Movie Diary 9/15/2014

The Boxtrolls (Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi, 2014). Abundant rapid-fire wit (of the kind every animated movie has now) and amazing images. Stellar voice work, too. And maybe just a little Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol influence? Too bad these things have to build to a big climax. (full review 9/26)

My Old Lady (Israel Horovitz, 2014). A Horovitz stage play settles into a Paris apartment (and what an apartment) with Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott-Thomas, and Maggie Smith. There are worse things. (full review 9/19)

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson, 2004). Did not really like it much more a second time.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, 2006). A follow-up film to the great Atanarjuat – The Fast Runner, and while understandably not as groundbreaking as that one, still an interesting study. Unusual rhythms and a devastating ending.

Drop Strange Jealousy (This Week’s Movies)

James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy: The Drop

James Gandolfini and Tom Hardy: The Drop

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

The Drop. “Not only are Lehane’s underworld denizens unable to escape, it doesn’t even occur to them to imagine escaping.” (In case of Herald paywall, Seattle Weekly version is here.)

Love Is Strange. “It’s one of those sad situations in which everybody means well, but things just aren’t working out.” (Weekly version here.)

Jealousy. “Observation, not manipulation, is Garrel’s primary interest.” (Weekly version here.)

And a fall preview thingie.

Sunday September 14 at 2 p.m. I’ll talk about the contributions of the remarkable Canadian Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, director of the 2001 film The Fast Runner. Along with clips of Kunuk’s work, we will screen a half-hour episode from the 1995 Nunavut: Our Land series. This free talk is part of the Frye Art Museum’s Magic Lantern series; more info here.

The Port Townsend Film Festival kicks off on September 19; I’ll be moderating some events during the three-day affair. Special guests this year are John Sayles and Maggie Renzi – check out the lineup here.

Movie Diary 9/11/2014

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (Ned Benson, 2014). It used to be you had to wait for various DVD releases before you could be thoroughly confused by all the different versions of a movie. But this one has not even opened in theaters, and I have no idea whether I should have watched this or waited for the other TWO films (which are the original-text iterations of this phenomenon, I guess). Anyway, this is opening first, and Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy are in it. (full review 9/19)

Life of Crime (Daniel Schechter, 2013). An Elmore Leonard story (The Switch) given small-time treatment, with Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Mos Def. (full review 9/19)

Movie Diary 9/8/2014

Three Comrades (Frank Borzage, 1938). An unusual film in so many ways, full of feeling and evocative dialogue. Given the different talents of Borzage, screenwriter F. Scott Fitzgerald, and producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz, it could hardly be without some interesting ripples.

The Drop (Michaël R. Roskam, 2014). A Dennis Lehane script gives a pretty exceptional cast the urban-underworld stuff to work with: Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, and Noomi Rapace leading the way. (full review 9/12)

Hostile Witness (Ray Milland, 1968). As a piece of direction on Milland’s part, let’s just say this is no Panic in Year Zero!, all right? The story’s legal machinations are kind of fun, though.

Identical Strange Color (This Week’s Reviews)

Engaging newcomer Blake Rayne, embracing Seventies Elvis: The Identical

Engaging newcomer Blake Rayne, embracing Seventies Elvis: The Identical

Links to reviews I wrote this week published in the Herald and Seattle Weekly.

The Identical. “An unexpectedly engaging lead turn by a new performer.” (In case of Herald paywall, here’s the link to Seattle Weekly version.)

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears. “A world of saturated colors, sexed-up violence, and utterly incomprehensible storytelling.” (Weekly version here.)

A Letter to Momo. “Okiura revs it up for the big climax, a genuinely eyeball-dazzling extravaganza.” (Weekly version here.)

Thursday night September 11, I’ll be leading the second part of a workshop at the Northwest Film Forum called “Cinematic Space and Sound.” This part concentrates on masters of sound, namely Akira Kurosawa and Robert Bresson. More information here.

The Overlook Podcast finds Steve Scher and me sitting in the Z’s at Scarecrow Video, having an honest-to-gosh bull session that begins with a contemplation of large cinematic spaces and quickly turns into philosophies of life. You can check in here, but set aside some time.

Movie Diary 9/2/2014

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (Helene Cottet, Bruno Forzani, 2013). The giallo-happy filmmakers behind Amer return with another swing at re-creating the vibe of vintage Italian horror. I have a sinking feeling they really like Helmut Newton, too. (full review 9/5)

A Letter to Momo (Hiroyuki Okiura, 2013). Supernatural beasties intrude on the life of an 11-year-old girl who moves to the countryside. A fitting subject for Japanese animation, in other words, and despite the very slow pace, this one serves up its share of visual craziness. (full review 9/5)

Five Star Trip Man (This Week’s Reviews)

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, our Shelley and Byron: The Trip to Italy

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, our Shelley and Byron: The Trip to Italy

Reviews I wrote this week, published in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

The November Man. “A straight-up spy picture with distinct attractions.” (In case of Herald paywall, here’s the Weekly link.)

The Trip to Italy. “For all the laughs present – and there are many – the movie is a study in masculine uncertainty.”

Five Star Life. “Something subtly heroic here.” (Link to Weekly version here.)

Moebius. “Blithely dallies in multiple outrages and borderline-unbearable horrors.” (Link to Weekly version here.)

On successive Thursday nights, September 4 & 11, I’ll be leading a workshop at the Northwest Film Forum called “Cinematic Space and Sound.” The first will concentrate on the evocative use of screen space, the second on masters of sound. More information here.

At the Overlook Podcast, I talk with Steve Scher about Alive Inside and whether movies themselves can achieve the mysterious power of music, as Kubrick intended for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Listen to us go on about it here.

I drop by the “Mark Rahner Show” in KIRO radio again; here’s the link to our talk about Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, plus a session of the exciting “Focus Group.”

The most recent installment of Framing Pictures is now online and watchable here. In this one I join Richard T. Jameson and Bruce Reid for a conversation about Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Eric Rohmer’s A Summer’s Tale, and a few confessions on the subject of Guilty Pleasures.

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