RSS feed for Peter
  • Ride the Pink Horse

    Ride the Pink Horse 1947

    ★★★½ Watched 24 Feb, 2015

    "What gives Ride The Pink Horse its spark is this turn toward the normal bounds of what we watch when we watch. It’s a picture about the margins — of America, of masculinity, of race — and thus defines itself by the constant turns. Despite its possible status as a postwar film, Ride the Pink Horse fits better as a timeless film, by which I mean, rather literally, time-less: its universe exists outside time. Nobody really has a past, and nobody really has a future. Everyone exists only in this moment."

    More here for the Criterion release.

  • Journey into Light

    Journey into Light 1958

    ★★★★ Watched 14 Mar, 2015

    Reviewed on the latest podcast. Maybe not the most inventive film, but I found its economic clarity and attuned sense to the extraordinary within the mundane quite affecting, and then finally found myself as transformed as Sterling Hayden at the climax of this film. Should really make Stuart Heisler (Sarris in American Cinema: "He has moments of insight and charm scattered like loose beads on a sawdust-covered floor.") a project for further research.

  • The Milky Way

    The Milky Way 1936

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Mar, 2015 2

    Spieled on this film in the latest podcast, and kind of surprised it has such a low reputation (Kehr: "The moves are familiar and they don't begin to suggest the ingenuity Lloyd was capable of.") Strikes me as the kind of center of the McCarey universe—working with performers who all bringing different rhythms, and then timing shots to create unexpected beats—and then Lloyd is mighty wonderful even with a voice. Really worth seeking out.

  • The Last Days of Disco

    The Last Days of Disco 1998

    ★★★★ Watched 17 Feb, 2015 1

    Discussed on the podcast with Calum Marsh, as well as the film's novelization written by Stillman (which is totally awesome—It's written from the perspective of Jimmy in 1999, after the film is released in his world, so it's extremely self-reflexive). I feel like I want to integrate every line of dialogue into my own life. "The way I see it, Brutus was a good friend to Caesar."

    Also what the hell happened Kate Beckinsale? Someone give Noah Baumbach her phone number, stat.

  • The Cloud-Capped Star

    The Cloud-Capped Star 1960

    ★★★½ Watched 09 Mar, 2015

    What creates style? Talking about style is easy (to an extent), but finding the motivating factors behind it is difficult. We'll talk about influence in the most common terms (he influenced him, etc), use the context of a nation, or simply point to a theoretical or philosophical system. I found myself pondering this watching Ghatak's "modernist" (a tenuous word) cinema, made in 1960 at the same time Breathless debuts in Paris, L'Avvenutra in Venice, Cruel Story of Youth in Tokyo,…

  • Now I'll Tell

    Now I'll Tell 1934

    ★★½ Watched 11 Mar, 2015 2

    This is not a great Pre-Code. It's kind of like a proto-version of Walsh's The Roaring Twenties, without the zip of the direction, which is mostly perfunctory. It does have a phenomenal Spencer Tracy performance, who really knows how to play the charming jerk, still lovable when he's even straight up lying to his wife. The biggest difference is that there is actually a good deal of time spent with Alice Faye as the wife, who has a kind of…

  • Every Man for Himself

    Every Man for Himself 1980

    ★★★ Watched 22 Feb, 2015

    "Godard’s Breathless was said to display a romantic view of Paris, but his camera has rarely shown romanticism. Every Man for Himself continues that trend. It contains more lyrical views of nature than most of his films: Paul’s ex-wife, Denise (Nathalie Baye), searches the countryside for a job and, more importantly, a new life. Her introduction is slowed-down and paused (a technique Godard developed during his videotape work in the ’70s), but there is something more to this looking. His…

  • The Soft Skin

    The Soft Skin 1964

    ★★★★ Watched 08 Mar, 2015

    "If we see Hitchcock in Truffaut, it is because of the camera’s gaze: his direct way of telling a story (a close-up of a hand turning on a light, and another immediately turning it off), swerving his camera through spaces with intensity. Another director may have been more passive. The camera thus unfurls this narrative much more than any dialogue could begin to register. When Pierre writes a declaration of love to Nicole and then spots her, Truffaut cuts from…

  • The Son's Return

    The Son's Return 1909

    Watched 15 Mar, 2015 1

    Early Griffith Biograph short featuring Mary Pickford. It mostly centers around blatantly Jewish father and mother, who in a desperate need for cash, attempt to murder their own son (who they can't recognize because he's wearing a disguise—a weird plot set up because he's returned home when they are in desperate need of cash, yet wants to "surprise" them in this time of need. Griffith was never the great screenwriter...).

    On the aesthetic level, this is mostly tableaux style through…

  • Run All Night

    Run All Night 2015

    ★★★ Watched 12 Mar, 2015

    Not a bad film, though the relativism that goes on with these Neeson projects makes it rather impossible for these to be wholly bad projects. Here's a somewhat muted cat and mouse chase, with an expressive color palette thanks to DP Martin Ruhe (he did The American and Control for Anton Corbijn). He has a keen eye for 35mm contrasts—the brights are notably overexposed (without a digital sheen) and the darks are truly shadows. But the whole thing feels unpolished…

  • The Thoughts That Once We Had

    The Thoughts That Once We Had 2015

    ★★★ Watched 06 Mar, 2015

    "If the film isn’t a history lesson, what is it? It certainly showcases some of Andersen’s favorite films and filmmakers (he claimed his working title was Great Moments from the Cinema): American film noir, various Godard films, a tribute to the “underrated” (according to Andersen) Marlon Brando, and Fritz Lang (the audience particularly ate up Debra Pagent’s erotic dance to a snake from his rather underknown two-part “Indian Epic,” The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb). The film ends…

  • Bed Time

    Bed Time 1923

    ★★★½ Watched 08 Mar, 2015

    Out Of The Inkwell Films, most famous for their Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons, was the brain child of Max and Dave Fleischer, father and uncle respectively of the recently sort-of-rescued-from-obscurity auteur Richard Fleischer (in fact, Richard wrote the history of Inkwell—"They say it's difficult being a famous man's son...I didn't find it difficult at all."). A film like Bed Time was actually an early example of the Rotoscope technique now recognized for films like Richard Linklater's Waking Life. Max…