Orson Welles Never really liked Movies

[read the] Interview of Orson Welles where he says he despises most American Film-makers

Andre Bazin was a French film critic of the 50’s. One of his books (two volumes) is described as quintessential for film students, What is Cinema?, which made for the perfect bragabook (book you read to brag about). Your French accent and quirky moustache could only get him so far, it was his writing which established him as THE film critic to read. It has endured for 50 or 60 years, and will continue to endure, an extraordinary feat considering that cinema was only beginning to get credibility as an art, which makes him a pioneer.

Bazin was an admirer of Jean Renoir and Orson Welles. He wrote a book about each of them, but my library had only the latest – which was actually surprising considered its dimensions and the general lack of demand for fifties French film criticism on a director with only one recognizable work in my country.

I devoured the book in one day. It’s short and a particularly boring passage of Karamazov Brotherscombined with a particularly boring afternoon at the beach, made reading it in one sitting the most sensible course of action. It had pictures, too.

I learned quite a few things I didn’t know about the man and his upbringing, his difficulties to get a movie done and his personality. He said something worth quoting, that I couldn’t find on the web:

“Only the optimists are incapable of understanding what it means to love an ideal.”

(Unprecedented words from an interview in the Ritz, 27th of July of 1958)

He broke my heart, by confirming he lifted the story of the Cuckoo Clock from a Hungarian play and Continue reading “Orson Welles Never really liked Movies”

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Spring Breakers

Review of Spring Breakers (2013)
 

Within the first few minutes of Spring Breakers I got up and turned off my TV. I wiped the moist that it was soaked in and turned it on again. 47 oiled boobs, 18 ass cheeks, 12 popsickles sucked in the least orthodox way possible and 8 nipple piercing appeared on screen in those first minutes. I couldn’t risk my flat-screen.

The movie was accused of exposing too much the bodies of the actresses. Ex-Disney stars aren’t supposed to be sexualized. I say the way they use guns and partake in robberies is more offensive than their partially naked bodies, but very few people make that argument. I would even understand the protests if that exposure was gratuitous, but I don’t think it is.

Spring Breakers starts with 4 pretty girls trying to make money to get to… spring break. Three of them rob a restaurant and the religious one, Faith, is slightly disconcerted with their actions, until she sees the produce of the deed, and those 14 years of Catholic School get thrown off the window. We see them in their natural habitat. Normal girl, partying or singing in a Church group. They get to spring break and, after a very graphic night of partying they get thrown in jail. They need to pay their bail but have no money. The answer falls from the sky in the form of Alien (James Franco), a metal toothed gangster with a fantastic musical taste.

The movie shifts with the introduction of this character. It whirls into decadence as he brings them into his world. Alien’s the local dealer with a Continue reading “Spring Breakers”

PSYCHOPATHIC KILLERS ON TV

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Dexter opened the door for serial killers to become the good guys. Don’t hold me to it, I didn’t ace my History of Television course. Hannibal tore the door of its hinges. I suspect hordes of serial killers are sharpening their knives, loading their rifles and rigging their explosive purple onions, to take over TV. While this happens, TV’s most chilling and unique killer slipped by the door unnoticed.

Alice is an orphan, as of a few hours ago. She’s interrogated by Luther, who lends his name to the TV show. She is the suspect of the murder of her mother and Continue reading “PSYCHOPATHIC KILLERS ON TV”

Chan-Wook Park Goes to America

Stoker

I put artsy indie films and Hollywood blockbusters in the same category. I look at both with mistrust. The archetype of the blockbuster is a tightly structured movie, with very little space for creativity. Movies like Iron-Man, Men in Black, Twillight and more, are a product Hollywood sells. They have to make money, so I understand very little is to be left to chance. Art films (lacking a better word), are the opposite, often on purpose. If the norm is to shoot, write, light, in a certain way, they do the opposite to escape the norm. Originality supersedes quality.

I beware of the mindless blockbuster as I do of indie-crap.

Stoker looks a lot like indie-crap. Fortunately its director is Chan-wook Park and luck of lucks, he didn’t get lost in translation.

The plot uses two conventional settings: A woman becomes Continue reading “Chan-Wook Park Goes to America”

Hanibal is Mads

Hannibal How to cook a meal

Episode 9 and I’m finally married to Hannibal, the TV show. Almost.

The first episodes had some fine details but their structure was so flat, they became flattened as well.

The main character is not Hannibal, but Will. I almost had to google him, but I remembered Mads Mikkelsen’s voice calling for the sad basterd. I assume he’s a functioning sociopath, like Tony Soprano, without the gut or the guts. He is filled with characterization but lacks Continue reading “Hanibal is Mads”

Drive Meets Serpico

“if you ride like lightening, you’re gonna crash like thunder”

Gosling is the only actor that’d make me watch a movie. Male or female. He fills the screen without the need for a close-up. In The place Beyond the Pines he plays a daredevil bike rider that makes his living riding in a round metal cage. He’s seen as a cool guy. People stare at him, his bleached hair, puffed-up muscles and leather jacket. The announcer calls for Handsome Luke while he puts his helmet on. All but one of his numerous tattoos are now covered, the one bellow his left eye, a knife dripping a single blood droplet. I believe each droplet stands for a person killed, in gang language. Even if I’m mistaken, it still gives colour to his violent past without the need for words.

After this brilliant introduction, some flaws emerge. Handsome Luke becomes aware he’s a father too early to get an emotional response. He sticks around, despite the fact the mother of his child lives with another man. There’s a miraculous job waiting for him in an auto-shop, but he struggles to make enough money to support a family that was never truly his. The miraculous answer is to rob banks with his “boss” who miraculously has done so before.

The potential in this movie gets spoiled by lack of consistency. The plot leaps the gaping holes it opens. Most major events and plot twists seem to be Continue reading “Drive Meets Serpico”