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Everything posted by Nathaniel

  1. Hmm, thanks for sharing that. It may be hard for me to identify with someone who doesn't appreciate the insane pleasures of Black Narcissus (perhaps because it's about Christian failure?), but an encyclopedic approach to this topic sounds useful. Biola has a copy in their library, and I'll be sure to check it out.
  2. Ooh! Which ones? I've been dying to connect with someone over de la Mare.
  3. Nathaniel

    Orson Welles

    Oh, baby. According to Mr. Bongo Films, in addition to a restored Falstaff Blu-ray, we'll also be getting DVDs of The Immortal Story and Too Much Johnson. I saw Johnson last year. It's fun and a neat piece of history, but it's not quite a movie. (If you've followed the story, you'll know why.) But The Immortal Story is very much a complete work, and a rich one. Welles's admiration for Isak Dinesen is evident in every shot.
  4. Doug, you just made my day!
  5. If you don't have a really good local video store (the way L.A. has Cinefile and Seattle has Scarecrow), my advice is to check the college library systems. Unless you're smart and unscrupulous and know how to download.
  6. I don't have much to add to the discussion of this great film, so I'll just talk around it. I saw it at LACMA in 2007, right in the middle of my most prolific movie watching period: those peaceful, penurious, carefree first few years out of college. The museum was curating a film program (I think it was called "Through the Looking Glass") that tied into a big Magritte exhibition that ran for several months. Later, this series would be cited as a local favorite during the "Save Film at LACMA" campaign of 2009. The 3.5 hours just seemed to breeze by. Part of the reason is that Rivette doesn't pack the film with a lot of narrative incident, but rather spends time on frivolities, like the extended scene with the funicular and the stairs. Compared to Intolerance or Seven Samurai, to cite two films of comparable length, this is an exceptionally light film. And despite being so carefully worked out structurally and stylistically, it tends to feel loose and improvisational. Rivette creates a truly magical, flexible space in which the possibilities feel endless. Plus, the two women (Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier) are just so cute. A film with a following this huge should be available on DVD in this country. I'm sure some forward thinking boutique label is working on it right now. At the same time, its scarcity is part of what defines it as a cult property. Once it becomes widely available, some of its mystique will be lost. But the trade-of will have been worth it.
  7. REDCAT is showing Flowers of Shanghai on Monday. Tickets are boughten.
  8. Nathaniel

    Salt of the Earth

    Saw this earlier today. I agree with Jeffrey's take on the film completely. The title becomes bitterly ironic as Salgado's camera bears witness to the brunt of human suffering. "Everyone should see these images to see how terrible our species is." Indeed. One couple in the theater had to leave in the middle of the Rwanda sequence. If they had stuck around for a few more minutes, they would have undoubtedly found the Instituto Terra segment a sweet relief from the parade of misery (which is enough to shrivel the heart of any true Christian).
  9. I somehow missed the fact that this is based on "All You Zombies"--up there with "By His Bootstraps" as my favorite Heinlein story. It's true; the last few paragraphs of "Zombies" are incredibly moving.
  10. What are the best things to watch on Fandor? I've been gifted with a month subscription and I'm thinking about heading straight for the avant-garde stuff (Mekas, Jordan, Rappaport, etc.). Any gems you just can't get anywhere else?
  11. Nathaniel

    Jauja (2014)

    I forgot to mention that I really liked this one. Fine performance by Mortensen, strong visual style, mind bogglingly strange final minutes. During the Q&A, Viggo talked about the effect of the Argentine landscape on his acting, the intimate camaraderie amongst the small crew, and how nobody--not even the director--knew what the ending means.
  12. Free showing of Hou's The Puppetmaster at the Billy Wilder on Saturday. You bet I'll be there. On Sunday, Thom Andersen's new essay film, The Thoughts That Once We Had, will be screening in the Spielberg. Yes!
  13. Couple of Cornell Woolrich films noirs, then early Markopoulos.
  14. Nathaniel

    Song of the Sea

    This is an interesting conversation. Nice to have your professional perspective, Attica. All of this makes me regret missing the "director's cut" of The Princess and the Cobbler when it showed at the Academy a couple of years ago. Even in its compromised form (Arabian Knight--isn't that what they ended up calling it?), it's superior to Disney's Aladdin. Speaking as a layman, the Ghibli films have always been a mixed bag for me. The stylistic contradictions are manifold: Painstakingly detailed and colored in repose, herky-jerky in movement. Breathtakingly variegated creature design, cookie cutter human design. Interesting characters indifferently dubbed. Perhaps the most pleasurable aspect of the Japanese approach (and Miyazaki's style in particular) is the simulation of classical continuity editing, in which the action always remains spatially coherent and intelligible. I appreciated Kells as an arcane cartoon for grownups, but I also found it stylized to the point of distraction. Still looking forward to Song of the Sea.
  15. If it's any consolation, Christian, a 4K restoration usually heralds a Blu-ray release. That's actually one of my quibbles about seeing a DCP in a theater: I'm basically paying to preview the Blu-ray I will eventually buy! But this is good news for Hoffmann fans. This marvelous film already has a sizable cult following; a Blu-ray will only increase its size. Back in '05, when I was crushing on Moira Shearer, my friends and I saw this at the New Beverly. The 35mm print felt alive in a way a DCP can never be.
  16. Don't throw in the towel until you've read Stone Animals!
  17. A few thoughts: - Blu-ray is the last physical format for home video. It's all streaming from here. - If you have a discerning eye, you'll notice a difference in picture quality in Blu-rays that have been properly mastered. The difference is generally more dramatic in older films, particularly in those that have been carefully restored. Compare these screenshots from The African Queen, for instance. - DVDs often use something called "digital noise reduction" (DNR) in order to stay within the narrow bandwidth requirements. This often results in an unnaturally smooth image. Occasionally, to balance out this smoothness, they will apply "edge enhancement" which almost always makes things look worse. What Blu-ray does is retain the film grain present in all film masters, approximating the experience of watching a film being projected on a big screen. - If these glimpses of The Quiet Man and Lawrence of Arabia don't excite you, then Blu-ray is probably not for you. - Bookmark DVD Beaver and use it as a resource!
  18. There is no real point, really. The 3-D is the movie. Take that away and you haven't got much left.
  19. Nathaniel

    Frisco Jenny

    Looks like his silent hobo drama Beggars of Life is a rare one. (And I do love Louise Brooks.) The western double bill on June 14th (Westward the Women/Yellow Sky) also seems attractive. Of course, I may have to watch Track of the Cat just to experience that masterful use of 'Scope on a huge screen. In 1968, Andrew Sarris sized him up as a "recessive" director, but I think Wellman's reputation has risen in recent years. I intend to find out why.
  20. UCLA begins its 16-film Hou retrospective this weekend. I'm planning on seeing the autobiographical A Time to Live and a Time to Die on Saturday.
  21. Nathaniel

    Frisco Jenny

    UCLA is launching a 21-film Wellman retrospective starting next weekend. Darren, are you still working your way through his filmography? Frisco Jenny was such a good find.
  22. As far as I'm concerned, Ken's calm, assured contribution to the discussion is swell place to end for now. Looking forward to reentering the fray when Faith of Our Fathers comes out in July!
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