everyone considers anything "weird" to be "Lynchian", I find myself calling anything slowly paced with long un-broken shots to be Chantal Akerman-esque. I know I need to stop doing that but in the case of Joe Pera it does make sense.

Some films are so influential that they’re injected in to the DNA of cinema to the point that some filmmakers don’t even need to see something to be influenced by it. This applies to everything from the films of Spielberg & Lucas to Fellini & Hitchcock. While Chantal Akerman isn’t exactly a household name like the aforementioned directors, her work (specifically Jeanne Dielman...) is often cited as one of the most influential films within the world of (slow) modern art house cinema. Akerman has been referenced quite a bit these days (Swallow, Joker, Mrs. America, etc), so it isn't that crazy to associate her with Joe Pera and it's brand of slow television.


Putting aside the obvious visual similarities presented in this post (coincidental or not), both Joe Pera Talks With You and Jeanne Dielman... are very hypnotic (although I will say that Akerman has close to 50 years of films under her belt that extend beyond the narrow world of just Jeanne Dielman...). The longer you stare at the shots the more you start to zone out (I made a point to use scenes/shots where the camera stays fixed in one position for an extended period of time).


La Chambre / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Les Rendezous D'Anna /
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann /
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann /
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann /
Joe Pera Talks With You

The Golden Eighties /
 Joe Pera Talks With You

Saute Ma Ville /
Joe Pera Talks With You

Hotel Monterey / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Les Rendezvous D'Anna / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

News From Home / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

La Chambre / 
Joe Pera Talks With You

Jeanne Dielmann / 
Joe Pera Talks With You




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