"You can't feel lonely watching Rio Bravo, just as you can't feel lonely when the person next to you - even a stranger—knows the same song." A fine, clip-laden entry from Steve Hyden at the AV Club.
As it happens, Dave Kehr has a terrific roundup of recently released westerns.
Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Chop Shop) writes up his top ten Criterion releases.
"'A Film in the Making' is how Jean-Luc Godard defined La Chinoise (1967) in the film itself, in one of its many aphoristic title card face-slaps, and it's a simple parameter with which to view all Godard: as a process, not a product; as interrogation, not "entertainment"; and as a refutation of commercial culture and every easy market-driven conclusion it encourages." Michael Atkinson also reviews Le Gai Savoir for the IFC (after declaring Godard "at the very least the Balzac or Hugo of the mid-20th century"), and then: "Here's an old-school tonic water to cut the grain alcohol of Godard's postmodernism — the new Criterion Eclipse set of three silent comedies from the first phase of Yasujiro Ozu's unassailable career, back when Japan was just acquiring talkie technology..., and when he, in his late 20s, was just finding the calm and observant syntax that made him happy for the next three decades." More from Maria Komodore on GreenCine's Guru.
"Well, I'm in heaven," declares Kurt Halfyard at Twitch. "Guy Maddin's fabulous Brand Upon The Brain! is coming to the Criterion Collection."
"After launching 'ero-guro' cinema with 1969's jaw-dropping Horrors of Malformed Men, [Teruo] Ishii was tapped to direct Bohachi Bushido: Code of the Forgotten Eight, or, as it's directly translated, 'Porno Period Film: Way of the Outlaw Samurai,'" writes Grady Hendrix in the New York Sun. "This 1973 film is being released on a beautiful new special-edition DVD from Discotek Media, and while the passage of time hasn't made it respectable, it has turned it into a remarkable cultural artifact full of eye-popping sex, sin, and swordplay."
"According to William M Drew's fine career overview, [Evgenii] Bauer made comedies, social dramas, and historical films, but what he's best known for are his dark tales of obsession," notes Michael W Phillips Jr. "It's tempting to think that he somehow knew he'd have only four short years in which to make films, which could explain how he managed to make 26 films during his pneumonia-abbreviated career. Perhaps this foreknowledge of his own impending death led to his onscreen obsession with death and obsession, which are the twin poles of [Twilight of a Woman's Soul] and [After Death]. Or maybe the film has gotten to me."
Last fall, Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream was released in the wake of Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, notes Richard Brody in the New Yorker: "Lumet's vulgarly histrionic film, its story chopped up into a pseudo-hip jumble of time frames but ultimately reduced to a petty tale of simmering resentments, blew Allen's tight-lipped and straightforward narrative away at the box office, as well as in most critical estimations. But Allen's film is the far darker and stranger experience, its failure a reflection of the writer-director's greater audacity."
"The film becomes a transcendent mystery of local color and romantic longing powered by directorial details so slight as to seem inconsequential, yet so cumulatively powerful as to be undeniable." Dennis Cozzalio on Powell and Pressburger's I Know Where I'm Going!
Back in the New York Times: "Here is a treasure," writes Peter G Davis. "Opera DVDs tumble out by the dozens nowadays, too often featuring routine performances of recent productions that hardly seem worth preserving. In contrast Arthaus's scholarly and imposing Walter Felsenstein Edition offers a fascinating glimpse of an important moment in operatic history now vanished."
And: Susan Stewart on the six-episode 2003 British comedy Fortysomething, starring Hugh Laurie.
At Cinema Strikes Back, Charlie Prince recommends The Guatemalan Handshake.
Kevin Kelly on My Kid Could Paint That: "For what it's worth I came away with the notion that this girl does have special talents - not in seeing or painting abilities, which I think she shares with many young kids - but in her confidence and willingness to follow through and keep painting."
DVD roundups: Sean Axmaker (MSN) and Slant.
And of course, listen to the Guru.
Bookmark/Search this post with: