07-19-2014Targets (1968)www.imdb.com/title/tt0063671/
When in the late 60s Peter Bogdanovich was a film programmer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City he met legendary b-movie director Roger Corman. Meeting Corman changed Bogdanovich’s life: Corman invited Bogdanovich to direct two movies, this here Targets and the poorly received Voyage To The Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968). Both are considerably different movies, but share this specific Corman-feeling.
Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff, a character based on Karloff himself) is an aging horror film star who is fed up with the entire movie-making industry. Before he definitely retires he makes a personal appearance at a showing of a movie called The Terror (an actual Roger Corman movie from 1963, many scenes involving Karloff in that movie are featured in Targets). Present at this showing is going to be Bobby (Tim O’Kelly), a happy seeming Vietnam veteran with a lust for guns.
Targets is a stylish movie. It has a slow pace and the plot isn’t all that spectacular, but Bogdanovich’s directing is extremely effective. He directs in a soothing manner and brings out the best of Karloff, who shines in a role that he himself considered one of his favorites. The long takes, as trivial as the may seem, are great to see and it all makes for a cold and bitter movie, which is at the same time charming and terrifying. The scenes in which a cool Bobby shoots at random people is tension-packed and has the same feeling of guilty pleasure as when you’re doing the same thing playing Grand Theft Auto.
7

07-19-2014
Targets (1968)
www.imdb.com/title/tt0063671/

When in the late 60s Peter Bogdanovich was a film programmer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City he met legendary b-movie director Roger Corman. Meeting Corman changed Bogdanovich’s life: Corman invited Bogdanovich to direct two movies, this here Targets and the poorly received Voyage To The Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968). Both are considerably different movies, but share this specific Corman-feeling.

Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff, a character based on Karloff himself) is an aging horror film star who is fed up with the entire movie-making industry. Before he definitely retires he makes a personal appearance at a showing of a movie called The Terror (an actual Roger Corman movie from 1963, many scenes involving Karloff in that movie are featured in Targets). Present at this showing is going to be Bobby (Tim O’Kelly), a happy seeming Vietnam veteran with a lust for guns.

Targets is a stylish movie. It has a slow pace and the plot isn’t all that spectacular, but Bogdanovich’s directing is extremely effective. He directs in a soothing manner and brings out the best of Karloff, who shines in a role that he himself considered one of his favorites. The long takes, as trivial as the may seem, are great to see and it all makes for a cold and bitter movie, which is at the same time charming and terrifying. The scenes in which a cool Bobby shoots at random people is tension-packed and has the same feeling of guilty pleasure as when you’re doing the same thing playing Grand Theft Auto.

7

@14 hours ago
#peter bogdanovich #roger corman #targets #voyage to the planet of prehistoric women #boris karloff #the terror #tim o'kelly #grand theft auto #gta #arthur peterson #james brown 
07-18-2014Harvey (1950)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042546/
Harvey is a feel-good movie based on Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize play of the same name. It is directed by German born Henry Koster and it turned out to be one of his greatest successes. He directed two of his stars, James Stewart and Josephine Hull, to an Academy Award nomination: Hull even ended up winning.
Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart) is a good-natured, amiable and slightly eccentric man. He likes the more-than-occasional drink and his best friend is a pooka named Harvey, in the form of a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall (let’s stick to the facts, as Dowd would say) invisible rabbit. This friendship is sweet and harmless, but his sister Veta Louise Simmons (Hull) and niece Myrtle Mae Simmons (Victoria Horne) don’t like it a single bit and want Elwood to be institutionalized.
Sadly, Harvey can’t shake the play-feeling it has from the start: the acting is overly theatrical and the long takes at familiar sets and absurd comedy caper situations don’t make this feeling a positive one. However, the ever charming Stewart and some of his fantastic quotes (from a screenplay written by Chase and Oscar Brodney) make Harvey a better than average 50s comedy anyway.  Whether Harvey is the result of Elwood’s drinking, imagination or playfullness nobody knows, but none of these options alter the fact that Elwood is the nicest of men, caring about everybody and wanting everybody to get along, be they real or imaginary. His wonderful behaviour brings out the best of people, just like this movie brings out the best feel-good feelings out of its audience.
7

07-18-2014
Harvey (1950)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042546/

Harvey is a feel-good movie based on Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize play of the same name. It is directed by German born Henry Koster and it turned out to be one of his greatest successes. He directed two of his stars, James Stewart and Josephine Hull, to an Academy Award nomination: Hull even ended up winning.

Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart) is a good-natured, amiable and slightly eccentric man. He likes the more-than-occasional drink and his best friend is a pooka named Harvey, in the form of a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall (let’s stick to the facts, as Dowd would say) invisible rabbit. This friendship is sweet and harmless, but his sister Veta Louise Simmons (Hull) and niece Myrtle Mae Simmons (Victoria Horne) don’t like it a single bit and want Elwood to be institutionalized.

Sadly, Harvey can’t shake the play-feeling it has from the start: the acting is overly theatrical and the long takes at familiar sets and absurd comedy caper situations don’t make this feeling a positive one. However, the ever charming Stewart and some of his fantastic quotes (from a screenplay written by Chase and Oscar Brodney) make Harvey a better than average 50s comedy anyway.  Whether Harvey is the result of Elwood’s drinking, imagination or playfullness nobody knows, but none of these options alter the fact that Elwood is the nicest of men, caring about everybody and wanting everybody to get along, be they real or imaginary. His wonderful behaviour brings out the best of people, just like this movie brings out the best feel-good feelings out of its audience.

7

@2 days ago with 1 note
#harvey #mary chase #henry koster #james stewert #josephine hull #victoria horne #cecil kellaway #gino corrado 
07-16-2014Pickpocket (1959)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053168/
Pickpocket is one of Robert Bresson’s mostly watched movies. With a running time of only 75 minutes and a Nouvelle Vague-approved style over substance approach it is also one of the easiest to watch. It’s the first movie Bresson wrote the screenplay for himself.
Michel (Martin LaSalle, a non-professional at the time) resorts to pickpocketing. After he is arrested after doing so at the horse races, he spends a short time in jail. He meets some people who are professional pickpockets after his short jail time, who teach him their trade and who go on some pickpocket adventures with him. Even though Michel wants to quit, he realises it is his only way of surviving in Paris.
Could one turn a blind eye towards certain kinds of thefts? Bresson explores this theme, but never gives an answer. His directing is typically sober, just like the acting, cinematography and music. It makes for a movie that is calculated and meditative, and for those who are willing to fall into its grasp, it’s beautiful. Not only the pickpocketing scenes are beautiful, but so are the scenes in which a reserved Michel (who acts in strangely bad yet mesmerizing way) falls in love with the neighbor of his ill mother.
To many people, Pickpocket might seem to be a slow-moving movie about a thief trying to get what he wants, but Bresson made it into a beautiful one. Even if the style of the movie is not a thriller (as Bresson makes clear in the opening title screen), it has the emotional intensity of one.
7

07-16-2014
Pickpocket (1959)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053168/

Pickpocket is one of Robert Bresson’s mostly watched movies. With a running time of only 75 minutes and a Nouvelle Vague-approved style over substance approach it is also one of the easiest to watch. It’s the first movie Bresson wrote the screenplay for himself.

Michel (Martin LaSalle, a non-professional at the time) resorts to pickpocketing. After he is arrested after doing so at the horse races, he spends a short time in jail. He meets some people who are professional pickpockets after his short jail time, who teach him their trade and who go on some pickpocket adventures with him. Even though Michel wants to quit, he realises it is his only way of surviving in Paris.

Could one turn a blind eye towards certain kinds of thefts? Bresson explores this theme, but never gives an answer. His directing is typically sober, just like the acting, cinematography and music. It makes for a movie that is calculated and meditative, and for those who are willing to fall into its grasp, it’s beautiful. Not only the pickpocketing scenes are beautiful, but so are the scenes in which a reserved Michel (who acts in strangely bad yet mesmerizing way) falls in love with the neighbor of his ill mother.

To many people, Pickpocket might seem to be a slow-moving movie about a thief trying to get what he wants, but Bresson made it into a beautiful one. Even if the style of the movie is not a thriller (as Bresson makes clear in the opening title screen), it has the emotional intensity of one.

7

@4 days ago
#pickpocket #robert bresson #martin lasalle #marika green #kassagi #pierre étaix 
07-13-2014The Last Picture Show (1971)www.imdb.com/title/tt0067328/
Shot in evocative black-and-white, Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, his third feature film, has a soothing and heartfelt quality to it. It is one of the most subtle coming-of-age films I have ever seen. Orson Welles called it a dirty movie, probably because of a skinny dipping party scene.
The plot follows a group of teenagers in the 50s living in a small town in Texas, where nothing much is happening. For pleasure and relief the youngsters can only go the local bar, pool hall or cinema, but when Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson), the owner of these accommodations, dies, they have to figure their lives out. Living in this dying town in Texas sure isn’t worth it, but escaping seems impossible for many. Although Bogdanovich shines a light on most of his main characters, the Sonny character (Timothy Bottoms) is the one everything revolves around. He shares most of his time with Duane (Jeff Bridges) and Duane’s girlfriend Jacy (Cybill Shepherd).
As is the case in the best coming-of-age films, The Last Picture Show does something to its audience. It doesn’t only lets its audience feel for the characters and their dire situations, but it also makes them think about their own lives. Everything just feels incredibly real. Bogdanovich’s directing and Robert Surtees’ cinematography (both nominated for an Academy Award in 1972), have a sense of familiarity and recognition. The filmmaker’s decision to shoot all but one of the scenes at eye-level makes this feeling even stronger, as if you are watching from the sidelines questioning your own life and decisions.
The Last Picture Show is one of the most important American films that has been produced. It is a masterpiece of mood, a movie that presently would be regarded as art-house approved slow-cinema, a movie that hits you.
8

07-13-2014
The Last Picture Show (1971)
www.imdb.com/title/tt0067328/

Shot in evocative black-and-white, Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, his third feature film, has a soothing and heartfelt quality to it. It is one of the most subtle coming-of-age films I have ever seen. Orson Welles called it a dirty movie, probably because of a skinny dipping party scene.

The plot follows a group of teenagers in the 50s living in a small town in Texas, where nothing much is happening. For pleasure and relief the youngsters can only go the local bar, pool hall or cinema, but when Sam the Lion (Ben Johnson), the owner of these accommodations, dies, they have to figure their lives out. Living in this dying town in Texas sure isn’t worth it, but escaping seems impossible for many. Although Bogdanovich shines a light on most of his main characters, the Sonny character (Timothy Bottoms) is the one everything revolves around. He shares most of his time with Duane (Jeff Bridges) and Duane’s girlfriend Jacy (Cybill Shepherd).

As is the case in the best coming-of-age films, The Last Picture Show does something to its audience. It doesn’t only lets its audience feel for the characters and their dire situations, but it also makes them think about their own lives. Everything just feels incredibly real. Bogdanovich’s directing and Robert Surtees’ cinematography (both nominated for an Academy Award in 1972), have a sense of familiarity and recognition. The filmmaker’s decision to shoot all but one of the scenes at eye-level makes this feeling even stronger, as if you are watching from the sidelines questioning your own life and decisions.

The Last Picture Show is one of the most important American films that has been produced. It is a masterpiece of mood, a movie that presently would be regarded as art-house approved slow-cinema, a movie that hits you.

8

@6 days ago
#peter bogdanovich #the last picture show #orson welles #sam the lion #ben johnson #timothy bottoms #jeff bridges #cybill shepherd #robert surtees #cloris leachman #ellen burstyn #eileen brennan #clu gulager #sam bottoms #sharon ullrick #randy quaid 
07-19-2014Summer Of Sam (1999)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162677/
I am currently right in the middle of a heat wave, it’s 97 degrees outside and no fan can cool me off enough to become comfortable with it. To make the most out of this situation, I decided to watch Summer Of Sam, Spike Lee’s typical New York City-movie about a serial killer on the loose in the five boroughs during on of the hottest summers in recorded history: in 1977.
New York City lives in fear of the Son of Sam, a serial killer that has shot and killed several brown haired women in their cars. The police can’t get a hold of him, so a group of Italian-American guys from The Bronx go out to find him as well, including Vinny (John Leguizamo) and his friend Richie (Adrien Brody). It’s hard for everybody to keep their cool in the immense heat and everybody starts to distrust each other. What if the killer is one of them? Lee raises his usual racial questions, but only treats them subtlely, not as in-your-face as in, say, Do The Right Thing (1989) or Clockers (1995). Instead of black vs. white (which still is an issue in this movie), the focus is more on disco vs. punk. It’s 1977, the year punk broke.
It’s hot, hazy and humid. Lee successfully transforms the heat of the summer to the screen and with a muggy and sultry coolness Lee directs some fascinating scenes: more than just a few of those are some fine long takes. This sultry feeling that is hanging around sadly messes with the flow of the film halfway through, when a point is reached that Lee, instead of focusing on who the killer is, is more interested in portraying the hard lives of particularly these men in Yankees-loving The Bronx.
7

07-19-2014
Summer Of Sam (1999)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162677/

I am currently right in the middle of a heat wave, it’s 97 degrees outside and no fan can cool me off enough to become comfortable with it. To make the most out of this situation, I decided to watch Summer Of Sam, Spike Lee’s typical New York City-movie about a serial killer on the loose in the five boroughs during on of the hottest summers in recorded history: in 1977.

New York City lives in fear of the Son of Sam, a serial killer that has shot and killed several brown haired women in their cars. The police can’t get a hold of him, so a group of Italian-American guys from The Bronx go out to find him as well, including Vinny (John Leguizamo) and his friend Richie (Adrien Brody). It’s hard for everybody to keep their cool in the immense heat and everybody starts to distrust each other. What if the killer is one of them? Lee raises his usual racial questions, but only treats them subtlely, not as in-your-face as in, say, Do The Right Thing (1989) or Clockers (1995). Instead of black vs. white (which still is an issue in this movie), the focus is more on disco vs. punk. It’s 1977, the year punk broke.

It’s hot, hazy and humid. Lee successfully transforms the heat of the summer to the screen and with a muggy and sultry coolness Lee directs some fascinating scenes: more than just a few of those are some fine long takes. This sultry feeling that is hanging around sadly messes with the flow of the film halfway through, when a point is reached that Lee, instead of focusing on who the killer is, is more interested in portraying the hard lives of particularly these men in Yankees-loving The Bronx.

7

@1 day ago
#summer of sam #son of sam #spike lee #john leguizamo #do the right thing #clockers #mira sorvino #jennifer esposito #michael rispoli #saverio guerra #brian tarantina #ken garito #bebe neuwirth #mike starr #ben gazzara #michael imperioli #evander holyfield #adrien brody 
07-17-2014The Trip (1967)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062395/
Written by Jack Nicholson and starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, The Trip is kind of like the hallucinatory predecessor of Easy Rider (1969), which stars the three while Hopper directs Fonda’s and Hopper’s story. The Trip is directed by low-budget B movie hero Roger Corman (who directed Nicholson and Fonda on previous occasions, to make the circle complete).
While coping with the stress of being a tv-commercial director and of being in the middle of a divorce from his wife Sally (Susan Strasberg), Paul (Fonda) is about to embark on his first ever acid adventure. He is guided by John (Bruce Stern), the friendly seeming bearded supplier. Paul has a crazy trip, with its good moments and bad moments, featuring dwarfs, hooded horsemen riders and whatnot.
Be it a warning against using it (as is mentioned in the foreword) or not, The Trip is trippy as fuck and has many fun and hallucinatory visual results in a psychedelic temple. However, I enjoyed the non-image trippy sequences better than I did the image trippy sequences, which have succumbed to the rigors of time. The more inwardly trippy sequences, in which Paul has fascinating conversations with John and other random people as he is wandering through the city are more interesting and, as far as I know, a more realistic depiction of the effects of the drug. The Trip depicts a trip on acid like no other movie before, brightly coloured and bizarre.
7

07-17-2014
The Trip (1967)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062395/

Written by Jack Nicholson and starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, The Trip is kind of like the hallucinatory predecessor of Easy Rider (1969), which stars the three while Hopper directs Fonda’s and Hopper’s story. The Trip is directed by low-budget B movie hero Roger Corman (who directed Nicholson and Fonda on previous occasions, to make the circle complete).

While coping with the stress of being a tv-commercial director and of being in the middle of a divorce from his wife Sally (Susan Strasberg), Paul (Fonda) is about to embark on his first ever acid adventure. He is guided by John (Bruce Stern), the friendly seeming bearded supplier. Paul has a crazy trip, with its good moments and bad moments, featuring dwarfs, hooded horsemen riders and whatnot.

Be it a warning against using it (as is mentioned in the foreword) or not, The Trip is trippy as fuck and has many fun and hallucinatory visual results in a psychedelic temple. However, I enjoyed the non-image trippy sequences better than I did the image trippy sequences, which have succumbed to the rigors of time. The more inwardly trippy sequences, in which Paul has fascinating conversations with John and other random people as he is wandering through the city are more interesting and, as far as I know, a more realistic depiction of the effects of the drug. The Trip depicts a trip on acid like no other movie before, brightly coloured and bizarre.

7

@3 days ago with 1 note
#jack nicholson #peter fonda #dennis hopper #the trip #easy rider #roger corman #susan strasberg #bruce stern #luana anders 
07-13-2014Mean Machine (2001)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0291341/
Football player turned actor Vinnie Jones is the lead in Mean Machine, a movie based on Robert Aldrich’s The Longest Yard (1974), starring Burt Reynolds. It is the perfect role for Jones, a former hard-hitting English midfielder who is playing a former captain of the English national team who got accused of fixing matches. Mean Machine is directed by one-time director Barry Skolnick.
Danny Meehan (Jones) is arrested for drunken assault after a high speed chase through the city. The former star player gets thrown in jail for his violent behaviour, a place filled with dubious characters who all seem to dislike Meehan for his history of fixing matches. To win over the respect of the other inmates, Meehan decides to be the coach of the jail’s football team, a team that is about to play a team of the wardens. It is not the most innovative plot ever, which is what anybody could have expected for a movie like this. What is disturbing though, is that it is poorly and seemingly hastily written, without much care for character development, a logical flow or tidiness.
What is also problematic is that for a comedy, Mean Machine very rarely gets funny. Jones is more passive than he is in his defining roles in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch. (2000), roles that are perfectly suited for him. Surely a role as former football player would be more than suitable too, but it’s not as memorable.
Then there is the series of scenes the movie is building up to the entire time: the match. It has been proven pretty much impossible to bring the intensity and emotions of a sports match to the big screen, something that Mean Machine can’t seem to do as well. Because of some random fast cuts, messy directing and a annoying soundtrack, it is rather anti-climatic.
4

07-13-2014
Mean Machine (2001)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0291341/

Football player turned actor Vinnie Jones is the lead in Mean Machine, a movie based on Robert Aldrich’s The Longest Yard (1974), starring Burt Reynolds. It is the perfect role for Jones, a former hard-hitting English midfielder who is playing a former captain of the English national team who got accused of fixing matches. Mean Machine is directed by one-time director Barry Skolnick.

Danny Meehan (Jones) is arrested for drunken assault after a high speed chase through the city. The former star player gets thrown in jail for his violent behaviour, a place filled with dubious characters who all seem to dislike Meehan for his history of fixing matches. To win over the respect of the other inmates, Meehan decides to be the coach of the jail’s football team, a team that is about to play a team of the wardens. It is not the most innovative plot ever, which is what anybody could have expected for a movie like this. What is disturbing though, is that it is poorly and seemingly hastily written, without much care for character development, a logical flow or tidiness.

What is also problematic is that for a comedy, Mean Machine very rarely gets funny. Jones is more passive than he is in his defining roles in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch. (2000), roles that are perfectly suited for him. Surely a role as former football player would be more than suitable too, but it’s not as memorable.

Then there is the series of scenes the movie is building up to the entire time: the match. It has been proven pretty much impossible to bring the intensity and emotions of a sports match to the big screen, something that Mean Machine can’t seem to do as well. Because of some random fast cuts, messy directing and a annoying soundtrack, it is rather anti-climatic.

4

@5 days ago with 1 note
#vinnie jones #mean machine #robert aldrich #the longest yard #burt reynolds #barry skolnick #lock stock and two smoking barrels #lock stock #lock stock & two smoking barrels #snatch. #snatch #david kelly #david hemmings #ralph brown #vas blackwood #robbie gee #geoff bell #sally phillips #danny dyer #jason flemyng #jason statham 
07-12-2014Das Deutsche Kettensägen Massaker (1990)www.imdb.com/title/tt0099415/
Part 2 of Christoph Schlingensief’s German-trilogy features the same absurd and controversial humour as its first part, 100 Years Of Adolph Hitler (1989). Repulsive and weary for most, Das Deutsche Kettensägen Massaker (English title: Blackest Heart or The German Chainsaw Massacre) isn’t a movie most people will enjoy watching, but it is highly original and unlike anything you have seen before.
After the German unification, a group of strange individuals originally from West Germany live in an industrial factory, where they try and ambush people from East Germany who cross the non-existent border to the west. After a violent ambush, they are kidnapped and turned into sausages.
Regarding directing, cinematography and especially lighting, Das Massaker is much more accessible than 100 Years Of Adolph Hitler, which was shot in a basement using only a flashlight for light. Its content however is just as weird and to some completely random and sickening. However, there is more to Das Massaker than meets the eye. It’s an interesting political complaint of Schlingensief, wrapped in a trashy and often campy slasher film package. It’s bizarre and the whole derails completely during the last couple of scenes, but Schlingensief message is a beautiful one, however hard that might be to believe after you just watched a drunk man with a swastika for a moustache turn intestines into minced meat.
5

07-12-2014
Das Deutsche Kettensägen Massaker (1990)
www.imdb.com/title/tt0099415/

Part 2 of Christoph Schlingensief’s German-trilogy features the same absurd and controversial humour as its first part, 100 Years Of Adolph Hitler (1989). Repulsive and weary for most, Das Deutsche Kettensägen Massaker (English title: Blackest Heart or The German Chainsaw Massacre) isn’t a movie most people will enjoy watching, but it is highly original and unlike anything you have seen before.

After the German unification, a group of strange individuals originally from West Germany live in an industrial factory, where they try and ambush people from East Germany who cross the non-existent border to the west. After a violent ambush, they are kidnapped and turned into sausages.

Regarding directing, cinematography and especially lighting, Das Massaker is much more accessible than 100 Years Of Adolph Hitler, which was shot in a basement using only a flashlight for light. Its content however is just as weird and to some completely random and sickening. However, there is more to Das Massaker than meets the eye. It’s an interesting political complaint of Schlingensief, wrapped in a trashy and often campy slasher film package. It’s bizarre and the whole derails completely during the last couple of scenes, but Schlingensief message is a beautiful one, however hard that might be to believe after you just watched a drunk man with a swastika for a moustache turn intestines into minced meat.

5

@1 week ago
#christoph schlingensief #100 years of adolph hitler #das deutsche kettensagen massaker #das deutsche kettensägen massaker #blackest heart #german chainsaw massacre #the german chainsaw massacre #udo kier