Daily notes 2013-01
Re-watching: Rosemary’s Baby
Oh, so now it’s Christopher Komeda, is it?
In Criterion’s pristine blu-ray transfer. Polanski should only be seen perfectly – master of mise-en-scene.
Vodka Blushes, all around. What are Vodka Blushes? The Church of Satan’s website sure enjoyed the publicity Rosemary’s Baby provided them. According to Roman they’re “popular in Australia.” It seems like marginalia, but since every other single little detail in the film has relevance… I can only imagine a very dull joke at the drink’s popularity “down under.” The Castevets take Satan where they can get him.
Cassavetes hollers out “Fairbanks, Alaska!” like a game show contestant – commercial actor indeed – and Roman recites the places he’s been in Alaska. Again, if we are meant to believe it is not just marginalia, what’s the relevance? Surely I’m looking too hard. I did, however, turn up this NYTimes article from 1882.
“At Lock, a portion of Alaska where the ancient population of the place predominates and enforces their unwritten law, which consists of all the superstitions their ancestors found leisure to devise and hand down to their posterity, a family found guilty of of being spiritual jugglers, of a type suppose to be in league with the devil, were taken out and tied to trees.”
Etc. Sounds quite Lovecraftian, no? The article goes on to note that Alaskans – apparently – “have believed in Witchcraft as far back into the past as their traditions carry them.” Interestingly, a web search for merely “Alaskan witchcraft” turn up a number of articles involving none other than Sarah Palin. Must be too good to be true. Apparently Mrs. Palin is in league with witch hunters! Scandalous! And that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Delectable!
Hm. I may have digressed a tad here. What was that, Roman? You were making some casually deriding remark about the Pope.
This is great. God (!) knows what Roman was telling him.
Well, well. A cursory examination of “breathing Tannis root” led me to the kind of fascinating, probably idiotic, Roland Topor, who wrote the source novel that would become Polanski’s Le Locataire adaptation (such paranoia and insulation, I just assumed it had been an original Polanski creation). Topor, it seems, conspired with, yes, Alejandro Jodorowski to found the “Panic Movement” (after the god Pan), and he also cameoed in Makajevej’s Sweet Movie and as that notable creep in Herzog’s Nosferatu. The things you learn.
I am now in love with Megumi Satsu. Don’t imagine anybody knows who that is, or ever will. She died three years ago.It’s 4:30am. I’m way off topic. Good night.
Celebrate the Pagan harvest festival of Samhain – the beginning of the year’s darker half.
He sees you. He sees you!
And after a brief hiatus – some Castevet aesthetics.
Oh, and look what’s hanging on the wall there – is that an astrolabe?
What I love most about these Satanists is that they’re all tacky, gaudy, aging creepos. Polanski took this scenario to it’s most realistic conclusion – which, of course, is that Rosemary is actually losing her mind. And this is why The Ninth Gate would prove to be such an abysmal failure (even if it’s occasional quite fun) – it took Satanism seriously, which is just not interesting. But we did get to see how Satantic kooks organize in those aged European covens.
And the film’s final shot is similar, but not quite identical, to the opening – though the attentive viewer will note the two microscopic entities walking into the Dakota’s threshold, which did appear in that first shot. One could speculate that the entire film is a little daydream of Rosemary’s simply inspired by what she considers to be an imposing, gothic structure, seen while she’s out one day looking at apartments with her husband.
Just started: The Mangler
Don’t ask why. Ah, who could forget the projects championed by Anant Singh?
Hm. Covered under Workman’s Comp?
Not even ten minutes into the film and every frame is pure bloody chaos – that isn’t a compliment. It’s the King Solomon’s Mines of horror films – by fanboys, for fanboys. Director Hooper is encouraging some way over the top performing.
More generous pundits would call this film a “relentless excursion into style,” but I’m going to call it “fanboys run amok.” The expression “off the hook” also comes to mind.
Boy, this makes me wish I saw more of Ted Levine! Great lead casting!
Re-watching: Charlie Wilson’s War
Seen this maybe three times so far. Is it my burgeoning fascination with Arabic culture that’s inspired this rewatch? No, it’s simply that I finally viewed The Master earlier today and wanted to see Philip Seymour Hoffman at play once again, this time in the guise of Gust Avrakotos, a just luscious name to hear Hoffman drolly roll off his tongue. We’ll get to him in a minute. Now I find myself again charmed by Hanks the Humorman, SorkinWit, and of course everything I’m learning about Afghanistan in the 80s.
Ah, there’s my man.
And heh. Immediately Gust is calling Charlie “an infant.” Nice jib. Nicer map you’ve got on that wall, I’ve just fucking love one…
We cut from Hanks squeezing Roberts’ ass…
…to the intensely private discussion resulting in the arming and training of the Mujahideen.
Ned Beatty, just the right authority figure to bring God into the argument. You know… the sad thing about this stuff is that religious people never hear the argument… They just never do. They only ever listen to other religious people. Every single liberal in the world is wasting his breath. Each side only ever talks to his own side.
It’s just a digitally superimposed shot, but for the record, no TV that ever existed in 1987 ever has this level of clarity.
Ha. Tom Hanks is coughing his guts out. Sorkin loves his users.
And isn’t this specimen attractive? This film has a density that I fear is overlooked.
All tuckered out after months of arming Muslims and killing Russians.
“You’ve a very easy man to like.”
And the easy man to hate. There’s always somebody up when you’re not.
A job well done.
The real Charlie Wilson’s prized prize.
Gust’s zen koan.
Just finished: The Passion of Joan of Arc
Yes, finally. Wish I could’ve waited until the theater for this one, but simply seeing it is enough. Look here: it’s the earliest instance of “birds in flight” juxtaposed with life and death imagery I’ve seen in film. Let me know if you find an earlier one…
Currently watching: The Color Wheel
Girls meets Bujalski mumblecore?
A bit sharper, I think. Silly and playful and easy with formula, more akin to Clerks.
This sequence was very pretty, but I doubt it means much. Still – it’ll be remembered.
Channeling the Chris Eigemann of Stillman.
And unfortunately this is the part where I actually lost interest. I don’t like the contrived vibe I’m getting…
Well, that’s that. Very sweet film.
Special thanks to Joe Swanberg.
Re-watching: The American Friend
I do love Hopper’s performance of Ripley in this film. He always has that look like he’d just love to crawl into bed with you, whomever you are.
Currently watching: John Dies at the End
Spaz cinema. Making me smile on occasion, though. Pure dada silliness does have a place.
Oh and this is after abandoning The Impossible – impossible would be the word.
Just started: Beasts of the Southern Wild
My arm has been sufficiently bent, so I am entering the film, armed, I’m sorry to say, with a whopping load of prejudice for what I always considered to be not a film for me. 2013 Oscar investigations continued.
Best Actress in a Leading Role, folks – this year’s “Precious.” Though I suppose since Jennifer Lawrence’s win is so assured, like Natalie Portman’s for Black Swan, every other nom can be considered charitable. Allegedly this film’s script was changed to accommodate the forceful personality of our little five year old (that’s right) star.
Ah yes, hippie tract. Expected. Has the same vibe of Children of Men, though that film had a bit more humility – or maybe it was just storytelling for adults.
Heh, a moment of genuine laughter: the little girl quite pointlessly proceeds to burn down her home, and then just as quickly retreats into lala-land with, “In a million years, when kids go to school, they gonna know that once th’re wuz a hush puppie who lived with her daddy in da bathtub.” But then the entire film is filled with this Malick-inspired, “metaphysical hick narration.” It’s a film for those who think children are wise in their simplicity. Or for guilty yuppies…
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Currently watching: The Funeral
Abel Ferrara thing, quite enjoy his 90s output. Wish I could’ve been part of 90’s New York.
Del Toro is, actually, a great deal like Brad Pitt. Both man has that sort of eternally washed out surfer drawl in his voice and the blank surfer look in his eyes. Del Toro is highly disciplined – more of a chameleon – but Pitt’s style seems to come quite naturally.
Del Toro, New York, 1996.
An oldie but goodie.
This is now how I will always remember Chris Penn, the would-be black blues crooner.
Acting opportunity to relish for the actor. Doing some of his best work.
Right now we do “remember” Vince Gallo. I think it’s time I visited his most recent work.
See? He likes company.
Cinema orgy. This isn’t the first time Gallo has played a character overtly and vocally in love with cinema.
Just scene after scene of great opportunities to act, stretched out as far as they’d like it.
Currently watching: Searching for Sugar Man
As part of 2013’s Oscar investigations. I do think that The Invisible War will, should, win, but this is one I’ve been meaning to get around to for almost a year now. Oh and I have no idea what it’s about. Music or something.
The man, the myth, the legend.
Nostalgia for video stores..
Currently watching: Flight
Fuckin’ A, Denzel.
Rather a James Bond posture going on here. I did find myself wondering, a week ago, abut Denzel in those shoes.
Kelly Reilly, I see you under there.
He just came around and said, “She do anal. $2000, one hour.” I am just now reminded that Zemeckis’s record from here contains A Christmas Carol, Beowulf, The Polar Express, Castaway. He’s just so… corporate, and conventional about it. This something like “Anal, 2k” is refreshing. He has range.
Always a tough one to see.
It’s very exciting! Surely impossible.
I’m confident that this scenario has never been dramatized so comprehensibly before. I’m finding the procedural fascinating enough – hopefully there’s a shitload more. Of course Bruce Greenwood is always a reassuring face one can wake to. He’s showing signs of wear.
The thought that popped unbidden to my mind was, “Jesus fuck, him again?” That’s like three times this year, and nothing particularly special. People need to challenge this guy. He’s loafing.
Well now I’ve completely lost interest.
No caption, just like the shot.
The movie lost me hard, and for a long time. Then this, which is really quite amusing…
Currently watching: The Whisperer in Darkness
Brought to you by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. Been waiting a while for this one. Don’t expect it to be outstanding, but it’s always fun to see Lovecraft fleshed out into reality, particularly by those who really love him. This cave entrance, for instance, looks like the eye to a skull, a Giger painting or anything Lovecraftian your mind can conjure.
They do good work on certain production details.
But the performances…Intriuging…