What are you watching on the Criterion Channel?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Electric, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vancouver, CANADA
    Conversation Piece
    Directed by Luchino Visconti • 1974 • Italy
    Starring Burt Lancaster, Helmut Berger, Silvana Mangano

    Luchino Visconti’s award-winning classic examines the solitary life of a retired American professor (Burt Lancaster) who lives alone in a luxurious palazzo in Rome. When he reluctantly rents an apartment to a vulgar Italian marchesa and her companions—her lover, her daughter, and the daughter’s boyfriend—his quiet routine is soon turned upside down and the introverted professor becomes entangled in his tenants’ machinations. In the midst of this chaos, each of the new neighbors’ lives—including that of the professor himself—takes an unexpected but inevitable turn. Visconti’s penultimate film, CONVERSATION PIECE marks the culmination of his career as a master of Italian cinema.

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  2. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vancouver, CANADA
    OMG!!!!!!!

    Asparagus
    Directed by Suzan Pitt • 1979 • United States
    Suzan Pitt's animated short throws open the doors of perception onto a shape-shifting vision of polymorphous sexuality. A landmark in the history of independent animation, ASPARAGUS is a mesmerizing exploration of the artist's inner world, and a viewing experience like no other.

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  3. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vivre sa vie
    Directed by Jean-Luc Godard • 1962 • France

    Vivre sa vie was a turning point for Jean-Luc Godard and remains one of his most dynamic films, combining brilliant visual design with a tragic character study. The lovely Anna Karina, Godard's greatest muse, plays Nana, a young Parisian who aspires to be an actress but instead ends up a prostitute, her downward spiral depicted in a series of discrete tableaux of daydreams and dances. Featuring some of Karina and Godard's most iconic moments, from her movie theater vigil with The Passion of Joan of Arc to her seductive pool-hall strut, Vivre sa vie is a landmark of the French New Wave that still surprises at every turn.

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  4. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Sweet Smell of Success
    Directed by Alexander Mackendrick • 1957 • United States
    Starring Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison

    In the swift, cynical SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, directed by Alexander Mackendrick, Burt Lancaster stars as the vicious Broadway gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco, the unprincipled press agent Hunsecker ropes into smearing the up-and-coming jazz musician romancing his beloved sister. Featuring deliciously unsavory dialogue, in an acid, brilliantly structured script by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, and noirish neon cityscapes from Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS is a cracklingly cruel dispatch from the kill-or-be-killed wilds of 1950s Manhattan.

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  5. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    That's a great film. I own the blu-ray I like that one so much.

    A friend has the channel and we do movie night once a week or so. I suggested Veronika Voss and Lola, which were the first two Fassbinder she'd seen. Quite the introduction.
     
  6. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Forum Resident

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    Northeastern USA
    I need to put those two on my list then. In the Mood is going to be one that I grab next B&N sale, I'd love to see it in the best quality possible.
     
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  7. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, ny
    Got alarmed for a moment when I couldn't connect with CC. The message read that I didn't have an internet connection. Immediately, I checked my other apps and the first two or three seemed to work well. Googled Criterion Channel won't connect in the 24 hour filter and, sure enough, others had the same problem. The CC geeks solution was to log out and log back in to restore service. It worked.

    But in the interim I had tried connecting on three different devices; my smart TV, my tablet and temporary Android Go phone. Now, until I get my new iPhone I've been bummed because I couldn't play the CC app on my temp cell (won't play on "unsecured" devices). BUT I accidentally logged into my account on the Google Chrome browser via my cell during the login/out process and found it played beautifully there. It's how I watch it on my smart (Android) tv. Never occured to me to try it on my cheap phone! Thought the tip might help any owner of a "lower end" cell phone wanting to stream CC via the app. Cheers.

    And now back to Sweet Smell of Success. :-popcorn:
     
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  8. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vancouver, CANADA
    Half way through In the Mood for Love. The art direction is amazing!
     
  9. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, CANADA
    Thanks for the recommendation zombiemodernist!

    In the Mood for Love
    Criterion Collection Edition #147

    Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite—until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. At once delicately mannered and visually extravagant, Wong Kar-wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments. With its aching musical soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin, this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema, and is a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career.

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  10. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, ny
    Been on a Beethoven kick so a revisit of A Clockwork Orange is apropos. But purely for cinematic reasons. I remember a character played by Gary Oldman (in some film) claiming that Beethoven inspired him to violence. No shortage of it in this film. But I like the deeper ramifications of pop culture conditioning (metaphorically, of course) which is at the heart of the film. A good one It's gone come February!
     
  11. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, ny
    Course, (the late, great critic) Roger Ebert wasn't (in 1972) as charitable about Clockwork:

    Why [lead character, Alex] likes Beethoven is never explained, but my notion is that Alex likes Beethoven in the same way that Kubrick likes to load his sound track with familiar classical music -- to add a cute, cheap, dead-end dimension.

    Now Alex isn't the kind of sat-upon, working-class anti-hero we got in the angry British movies of the early 1960s. No effort is made to explain his inner workings or take apart his society. Indeed, there's not much to take apart; both Alex and his society are smart-nose pop-art abstractions. Kubrick hasn't created a future world in his imagination -- he's created a trendy decor. If we fall for the Kubrick line and say Alex is violent because "society offers him no alternative," weep, sob, we're just making excuses.

    Alex is violent because it is necessary for him to be violent in order for this movie to entertain in the way Kubrick intends. Alex has been made into a sadistic rapist not by society, not by his parents, not by the police state, not by centralization and not by creeping fascism -- but by the producer, director and writer of this film, Stanley Kubrick.

    - RogerEbert.com



    I'll buy that, too!
     
  12. Arthur Pewty

    Arthur Pewty Well-Known Member

    You’re thinking of Leon (The Professional)- 1994 where Gary Oldman has a great Beethoven speech
     
  13. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, ny
    Yes, yes. Thank You.

    Other than topical (by that I mean mostly surface) references to Beethoven the director that comes closest to a Beethoven-lke approach to cinema (laying out broad themes, weaving in variations, opposing lines, complimentary voices, surprising detours and interesting but definite resolutions) in the Criterion Collection would be Robert Altman. Course, Kurosawa comes to mind, but he's too flat (John Ford disciple (Aaron Copeland might be a compliment)), Bergman is too 20th century, Fassbinder is too progamatic (meaning too pointedly social). Just in terms of composition nearly any Altman film moves in a way that Ludwig's compisitions do, maintaining a strict adherence to the form and theme while veering into sometimes bizarre territory which never poses a threat to the unity of the piece. Also, like Beethoven, I see his ultimate vision as one involving the human family. Too general? Probably. But (if he were around) I bet he'd concur. And not many filmmakers can pull this off with style and/or sophistication without coming off as preachy as well.

    So off to the streaming Altman offerings. Hope there are a few. lol
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  14. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    I suppose Alex is the way he is is because the film is about a mad genius. Mad/Criminal; Genius/Beethoven.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  15. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Started watching Something Wild yesterday. Had enough when the handcuffs appeared. Switched to Mike Leigh.

    High Hopes
    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1988 • United Kingdom

    Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum's ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and Cyril's pretentious sister and philandering husband. Shirley wants a baby, but Cyril, who reads Marx and wants the world to be perfect, is reluctant. Cyril's mum locks herself out and must ask her snooty neighbors for help. Then Cyril's sister Valerie stages a surprise party for mum's 70th birthday, a disaster from start to finish. Shirley holds things together, and she and Cyril may put aside her Dutch cap after all.

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  16. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    Not sure why Ebert would lay this at Kubrick's feet, Alex is the same in the book.
    I think it's would be better to lay this at Burgess's feet.

    yes, I know Ebert is a movie reviewer, reviewing a movie, but Kubrick didn't create the character.
     
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  17. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, ny
    I see your point. Kubrick's movie, however, is not the book. The critique lies more in the framework around which Alex behaves than simply the characterization itself. That's how I took it, anyway.
     
  18. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, ny
    Interesting. Don't agree in the slightest, but interesting. What makes Alex a genius? Or mad? It seems to me he's in his right mind. To me he has the mind of an irresponsible, emotionally damaged adolescent but mad? Seems like an easy out.
     
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  19. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
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    Decided to put Altman on hold and go straight for Beethoven - the music, anyway. And wouldn't you know it, back to Ingmar Bergman. His To Joy (1950) deals with a young, broke orchestra violinist grappling with personal demons standing in the way of his development. Naturally, Beethoven's music is featured (the title from the master's Ode To Joy). It's a first time viewing for me. (There's a nice Criterion streamer on YouTube w/English subs as well. Might compare the two just to eye the perks of the Criterion Channel's version.)

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    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  20. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

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    It took two sittings to get through To Joy, not because it was unpleasant to watch but mostly because Bergman was still unsure with all the resources he had at his command - and it shows. Admittedly, the plot is autobiographical in many respects and it's easy to see what Bergman would later deem "naive" about the film. But it works, ultimately (imo) because the story is about a marriage between two very young (one highly insecure) people. Instability was inevitable. And an understanding of the human spirit (and Beethoven, for that matter, though the orchestral scenes are crafted well) really eludes Stig, the young protagonist, as it must have young Ingmar.

    On to Hardcore, tonight, which was just added to the channel. I saw it once eons ago and I remember the trailer made it look... well, scary. It was Paul Schrader's second full lengther. George C. Scott, though, is the draw for me.

     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  21. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vancouver, CANADA
    A tour de force, IMO:

    Diabolique
    Criterion Collection Edition #35

    Before PSYCHO, PEEPING TOM, and REPULSION, there was DIABOLIQUE. This thriller from Henri-Georges Clouzot, which shocked audiences in Europe and the U.S., is the story of two women, the fragile wife and the willful mistress of the sadistic headmaster of a boys’ boarding school, who hatch a daring revenge plot. With its unprecedented narrative twists and terrifying images, DIABOLIQUE is a heart-grabbing benchmark in horror filmmaking, featuring outstanding performances by Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse.

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  22. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    Vancouver, CANADA
    And this is interesting if you like Godard:

    Jean-Luc Godard on “The Dick Cavett Show”: Episode 1
    In October 1980, director Jean-Luc Godard appeared on two episodes of “The Dick Cavett Show” to promote the U.S. release of EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF. Presented here, in their entirety, are those two episodes.
     
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  23. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

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    More Clouzot:

    L’assassin habite au 21
    Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot • 1942 • France

    Inspector "Wens" Vorobechik and his aspiring actress girlfriend search for a serial killer who leaves mysterious calling cards.

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  24. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, ny
    Hardcore is definitely worth a viewing, if only for Scott's performance.

    The trouble for me laid in the scriptwtiting: we definitely get to see Scott's point of view about sexual permissiveness but we learn little about his history, which would have enlarged the story considerably. Despite the trite reconcilliation between him and his daughter at the film's conclusion what about her history with Scott made her feel a life with a sadist pervert/murderer was more "loving" than one with her own father? We're missing a whole lot of backstory here and instead are treated to the despeate sordidness of the porn world, little of which involves the daughter that Scott tears through the sexual underground of California to find. It often felt like one step beyond the Travis Bickle story (Taxi Driver) in that we get to sympathize with the twisted moral crusade the main character is on but have no idea what happened to him which led to his ultimately isolating and equally destructive social behavior.

    On to another (self-admitted) Anglo-Saxon hero, the Omega Man!



    Part of the 70s Sci-Fi run til the end of the month this is Richard Mattheson's 1954 I Am Legend story before Will Smith & Co. got to it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 3:33 AM
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  25. ando here

    ando here Forum Resident

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    I'd seen this interview before but I didn't remember the difficulty Godard had in coming up with 10 minutes of onversation with a 10 year old. But I wasn't surprised. He always struck me as more of a critical than creative type. What artist has trouble entering the world of a child? Indespensible as a critic - and a lot like Tarantino, in this instance - looking at his films as his way of responding to films (and/or other art forms) can be interesting if you're in the mood.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 9:00 AM
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