Saturday, September 27, 2008


> "I think what would really be terrible would be to watch a retrospective and see yourself age forty years over a period of forty-five minutes. That'd be traumatic. And maybe one day I'll be able to go back and look at those old films with a charitable eye. The hard part is not to add any ornaments or embellishments to your memory of them. But maybe that's asking the impossible."

>"What you're able to achieve on the screen has nothing to do with you. The only thing sometimes I think is that you pick up certain mannerisms from characters that you play and they become part of the way you present yourself. The only two things that ever stuck to me were, unfortunately, from Rocky Graziano. I never used to spit in the street and I was with Rocky for about nine weeks before the picture began filming, and I spit in the street. It sickens my wife. I never used to swear. I never used any kind of foul language. Now, it's not worth being in the same room with me. And it's funny, of all the attributes that could have stuck to me, that those were the two that stuck the strongest and the longest. But I don't take much of it seriously. I really don't."

>"The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is outgrossing my films."

> "Being on President Nixon’s enemies list was the highest single honor I’ve ever received. Who knows who’s listening to me now and what government list I’m on?"

>"I started my career giving a clinic in bad acting in the film ‘The Silver Chalice’ and now I’m playing a crusty old man who’s an animated automobile. That’s a creative arc for you, isn’t it?"

>“We are such spendthrifts with our lives. The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”

>"You say I'm an icon. I don't say it. My grandchild does not think I'm an icon."


Best films...1958

It is interesting how there are a bunch of 40th anniversaries telling us how great and influential 1968 was. But what about 1958? Surely a 50th anniversary is in order? No doubt the politics of 1968 were big news and still resonate today. But is it also because the films from 1968 seem to have a more modern feel to them than the films from 1958? I mean, who wants a preachy Stanley Kramer movie when you can have a Jean Luc Godard film? Who wants to see a bloated Hollywood picture when you can see something fresh and exciting like Bonnie & Clyde [which in '67 gave new life to Hollywood]?

Nonetheless, a selection from 1958, I think, stands up pretty well today:

Touch of Evil
Paths of Glory
Pather Panchali
The Seventh Seal
The Cranes are Flying
Big Deal on Madonna Street
Look Back in Anger
The Horse's Mouth
Left Handed Gun
Man of the West
Le Beau Serge
Mon Oncle

Here's a longer list.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fox Wilde

"I could see myself in a relationship with a girl -- Olivia Wilde is so sexy she makes me want to strangle a mountain ox with my bare hands. She's mesmerizing."
- Megan Fox

Friday, September 12, 2008


Tokyo! is a mixed bag. Three films by three filmmakers.
The first film; Interior Design by Michel Gondry is original, funny and unexpected. It starts as a film about a young Japanese couple who are staying with a friend while they look for an apartment. Then it takes an wild turn and focuses on the woman as she begins to feel inconsequential. By itself the film is worth a look

The second film is Merde by Leo Carax [who has done much better work] and it is just plain bad. It starts promising as a wicked looking character crawls out of a sewer onto a Tokyo street where he assaults people and eats money. Then it dives off into a very annoying trial after the guy kills of bunch of people. It is just bad.

The third film Shaking Tokyo by Joon Ho Bong is a rather inert short about a dull everyman whose life becomes shaken up when he makes eye contact with a young pizza delivery woman. Oh yeah, and an earthquake hits the area just to add a level of interest to the whole thing. It is a mediocre short that can't save the film after the second short.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Perusing YouTube I came upon the animated work of Piotr Kamler. He was an Eastern European animator [by way of Paris] whose work has nifty surreal elements.
If anyone has seen the work of Jan Svankmajer or the Brothers Quay you will see something similar.

Here is one of his shorts:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Man's Castle

Man's Castle is an excellent and rare 1933 film directed by Frank Borzage. It showed on Turner Classic Movies the other evening. Rare mainly because it's has a 66 minute running time, which doesn't fit our full length feature standard and therefore has yet to get released on DVD; although it was common in the era before television when moviegoers saw double and triple features on a regular basis.
Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young star as a down-on-their-luck couple dealing with their new found love during the depression era. It's funny and sharp-witted but also has a tough edge with Tracy playing a character who feels so frustrated at not being able to be the breadwinner he should be that he doesn't always treat Young with kindness. But, this being a Borzage picture, you know he will come around.
It has many nice touches including a scene with Tracy on stilts. The acting, which has a more natural feel than most films from the early 30's, is also very good. And it moves along quickly [but not rushed] from scene to scene

Here's a link to a couple clips.