Movie Diary 1/30/2013

The End of St. Petersburg (V.I. Pudovkin, 1927). Soviet celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the Revolution, rendered in a propaganda piece that is forceful and sometimes astonishing, even by comparison to its contemporaries.

At What a Feeling!, an Eighties review looking at Dorothy Ann Puzo’s Cold Steel, a forgotten item with pre-stardom Sharon Stone, Brad Davis, and Adam Ant.


Movie Diary 1/29/2013

Warm Bodies (Jonathan Levine, 2013). Or: How to make a single joke last for 90 minutes. (full review 2/1)

At What a Feeling!, get two servings of ’80s-vintage cheese for the price of one: a review of Jeffrey Delman’s Deadtime Stories and Roger Christian’s Starship.

Movie Diary 1/29/2013

Bullet to the Head (Walter Hill, 2013). The Eighties are really over – it’s definite now. (full review 2/1)

Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012). An intriguing unexplored country is the destination here, as a crocodile smiles in approval. (full review 2/8)

Outskirts (Boris Barnet, 1933). Early Soviet sound offering from an interesting filmmaker whose humor is never far removed from some extremely sharp social observations. At times the movie’s (obviously officially sanctioned) skepticism toward World War I as a product of capitalism threatens to spill over into a larger kind of skepticism about organized patriotism.

People on Sunday (Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, 1930). This landmark of German cinema (its first-string roster also including Billy Wilder and Fred Zinnemann) has worn well. There are a few sequences that look forward to the busy grid of Siodmak’s Criss Cross and the breezy Berlin cynicism of Wilder.

At What a Feeling!, enter the grotesque world of Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, reviewed in 1990.


Amour and Me (Weekly Links)

Trintignant and Riva: Amour

Trintignant and Riva: Amour

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald, and etc.

Amour. “Deserves its accolades.”

Quartet. “Something way too easy about that kind of humor.”

Wagner & Me. “Fry brings all the fanboy enthusiasm he can muster.”

My Worst Nightmare. “Tilts decidedly toward the comic.”

On KUOW’s “Weekday,” I talk with Steve Scher about how much we need to know about an artist’s life and whether that affects our appreciation of the art, a subject prompted by two items: Stephen Fry’s film Wagner and Me and Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes speech. The conversation is archived here.

Sunday, January 27 at 2 p.m., I’ll introduce a free screening of Seraphine, as part of the Magic Lantern program at the Frye Art Museum. More info here.

Wednesday, January 30, I’ll speak at the Seattle Office of Film + Music’s “Happy Hour,” on my role as the curator of the Museum of History and Industry’s “Celluloid Seattle: A City at the Movies” exhibition, and the idea of Seattle as an “imagined place” on film. The Happy Hour goes at the Spitfire in Belltown, runs from 5 to 7, the talk commences at 6:30; more info here.

At What a Feeling!, catch up on the Eighties vibe with newly-posted reviews of John Flynn’s Stallone underachiever, Lock Up, and Richard Greenberg’s Little Monsters.

Movie Diary 1/23/2013

My Worst Nightmare (Anne Fontaine, 2011). The spirit, or at least the plot, of Boudu Saved from Drowning surfaces in this mostly predictable account of a boorish laborer (Benoit Poelvoorde) who makes mischief in the home of an uptight couple (Isabelle Huppert, Andre Dussollier). (full review 1/25)

Arsenal (Alexander Dovzhenko, 1929). It might require a great deal of knowledge about Ukrainian politics or simply an openness to free-standing visual poetry, but either way the movie is crammed with amazing sights.

At What a Feeling!, dream your way into the black-and-white world of Bruce Weber’s Let’s Get Lost, conjured here in a 1989 review.

And also: Thursday night join me for “End of the Trail: How the Western Movie Rode Into the Sunset,” a free talk in the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau program, at Monroe Library in Monroe, WA. That’s at 7 p.m.; more info on the talk here, and the location here.

Movie Diary 1/22/2013

Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh, 2013). One thing: You shall know a filmmaker by how he casts the smallest roles. The largest ones too. Soderbergh is a filmmaker. (Also, see the movie.) (full review 2/8)

At What a Feeling!, we recall where we were when we first saw Leviathan, a film by George P. Cosmatos.

Movie Diary 1/21/2013

Bed and Sofa (Abram Room, 1927). A very forward-looking effort about a romantic triangle among the workers; lots of remarkable shots of Moscow building itself, even if most of the movie takes place inside a shared apartment.

Date Night (Shawn Levy, 2010). Has its moments, Mark Wahlberg’s presence being one of the best. Almost feel bad for Raymond Burr after this, though.

Wagner and Me (Patrick McGrady, 2010). Stephen Fry is onscreen talking about his lifelong adoration of the music of Richard Wagner, and his struggles with reconciling that love to Wagner’s tainted legacy. Fry doesn’t go deep, but he engages with an important subject – the extent to which what we know about an artist affects our appreciation of him. (full review 1/25)

At What a Feeling!, we go full Eighties with a review of Stuart Rosenberg’s Pope of Greenwich Village.