I came across these (fan-made?) posters for INCEPTION. And I guess I never really wrote about the movie when it came out because there was so much talk and writing about it anyways. Well, let me just clear this all up: I LOVED IT. I went to see it twice in the theatres, which I don't do very often (except Nolan's other masterpieces--the two Bat-films--and Alfonso Cuaron's CHILDREN OF MEN). Anyways, I'm looking forward to the DVD release of this movie because I would definitely like the ability to rewatch this at my leisure.



I will see this. I like British gangster movies (generally), I like Colin Farrell, I like Kiera Knightley. Have a look-see at the trailer!



I know everybody loves THE MATRIX but anytime I catch a part of it on TV or something I'm reminded how it actually is a great movie! The story is riveting, the characters are good, the cinematography is stunning, etc. It's just a very well put together movie! At times like this I just forget that the other two films were made. You owe it to yourself to rewatch this movie!


HEAT (1995)

People always ask me what my favorite film is, and though it's pretty hard to choose one, HEAT is always in my Top 5, which is usually as precise as I can be. I'm still intending to write an extensive gush piece about HEAT so I'll keep this brief. The still shot above is from the legendary scene where Pacino's Det. Vincent Hanna and De Niro's thief Neil MacCauley share a late night cup of coffee. They know exactly who the other is, but also see each other as a kindred spirit of sorts. They are the flip side of a coin. What is incredible about this film, is that aside from the climax, this is the only scene that Pacino and De Niro--two of the greatest American actors of all time--directly interact with each other, yet their relationship is so intense and developed.



German director Wim Wenders' PARIS, TEXAS is a gorgeous work of art that is done justice by Criterion's recent DVD release of the 1984 film. The story follows Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) as he wanders Texas, lost, mute, silent, and unwilling to cooperate with anyone, including his long-lost brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) who, after receiving a phone call from a doctor in the middle of the desert, comes from LA to bring his nomadic sibling home. Eventually Walt breaks through to Travis, and Travis begins to attempt to reconnect with his family which he walked out on 4 years prior, including a young son that Walt as taken care of like his own. Travis returns with Walt to LA in search of the meaning of what it is to be a man, a father, brother, and a husband. Wenders' poetic and patient film is epic in scope, yet simple in concept. It's also incredibly easy to watch. The imagery is gorgeous, the acting is stunning, and Sam Shepard's script is wonderfully rich and genuine. It's also a dramatic film with some humourous parts, but with no giant stresses, which I find to be a total relief from the panic and tension that the majority of filmmakers assume means entertainment. It's also fun to watch Stanton and Stockwell act in some really meaty roles, because they are both incredibly talented actors. Stanton doesn't even speak for the first 40 or so minutes of the film, yet his face and behaviour say volumes to the emotional torture and toil the man has inflicted on himself. Along with his fabulous WINGS OF DESIRE, this film is recommended if you are interested in what the highly skilled contemporary German filmmakers have been up to in the past decades. Gorgeously done!



Monica Vitti

I've always been a fan of Italian star Monica Vitti. She's gorgeous! And I also just realized why I like Angela "Codename: DragonFly" Lindvall so much!


Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen famously performed his own stunts in THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963).



I know this blog has kind of been the "Michelle Williams Show" lately, but I'd like to see this! I think Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are probably two of the best and most exciting young actors right now. So there!



Hot on the heels of that amazing photograph of Michelle Williams as Marylin Monroe, I'm finally posting a little thing about a great film I watched last year starring Ms. Williams called WENDY AND LUCY, from director Kelly Reichardt. It's a very simple story: a nomadic young woman and her dog Lucy are on the road, passing through the Pacific Northwest on her way up to Alaska, when her car breaks down in a small town. She has few belongings and little money. Then she commits a minor crime and is arrested. When she is released later that day, her dog, and her only companion are gone. WENDY AND LUCY is a quiet, contemplative, and sometimes difficult film, but it is also very rewarding. I was always familiar with Michelle Williams, but this made me fall in love with her. She is so talented in this, giving a very thoughtful and genuine performance. Like I said, it is a quiet film, and a little slow, but just like real life, it's pleasures lie in the little things: interactions with caring people, exploration, wandering, and the promise of the future. I really enjoyed this little indie movie.

Michelle Williams, as the beautiful and nomadic Wendy.

Lucy, as the gorgeous and faithful Lucy.

The trailer will give you a better idea of what to expect:


Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe

Here's a recent still of one of my favorite youngish actors these days, the gorgeous Michelle Williams, as the one and only Marilyn Monroe. Williams will be portraying the Blonde Bombshell in an upcoming film called MY WEEK WITH MARILYN.



So... I've been so busy lately, I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like. We've been working on a short film on which production has wrapped, so now hopefully I'll have some more time to write about some movies! Until then, here is a short trailer for what looks like a great little indie film called GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH. Looks pretty neat! Anytime you get some black and white film stock, add some jazzy sensations, mix in some Godard, you've got my attention. Hope this film isn't as superficial as my initial interest is! Ha. But seriously, it looks quite New Wave-y, just look at that tap number which is right out of Godard's A WOMAN IS A WOMAN, or like the dance scene from Truffaut's JULES ET JIM. And that quick shot from a rooftop of someone running down the sidewalk, very French New Wave. So it's got the look of the late 50s/early 60s, does it have the feeling or innovation? I guess we shall have to see!

Directed by: Damien Chazelle


TRUE GRIT (2010)

Hmm, how can I put this? I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS! This is a COEN BROS remake of classic old John Wayne western, where Coen Bros fave Jeff Bridges plays the John Wayne role of Marshal Reuben J. Cogburn! Very Cool. And Matt Damon plays the Glen Campbell role of LaBoeuf! (I wonder if Matt Damon will sing the theme song just like Glen Campbell did in the original?) And it co-stars/introduces Hailee Steinfeld as the assertive young Mattie Ross who hires Cogburn to find her father's killer. Now the Coens are quite talented at the comedic stylings, but it seems as though in careers as aging men they have been leaning towards the darker side of things, which looks to be where this film falls--though it should be noted that the original is fairly light-hearted so their might be some Wayne-inspired tomfoolery. Anyways, take a peek, I know lots of people will be underwhelmed, but I have faith in this film. Go Coens!


Ingrid Bergman and Alfred Hitchcock

The star and director of 1945's SPELLBOUND and 1946's NOTORIOUS in 1948.


Here is the trailer for BLACK SWAN, the latest film by American auteur filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, THE WRESTLER, PI).

I think it looks quite intriguing! Very dark, as per Aronofsky's style. Very curious to see how this turns out. Aronofsky is an interesting director, everything I have seen has been quite macabre yet beautiful and BLACK SWAN appears as though it fits that description as well. At one point, before BATMAN BEGINS existed, he was attached to direct a Batman reboot called Batman: Year One, based on the graphic novel of the same name. Large parts of that were incorporated into Nolan's BATMAN BEGINS, and while I love the film that Nolan came up with, it would have been really interesting to see where Aronofsky's twisted mind could have taken Batman! Aronofsky's track record is quite good, including lots of Oscar attention for THE WRESTLER (which I haven't see). I think the one blip on his career is THE FOUNTAIN, with Hugh Jackman, (it made an appearance on one of my favorite websites The Hunt for the Worst Film of All Time), yet in a way I feel like that film is possibly quite misunderstood and could very well return in twenty years as a cult classic (mark my words--maybe!). Regardless, I think BLACK SWAN could be a big hit this winter (I mean, it stars Natalie Portman, whose star continues to rise!) and I am really curious to see where it goes once it opens on December 1.


Yahoo's list of 100 movies to see before you die

(bold movies you have seen)

1. 12 Angry Men (1957)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
3. 400 Blows (1959)
4. 8 1/2 (1963)
5. The African Queen (1952)
6. Alien (1979)

7. All About Eve (1950)
8. Annie Hall (1977)
9. Apocalypse Now (1979)
10. The Battle of Algiers (1967)
11. The Bicycle Thief (1948)
12. Blade Runner (1982)

13. Blazing Saddles (1974)
14. Blow Up (1966)
15. Blue Velvet (1986)
16. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
17. Breathless (1960)

18. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
19. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
20. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
21. Casablanca (1942)
22. Chinatown (1974)
23. Citizen Kane (1941)
24. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
25. Die Hard (1988)
26. Do the Right Thing (1989)
27. Double Indemnity (1944)
28. Dr. Strangelove (1933)
29. Duck Soup (1933)
30. ET the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
31. Enter the Dragon (1973)
32. The Exorcist (1973)
33. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
34. The French Connection (1971)
35. The Godfather (1972)
36. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
37. Goldfinger (1964)
38. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968)
39. Goodfellas (1990)
40. The Graduate (1967)
41. Grand Illusion (1938)
42. Groundhog Day (1993)

43. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
44. In the Mood For Love (2001)
45. It Happened One Night (1934)
46. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
47. Jaws (1975)

48. King Kong (1933)
49. The Lady Eve (1941)
50. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
51. The Lord of the Rings (2001)

52. M (1931)
53. M*A*S*H (1970)
54. The Maltese Falcon (1936)
55. The Matrix (1999)
56. Modern Times (1936)
57. Monty Python & the Holy Grail (1975)
58. National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
59. Network (1976)
60. Nosferatu (1922)
61. On the Waterfront (1954)
62. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
63. Paths of Glory (1958)

64. Princess Mononoke (1999)
65. Psycho (1960)
66. Pulp Fiction (1994)
67. Raging Bull (1980)
68. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

69. Raise the Red Lantern (1992)
70. Rashomon (1951)
71. Rear Window (1954)
72. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
73. Rocky (1976)

74. Roman Holiday (1953)
75. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
76. Schindler’s List (1993)
77. The Searchers (1956)

78. Seven Samurai (1954)
79. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
80. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
81. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
82. Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
83. Some Like It Hot (1959)

84. The Sound of Music (1965)
85. Star Wars (1977)
86. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
87. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
88. The Third Man (1949)
89. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
90. Titanic (1997)
91. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
92. Toy Story (1995)
93. The Usual Suspects (1995)
94. Vertigo (1958)
95. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

96. Wild Strawberries (1957)
97. Wings of Desire (1988)
98. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
99. Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown (1988)
100. The World of Apu (1959)

Bogart and Bacall


Trainspotting (1996)

DUH. I know most people have seen this, but there are a few stragglers who have not, and to those unfortunate latter folk: watch this film! I just watched it again last night, and every time I see it, which is not that often, I am reminded of what a perfect little storm this was: riveting source material (a filthy, yet fascinating literary examination of Edinburgh heroin addicts by author Irvine Welsh); director Danny Boyle (arguably at the apex of his creative career); actors Ewan MacGregor, Ewan Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly MacDonald; and a pulsing soundtrack including Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, New Order, Blur, Pulp, and Damon Albarn, to name a few. Mix all these ingredients into an impoverished Edinburgh in the early 1990s, add a little Thatcher era depression, and some materialistic cynicism, and you've got Trainspotting.

The cast of characters is now that of cult film legend: Macgregor as Mark Renton, a junkie who mostly wants to clean-up, find love, and lead a good life--whatever that is; Bremner as Spud, a scattered, frightened, but well-intention addict; Miller as Sickboy, who is the manipulative and scheming asshole of the group, one who "is lacking in moral fiber," though who knows a lot about Sean Connery; Carlyle as Frank Begbie, an alcoholic, psychopathic, bar-room brawler; and Kelly MacDonald as the pretty, but underaged Diane who Renton falls in love with.

This is the film that arguably launched Ewan MacGregor, as well as director Danny Boyle, into the world as an exciting Scottish actor and English filmmaker, respectively. This film is one of the most memorable in both of their careers, and is still such a treat to watch. If you have the stomach for it--including it's graphic depiction of drug use, drug withdrawal, sex, violence, and all manor of bodily fluids--I recommend you to see it!


The Remains of the Day (1993)


This is a really excellent film! Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson are unspeakable stunning as butler and housemaid to the English Lord Darlington in the years leading up to the Second World War. Hopkins plays Stevens, the master butler, a man so consumed in the duty to his master that he ultimately sacrifices his morals and love by devoting himself entirely to the service of another. Emma Thompson plays Miss Kenton, the head housekeeper, who falls in love with Stevens, challenging where his devotions lie. Stevens' morals are further challenged by his masters' misguided cavorting with powerful Germans involved in the Nazi movement; does he go along on his business in service to his master, or does he step out of his place as servant to say that what Lord Darlington is doing is wrong? Very interesting!

Anthony Hopkins as Stevens, and Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton.

This film was made by the Merchant Ivory powerhouse duo of 1990s filmmaking, who also made Howards End (1992) with a similar cast and I am assured is also excellent. Very curious to see! Anyways, The Remains of the Day allows you to see the true shining talent of Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, under the measured direction of James Ivory. Though this story has the potential to be very dry, Ivory spins a riveting and intimate tale examining the minutiae of aristocratic servitude, meanwhile keeping the whole thing humming with sensuality, tension, and restrained emotion. Along with the two leads, there is an all-star supporting cast who are allowed to give dynamic and suggestive performances, including Hugh Grant, James Fox, Ben Chaplin, Lena Headley, and Christopher Reeve (further demonstrating the brilliant career his tragic accident cut short).

Stevens, the ultimate Butler.

Miss Kenton, so much constrained passion!

Reeve as the American, Jack Lewis.

Find this film and see it in any capacity you can! Rentable anywhere respectable I'm sure. I got it from the Vancouver Public Library. I have a brand new Criterion DVD of Howards End on order from the VPL too, so I will write about that soon too!


Body Heat (1981)

Another great film to add to the list of excellent debut features is Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat. It's a moody, sexy, thrilling neo-noir film that perfectly balances it's noir roots with a newfound and more overt sexuality, displayed candidly by William Hurt and Kathleen Turner.

Hurt and Turner.

The story is classic noir (and certainly inspired by Double Indemnity). A small-time lawyer in a sleepy Florida beach community begins an affair with a married woman who doesn't much like her dull but wealthy husband. Their relationship develops to the point that they realize that the husband must disappear permanently for them to get what they want--unlimited each other, as well as the contents of the will!--so they contrive a plan to eliminate the husband and do just that. Things get sticky as everything begins to unravel and people begin to doubt their trust in one another. It's great! A moustachio'd William Hurt and a sultry Kathleen Turner star as the two lovers, and there are a few other familiar faces, including Ted Dansen as Hurt's DA buddy, and Mickey Rourke as an ex-con. (On a side-note, Kathleen Turner used to be such a babe! In the early 1980s she was the go-to sexpot actress, but now, as my friend Jane so succinctly put it, she has "morphed into a fridge," as her recent appearances as Sue Collini on Showtime's brilliant David Duchovny vehicle Californication is any indication.)

Kathleen Turner as Matty Walker.

This 1981 film perfectly captures an updated version of the noir sensibilities, with lots of suggestive dialogue, classic noir archetypes, great metaphors, and mystery right up to the ending. A great element to the whole thing is the fact that the town is going through a major heat wave which leads to some great dialogue, atmosphere, and lots of very sweaty people. Hot temperature really lends itself to noir stories, as it aids to create a mood of even further discomfort and claustrophobia, not to mention it invokes a hellish environment for our sinners to play out their lives. The heat and humidity are present to an almost nightmarish degree as all our characters quickly throw back drinks and then seemingly sweat them out instantly.

William Hurt as Ned Racine.

One obvious difference between this and the noirs of the original cycle is the overt sexual nature. This film is largely driven by sex and sensuality (the title is quite apt!) and it makes no bones about it. Due to the production code of the 1940s and 50s, studios were barred from having nudity or sex, and therefore had to find more creative ways to convey sensuality, and that came out through very suggestive and innuendo laced dialogue. Body Heat combines this style of writing, but in the more liberated 1980s America it also uses a fair amount of the naked bodies of Kathleen Turner and William Hurt.

Mickey Rourke as Teddy Lewis.

Definitely watch this film if you are interested in the noir genre, and it is highly recommended if you like a neo-noir take on things, it's a great example of a movie that embraces the past films to which it owes to much, but also adds new and more contemporary ideas to the genre. This film is great!

Hurt and Danson, in swelteringly soft focus.

The trailer: simple, suggestive, effective.


C'etait un Rendez-vous (1976)

Directed by Claude Lelouch.

Lelouch's early morning, high-speed romp through the sleepy streets of Paris. I have watched this so many times and it stills mesmerizes me. This has become somewhat of a cult short film, and there has been lots of debate and speculation as to what kind of car was driven, and by whom. Some car boffins somehow figured out by analyzing the engine sound and gear ratios that it was a Ferrari 275 GTB, though later I believe Lelouch himself claimed he piloted his own Mercedes 6.9 to make this film. Either way, regardless of what kind of car, it has inspired many, many imitators, but never any duplicators. Fantastic and thrilling short cinema! Turn up the volume for full engine effect!

UPDATE: Thanks to my cousin Ian for sending me this short interview with Lelouch as they re-drive his 1976 route thirty years later in the same type of car he did. If you speak French you'll be able to glean some interesting facts, but if not... learn French! Tres interessant!:


Mutual Appreciation (2005)

I was at the library picking up a few movies and noticed this was on the shelf. I was tempted to get it too, though I've already seen it and I think I've hit my movie-borrowing limit, so I didn't. But YOU should, because this is a great movie! Andrew Bujalski has earned both his lovers and his haters due to the "mumblecore" sub-genre that his films are often categorized in. Which is a shame because so people get caught up on labels and genres, and being someone who struggles with labeling and defining genres beyond horror/thriller/comedy/action/adventure etc., Mumblecore refers to a type of lo-fi filmmaking about pretty average, young, slightly impoverished people and their problems with relationships, employment, and love, and its characters stumbling, stuttering, and mumbling like real people through their dialogue. The haters say it's emo crap, and the lovers say it's the new American cinema, with ties and references back to the French New Wave, and the birth of American independent cinema, in particular the early films of John Cassavetes. I say, I enjoyed this movie.

The trailer here pretty much gives you a good taste of what to expect, and if you do see this and like it, then see Bujalski's other films, Funny Ha Ha (his debut, 2002) and Beeswax (2009). Have a look at the trailer! I'd write more but now I have to go to work!


Le Samourai

I've been terrible lately with keeping up with posts! I'll get some done today.
ANYWAYS, it seems as though every 18 months or so a new Air album comes out that I am unaware of, and I discover it 6 months after the fact somehow. And it's happened again. They put out "Love 2" in March and I've just found out about it, only because I was leafing through an old magazine from March! Now this isn't really a music blog, but the reason I am posting about this is that I was looking up one of their songs on YouTube and found it linked to this Jean-Pierre Melville film, Le Samourai, which is one of my favorites.

Alain Delon as Melville's hitman Jef.

Now I'm not usually a big fan of fan-made mash-ups of movies and music because usually it's kinda sloppy and what not, but for some reason this really works for me. One thing that bugs me about fan made stuff is that often there are dialogue scenes that are just muted and music plays over there, and that kinda bothers me. But this film is so contemplative and the dialogue is so sparse that it really works. Melville's films work on a highly visual level and Le Samourai is a great example of that. It stars Alain Delon, one of Melville's regulars, as a loner hitman in Paris.

There's a lot of this in Melville's films...

And a lot of countryside meetings between gangsters in black cars.

And Citroen DS's.

And lonely Metro shots. In short, everything I like in movies.

So take a good look at this clip, it has a great track by Air, who appear to have returned to form with this album, and enjoy a taste of Melville's Le Samourai. And of course I highly encourage you to see the entire film. Sadly, I don't own this yet, but it's on my lists of acquisitions. One Criterion DVD at a time.