Sunday, June 26, 2011

Deprived Cinephile

Summertime triggers fond memories of going to the movies and the anticipatory excitement I used to feel as a child and teen.  Back in my time, which was yesterday, there was a period where I had what seemed like unlimited access to University and Repertory theaters.  They showed the gems of film making, many foreign and art house, where the emphasis lay on telling great stories through a visual medium.

It was in those theaters that I first experienced the dark comedy "Delicatessen" by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, discovered the theatrical and disturbing vision of Peter Greenaway, watched and marveled at Ridley Scott's "Alien" and "Blade Runner", craved "The Scent of Green Papaya" or traveled through Italy with the quirky protagonist of "Caro Diario".

Repertory cinemas, where fellow film aficionados sit in respectful silence have been closing. The foreign film section appears to be getting smaller and I do not think I have watched a movie about an artist since "Pollock". As a fellow cinephile friend of mine often states: "They just don't make them anymore".

If you have any unique or original movies to recommend please do.

Within the current trend of CGI and remakes of remakes, "Immortals" looks original and visually interesting. Directed by Tarsem (who also directed The Cell) and starring Mickey Rourke as Hyperion. It may not be deep and profound, but I am hoping for at least some geekcitement.


  1. I just saw two rotoscoped films from the 2000s which I thought were interesting: Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly.

  2. OK. Have you seen any of these?

    Hope one of these might rejuvenate a jaded palette........

  3. Would Swamp Shark be considered unique and original? I'm watching it right now. My oldest son makes fun of me for watching these SyFy Saturday night movies. If you've never noticed, in every single one of them, there is a severed arm.

  4. "Remakes of remakes." So true.
    Maybe Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" will be art for art's sake?

  5. @Laoch, saw them, thought they were interesting too.

    @Alistair, thank you for all the recommendations, have not seen Ishiguro's or Etre et Avoir.
    Jaded? :)
    Where are the current Babette's feast and Remains of the Day?

    @Meg, lol. In it's own way, I suppose. These movies do advocate disposable limbs.;)

    @dbs, sigh, unfortunately yes. They bought so many rights of really good books, but aren't making them.
    Cautiously optimistic about that one. Although it reminds me of Aronoff's "Fountain".

  6. An interesting movie that almost no one has seen but that is quite good is "The Civilization of Maxwell Bright."

    One of the best movies I have seen in the last decade is a Chinese film called "The Road Home."

  7. I like how this looks. Looks like it may indeed provide some geekcitement.

    My word verification is "housin". Did you tell blogger I was moving?

  8. @Laoch, thank you will be putting them on my list, think I've heard of the Road home before.

    @Vinny, I'm hoping it will be more 300, less The Spirit, which was unwatchable. I also really want that bow...for recreational purposes.

    The one I'm really geekcited about is Ridley Scott's "Prometheus". Chose to make it cause they gave him free reign.

    Looks like WV is paying attention.:)

  9. Ugh! I totally passed on The Spirit. Something about just didn't appeal to me from the trailer. From what I heard afterward, I'm glad I did.

    "Recreational purposes"? Riiiight.

  10. Yep. 20 minutes I'll never get back.

    Is Hayao Miyazaki still making movies? I could use one right now.

    I'm having a "Hell is other people" moment. This too shall pass. Want.The.Bow!

  11. Vinny, any good anime to recommend? Haven't seen any in a while.

  12. Even though it had Academy Award nominations, the remake (yes, I know) of TRUE GRIT had so many elements that attract me to a film...the cinematography/direction, the way the landscape becomes a character, an integral part of the movie; the music which weaves old hymns with new composition gives a sense of an unstated yet abiding peace while the action is far from peaceful. And intelligent, uniquely phrased language spoken by actors who clearly understood what they were saying. I intend to do a post about it, but perhaps that ship has already sailed. I never defend remakes. This is, for me, rare and exceptional.

  13. @Cheeseboy, we'll have to wait and watch. It may just be another CGI fest.

    @Marylinn, couldn't have put it better;) True Grit has been the exception in a recent CGI fest. "Clearly understood what they're saying". Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
    I think that maybe one reason I appreciate foreign movies so much is that they select actors rather than celebrities.

    I really hope you write a post about it.

  14. Sometimes the remakes don't live up to the originals. CGI can create some remarkable effects but if the film relies on the effects, the drama of the story can be lost. I cite for example "The Day The Earth Stood Still". The remake was almost silly.

    Now so many films are shot in studio sets with green-screen even used for the matte background. Soon we won't even need actors.

  15. Geekcitement indeed! I think the last decent movie I saw was Inception - the second time around. The first time was great, mind you, but a couple weeks after I read so much about it's possible meanings, and going back to see it again was worthwhile.

  16. OMG.. that looks awesome!

    Ant, Miyazaki's last animation was Ponyo in 2008. He is still working though, consulting and writing Screenplays, working on storyboards, scene design, art design, and the key animator on other people's projects. He's still making short films for the Ghibli Museum.
    Have you seen "Laputa: Castle in the Sky"?

  17. I've been watching a lot of the series of late but I really want to see the movie: "King of Thorn". I've heard good things.

  18. I generally stay away from remakes. The letdown is usually too great. Fortunately, there are two small theatres in Providence that are still showing art and foreign films (which often go hand in hand).
    Now Marylinn has me intrigued by the remake of True Grit--the original movie of which I've always loved, and I couldn't imagine, don't want to imagine, how it might be improved upon. I may have to make and exception here... ;)

  19. @Robert, agreed. No one can improve on Dr. Strangelove;)
    Almost silly? The remake was such a disappointment. War of the worlds is another example. That story still needs to be visually told.
    LOTR and Matrix used CGI in the appropriate way, not as a main character. I thought the same when I watched Final Fantasy, which I thought was very good, but almost frightening how well they animated human expression.

    @DocCyn, I know, right? Had a bit of a Kratos moment there;)
    That's what I liked so much about Inception,the visual wow factor, the layers and meaning. Could easily watch it again and that's rare for me. The one I have high hopes for is Ridley Scott's Prometheus.

  20. @sprite, thought so too, but don't know if it'll have some substance. Still, it looks cool.

    Is Ponyo good, I know he makes children's movies too. Didn't know, thought he retired.
    Yes, Castle in the Sky and Howl's moving castle were great.

    @Vinny, thank you, will have a look.

    @Jayne, if they ever make a remake (and why would they) of "To kill a Mockingbird" I would not watch it. Didn't see the original True Grit. Thought Ocean's 11 was a fun remake, tried to watch the original once and couldn't:)

    I was looking at a site of best foreign the other day. The themes and topics have changed.

  21. My most unique filmgoing experience (it's kinda long. Sorry):
    My ship had just pulled into Palma, Spain in 1977.
    When trying to figure out what to do, I suggested we go see "Star Wars" in town (believe me, I know we were sailors. Beer drinking came later). The conversation went like this:
    "Hey, let's go see Star Wars."
    "You dope. It'll be in Spanish!"
    "No, it won't. It'll be in English with Spanish subtitles."
    "Oh, I don't know...."
    "At the very worst, it'll be in Spanish with English subtitles."
    "You sure?"
    "As a heart attack."
    Predictably, it was in Spanish with NO subtitles. The only ones I understood were R2-D2 and C-3PO. And I really think the guy in the black helmet was bad.
    As far as a highbrow, cultural movie, I saw "Ran" by Akiro Kurisawa (I'm butchering the spelling, I know) in Norfolk, Virginia.
    It was very Japanese. With no dinosaurs or sex robots. I was somewhat disappointed.

  22. Aw, geez, I meant to say "Chewbacca." Even C-3PO spoke Spanish. Oh, the tragedy of when a joke goes bad (it is a true story, though)

  23. @Jayne: The remake of 'True Grit' kinda sucked. I was a little surprised, but it dragged. John Wayne did the role very well in the original and the story was much more entertaining. Granted, things were a little more simplistic in 1969 (for instance, I hadn't entered puberty yet), but it was still a good movie. Oh, well.
    AC: I return your comments section back to you.

  24. @Al, Star Wars in Spanish? LOL.One would think that they wouldn't have bothered to dub it. Good travel story though.
    I once saw some scifi blockbuster in Hungarian. I don't think English would have improved it.

    Ah! *chuckle*. Still funny with Spanish Darth Vader.

    No worries. Monologue or Dialogue, isn't that what the comment section is for? To actually have a conversation with others?

  25. Al, liked Ran, remember that everything was big and epic.
    Highbrow? I can raise my brows, why do you ask?

  26. Have not seen Ponyo yet.

    Cluck Cluck!

  27. All kidding aside.....'Ran' WAS very good.
    It didn't need dinosaurs or sex robots.

  28. I have had many opportunities to see Ponyo, but I just don't now why I have avoided it. LOL.

    "Exit Through The Giftshop" is like a documentary and about urban art. I think it is on NetFlix.

    That YouTube link comment by Alistair is much appreciated!


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