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  • Hill of Freedom

    Hill of Freedom 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 12 Aug, 2015

    "Hill of Freedom doesn’t just jumble its narrative for the purpose of self-conscious storytelling, it shows how each event, peppered in a different way, can bring a new perspective. But unlike other films where Hong returns to the events, he pushes us forward on, and like the broken English used by the characters, we might not realize the implications of a phrase or moment until after it has been ingested. "

    My favorite along with Hahaha. Reviewed on the latest podcast.

  • Frames

    Frames 2013

    ★★★ Watched 05 Jul, 2015

    Brandon isn't entirely satisfied with his feature debut as we talk on the podcast, but Frames has a lot of strong understanding of tone, mood, and especially as the title suggests, framing. He knows where to put actors to make things that should be static feel dynamic, and really feels out the rhythms of each scene. It's not as successful as, say, Afterschool, but individual ideas are really thought out and executed strongly. And any film that ends like L'Eclisse is a win in my book. Besides, first features should be first features, and Frames does the most important thing: show potential in a budding talent.

  • Hail Mary

    Hail Mary 1985

    ★★★★ Rewatched 11 Jul, 2015

    Rewatched for my latest podcast, this one with Sabbatical director Brandon Colvin. Like many, a 2nd viewing turns this from an odd experience to a heavenly one. You get past all the oddities of watching Godard (focusing on what he's not doing), and begin to watch what he is actually accomplishing. The fact that this is one of his most narrative driven films, and one of the least self-conscious, puts it in consideration for me as one of his best.

  • The Gleaners & I

    The Gleaners & I 2000

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Jun, 2015

    Of the many possibilities that digital cinema provided in changing film, one was simply the new bounty of footage that could be shot without worry. Instead of limiting oneself to what was necessary by the amount of film stock available, Agnes Varda uses digital to search out every crevasse and follow every tangential lead in The Gleaners And I. Varda’s documentary thus follows tangent after tangent. Her interest in historical gleaners brings her to a farm, which takes her to…

  • Only Angels Have Wings

    Only Angels Have Wings 1939

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 04 Jul, 2015 2

    Discussed with Lea Jacobs, one of the best film historians working today, on the latest episode of the podcast. Along with Rio Bravo, the quintessential Hawks movie for not only its rhythmic patterns, attention to a very subtle structure in its mise-en-scene, but always carrying a certain existential weight to why the hell are we doing this? that always remains unanswered, unchecked, and unwritten. But as in all the great Hawks, there is the group, a certain social democracy that remains a base ideology that could never be challenged. It's both the tragedy and the greatness of the American ethos.

  • Belly

    Belly 1998

    ★★★½ Watched 09 Jul, 2015 1

    "The film cuts out to Time Square on New Years’ the confetti pouring down in a vision of beauty that recalls the ending to Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days. What does it say that a woman and an African American are the ones who predicted the new millennium could bring a time of utopia? Belly, for both its beauty and its incompetence, remains a singular work of American cinema."

    Reviewed on the latest podcast.

  • Gloria

    Gloria 1980

    ★★★★ Rewatched 07 Jul, 2015

    Discussed in the new episode of the podcast with Adrian Martin, who has been teaching this film since 1982 and just did a 5 week seminar on it. As I mention, what separates out Gloria from the rest of the post-Faces Cassavetes work is that it does not take place in a hermetically sealed world. And yet, he still finds ways to integrate his style into the world of New York, creating both a time capsule and a psychological impression.…

  • Nights of Cabiria

    Nights of Cabiria 1957

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 18 Jun, 2015

    Discussed on the third anniversary of The Cinephiliacs with Two Lovers and The Immigrant writer/director James Gray. Had not seen a Fellini since my first year of college, and this made me want to give him another spin—clearly an adroit classicist at heart as much as Antonioni was, but with a bouncy surface that indulges in order to reveal hidden layers of depth within the emotions. There's a clarity to the filmmaking that instead of simplifying moments gives them enormous depth and breathe. Perhaps the greatest film performance of all time.

  • Magic Mike XXL

    Magic Mike XXL 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 29 Jun, 2015 10

    "In the history of photography and film, getting the right image meant getting ones that conformed to the prevalent ideas of humanity. This included whiteness, of what colour—what range of hue—white people wanted white people to be....Movie lighting assume, privilege, and construct whiteness" —Richard Dyer, "Lighting For Whiteness"

    The history of Hollywood in many ways is the history of the construction of whiteness. This goes beyond simply films that have depicted African Americans in stereotypes or margnizaled their roles in…

  • Shoah

    Shoah 1985

    Added

    *Based on various excerpts that amounted to around two hours, but if the rest of this film is as strong, this could be an all time for me*

    Shoah may be Exhibit A for a consideration of “pure cinema,” a needlessly debated and fraught term that often creates exclusionary practices, but appears quite apt here. Godard exclaimed that cinema’s greatest tragedy to the 20th century was the fact moving image cameras were never brought into the camps, but Lanzmann’s film…

  • Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words

    Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words 2014

    ★★★ Watched 11 Jun, 2015

    The role of Nixon in Our Nixon and Nixon By Nixon is quite strikingly different, especially given that both films emerged out of the release of new archival materials of the president’s time in office in 2012. Lane’s Our Nixon privileges the home movie footage made by Nixon’s closest aids, while Kunhardt’s Nixon By Nixon takes more interest in the voice tapes. Of the two, Nixon By Nixon seems more interested in the historical consequences of Nixon, and his role…

  • Nobody's Business

    Nobody's Business 1996

    ★★★½ Watched 09 Jun, 2015

    “The truth is I don’t care.” Much of Alan Berliner’s documentary of his father’s life is made up through the contentious battle between the filmmaker’s subject and himself. While the filmmaker has turned his camera on his father, the father consistently repeats that he deems his life and his family’s history unworthy of filming, lacking any importance in the grand scheme of the world. But Berliner’s goal is to reveal this contentious sparring (which he literally animates through archival footage…