baleanoptera: (Art Valhal Gunlød)


Sita Sings the Blues

You know what I love? When something that has been hyped lives up to its expectations. The animated film Sita Sings the Blues has been mentioned more and more frequent in the blog-o-sphere and I was worried that the film wasn't as wonderful as everybody claimed. After all that has happened before with other films - for instance Dark Knight, which is okay, but not a masterpiece by a longshot. But Sita Sings the Blues was everything I was promised. Therefore I'm continuing the hype and urging you to see it, and adding to the chorus of: You must see this movie! It is wonderful, funny and the animation is just gorgeous.
+++++ )

The official sight for the film is here and you can watch it at Reel 13. If you have an hour and half available I suggest you do so. It will be worth it. I promise.

(I also have dastardly hopes that some of you icon-savvy people will watch it, and then there will be icons. Which I would love.)

-----

Films watched in 2009.
baleanoptera: (Lion in Winter Doing the Lady thing)


Michael Clayton

One on hand there is nothing new, shocking and shiny about Michael Clayton. On the other hand there is nothing bad about it either. Which I guess goes to show that with a good script, great actors and some nice cinematography you can dispense with that damn obsession with "plot-twists-the-audience-didn't-see-coming (but they actually did)", and just focus on telling a very good story. *sigh* I wish more filmmakers would do just that. spoilers )

Out of the Past

I feel there are two staples to a proper film noir. The first is Raymond Chandler’s legendary advice "If in doubt have a guy come in the door with a gun", the other is the importance of the quick reply. The latter is evident in full force in Out of the Past where the battle between scruffy detective Markham/Bailey (Robert Mitchum) and gambler Whit (Kirk Douglas) is a battle of words more than brawn.+++ )
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
I'm a bit in love with this article called Memos to Hollywood

Several memos in the style of "urgent, eyes-only communiqués to Hollywood, fully confident that they will be carefully and thoughtfully ignored."

A few of my favorites are:


To: Filmmakers, especially under 40

From: Manohla Dargis

The tripod is your friend. Few filmmakers can pull off florid handheld camerawork because most aren’t saying all that much through their visuals, handheld or not. (Also: Shaking the camera does not create realism.) Though it’s a cliché of contemporary cinema, fiction and nonfiction both, handheld camerawork that calls aggressive attention to itself tends to make empty images seem even emptier. If you want us to notice your cinematography, make sure you have something to say, like the French filmmaker Olivier Assayas ("Demonlover"), whose restlessly moving images convey a searching intelligence. He isn’t just waving the camera around; he’s saying something about the world and the people in it.


----

To: John Lasseter

From: M.D.

I’m psyched that you and the guys at Pixar Animation Studios are finally making a movie with a girl as the lead character and with a woman as director, no less — another first for you! Congrats! Of course we have to wait until 2011 to see "The Bear and the Bow," but on behalf of 51 percent of the population, I salute you.


----

To: Members of the Writers Guild of America

Cc: M. Night Shyamalan

From: A.O.S.

You may think that slipping a doozy of a third-act surprise into your screenplay — a shocking twist that no one could possibly see coming — might make you look smart and the audience feel dumb, but please consider that the reverse might actually be the case.
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
I'm a bit in love with this article called Memos to Hollywood

Several memos in the style of "urgent, eyes-only communiqués to Hollywood, fully confident that they will be carefully and thoughtfully ignored."

A few of my favorites are:


To: Filmmakers, especially under 40

From: Manohla Dargis

The tripod is your friend. Few filmmakers can pull off florid handheld camerawork because most aren’t saying all that much through their visuals, handheld or not. (Also: Shaking the camera does not create realism.) Though it’s a cliché of contemporary cinema, fiction and nonfiction both, handheld camerawork that calls aggressive attention to itself tends to make empty images seem even emptier. If you want us to notice your cinematography, make sure you have something to say, like the French filmmaker Olivier Assayas ("Demonlover"), whose restlessly moving images convey a searching intelligence. He isn’t just waving the camera around; he’s saying something about the world and the people in it.


----

To: John Lasseter

From: M.D.

I’m psyched that you and the guys at Pixar Animation Studios are finally making a movie with a girl as the lead character and with a woman as director, no less — another first for you! Congrats! Of course we have to wait until 2011 to see "The Bear and the Bow," but on behalf of 51 percent of the population, I salute you.


----

To: Members of the Writers Guild of America

Cc: M. Night Shyamalan

From: A.O.S.

You may think that slipping a doozy of a third-act surprise into your screenplay — a shocking twist that no one could possibly see coming — might make you look smart and the audience feel dumb, but please consider that the reverse might actually be the case.
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
3:10 to Yuma

At one point in 3:10 to Yuma Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is beaten repeatedly in the face with a shotgun. The guy hitting him is enraged to the point that the others almost have to drag him away, and when they do we see dark blood trickle out of Wade’s mouth and down his chin.

And then....that’s it. )


Quo Vadis

This is one of those epic sword and sandal epics, with Romans in tiny skirts and women with anachronistic hairstyles. Since Quo Vadis is from 1951, the women sport 1950’s hairstyles – except the evil empress who looks like something out of sci-fi film. The men are very good at posing, the women’s breasts are very pointy, and the Technicolor is as garish and wonderful as the rest of the film. I cannot help it – I love these old films with their flim-flam approach to history and boasts of "A cast of thousands!"


The story is simple )

Francesco, guillare di Dio

If 3:10 to Yuma couldn’t decide when it wanted realism to apply and when it didn’t, and where Quo Vadis possibly went looking for realism in all the wrong places then Roberto Rossellini decides to approach realism from a completely different angel; by casting monks from Nocere Inferiore monastery as St. Francis and his brothers.The film deals with )

Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare doesn’t bother with realism. In fact Where Eagles Dare laughs realism in the face and then has Clint Eastwood shoot it with a sub-machine gun. Based on a book and script by Alistair McLean the film is supposedly set during World War II. To be honest it could be set during any war and any conflict, but I suppose the Nazis make for smashing villains. There is a plot – of sorts. Truthfully I cannot sum it up better than the film’s tagline:
They look like Nazis but . . . The Major is British . . . The Lieutenant is American . . . The Beautiful Frauleins are Allied Agents!
If you to that add a castle )
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
3:10 to Yuma

At one point in 3:10 to Yuma Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is beaten repeatedly in the face with a shotgun. The guy hitting him is enraged to the point that the others almost have to drag him away, and when they do we see dark blood trickle out of Wade’s mouth and down his chin.

And then....that’s it. )


Quo Vadis

This is one of those epic sword and sandal epics, with Romans in tiny skirts and women with anachronistic hairstyles. Since Quo Vadis is from 1951, the women sport 1950’s hairstyles – except the evil empress who looks like something out of sci-fi film. The men are very good at posing, the women’s breasts are very pointy, and the Technicolor is as garish and wonderful as the rest of the film. I cannot help it – I love these old films with their flim-flam approach to history and boasts of "A cast of thousands!"


The story is simple )

Francesco, guillare di Dio

If 3:10 to Yuma couldn’t decide when it wanted realism to apply and when it didn’t, and where Quo Vadis possibly went looking for realism in all the wrong places then Roberto Rossellini decides to approach realism from a completely different angel; by casting monks from Nocere Inferiore monastery as St. Francis and his brothers.The film deals with )

Where Eagles Dare

Where Eagles Dare doesn’t bother with realism. In fact Where Eagles Dare laughs realism in the face and then has Clint Eastwood shoot it with a sub-machine gun. Based on a book and script by Alistair McLean the film is supposedly set during World War II. To be honest it could be set during any war and any conflict, but I suppose the Nazis make for smashing villains. There is a plot – of sorts. Truthfully I cannot sum it up better than the film’s tagline:
They look like Nazis but . . . The Major is British . . . The Lieutenant is American . . . The Beautiful Frauleins are Allied Agents!
If you to that add a castle )
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


I'm currently in love with these 1940's kodachrome photos by Jack Delano found at my beloved Shorpy photo archive. In particular I'm fascinated by his images of the railroads where his choice of angels, light and perspective turn the railroads into near abstract works of art. ++++ )
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


I'm currently in love with these 1940's kodachrome photos by Jack Delano found at my beloved Shorpy photo archive. In particular I'm fascinated by his images of the railroads where his choice of angels, light and perspective turn the railroads into near abstract works of art. ++++ )
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)
The Dirty Dozen is one of those films that claim to be about World War II, but none of the historical events of this war is actually central to the films plot. I always feel that all The Dirty Dozen really wants is a war scenario, and it chooses WWII simply because it is easy, at the time of the film’s production already mythified and because the Nazis make great villains.The plot is simple.. )



Tora! Tora! Tora! is somewhat the opposite to The Dirty Dozen, in that it takes its strive for historical accuracy so to heart that it adopts an almost documentary style. The film is a Japanese & American co-production about the attack on Pearl Harbour.++++ )

My favourite scene in Amarcord is when the Fascists hold a rally, and as part of the celebration they run around the town all while talking to the camera about how glorious everything is. In the background is giant head of Mussolini that looks like something out of Monty Python cartoon. It all looks terribly silly and you find yourself laughing at the strange fascists. Then a quick turn of events later ++++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)
The Dirty Dozen is one of those films that claim to be about World War II, but none of the historical events of this war is actually central to the films plot. I always feel that all The Dirty Dozen really wants is a war scenario, and it chooses WWII simply because it is easy, at the time of the film’s production already mythified and because the Nazis make great villains.The plot is simple.. )



Tora! Tora! Tora! is somewhat the opposite to The Dirty Dozen, in that it takes its strive for historical accuracy so to heart that it adopts an almost documentary style. The film is a Japanese & American co-production about the attack on Pearl Harbour.++++ )

My favourite scene in Amarcord is when the Fascists hold a rally, and as part of the celebration they run around the town all while talking to the camera about how glorious everything is. In the background is giant head of Mussolini that looks like something out of Monty Python cartoon. It all looks terribly silly and you find yourself laughing at the strange fascists. Then a quick turn of events later ++++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (Sound of Music - the true story)


Clearly BSG got it wrong. The bird of robotic choice is not a pigeon, but Robotic Penguins! Made by a German firm called Festo the robotic penguins - seen above - use sonar to navigate and are extremely flexible. I can't help it. I want one.

penguin robots on video - you know you want to )
baleanoptera: (Sound of Music - the true story)


Clearly BSG got it wrong. The bird of robotic choice is not a pigeon, but Robotic Penguins! Made by a German firm called Festo the robotic penguins - seen above - use sonar to navigate and are extremely flexible. I can't help it. I want one.

penguin robots on video - you know you want to )
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)


Saints and Soldiers

Saints and Soldiers is a low budget film that tells the story of four American soldiers and one Brit who tries to get back to the Allies, after escaping the massacre of Malmedy. The film was made in 2003, and the aesthetics of the film makes me believe it was very much inspired by Band of Brothers. The fact that it takes place during The Battle of the Bulge intensifies the similarities. There is even a troubled medic as one of the main characters, but this medic is far more cynical than Doc Roe.The film, as the title suggests.. )

Young Lions

Somewhere in Young Lions there is the story of World War II, but it is one of those war films that uses WWII as a backdrop for moral reflection more than a historical re-enactment. At least I think that is the films intention. Sometimes it is hard to say.. Apparently Irwin Shaw... )

In Harm's way

In some sense this is "John Wayne does the Pacific", but the saving grace is that he does it well. Directed by Otto Preminger and starring pretty much everyone from Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews to Henry Fonda, and is one of those solid pictures where you go "oooh..that was an interesting turn of events" or "Where have I seen this guy before?". I like those kind of pictures, and so I really liked In Harm's Way. The story starts with Pearl Harbour.. )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (BoB Nix and Winters by signpost)


Saints and Soldiers

Saints and Soldiers is a low budget film that tells the story of four American soldiers and one Brit who tries to get back to the Allies, after escaping the massacre of Malmedy. The film was made in 2003, and the aesthetics of the film makes me believe it was very much inspired by Band of Brothers. The fact that it takes place during The Battle of the Bulge intensifies the similarities. There is even a troubled medic as one of the main characters, but this medic is far more cynical than Doc Roe.The film, as the title suggests.. )

Young Lions

Somewhere in Young Lions there is the story of World War II, but it is one of those war films that uses WWII as a backdrop for moral reflection more than a historical re-enactment. At least I think that is the films intention. Sometimes it is hard to say.. Apparently Irwin Shaw... )

In Harm's way

In some sense this is "John Wayne does the Pacific", but the saving grace is that he does it well. Directed by Otto Preminger and starring pretty much everyone from Kirk Douglas, Dana Andrews to Henry Fonda, and is one of those solid pictures where you go "oooh..that was an interesting turn of events" or "Where have I seen this guy before?". I like those kind of pictures, and so I really liked In Harm's Way. The story starts with Pearl Harbour.. )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


Max Manus is a film about the Norwegian Resistance fighter and saboteur by the same name. He was part of the resistance group based in the capital during the Second World War, and his main task was to plant bombs and blow things up - be it supply ships or registers used by the Nazi bureaucracy. The film based on his exploits premièred in Norway just before Christmas, and quickly became one of the highest grossing films in Norwegian history. We do love our history in this country - particularly WWII.

++++ )

Flammen og Citronen

Apparently Scandinavia is caught up in a trend of producing excellent films about WWII. This is fine by me. This is the Danish film Flammen og Citronen (it means the Flame and the Lemon, the aliases of main characters), and deals with the part of the Danish resistance that effected liquidations of Danes suspected to be collaborators. spoilers )

The Kingdom

Perhaps I should have known better than to watch a Peter Berg film about an FBI team investigating a terrorist attack on the American compound in Saudia Arabia – aka The Kingdom. But the mean fact is I had to. You see the Kingdom claims to fall under the banner war films, and therefore watching it was part of my job.

Thankfully The Kingdom isn’t one of those "so bad I want to stab my eyes out to avoid the pain" type of films. But it is a bit peculiar.+++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (WWII Lady marine)


Max Manus is a film about the Norwegian Resistance fighter and saboteur by the same name. He was part of the resistance group based in the capital during the Second World War, and his main task was to plant bombs and blow things up - be it supply ships or registers used by the Nazi bureaucracy. The film based on his exploits premièred in Norway just before Christmas, and quickly became one of the highest grossing films in Norwegian history. We do love our history in this country - particularly WWII.

++++ )

Flammen og Citronen

Apparently Scandinavia is caught up in a trend of producing excellent films about WWII. This is fine by me. This is the Danish film Flammen og Citronen (it means the Flame and the Lemon, the aliases of main characters), and deals with the part of the Danish resistance that effected liquidations of Danes suspected to be collaborators. spoilers )

The Kingdom

Perhaps I should have known better than to watch a Peter Berg film about an FBI team investigating a terrorist attack on the American compound in Saudia Arabia – aka The Kingdom. But the mean fact is I had to. You see the Kingdom claims to fall under the banner war films, and therefore watching it was part of my job.

Thankfully The Kingdom isn’t one of those "so bad I want to stab my eyes out to avoid the pain" type of films. But it is a bit peculiar.+++ )

----

Films seen in 2009.
baleanoptera: (SW Leia with gun)
I'm stuck writing a boring paper, so for some recreational amusement I was inspired by the meme floating around on LJ and the blogsphere about your Ten Favorite Film Characters.



Captain Renault (Claude Raines) from Casablanca

He may only be a poor, corrupt government official, but he is easily the best thing about the whole film. Largely because his cynical and realistic stance is a good balance to the film's more dramatic, ideological moments, but also because he applies the same clear sighted cynicism to himself as well. And of course:
Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in this establishment!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

the other nine )
baleanoptera: (SW Leia with gun)
I'm stuck writing a boring paper, so for some recreational amusement I was inspired by the meme floating around on LJ and the blogsphere about your Ten Favorite Film Characters.



Captain Renault (Claude Raines) from Casablanca

He may only be a poor, corrupt government official, but he is easily the best thing about the whole film. Largely because his cynical and realistic stance is a good balance to the film's more dramatic, ideological moments, but also because he applies the same clear sighted cynicism to himself as well. And of course:
Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in this establishment!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

the other nine )
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)


The Virgin Spring

Based on my experiences I would say the wise thing to do would not be to watch Ingmar Bergman’s "The Virgin Spring" right before going to bed. The film is sure to leave you with dreams of a gloomy, barbarous medieval Sweden, all in black and white with scary religious symbolism. That said the films is brilliant, in large parts because of all that scare and gloom, but it is far from comfortable viewing.
++++ )

Il Gattopardo/The Leopard

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Tomaso di Lampedusa, and tells the story of Don Frederico,++++ )

One of the reasons I loved this film might have been that I just finished a great book called The Force of Destiny – the history of Italy since 1796 by Christopher Duggan, which deals with just this period. The book is wonderful and utterly fascinating ([livejournal.com profile] queenofthorns? Have you read this? It made me think of you, with your love of history and Italy). A central point in Duggan’s book is the conflict between North and South Italy, a conflict still apparent to this day. This conflict is also a central point in Il Gattopardo, but more than that it is the story of changes and the reality of these changes.

-----


List of films watched in 2009.
baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)


The Virgin Spring

Based on my experiences I would say the wise thing to do would not be to watch Ingmar Bergman’s "The Virgin Spring" right before going to bed. The film is sure to leave you with dreams of a gloomy, barbarous medieval Sweden, all in black and white with scary religious symbolism. That said the films is brilliant, in large parts because of all that scare and gloom, but it is far from comfortable viewing.
++++ )

Il Gattopardo/The Leopard

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Tomaso di Lampedusa, and tells the story of Don Frederico,++++ )

One of the reasons I loved this film might have been that I just finished a great book called The Force of Destiny – the history of Italy since 1796 by Christopher Duggan, which deals with just this period. The book is wonderful and utterly fascinating ([livejournal.com profile] queenofthorns? Have you read this? It made me think of you, with your love of history and Italy). A central point in Duggan’s book is the conflict between North and South Italy, a conflict still apparent to this day. This conflict is also a central point in Il Gattopardo, but more than that it is the story of changes and the reality of these changes.

-----


List of films watched in 2009.

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