Thursday, March 02, 2006

A little bit of something.

I don't know why I've been sitting on this post for so long. I wrote this thing partially during the construction of my Killer's Kiss post. I cut it because it no longer worked there, but I liked it and kept it and, a few days later, expanded upon and outright changed it. I was going to post it with a bunch of other little snippets in a similar vein to my post before the Killer's Kiss one, but then I let it chill and now it's well over a month later and I just wanna put it out there and move on with my life and this blog. I guess I got self-conscious about posting something like this because I'm not entirely certain that I agree with it/it seems somewhat obvious and almost patronizing to try to share with people, but whatever. A month away from writing it, I've decided I like it and am no longer self-conscious about it, so here it is.

-- I get frustrated when I hear people talk about films very simply in terms of "shots," as in "the shots in that movie were good." It happens a lot in classes and I often long for a more detailed explanation. I guess that's not really an issue in most criticism, and I'm probably just venting frustration I've been having with a class of mine lately, but I'm alright with that. A lot of films, even great ones, use standard framing devices (medium shot, close up, etc.) in very utilitarian ways: to communicate the information they want to convey in precise terms. This, to me, is literary. And occasionally, just like novels will occasionally dabble in poetry, a film will contain some really eye-popping, interesting or beautiful images and this is when films start to become truly and purely cinematic, as far as I can tell.

Experimental and non-narrative films are purely cinematic. Narrative films are always, by their very nature, partially literary. What I like is when a narrative film finds the time to offer up some cinematic poetry. Even more of a treat is when a narrative film finds ways to, either in its visual or narrative sense, and on rare occasions both, marry these two facets into a kind of hybridized form. I'd argue that Terrence Malick's films, especially his most recent three and double-especially his most recent two, have successfully married poetry and literature in both a visual and narrative sense, which I guess is, to clarify, a more pretentious way of saying that all of the imagery is deliberately and consistently interesting and beautiful while still conveying narrative information and that the actual narrative structure of the films are simultaneously meandering/poetic and effectively communicative and informative.


-- Film log for February.

Pretty disappointing. Even more sparse than January. And March is shaping up to be abysmal. I'm hitting rock bottom. I remember when I used to sometimes hit 3 movies a day. Or at least one per. I can't account for this drop.

Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson. [B+] february 2nd 2006
Grand Illusion, Jean Renoir. [B] february 8th 2006
Killer's Kiss, Stanley Kubrick. [C] february 9th 2006
Quiz Show, Robert Redford. [A-] february 14th 2006
Tsotsi, Gavin Hood. [C-] february 14th 2006
The Alphabet, David Lynch. [A-] february 18th 2006
The Grandmother, David Lynch. [C] february 18th 2006
Lumiere, David Lynch. [B+] february 18th 2006
Contempt, Jean-Luc Godard. [B] february 18th 2006 (I was tired and kinda fell asleep during this.)
Open City, Roberto Rossellini. [B+] february 20nd 2006
My Life to Live, Jean-Luc Godard. [B-] february 22nd 2006 (Same deal as Contempt. I feel bad doing this to Godard.)
Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks. [D] february 22nd 2006
Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock. [A-] february 27th 2006
Unknown White Male, Rupert Murray. [A-] february 28th 2006