Sunday, August 20, 2017

Favorite (four), part forty-four

Just like in my other forty-three posts in this series, I want to take a second to single out the highlights of my recent film viewing.  Most of the films I have been glad to see but only very few have stayed with me.  This series is my filter for those and my hope is one or two will be good to you as well.

Gordon Douglas' The Detective
I had never heard of this film until recently when I saw it was programmed as part of a series at the Paris Cinematheque focused on late 60s and 70s American cop movies.  Sinatra proves he was once again a double-threat as a singer and actor, very comfortable in front of the camera and believable in a number of roles.  Bisset was gorgeous, reminiscent of  Julie Christie during this period, but even sexier and with an even more dangerous sensuality.  And the film, though raw and uneven, goes deeper than most detective films and gives a real sense of the feelings and conflicted morality many people in the profession must face.  

Stuart Samuels' Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream
A very informative look at a special era in American cinema.  Great interviews abound from Hoberman to Rosenbaum, Barenholtz to Romero, Waters to Lynch.  I finished watching and now want to go watch all five movies that are its focus - El Topo, Pink Flamingos, Night of the Living Dead, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Eraserhead.  

Terrence Young's Thunderball
Although not considered the best Connery as Bond film, of all that I have seen so far it is Connery at his most brash, his most handsome and at his toughest.  Yes, it has a bit of a bloated ending but there are so many other great moments that far outweigh its final minutes.

Claude Chabrol's Que La Bete Meure
Chabrol's work does not have the playfulness of Godard, Truffaut, or even Rohmer, so I am not quite drawn to it in the same way.  But I like the way he uses his camera, moving through frames, capturing details, gestures, expressions gracefully and silently.  The locations and nature bring a warmth that balances out the cold, calculating nature of Chabrol's filmmaking approach.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jean Pierre and Luc

I have seen a number of filmmaker's favorite film lists but of all the ones I have seen so far this one probably affected me the most.  I am a fan of the Dardenne brothers so it is not shocking that their list would align eerily close to my own (even if 10-15 films on their list are still blind spots for me).

But the Rossellinis, yes!  The Pialats and Bressons, yes!  And the Kiarostamis, are the Dardenne brothers reading my blog?

Sunday, August 6, 2017


Recently I was inspired by a list that had been circulating on my Twitter Feed where people had been naming their seven favorite films in a certain category.  I had seen #7Fav Film Noir lists, I think John Ford lists and maybe even John Carpenter lists.

Since I do like lists and am always trying to think about how my ratings of certain things change over time, I thought I would do a week or so of my #7Favs on Twitter.  I started with my two favorite periods of film, the French New Wave and the New Hollywood of the seventies, and then I went forward through the decades alternating French and American films.  

Here is where I ended up below:

The Tree of Life
Zero Dark Thirty
At Berkeley
La La Land
Only Lovers Left Alive

Film Socialisme
Blue is the Warmest Color
Saint Laurent
Goodbye to Language
Clouds of Sils Maria

Our song
Mulholland dr
Funny Ha Ha
Femme fatale
All the Real Girls
No Direction Home
No Country for Old Men

Under the sand
Va savoir
Etre et avoir
Les amants reguliers
Secret and the Grain
Love Songs
35 Shots of Rum

My own private idaho
King of new york
Carlito's way
Dead man

A Single Girl
A Summer's Tale
How I Got into An Argument...(My Sex Life)
Van Gogh

Blow Out
Stranger Than Paradise
Melvin and Howard
Blue Velvet
Sherman's March
The Thing
The Big Red One

The Green Ray
Boy Meets Girl
Mauvais Sang
Full Moon in Paris
A nos amours

McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Taxi Driver
The Godfather
Five Easy Pieces
Night Moves
The French Connection

Shoot the Piano Player
Pierrot Le Fou
Vivre Sa Vie
La jetee
Les cousins
Cleo de 5 a 7