a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Friday, December 29, 2006

YouTubing-To-Obscure-Shameless-Self-Promotion Wednesdays: The Two-Days-Late Edition (Plus My Super-Preliminary Top Ten List!)

My last YTTOSSW of the year, and it's some 48 hours late! Sorry 'bout that, yo. Lazy holidays and shit, ya get me?

Anyway, to start with, here's the requisite clip, this time honoring, in a way, Orson Welles. At least for me, this has been quite a year for Orson-watching: not only did Criterion put out a three-disc (plus their now obligatory inclusion of a book) set of Mr. Arkadin (which I oughta finish one of these days), but I personally got my mitts on his bizarrely unavailable Falstaff-pic Chimes at Midnight, Jess Franco's unwatchable mutilation of his Don Quixote footage, and The Well, Kristien Petri’s obsessive chronicle of his search for Orson-in-Spain arcana.

With that in mind, here's Orson plastered at a shooting for one of his wine commercials. You think he sank to the bottom by shilling for Paul Mason? You ain't seen nothing yet. Similarly, if you found the uncensored Siskel & Ebert spat hard to watch, you won't even make it through this. I know I haven't. (For the real deal, jump here.)

La Weekly!!
Just an interview with We Don't Live Here Anymore/The Painted Veil director John Curran. And I ain't even sending you over to Rep. There's so not nothing there.

Lastly, as promised: THAT LIST!
Again: super-preliminary. But if someone asked me to name the ten right this now, it would possibly resemble this:

01. The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, UK/USA)
02. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, UK/USA)
03. Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, USA)
04. Dave Chappelle's Block Party (Michel Gondry, USA)
05. Gabrielle (Patrice Chéreau, France/Germany/Italy)
06. Jackass Number Two (Jeff Tremaine, USA)
07. United 93 (Paul Greengrass, USA/UK/France)
08. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, Romania)
09. L'enfant (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France)
10. Clean (Olivier Assayas, France/UK/Canada)

As yet unseen: Idiocracy (Judge); Inland Empire (Lynch); Iraq in Fragments (Longley); Letters From Iwo Jima (Eastwood); Notes on a Scandal (Eyre); Pan's Labyrinth (del Toro); probably more I'm currently forgetting.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

YouTubing-To-Obscure-Shameless-Self-Promotion Wednesdays: Better Hopelessly Late Than Never

Just when it seemed like those of us who didn't venture up to the 2005 NYFF would never get a chance to catch Philippe Garrel's devastating Regular Lovers on a big screen, doesn't New York's Cinema Village go and schedule it just before the end of the year. And just in time for Top Ten List finalizing, too! (It previously topped my 2005 list. Now, I suppose, it doesn't.) Those with regionless players have been able to catch Artificial Eye's R2 disc for months. But excellent as it is, surely William Lubchantsky's sharp B&W cinematography looks even more radiant when projected on film, to say nothing of the enveloping rhythms of the largely wordless first hour.

Garrel, whose ornery Nouvelle Vague films have long been unavailable to those with a crippling reliance on the English language (what discs there are don't boast subtitles), conceived the film, at least in part, as a reponse to Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, going so far as to cast his son Louis as his autobiographical self. Bernardo gets a hilarious shout-out during a leftfield fourth-wall-busting moment halfway through, but it's unclear whether he holds much animosity towards his film. The Dreamers intentionally kept things holed up, away from the world. Regular Lovers dives right in, though its portrayal of its participants is arguably more acidic still. The first hour is devoted to their carefree ideology; the other two chart the steady, slow descent into disillusionment, aided by opium and what is gradually revealed to be a rocky foundation to begin with -- a depiction that should gut anyone who's ever harbored lofty aspirations.

Oh, yes, the clip. This is from around the two-hour mark, with the characters participating in what is one last hurrah. The song is the Kinks' immortal "This Time Tomorrow," which dates from 1970, two years after the revolts. Safe to say that no one has filmed dancing quite this way before, the camera calmly following around people as they dance with no care for rhythm, patterns or style, all the while boxed within a 1.33:1 frame.

Le Weekly!! Busy-ass Holiday Movie week, with three reviews woven into a bunch of Sean Burns ones: Zhang's nutzoid Curse of the Golden Flower, which reunites him with former muse Gong Li; the surprisingly desperate (in a good way) The Pursuit of Happyness; and We Are Marshall, which is surprising in less worthwhile ways. I also interview one-time Philly Rep scene queen/current PFF documentary film curator Jennifer Steinberg. Also, and I barely feel like pointing you towards it given how skimpy it is, Rep. (Seriously, there's nothing there.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

YouTubing-To-Obscure-Shameless-Self-Promotion Wednesdays: Look, I Saw a 12 1/2 Hour Movie

Still haven't gotten back on track with the ol' Screening Diary. But that will totally happen sometime soon. But this YouTubing thing is far easier. Ergo, here's an interview that should fairly blow your socks through your ass: Woody Allen interviewing Billy Graham. "My next guest is a very charming and provocative gentlemen," the Woodman says in the intro, and far more shocking is that he's right. Can you imagine a famous atheist interviewing a major religious figure today, let alone the other way around? The mind reels.

La Weekly!! A review of Terry Gilliam's Tideland, which I can't believe actually made it outside of the IFC Center. (Guess begging outside of the Daily Show studio really helped.) Also, Rep.

Oh, and a possibly impenetrable ditty on Jacques Rivette's Out 1, alluded to in the subject title, is en route. Seriously.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

YouTubing-To-Obscure-Shameless-Self-Promotion Wednesdays: Look, I've Been Sick

And where's this week's Screening Diary, you ask? (Well, don't you?) It's coming -- I've just been horribly afflicted by this nasty-ass fever I caught during the East Coast's violent 30-40-degree drop over the weekend. Fun.

In the meanwhile, here's possibly my favorite chapter from Godard's Vivre sa vie, with the (need it be said?) luminous Anna Karina as the bestest cinematic prostitute in history. (Bite me, Cabiria.) My question: who, exactly, directed this clip?

Yer Weekly! An interview with local walking film encyclopedia, "Videohound" author and longtime Russ Meyer confidante, Irv Slifkin. Also, a review (one Sean Burns review down) of Alan Bennett's so-not-inspirational teacher-pupil dramedy The History Boys and, with a bit about Jan Svankmajer's Lunacy, Rep.

And a rare event for K.B.: honest-to-dog actual breaking news! For those of you who couldn't get into MoMI's monumental screening of Jacques Rivette's 12 1/2-hour Out 1, they've been kind enough to add another weekend screening session, in March. Luckily, this doesn't include me. My boxed lunches await me in Astoria this weekend.