Showing posts from November, 2015

Review: Cleo from 5 to 7

Review by James Bratone Cleo from 5 to 7 1962, written and directed by Agnes Varda Cleo Victoire is a young, successful pop singer in Paris with hit singles playing regularly on the radio. She is beautiful, rich, has a successful boyfriend and even a personal assistant. But things are not what they seem. She is ill with what she dreads to be cancer. In fact, as the film opens, she is awaiting test results from the hospital that might confirm her fears. The results are due at 7 pm. and the action starts at 5; the film follows Cleo for those two hours. We watch her virtually moment by moment as she awaits the news that could indicate her imminent death. Two hours of her life are presented in an hour and a half, almost cinema verite style, each episode of ten minutes or so presented as a chapter with a title and the time interval in which the episode occurs, so we are continually reminded of the quickly approaching 7 pm. The first chapter finds her consulting a fortu

Review: Tokyo Story by Yasuirô Ozu

Kurosawa is the Western Japanese film Genius, Ozu is Japan's Japanese director. Kurosawa was criticized by critics in Japan as being too Western (in which he took pride--even though he was trained as a samurai). Ozu was one who was hailed by critics of his own country as epitomizing their own style and flavor of film. What that means for the western film buff is long and boring! Not to say the film is no good. It's an excellent film, it deserves to be thought of as up there with Bergman's Wild Strawberries , and Di Sica's the Bicycle Thief , some have said it's one of the greatest films ever made. But Western viewer beware! To get the point where you enjoy and appreciate this film you are going to have to learn to love films where nothing happens. The true Japanese spirit of film is a long ambling slice of life that takes forever to unwind. Once you stick through it all the way it's rewarding, but it's getting there that's the trouble. Another gre

Ingmar Bergman's Winter Light. (1963)

  Gunnar Björnstrand I have reviewed several Bergman films on Metacrock's blog, starting with my review of his death several years ago ( "Greatness has Left the Planet: Ingmar Bergman Dies "). Since getting Netflix last Summer I've been watching what I consider to be the greatest films from the the greatest age of art films. From the late 40s, beginning with Italian Neo-Realism, which followed the lead of Viscanti, to the mid 50s in French "new Cinema" and on to the end of the 60s film make reach it's peak in terms of artistic direction. A host of great filmmakers cranked out sublime creations, the greatest among them was Sweden's Ingmar Bergman. Bergman has a special sensitivity to religion. He was an atheist, he did not pull punches about his feelings of angst at the lack of a God (in his world view) but he was not one of these message board Dawkies. He approaches it with a sensitivity that preserves the dignity and intellige

Review of Hiroshi Teshigahara's "Woman in the Dunes," by Joe Hinman

Hiroshi Teshigahara's  greatest work, Woman in the Dunes , circa 1964, is a brilliant film. I have seen it only one time, this summer just a few weeks ago was my first time and yet I include it among my very favorite films, maybe top 20 of my all-time list. It's themes are universal and existential, which usually makes for a great film. It's well shot, beautiful cinematography, well acted and though it seems like it would be tedious is compelling and I could not stop watching. It's filmed in Black and White and this one of those times when the b/w make for a powerful image rather than bland lack of color. One of the dominate camera angles of the entire film is the very tiny Writers: Kôbô Abe (novel) Kôbô Abe (screenplay) Cast   (Credited cast) Eiji Okada ... Entomologist Niki Jumpei Kyôko Kishida ... Woman Hiroko Ito ... Entomologist's wife (in flashbacks) Kôji Mitsui Sen Yano Ginzô Sekiguchi rest of cast listed alphab

Review by James Bratone: 2001 A Space Odyssey, film by Stanley Kubrick

I use this review to introduce my partner in this blog, great friend, James Bratone. He's brilliant and a born critic. Jim went to film school at the University of Texas, which has one of the best departments in the county. He won awards for his student films, especially a sand animation film called "quicksand."He's a fine artist and studied for MFA at University of North Texas. Jim did not turn me on to great art films, my brother Ray did that. Yet Jim has taught me most of what I know about film. Even so we don't always agree. 001: A Space Odyssey 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of those films that engenders extreme reactions. People most often tend to a) detest it as pretentious, unimaginative and pedantic, b) exalt it to the status of a quasi-religious experience, or c) find it completely inscrutable but too boring to merit the effort to unlock its secrets. There’s something to be said for each reaction, for Kubrick has made something of a Rohrscha

Review, Robert Bresson: Diary of a Country Priest

This is actually his first film, he does use professional actors. in his latter films he did not use real actors bur ordinary people who were not acting. Bresson was not in tune with the new wave of film French ne wave was open, experimental, allowing what happens to happen. Bresson was tight, controlled slavish attention to the script. He was not old fashioned in not being new wave, he was just in tune with his own conception of film. The actor in the lead role, Claude Laydu was an accomplished actor. The young priest moves to the sticks to start his first parish duties. He is overseen by an older Priest who treats the job like a civil service appointment and puts him wise to all the angles in the war with the parishoners, seems to have understanding of why anyone would be a priest  and seems totally non-understanding. He doesn't have a clue as to the motives of the young idealistic priest. The young priest is highly romantic, channels all his romance into C