Monday, May 30, 2011

Favorite (four), part eleven

Just like in my other ten posts thus far in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  I'm trying right now to take in almost a film a day.  Most have been first-time viewings, and most I have been glad to finally see.  But only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those (and hopefully one or two of these will be good to someone else, too).

Irving Lerner's Murder by Contract

Another Scorsese favorite, this noir is utterly unique in terms of its tone. Much of its difference comes from its Flamenco-like score that gives the film a very offbeat, bouncy and buoyant feel, in the midst of a good amount of darkness.  Vince Edwards gives a tremendous performance, and although spare and lean, the production always feels formally clean and clear.   A very strong, lesser-known work.  

Charles Ferguson's Inside Job
It's a powerful and utterly disturbing portrait of the events that led to 2008's global recession.  Ferguson explains some of the chief causes in a very lucid manner, and he presents a very passionate attack on America's financial services industry.  Whether or not you agree with all that he has to say, I would say this is a must-see, simply for the opportunity to get a further look at many of the chief players.  

Roberto Rossellini's The Rise of Louis XIV
The first of Rossellini's historical dramas that I've seen, and it takes awhile to get used to this later style and period of the great director.  But it snakes its way around, accumulating historical import, and by the end, it finds its emotional highpoint.  Another transcendent and powerful work by one of cinema's most unusual and rigorous stylists.   

Adam Yauch's Fight for Your Right Revisited
I would think any major Beastie Boys fan (I would have to put myself in that group) would find this a welcome reminder of what makes the group so important.  There is something so anti-authoritarian and fly in the face of any form of political correctness no matter how old the boys become and how many years they put out music.  Their presence in music, and culture, always seem timely and progressive, yet while remaining true to the brand they have built from day one.     


  1. A film a day is quite an accomplishment Jeffrey, especially when one considers all you do on other fronts. Can't blame you for being enthralled by Ferguson's documentary, regardless of how much some us thought we already knew. It's riveting and powerful. I'm a big fan of that Rossellini too, and know well how much the Beastie Boys mean to you.

  2. Thanks so much, Sam! It was great to finally see one of these later Rossellini films. I look forward to catching up on a few more of those soon. The more I watch his work, the more I think he should be included in any discussion of transcendental style, along with Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer, etc.