RSS feed for Jake
  • Histoire(s) du cinéma

    ★★★★★ Watched 11 Feb, 2014 1

    Finally got through all of it. Too much to even process at the moment but, like Joyce (to whom this is inevitably, correctly compared), total comprehension is, I expect, impossible while an overall effect slowly worms its way into those who see it through. (And I imagine what one gets from it the first time will change with every viewing.) On this first go, I was most stuck by later chapters, mainly because I'd started to work out (or at…

  • A Man Escaped 1956

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 11 Feb, 2014

    Contained within the tiny cell and the limiting roaming space of its protagonist, A MAN ESCAPED practically begs the usual Bresson label of "ascetic," but how can anything be thought of as stripped-down with sound design this considered, this meticulous? Bresson doesn't expressionistically heighten the sounds, but he doesn't need to: even the dull tap of an iron spoon knocking a loose piece of door back into place or the faint ripple of rifle shots from the firing squad position…

  • Orpheus 1950

    ★★★★★ Watched 10 Feb, 2014

    The Orphic myth recast as one in which the poet's ability to charm death is reciprocal, wherein the artist is closest to death but also capable of transcending it. And really, some of Cocteau's shots will never not be bewildering to me, works of practical effects and clever angling that blow my mind more than the crowded, programmed shot of GRAVITY. I have really got to explore him more in-depth.

  • Heat 1995

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 09 Feb, 2014

    I've become such a hardcore Mann fan over the last four years yet I hadn't seen this since I was a teen. Unsurprisingly, it's only better now that I'm paying attention: its editing is a thing of beauty, and I can see where Nolan fucked up in trying to steal from it. Mann often cuts from a motion that betrays intent to its completed action, which could be confusing but instead gives in an instant a complete mental picture of…

  • The Story of Marie and Julien 2003

    ★★★★★ Watched 08 Feb, 2014

    Jacques Rivette's films are filled with rounded corners, where even movement and cuts along the same axis have the feeling of turning 90 degrees to head off in a new direction. HISTOIRE DE MARIE ET JULIEN, like the early Rivette I've seen, captures life in a quotidian, near-verité manner before someone turns and finds an underworld of the paranormal and genre. This film, with its immediate slurring between dreams and reality as time is anything but linear, gradually reveals itself…

  • The Long Day Closes 1992

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 01 Feb, 2014

    A straight-up perfect movie. Top 10 of the '90s for me.

  • Hard to Be a God 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 30 Jan, 2014

    Not since THE TAKING OF POWER BY LOUIS XIV has the sheer stench of a pre-indoor-plumbing world emanated from a film as it does in HARD TO BE A GOD. Confounding (I would not hazard a plot summary even using a synopsis of the book it's based on for reference without at least another viewing) but tactile, German's final film is one that relentlessly looks at the world without sentiment, as a place slick with blood and shit. And rather…

  • Strike 1925

    ★★★★★ Watched 28 Jan, 2014

    Silhouetted bars and workers turn a factory into a mythic testament to worker union and a prison, a celebration of the grist of the Soviet mill and an attack on centralized, exploitative labor that is, unwittingly and retrospectively, as applicable to Stalin as Nicholas II. Aesthetically, there are moments in which the tension goes slack that would be fully ironed out before the end of the year with POTEMKIN, but STRIKE is so imagistic, its symbolism so obvious yet thrilling, that I'd rather revisit this.

  • Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl 1919

    ★★★★★ Watched 27 Jan, 2014 2

    As much a reaction to BIRTH as INTOLERANCE, with a racially flipped climax that suggests the average white woman has more to fear from a drunken, single-minded relative than a minority. Smaller in scale than Griffith's other features to that point, but no less intricate in its technical and emotional mastery. Maybe even my favorite of his features so far.

  • Home from the Hill 1960

    ★★★★★ Watched 24 Jan, 2014

    Minnelli's musicals are a work of sublime visual art, but SOME CAME RUNNING and this have such strong scripts that Minnelli can direct more subtly, trading the theatrical for the literary. This film in particular, with its Tennessee Williams-meets-Faulkner hints of communal guilt and sexual tension, is a hell of a movie, made like a '50s melodrama but forthright enough to boldly enter the most experimental, modern decade of American film. Mitchum's rarely been better, or more fearsome, as the unrepentantly philandering tycoon at the heart of the film.

  • Extreme Prejudice 1987

    ★★★★★ Watched 22 Jan, 2014 2

    My new favorite Hill movie. At the end of the year MUBI did their old/new double-feature idea again, and if I could belatedly offer my own I'd pair this with Johnnie To's DRUG WAR. Both are forward-motion action films that turn on the relationships between single-minded cops and criminals, and the breakdown of loyalty in the name of survival. So focused, both nevertheless capture in a kind of ecstatic truth the collision of bad domestic and foreign policy into one…

  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962

    ★★★★★ Watched 21 Jan, 2014

    See you in 10 years, good night's sleep.