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October 17, 2021, 12:04:15 AM

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Messages - dave jenkins

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Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: Yesterday at 09:31:55 PM »
Lamb (2021) - 3/10. Beautifully photographed (using the Arri Alexa Mini with a Zeiss anamorphic lens), Iceland is shown here to great advantage. Unhappily, the story is utterly idiotic. This film should not be confused with the one with the same title released in 2015, or the one with Liam Neeson from 1985.

Other Films / Re: Winchester '73 (1950)
« on: Yesterday at 12:57:31 PM »
MoMA has got this on DCP for a showing on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. "This will be the first New York screening of the new 4K restoration of this classic, produced by Universal and the Film Foundation."

Drink, you in? Yeah, I know it's a work day, but call your penny-pinching boss and tell her you are taking a Persoanl Day for your health. What could be healthier for your mind than refreshing it with this old classic? Or you could lie and say you've got to do another interview with your buddy, the mayor. Whatever works. I don't want to go if you won't be able to make it, so don't disappoint me, you hear?

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: October 15, 2021, 05:04:53 PM »
It doesn't seem to exist (yet). It isn't mentioned on Maalof's website and it isn't on, two websites where you would definitly find it when/if it gets a proper release.
Yeah, I looked on before I gave up and bought the download. All his other stuff seems to be out on disc. I wonder what the deal with this one is.

I don't think all the time transitions in Enchantment occur as match cuts. Some of them do, but others may in fact be clever stagings done in a single take. All the transitions in OUATIA, though, IIRC, are match cuts.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: October 15, 2021, 08:04:46 AM »
I should also mention the film has a fantastic OST by Ibrahim Maalouf, not his usual thing, I gather, this has mostly piano and strings, sometimes sonically manipulated. I wasn't able to find a CD of it, but I did manage to download the album from amazon on digital. That's OK for now, but if anyone can point me to where I might be able to get a physical copy of the OST, I'd sure appreciate it.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: October 14, 2021, 08:05:55 PM »
Celle que vous croyez / Who You Think I Am (2019) - 8/10. In Atonement, many years ago, it was revealed at the end that the conclusion of the story as presented was a lie; Vanessa Redgrave showed up in an epilogue and told us what the real ending was. Man did I feel cheated. This film avoids that mistake by telling us the real story first (Juliet Binoche pretending to be a younger woman to snag a boyfriend on social media), and only then using a lie as a follow-up. A much more satisfactory way to proceed. But I don't want to talk about the plot, which is adequate, I want to talk about what is superlative, namely, the look of the film. This is the best-looking digital presentation I think I've ever seen. I'm guessing the fact it was shot with the Sony CineAlta f65 has a lot to do with it. Also, it features marvelous locations marvelously used. Funnily enough, I only saw this film because Mrs. J is such a Binoche fan, but I'm the one who ended up really liking it. Now I need it on blu so I can watch it over and over again.

I have been reading David Bordwell's Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling (2017).

One of the things that we take for granted today is the use of flashbacks. Of course, the flashback was not invented in the 40s, there are examples going back to the days of the silents. But Hollywood seems to have gone crazy for them in the 40s. This is unlike the previous decade, where the technique was used sparingly. In fact, Bordwell points out that there were more pictures using flashbacks in 1946 than in all the Hollywood movies made in the 1930s put together. The 40s vogue saw any number of variations, and Bordwell notes two of the most interesting, the film version of the play Death of a Salesman (1952)--for his purposes, Bordwell extends the "40s" to 1952--and a movie called Enchantment (1948), based on a novel by Rumer Godden.

Enchantment contains two love stories, one set in the past, and one in "the present" (London during the Blitz) . The earlier story involves Lark, Rollo, Selina, and Pelham. The modern story features Old Rollo, and the younger generation of Grizel and Pax. Neither story is anything by itself, interest is created through the interplay of the two timelines.

Anticipating the single-take time shifts of Death of a Salesman, a shot may link two periods. Typically these passages highlight enduring parts of the house. Old Rollo has grudgingly let Grizel stay in Selina's bedroom. While Rollo says, in an auditory flashback, "There's no such thing as an empty room," we see Grizel at the dressing table. The clock stops [or perhaps Grizel merely suspects it has], and as she puts it up to her ear, she looks screen right. The camera pans to the door, with a maid calling [from behind it], "Miss Selina," and then pans back to show Selina as an adolescent [perhaps some 60 years previous] at the dressing table [also holding the clock to her ear]. The parallel renders Grizel, during her first night in the house, as similar to Lark, who as a child spent her first night in Selina's room. [270]
Parallelism is the whole point of the technique. Situations in the present mirror episodes sixty years before. The action alternates between the two time lines, presented in blocks, six in the present, five in the past (the film opens and closes in "the present"). Although paralleling each other, the two timelines contrast: the lovers in the past were separated,  the present-day lovers, at the end of the film, unite.

To maintain the parallels, and to indicate time jumps, the film employs what Bordwell calls "single-shot transitions". The camera picks out an object in the room in which the action is occurring, focuses on it, then moves away to reveal that we have changed characters and timelines.
Nearly all of these single-shot transitions pivot on items that have remained in the house over the years: a clock, a chandelier, the central staircase.
By the way, what Bordwell calls "single-shot transitions" aren't always one take each. In the Selina's Bedroom transition, for example, there is a shot that ends on the closed door, followed immediately by a shot that begins on the door before moving away. The beginning of the second shot is superimposed over the end of the first shot, to make it look like one take, but the illusion is imperfect. The superimposition is discernable as the lighting in the second shot differs from that in the first (this may have been intentional; the second half of the scene takes place not only years earlier, but during a different time of day).
For our purposes, it is enough to note how the use of time shifts and the devices that signal those shifts anticipate Leone's approach in OUATIA. As Bordwell observes, the time changes are somewhat objective, not tied to any character's thoughts or memories. "This is rare in classical cinema of the period, which usually motivated returns to the past by someone's recounting or recalling earlier events." (271).

I have no idea if Leone was in any way aware of Enchantment, or if Enchantment should be seen as a kind of precursor to OUATIA,  but I was struck by a bit of deja vu when reading about that first transition scene above which includes, interestingly enough, both a clock and a closed door. Happily, amazon has the film on Prime, streaming free for members, and I was able to check it out. Yup. A clock and a door and a time jump. Hmmmmm.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: ZODIAC (2007) - a film by David Fincher
« on: October 08, 2021, 11:04:46 AM »
this is seriously one of the best shot and edited movie that I've ever seen.
Of course. I guess your argument is that Fincher is the only director in Hollywood capable of good craftsmanship?

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: October 08, 2021, 11:01:56 AM »
Bad Blonde (1953) - 3/10. Not only that, but Bad Plot, Bad Chat, Bad Acting, Bad Sets, Bad Edits: i.e. Bad Film. Some of the blocking is well thought out, though, and the performers do a good job hitting their marks, so I'll give it that. I've been on a Barbara Payton kick lately, but with a film like this, I'm quickly getting over it.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: ZODIAC (2007) - a film by David Fincher
« on: October 08, 2021, 03:29:51 AM »
They all could have been replaced by other actors with no real change in the overall quality of the film.
This is true. Fincher could also have been replaced.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: October 07, 2021, 01:43:39 PM »
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) 6.5/10

The courtroom scenes in this movie are one of the most useless framing devices I have ever seen. Seems like they just did that cuz that was the style that crime dramas of the time (later to be classified by some French term) were doing. But it's just annoying and adds nothing at all. All that it does is, from the defendants you see in the opening scene, you know that Cagney was killed, and everyone else made it out alive.

Anyway, this movie seems to drag at times. I didn't enjoy many of the scenes with Helena Carter. She's a very good actress; but those scenes just weren't written well or sumthin; or maybe I enjoy seeing Cagney as gangster more than Cagney as lover.

Oh, and for Leone fans: there's one scene where someone tells Cagney: "You're nuts." Cagney's response is to slug the guy, and say, DON'T EVER SAY THAT AGAIN! DON'T EVER SAY THAT AGAIN!

sound familiar?  ;)
Fair comments.

The plot is ridiculous, and the stuff with Helena Carter feels like it was dragged in from some other movie. The only purpose it could have had was to make Barbara Payton jealous or vindictive, to turn her against Cody--er, I mean, Cotter--but they didn't need it cause at the end she finds out the truth about how her brother died and that's what does the trick.

Great finale, though. Barbara screams out the title before she plugs Cagney. Cagney falls, climbs back up on his feet, and then Barbara lets him have it again. He doesn't get up THAT time. Oops, SPOILER! (I really should be more careful when talking about these 70-year-old movies.)

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
« on: October 07, 2021, 10:38:02 AM »
(Yeah, I give my girls class  ;) )
Uh huh. "Lipstick on a pig," and all that.
When everyone cheered, I booed.
Having attended live gigs with you, I know you're telling the truth.

Other Films / Re: Vera Cruz (1954)
« on: October 07, 2021, 10:32:02 AM »
Looks like I won't be getting the new blu:
On the other hand:
Kino have transferred Robert Aldrich's Vera Cruz to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "Brand New 2K Master". While it has a slightly superior bitrate, that is not the issue here - the MGM is from a significantly weaker source. The 10-year old transfer is pale, green and cropped on the left and bottom edges as compared to the new Kino 1080P. This is one of the largest discrepancies in Blu-ray visuals from a major studio to a boutique label that I can recall seeing. The Technicolor is very vibrant now and the film has very thick textures throughout. A highly dramatic and impacting upgrade thanks to Kino.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rate The Last Movie You Saw
« on: October 07, 2021, 07:37:35 AM »
There are only a handful of the series episodes that are worth watching the rest go South quickly. The two films are superior.
Good to know, thanks.

52 Pick-Up(1986) - 7/10. For an 80s P.o.S. with a TV vibe, this isn't too bad.  Oh yeah, snuff films (I remember them). Oh yeah, Vanity (I remember her). Oh yeah, the late Elmore Leonard (I guess we'll be hearing from him for some time to come). This has one of those plots that requires the not-at-all-credible total exclusion of the police. Respectable body count, though. Bad film score, of course.

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