FRAMED ( on Blu ray)
People are telling me that this was Phil Karlson's follow up to WALKING TALL. I don't see any connection btwn the two films. FRAMED looks to me to be the brilliant reason and better film for Karlson to work w/ Joe Don Baker on again. Joe Don is simply stupendous here. He is dangerous, he is vulnerable, he is smart, he is UBER sexy and virile. He and his torch singer gal have a fascinating relationship, as the battle btwn justice and being framed peaks in parallels to the battle btwn obtaining not so honest money and obtaining safety. Also, this film has a revenge angle right out of a Tarantino film.
i can not wait to see this again.
GOD TOLD ME TO (home viewing)
This is the best Larry Cohen film i've seen.
And it's one of the coolest films I 've seen all year. Tony Lo Bianco is killer good. It's got Sylvia Sidney too. ..It's a brilliant, creepy mindfuck of a film, and another perfect pre gentrified NY film.
One of those films you watch where you can't help feeling like it was speaking to some ugly sort of collective cultural /urban psychic id /ills of the moment. Sometimes nyc is one ugly fucking place of misery. Watching this film as a new yorker you can almost imagine the plot of this film could have really happened.
EL PICO (on 35mm at Anthology Film Archives)
What a find! Combines harrowing drug coverage with honest feeling Latin American middle class family depiction and a nod to the larger political corruption at the root of all problems.
Filmed like an afterschool special meets rousing third world heroic tale meets novelesque treatment of drugs and politics with plenty of crowd pleasing Hollywood techniques in tow.
DEJA VU (on 35mm at 92YTribeca)
Definitely my favorite Tony Scott film. What a mind fuck. You can not ignore that this man goes balls to the walls out there for his obssessions and curiosities. Denzel Washington as the most paranoid yet competent version of "Scottie Ferguson". Tony's conversational rythms, ruminations on elasticity of time, romantic martyr fantasies and devastating action culminate in what i believe is the be all end all Tony Scott masterpiece.
Thanks to Gina Telaroli and Danny Kasman of MUBI for programming!
THE LIQUIDATOR (on 35mm at Anthology Film Archives)
One of the few (sad face) actual prints shown this year at William Lustig's series at Anthology, I felt like one of the few/only people who actually both thoroughly enjoyed this film and forgave it for it's weaknesses/tangential overextensions. Rod Taylor + Jack Cardiff + European locations +sexual innuendo + humor + mod clothing + set design= can do no wrong. Smart, sardonic, FUN.
LA VIE COMME CA (DVD home viewing)
this is apparently Brisseau's first film, a telefilm that seems really more at home in an arthouse than tv. But if we are in the world of telefilms this is along the lines of FRANCE/ TOUR/ DETOUR /DEUX/ ENFANTS (but not THAT good. ) The tone of the film (sorry to keep the parallels in Godard -land) is more 2 OR 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER as it focuses on the prefab suburban housing complexes that started springing up outside Paris.
Features a glorious Pascale Ogier performance. And Marie Riverie is in the cast too. An early curiosity, an oddly nouvelle vague meets Kaurismaki minimalism sort of style, and the fashions are pretty stellar.
THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID (on 35mm at MoMA)
I loved this film. it's my favorite Philip Kaufman film now and i can not even believe that it IS one.
Cliff Robertson can make you simulatenously feel melancholy and seduced. Filmed so attractively though it's full of mud and desperation. Full of style while grounded in immediacy and realism.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER (netflix instant home viewing)
This is the oliver stone film that even the (wrong) people that don't love oliver stone can love!
a smart, lefty, lean and instructive documentary on A couple of recent Latin American leaders (particularly a key stone/chavez interview) and their Socialism/ politics. this is a MUST SEE!!
WINDOWS (home viewing)
Gordon Willis should really have done less woody allen films and more of this sort of thing. Talia Shire is a freaking revelation. I never found her too interesting until i saw her in this film, emoting deadly fear. This is one of those films that I as a New Yorker, and i think the same could be said about anyone who even lived in the city for some period of time, can really appreciate as a pre gentrified view. A fun bklyn + manhattan film for guessing the location. This is also a creepy film, a not wholly successful stalker /woman in peril film but i can say the same about two other of my personal all time favorite films: LOOKING FOR MR GOOD BAR and EYES OF LAURA MARS. This one complements those films and will make a sweet triple feature.
THE LIBERATION OF LB JAMES (dvd home viewing)
a stellar late film from William Wyler that features the likes of Roscoe Lee Browne, Lee Majors and Barbara Hershey, all performing exquisitely. Racism and the pacing of cultural progression are at the forefront. This is one of those rarely smart films about more modern racism where the simultaneous pride and shame of a man just cuts to the core (seen in an unforgettable performance by Browne) the immediate ugliness of racism.