Thursday, December 08, 2016

Vivre sa vie (Jean-Luc Godard, 1962)

An exhaustive study of the meaning of "comme ça". Stunning cinematography by Raoul Coutard, and absolutely chock-full of reflexivity - but still with an engrossing story, very well-told.

JLG/JLG - autoportrait de décembre (Jean-Luc Godard, 1995)

Very enjoyable, with some beautiful images and full of a sardonically self-aware self-awareness.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941)

The noir melodrama is a genre perhaps surprisingly underpopulated. But this is a fine example of it (even if I prefer my noirs more straightforwardly noiry), with all the Bogart mannerisms present and correct, and Ida Lupino doing very creditably as well.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Sauve qui peut (la vie) (Jean-Luc Godard, 1980)

Genuinely unpredictable. Will take another viewing or two to work out the narrative and the structure fully - the film manages to be somehow (relatively) clear and opaque at one and the same time.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

High Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2016)

Little disappointed by this one. In what I assume is an effort to show the story's continuing resonance, any concrete 1970s political or social detail is elided - but the result is that all that's left are porn star haircuts and the idea that it's bad that society is so divided. Which I do, of course, agree with... The relation between realism and allegory is neither clear nor mysterious, which renders the events rather inconsequential - it's difficult to be shocked or even surprised when you're already clear that anything can happen. And the other consequence of this is that - I'm afraid - the film ends up a little boring.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Shirin (Abbas Kiarostami, 2008)

Beautiful study in cinematic rhythm and identification, chock full of reflexivity (we only follow the narrative of the women's identification with the characters in the film they are, supposedly, watching by identifying with them ourselves...). It might have been nice to have one or two audience members who weren't emotionally overwhelmed by the film, but that's my only serious quibble.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944)

Very fine, but somehow not quite in the very first rank, for me. A little too much whodunnit with a limited cast of suspects, perhaps?

Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932)

Stone-cold, downright masterpiece. Would that its influence on later vampire films had been stronger.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Count the Hours (Don Siegel, 1953)

Not much above mediocre, but certain details give it the occasional tang of realism (like the behaviour of the frogman). Jack Elam's performance is enjoyable, and the photography by John Alton is undeniably fine.

Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011)

Performances and narrative structure I liked a lot; cinematography and editing were effective but a little too close to other "edgy" contemporary cinema. The trip around the genres is entertaining, but the finale plunges everything, for me, a little too clearly into one genre in particular. Very impressed rather than blown away.