motion picture, it's called

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Belated Thursday Great Actor Blogging

Few in the US have heard of Renata Litvinova. Unfortunate, because Renata is an incomparable beauty, but more importantly, an incredible actress, screenwriter and now director in her own right. Renata was originally a screenwriter and, after preparing the screenplay for Passions for Kira Muratova, was then also given a staring role for that movie as well.

It's hard to explain why I find Litvinova's work so interesting. Partially, it's because Litvinova's beautiful exterior and the immediate surface of her acting give the impression of the archetypal immature and shallow Russian blonde. But Litvinova, especially when working with Muratova, finds inner depths within her initially kitschy and silly characters.

No, I didn't pick the picture because it's salacious! It's merely the best picture of Litvinova I could find! Of course, Litvinova often plays with (and against) her physical attractiveness in many of her roles.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Even More Movies Noted, Yikes!

Here's what I've seen recently:

Richard Lowenstein's He Died With a Felafel in His Hand (2001) (8/10)
Peyton Reed's Down With Love (2003) (7/10)
Samuel Fuller's House of Bamboo (1955) (6/10)
Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (1935) (6/10)
Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975) (9/10)
Shane Carruth's Primer (2004) (5/10)
Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971) (3/10)
Juan Carlos Martin's Gabriel Orozco (2002) (6/10)
King Vidor's Duel in the Sun (1946) (7/10)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

More Movies Noted

Clash by Night, Fritz Lang (1952) (8/10)
Boudu sauve des eaux, Jean Renoir (1932) (9/10)
Spartacus, Stanley Kubrick (1960) (6/10)
The Aviator, Martin Scorsese (2004) (4/10)
Actress, Stanley Kwan (1992) (10/10)
Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July (2005) (9/10)
Howl's Moving Castle, Hayao Miyazaki (2004) (6/10)
The Narrow Margin, Richard Fleischer (1952) (7/10)
2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick (1968) (6/10)
Lolita, Stanley Kubrick (1962) (9/10)

Thursday Great Actor Blogging: Elliott Gould

When you ask people "Who was the actors who made the 1970s film renaissance possible?", they usually name Jack Nicholson or Al Pacino or Robert De Niro. I prefer to say Elliott Gould instead.

Partially, people tend to say Nicholson or Pacino or De Niro because all three have remained big stars to this day. All three have generally selected good roles that kept their careers moving forward (until the point that, today, they're universally regarded as the greatest of all living actors). Gould's greatness was much more condensed into a relatively short time frame (1969-1975 or so) - by 1979, he was taking small roles in the Muppet movie series.

Why I think Gould is such a ground-breaking actor is that Gould's acting made a particular realm of male psychologies and personalities possible within the American cinema. James Dean and Marlon Brando made an initial foray into exploring the inner nature of American masculinity. However, neither was able to dig very far - partially, because neither is plausible as a loser or schmuck character - Dean and Brando were just too handsome and too obviously sexually appealing to women.

No major actor was able to, in movie after movie, build a career based upon as non-heroic characters as Gould did. Dean and Brando's characters, whatever else their flaws, were always interesting and exciting (Dean's character in Rebel is bullied, but eventually able to win the chickie race and get the girl - Gould's characters would have just been bullied). Gould was able to invigorate what losers or schmucks into, no, not heroes, but a sense that these characters are what real lives actually are. They don't become heroic, but become real instead.

The height of Gould's career was extremely short, and the core of his work only a handful of movies - Bob&Carol&Ted&Alice (1969), MASH (1970), Little Murders (1971), The Long Goodbye (1973), and California Split (1974). Of these, perhaps California Split is my favorite. More on Gould later.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thursday Great Actor Posting

Feast your eyes on Robert Ryan. Could anybody else do a look like that? Could anybody else ever try to do a look like that and not look like a pathetic weiner compared to Ryan?

Photo is a still from Lang's Clash by Night.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Somebody Release These in the US!

Here's a bunch of movies that really need to be released in the US. What's taking so long, dammit?

Hong Sang-soo's Tale of Cinema
Costa-Garvas' The Axe
Dardenne brothers' The Child
Ming-liang Tsai's Wayward Cloud
Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Cafe Lumiere
Assayas' Clean
Vit Klusak's Czech Dream

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Belated Top 10 for 2004

I actually posted this list much earlier in the Cinemarati message boards, and only just now realized I should put it up here, too.

Here goes - the top 10 best movies of 2004:

1. Crimson Gold, Jafar Panahi
2. Springtime in a Small Town, Zhuang-zhuang Tian
3. Before Sunset, Richard Linklater
4. Tomorrow We Move, Chantal Akerman
5. Nobody Knows, Hirokazu Kore-eda
6. Vera Drake, Michael Leigh
7. Los Angeles Plays Itself, Thom Anderson
8. Bright Leaves, Ross McElwee
9. Notre Musique, Jean-Luc Godard
10. McDull: Prince de la Bun, Toe Yuen

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Kino releases mind-expanding collection of early experimental shorts

Kino Video will release a two-DVD set of early experimental shorts in early august.

Many of the items within this collection are essentially unavailable, so you should check this collection out.

Highlights include:

Jean Epstein's La glace a trois faces
Joris Ivens' early Rain
Welles' The Hearts of Age
Kirsanoff's Menilmontat - one of Kael's most favorite movies
Florey's The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra