RSS feed for Peter
  • My Darling Clementine 1946

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 13 Oct, 2014

    More or less the fundamental Ford text, and as I argue here (as part of its Criterion debut), a cinematic representation containing the ethos of American poetry.

    "Mac, you ever been in love?"
    "Nope, I've been a bartender all my life."

  • Listen Up Philip 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 09 Oct, 2014

    “You always have to have a total picture of the whole thing…a matter of self-investigation. Know thyself, you know?”
    -Philip Roth, Letting Go

    Reviewed here. Watched mostly with respected admiration to its formal techniques while viewing, but as the final 15 minutes unfolded, started to feel overwhelmed by its darkness. Writing about it made me realize how complex and unique Perry's approach is here.

  • Days of Heaven 1978

    ★★★★★ Added

    "It is perhaps crucial that Malick's film does not end with Bill's death, as he undermines it by following Linda's narrative instead, showing how the repetition begins again as Linda escapes her school for the wheat fields in the final shot, less an ending than a feeling that the reels in the camera have run out. Even in attempting to break out of the repetition, Bill ends up as part of a larger narrative outside himself, temporally dislocated from even…

  • Suspicion 1941

    ★★★ Watched 13 Sep, 2014

    Frustrating, but more interesting than simply calling this "failure" suggests, especially aesthetically. Dave Kehr rightly calls us to "note [Hitchcock's] subtlety in establishing the menace of the Cary Grant character by never allowing him to be seen walking into a shot." The Master of Suspense takes the melodrama formula, and plays with the "be careful what you wish for" clause of finding the perfect man: marrying for love is maybe not as good as marrying for money. Here is the…

  • A Walk Among the Tombstones 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 24 Sep, 2014

    To tie in with my book on apocalyptic movies (plug plug plug), I wrote about this curious film noir is perhaps the best film this year to tackle the subject. Not covered in the link: this is a narrative economy machine, and the influence of Soderbergh on Scott Frank is apparent in every expositional scene, where every shot feels like a lucid and engaged response to the one before it.

  • The Blue Gardenia 1953

    ★★★½ Watched 14 Sep, 2014

    Lang's films are architectural first, filtered through the cavernous mazes. Narrative then either traverses through either characters who can see much more than anyone else around them (Dr. Mabuse; Dietrich and her Notorious Ranch), or those who fail to see the cogs around them (literally in Metropolis; the criminal structures of The Big Heat). The Blue Gardenia, which Danny Kasman recently compared to Fincher's Gone Girl, deals with a character who strays from outside the world she knows into the…

  • Abuse of Weakness 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Aug, 2014

    Begins with a Hitchcockian dolly up to Huppert as some sort of spirit seems to possess her, as the woman moves out of the bed and drops right out of the frame—a sadistic spatial punch line. A film about possession: of the body, of others, of financial security. Like a good hard boiled novel, Brelliat mashes two seemingly indistinct plots together (the stroke and subsequent loss of arm movement; the relationship with Kool Shen's macho prisoner) and makes them essentially…

  • Whiplash 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 16 Sep, 2014

    Considered over here, and best thought of as Taxi Driver but both characters are Travis Bickle. Just because Andrew is quieter and more reserved doesn't make him any less psychotic.

  • They Live 1988

    ★★★★½ Added

    "There is no stopping the alien force, but there is a new apocalypse in exposing them, as shown in the film’s final, darkly comic moments. Nada himself has no place of innocence that he could return to. Played by wrestler Roddy Piper, Nada is the epitome of 1980s machoism taken to an extreme, and while he originally declares that he 'believes in America,' the film makes him into a disillusioned enemy of the state who instead must destroy the country…

  • Zorns Lemma 1970

    Watched 06 Oct, 2014

    "It was a splendid mind. For if thought is like the keyboard of a piano, divided into so many notes, or like the alphabet is ranged in twenty-six letters all in order, then his splendid mind had one by one, firmly and accurately, until it had reached, say, the letter Q. He reached Q. Very few people in the whole of England ever reach Q...But after Q? What comes next? After Q there are a number of letters the last…

  • Chicago Calling 1952

    ★★★½ Watched 22 Sep, 2014

    Billed as noir but closer to neo-realism, most notably for the fantastic location shooting in and around Bunker Hill. The plot here begins slightly convoluted—Dan Dureya, left by his wife, must now raise money to get a long distance phone call to know whether his daughter survived an auto-accident in Chicago—but the actual street dealings are authentic and always talk in terms of real dollars and cents. Dureya's odd friendship with a neighborhood kid directly recalls Bicycle Thieves, but the…

  • Nymphomaniac 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 28 Sep, 2014

    First viewing, avoided it long enough (mostly out of scheduling issues / my ambivalence of watching things outside of a theater) that my viewing was the final complete whole darn director's cut. Anyways, I tried to work out what I think is less "self-critique" than "statement of artistic principles," and hope you enjoy reading it.