Thursday, January 2, 2014

State of the Internet

Happy 2014 everyone! The above sums up the type of writing I hope to bring to this blog in the coming months. Terser, less informed, and more off-the-cuff. It's exactly on the way I would write. It's going to be a great year, "once dust settles!"

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Visable God

"Money is an abominable idol. It is everywhere. The only things that matter are invisible. Why are we here? What are life and death?"
- Robert Bresson, in conversation with Michel Ciment

"(I saw) L’ARGENT, which was beyond awful. A cynical old man’s movie with every stylistic trope that would provide perfect evidence to back the case of all those who might claim to detest 'Art Movies.' Especially French ones."
- [NAME REDACTED], in an email to me

As previously documented, Robert Bresson is -- if I must choose only one -- my favorite director. Mainly, I think he's the one who has the most to teach anyone who wants to use moving images to tell stories. Over the course of his career, he whittled filmmaking down to its most basic (and deceptively simple) elements. While I think A MAN ESCAPED is both the most representative and accessible of Bresson's films and techniques, Bresson's swansong -- 1983's L'ARGENT -- may just be the apotheosis of his style. In fact, as my friend argued above, a case can be made for L'ARGENT being close to a Bressonian self-parody. While a plausible case for this can be mounted, I heartily disagree.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Making Out With Pan

There's this moment in Michelangelo Antonioni's LA NOTTE (recently out on Bluray) where a woman attending a lavish, la dolce vita fete gets carried away in the middle of a downpour and starts making out with a statue of Pan. [You're going to have to take my word for it (or, better yet, see the film; it's a good one) because I lack the technical sophistication to pull a frame from a Bluray.] I bring it up because it's a nice little moment. An obvious one, perhaps -- the wealthy debaucheress paying tribute to the god of wild abandon -- but still a hint at what Antonioni's up to in the film.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Barnes and Noble Criterion Sale Ultimate Decision Maker!

As with yesterday's little exercise, I'm giving you a list of films to buy in the sale during the Criterion 50% off promotion they're running. Sure, you could stream them on Hulu or get them from the library. But - as I continue to discover - the best thing about owning a DVD or a book is that you don't actually have to watch or read the thing you own. Ownership implies consumption! Buy these, put them on your shelves, impress your guests, horde them until you shirk this mortal coil, and enjoy the sleep of the just!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Barnes & Noble 50% Off Criterion/Eclipse-mas Holiday Gift Guide-a-thon Part One!

Since we've already established that I'm essentially a shill for the Criterion Collection, I figured I'd throw together a couple quick lists of recommendations for the ongoing 50% off Barnes & Noble sale. I tend to use these things to pick up pricey boxed sets, so I'm going to lead off with my top five top picks from Criterion's recent Eclipse line releases (tomorrow I'll highlight five of my favorite recent Blus from the mainline label).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I tend to hate reviews that arbitrarily pit films against each other, setting one up as a cudgel to thrash the other with. It's the obnoxious conceit that drives Armond White's annual "better-than" lists, the idea that something can only be considered good while in relief against something dismal.

That said, I've been trying to figure out why I liked Noah Baumbach's FRANCES HA so much more than Lena Dunham's TINY FURNITURE, both Criterion releases (the former having been released yesterday in a Blu/DVD dual format package).

Both films have a superficially identical recipe: a twenty-something white woman experiencing post-college paralysis, adrift in Manhattan (and, of course, Brooklyn; the nerve center for this sort of thing), sponging off of others while vaguely aiming for an unambitious career in the arts, surrounded by a coterie of privileged, like-minded, polyamorous friends and -- ultimately -- just (heavy sigh) soooo unsure of what to do with themselves.