Sunday, October 16, 2016
Freddy's Take: I am not a huge fan of the "horror" genre, but I have a healthy respect for horror/sci-fi horror/psychological thriller films that are immersive and intelligent. John Carpenter brings that to most of his work and while sometimes he misses, when he hits, he hits big. "Halloween" is an iconic horror film and really opened up the mainstream to the "slasher" film. It spawned franchises such as "Child's Play", "Friday the 13th", and "Nightmare On Elm Street",as well as countless copy cats. "The Thing" is a classic, but it took it a couple of decades to get there and in my opinion is his finest work overall. The pinnacle. The special effects were groundbreaking and even though that's a highlight, the real star of the film is in the way the story is told. It's a tale of paranoia and survival and how one species thrives in a Darwinian way to keep moving on, and the other species tries to cope with personal mortality and relationships in context of surviving. "In The Mouth Of Madness" is highly underrated, but anyone that is a fan of pushing the boundaries of what reality may be or is, should really enjoy this film. It's got enough "horror" elements to appeal to the fans of gore and shock, but underneath of the visuals, there is a sense that reality overall can be changed by reaching a tipping point of a like minded worldview in relation to a vast number of people.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see these movies with friends. I have watched them multiple times, but getting to explore and share my feelings and hear others opinions and view points was a treat. Hearing Chris talk about "Mouth of Madness" was interesting and it helped me sort out a general sense of understanding that I hadn't explored very deeply before.
In The Mouth of Madness
John Carpenter: A Master Of Cinema
Friday, March 25, 2016
Sunday, October 18, 2015
This was a day that was easy to love and though I always feel like I want to follow up Director Day, the very next day, with three more films, this one was especially good for me. Lumet had a storied career, but he never caught on as a celebrity type in the way that directors like Kubrick, Spielberg, Ford, Hitchcock, and Scorsese did. None the less, he was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Director four times. I was embarrassed to say that I had not seen "12 Angry Men" before this day. Tanner did a great job in selecting the films to watch. They each were spread out over multiple decades and each felt very much of their time and place. A realistic view of people, who have different motivations in their behavior and how that spills over into the lives of others, for better or worse. "12 Angry Men" goes into instant classic mode for me, which should go without saying. There is so much to like. The characters, the thought provoking exchanges, and the challenge of immersing yourself in a film that basically has just one setting; a jury room. Though Henry Fonda is clearly the star of the movie, Lumet allows all of their characters their moments of influence on the story, which lends to the realism. "Dog Day Afternoon" is a film I have seen numerous times and just can't get tired of. "Before The Devil Knows Your Dead" is a relentless movie that highlights the temporary insanity that can take hold when an otherwise ordinary someone is truly desperate. "Dog Day Afternoon" is a slow burn and one of the great performances of Al Pacino's career. Other notable films from Lumet are "Network", "Serpico", and "The Verdict". Lumet's style is to produce a very realistic feel and I know that I'm going to be searching out more work from him.
12 Angry Men
Dog Day Afternoon
Before The Devil Knows Your Dead
An interesting interview with Lumet.......
I thoroughly enjoyed this day. Before having Linklater's films presented to me in a contained fashion, through our "Director Day" format, I had pretty much been a passive fan. I knew his work. I liked his work, but never really put together a narrative for seeing his career unfold. "Slackers" is a film that I have liked after the fact. I didn't "get it" when I first saw it and while I did enjoy it the second time, I got a better understanding of it only after discussing it with Chris and Tanner and finding out more on Linklaters world view, which is very similar to mine in a lot of ways. I consider "Dazed & Confused" to be my favorite movie by Linklater, but "Boyhood" is moving up! Since Chris' hosting this day and conjuring up my curiosity on Linklater, this director has moved into my consciousness as a film making favorite.
A Scanner Darkly
Dazed and Confused
This is a trailer for a documentary called "21 Years: Richard Linklater" and features friends and actors discussing the great directors career to this point. I highly recommend this.
BBS Production Studio
The BBS was an independent film production company headed by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider. They collaborated with the likes of Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, and Peter Bogdanovich to create some of the first and finest independent movies every made. I've written about the Monkee's feature "Head" on another blog and for a more extensive take on that, click here Freddy's Take On The Monkees "Head" . It's a psychedelic trip of a movie, meant to poke at our nations culture at the time and to deconstruct the image of the Monkees from TV buffoons to real life human beings. It's one of my favorite movies to watch "under the influence" and bears repeated viewings. "Easy Rider" is another one of those films that took me awhile to understand. It's definitely of its' time and captures the mixing of old societal expectations and the promise of a more open future. Unfortunately, there are always casualties when we expand our consciousness as a nation and this film highlights that in between some beautiful scenery and thought provoking and discussion worthy dialogue. Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show" is one of those movies I fell in love with at first site. It has a charm to it that only being shot in black and white can bring out when a director is going for a distinct feel, whether it's in regard to a time period or to focus on a dying piece of America. Ultimately, beyond the aesthetics, this movie speaks to me about personal relationships at a certain age and how those become complicated once we push through into adulthood. This has been one of my favorite Director Days to host. I enjoy the subject matter on different levels. From the historical standpoint of this production company, to the direction, to the non-conventional techniques, and right down to the beauty of the films themselves, this was a day that cried out to be shared. The BBS story is little known to people that don't really follow film very deeply, but it's an interesting subject with many layers of potential interest to be uncovered.
The Last Picture Show
The original trailer for Easy Rider!
A promotional video for Head...
A trailer for "The Last Picture Show"
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Harry Dean Stanton (Actor)
I decided to break ranks and go with an actor this time. Harry Dean Stanton is one of those actors you see in a film and like, but has never really gotten his due as a great character actor. The man is getting up there in age and I wanted to kind of honor him in my own way. He's really only been a leading man in one film "Paris, Texas". He is great in the film, but it's a movie that really takes some patience to watch. There are long periods without dialogue and the concentration of the film is solely on the backs of the actors and the way it's shot. I have always been a fan of "Repo Man" since my friend Brian got me to watch it way back in the 1980's. Stanton is a mentor to Estevez and his character comes across as a broken down Yoda living paycheck to paycheck. The documentary on Stanton was very interesting. He is a guy who puts his iron in many fires. He was great friends with two of the greatest actors ever (Marlon Brando & Jack Nicholson) and has shared the stage with and/or befriended country music legends Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash. His view on life leans towards "nihilism" I guess and just hearing him pontificate on the meaningless of existence is sometimes humorous, but you almost feel like he knows that he contradicts himself when he starts to talk about his loves and friendships.
Harry Dean Stanton's Philosophy Of Life
A strange but intriguing video to Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade Of Pale"