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What are you watching on the Criterion Channel?

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

  1. NickySee

    NickySee NickyBoo

    Location:
    College Park, GA
    [​IMG]
    St. Louis Blues (1958, Allen Reisner)

    Love this movie. The bio-pic storyline about a talented, young W.C. Handy who has to go blind, serving in his father's church before he decides to devote his life to his music is corny. The history of religious intolerance of jazz in American communities is a real one, but here it seems stiff and forced. The musical performances are everything. I mean, you've got Nat Cole, Eartha Kitt, Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway (who, regrettably, gets no solo number) and a great pick up band supporting the headliners. When I saw it listed as a new addition I got exited, thinking it was a new entry in the collection. Alas, it's just a streaming selection for the time being. Still, it's the best looking copy currently on The Web.

    One of my favorite scenes:
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
  2. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    [​IMG]

    Habaneros
    Directed by Julien Temple • 2017 • United Kingdom

    Interweaving rare archival footage, colorful contemporary interviews, and a dynamic soundtrack of son cubano, salsa, jazz, rumba, mambo, and hip-hop, director Julien Temple creates a vivid homage to the rich cultural history of Cuba. Spanning the nineteenth century to the present day, HABANEROS chronicles the watershed moments—from the Spanish-American War to the revolution of Fidel Castro to the country’s recent reemergence on the global stage—that have shaped one of the most unique and vibrant societies in the world.
     
  3. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    ...and now onto my favorite film:

    [​IMG]

    Pale Flower
    Directed by Masahiro Shinoda • 1964 • Japan
    Starring Ryo Ikebe, Mariko Kaga

    In this cool, seductive jewel of the Japanese New Wave, a yakuza, fresh out of prison, becomes entangled with a beautiful and enigmatic gambling addict; what at first seems a redemptive relationship ends up leading him further down the criminal path. Bewitchingly shot and edited, and laced with a fever-dream-like score by Toru Takemitsu, this gangster romance was a breakthrough for the idiosyncratic Masahiro Shinoda. The pitch-black PALE FLOWER (KAWAITA HANA) is an unforgettable excursion into the underworld.
     
  4. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

    That's a good film. I've spent time in Cuba and I think he covered the history and contemporary attitudes quite well. I think my Cuban friends would agree with it.
     
    NickySee and Don P. like this.
  5. NickySee

    NickySee NickyBoo

    Location:
    College Park, GA
    Love Žižek's "screw the movie" closet pick episode. :D



    I particularly like his nod to Rossellini's Television History films but the Eclipse Series set is missing Socrates and The Taking of Power by Louis XIV. Weren't they a part of his tv history series?
    Well, they're ALL streaming on the channel. Fun times.
     
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  6. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Jia Zhangke has only come to my attention in past three years or so and has become on of my favorite directors. This is a very impressive debut.



    [​IMG]

    Xiao Wu
    Directed by Jia Zhangke • 1997 • China, Hong Kong
    Starring Wang Hongwei, Hao Hongjian, Zuo Baitao

    The feature debut of visionary director Jia Zhangke announced the arrival of arguably the most important Chinese filmmaker of his generation. Left behind by friends who have taken advantage of the changing economy and moved on with their lives, aimless pickpocket Xiao Wu (Wang Hongwei) drifts into a relationship with a sex worker (Hao Hongjian) as he begins to question the purpose of his existence. Shot guerrilla style in 16 mm with a cast of nonprofessional actors, XIAO WU is at once an intimate character study and a trenchant examination of the political and economic forces reshaping Chinese society in the 1990s.
     
    Electric and NickySee like this.
  7. Watched Sun Ra's Space Is the Place last night. Its certainly...unique.
     
    Electric, NickySee and Don P. like this.
  8. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    [​IMG]

    Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
    Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1999 • United States
    Starring Forest Whitaker, John Tormey, Cliff Gorman

    Jim Jarmusch combined his love for the ice-cool crime dramas of Jean-Pierre Melville and Seijun Suzuki with the philosophical dimensions of samurai mythology for an eccentrically postmodern take on the hit-man thriller. In one of his defining roles, Forest Whitaker brings a commanding serenity to his portrayal of a Zen contract killer working for a bumbling mob outfit, a modern man who adheres steadfastly to the ideals of the Japanese warrior code even as chaos and violence spiral around him. Featuring moody cinematography by the great Robby Müller, a sublime score by the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, and a host of colorful character actors (including a memorably stone-faced Henry Silva), GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI plays like a pop-culture-sampling cinematic mixtape built around a one-of-a-kind tragic hero.
     
    Davido and Electric like this.
  9. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Watched this last night for the first time, and was completely blown away by it, the characters, the actors, the ship, the rhino, etc., a perfect blend of real and surreal which I suppose is in the Fellini style. I realize I've seen few of his movies but I need to start.
     
    polchik and Electric like this.
  10. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

    It will be a fantastic adventure, and many of his films require multiple viewings.
     
    Davido likes this.
  11. cdcollector87

    cdcollector87 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Has anyone seen Lady Snowblood? Any good? I thought about picking up the DVD but not sure if $23 + tax is worth it.
     
    Don P. likes this.
  12. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage Thread Starter

    You can watch it on the Criterion Channel then decide if you want to buy it.
     
    Don P. likes this.
  13. cdcollector87

    cdcollector87 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    thanks I ended up doing that and thoroughly enjoying the movie.
     
    Electric and Don P. like this.
  14. Claus LH

    Claus LH Forum Resident

    Finally got to see "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence". A puzzling amalgamation of things, like a more philosophical version of "Bridge on the River Kwai", featuring three interesting characters, none of whom ever gets to be truly front and center to drive the story. David Bowie is excellent in this, and Tom Conti, despite all his mannerisms, makes a good foil to Bowie's character.

    The film, ironically enough, could have used either a more straightforward craftsman or a real eccentric as a director. As it is, it feels like "between two chairs", not 'out there' enough to be interestingly different, yet not linear enough to just plow through as mainstream storytelling. It has some absolutely lovely scenes and dialogue, but in the end feels like less than what it should have been.
     
  15. stepeanut

    stepeanut Sonic Art Union

    Are you familiar with any of Ōshima’s earlier work? Because he was considered one of the key filmmakers of the Japanese New Wave. He made films in a number of different styles, and certainly courted controversy in his day. See In the Realm of the Senses then tell me he wasn’t “out there” enough as a director.

    Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence came toward the end of Ōshima’s career, after a five-year break, and, despite good notices, I always felt that it falls slightly flat. I saw it again recently, via the Arrow BD, and enjoyed it more than previous viewings. It is still far from being my favourite Ōshima film, mind.

    Bowie gives a decent performance; a little wooden at times. Same for Sakamoto, although his character demands that reading. Tom Conti and Takeshi Kitano are the best things about the film, IMO.
     
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  16. NickySee

    NickySee NickyBoo

    Location:
    College Park, GA
    Speaking of Oshima - thought I'd give his one a go.

    [​IMG]
    The Man Who Left His Will On Film (1970)

    Intitially, this looked like a bio-pic title. Glad to see it isn't. (Aren't all films an act of will?) In it a suicide case becomes unclear for police after examining evidence which involves an apparent thief who steals a camera then jumps off a building. There's an interesting analysis of it on the Tube that will probably spoil a first time viewing but might be amusing to consider afterward -

     
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  17. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    [​IMG]

    Persona
    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1966 • Sweden
    Starring Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson

    By the midsixties, Ingmar Bergman had already conjured many of the cinema’s most unforgettable images. But with the radical PERSONA, he attained new levels of visual poetry. In the first of a series of legendary performances for Bergman, Liv Ullmann plays a stage actor who has inexplicably gone mute; an equally mesmerizing Bibi Andersson is the garrulous young nurse caring for her in a remote island cottage. While isolated together there, the women undergo a mysterious spiritual and emotional transference. Performed with astonishing nuance and shot in stark contrast and soft light by Sven Nykvist, the influential PERSONA is a penetrating, dreamlike work of profound psychological depth.
     
  18. NickySee

    NickySee NickyBoo

    Location:
    College Park, GA
    A doozie. I, frankly, can't stand the picture but I appreciate what Bergman was trying to do. I just feel like his study of mental fragmentation, displacement and eventual breakdown is more interesting in flicks like The Passion of Anna and Shame. Plus, they involved a wider community, which puts the existential myopia in a refreshing perspective. :D :cool:
     
    Don P. likes this.
  19. NickySee

    NickySee NickyBoo

    Location:
    College Park, GA
    Kinda like this collection that they recently pulled together on the channel -



    You Only Live Once (1937)
    They Live by Night (1948)
    Gun Crazy (1950)
    Where Danger Lives (1950)
    Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951)
    Pierrot le fou (1965)
    The Honeymoon Killers (1970)
    Badlands (1973)
    Thomasine and Bushrod (1974)
    One False Move (1992)
    The Living End (1992)
    Deep Crimson (1996)
    Sun Don’t Shine (2012)
    Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013)


    Not a bad list. Badlands, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, is a favorite. I see (for representation-sake, I guess) the gay semi-classic, Living End, is there but Wong Kar-wai's Happy Together is also streaming and (imo) a better flick. One False Move is fun, too. The Gordon Parks selection, Thomasine and Bushrod, is new to me. Starting with that one first.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
    palisantrancho and Don P. like this.
  20. Don P.

    Don P. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate NY
    [​IMG]

    Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
    Directed by Stanley Kubrick • 1964 • United Kingdom
    Starring Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden

    Stanley Kubrick’s painfully funny take on Cold War anxiety is one of the fiercest satires of human folly ever to come out of Hollywood. The matchless shape-shifter Peter Sellers plays three wildly different roles: Royal Air Force Captain Lionel Mandrake, timidly trying to stop a nuclear attack on the USSR ordered by an unbalanced general (Sterling Hayden); the ineffectual and perpetually dumbfounded U.S. President Merkin Muffley, who must deliver the very bad news to the Soviet premier; and the titular Strangelove himself, a wheelchair-bound presidential adviser with a Nazi past. Finding improbable hilarity in nearly every unimaginable scenario, DR. STRANGELOVE, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB is a subversive masterpiece that officially announced Kubrick as an unparalleled stylist and pitch-black ironist.
     
  21. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Loved this! I feel a Bergman marathon coming on. I love Harriet Andersson in this movie. So many Bergman films I have never seen, and Criterion is loaded with them.

    Sawdust and Tinsel

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1953 • Sweden
    Starring Åke Grönberg, Harriet Andersson

    Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival of humiliation in SAWDUST AND TINSEL, one of the master’s most vivid early works and his first of many collaborations with the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist. The story of the charged relationship between a turn-of-the-twentieth-century circus owner (Åke Grönberg) and his younger mistress (Harriet Andersson), a horseback rider in the traveling show, the film features dreamlike detours and twisted psychosexual power plays, making for a piercingly brilliant depiction of physical and spiritual degradation.

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. NickySee

    NickySee NickyBoo

    Location:
    College Park, GA
    [​IMG]
    Three Colors: Red (1994, Krzysztof Kieślowski)

    I love the film though I don't particularly like any of the characters. They all seem to be bleeding neuroses of one kind or another. Best way I can describe it. Kieślowski seems to be suggesting that real human relationship, or at least real human connection, is necessary in order to stem the hemorrhaging. Don't think I agree but he makes it an interesting consideration. Forget about standard storytelling. This is an exploration of the vitality of humanity. Straight narrative isn't exactly a Kieślowski hallmark, anyway.

    Another take:
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021 at 10:15 PM
  23. polchik

    polchik Forum Resident

    Kieslowski is simply one of my favourite filmmakers of all time, up there with Tarkovsky.

    RED is such a beautiful magical experience for me, i've seen it many times.


    i like what Kubrick wrote here .....

    The foreword to Kieslowski & Piesiewicz, Decalogue: The Ten Commandments, London: Faber & Faber, 1991

    I am always reluctant to single out some particular feature of the work of a major filmmaker because it tends inevitably to simplify and reduce the work. But in this book of screenplays by Krzysztof Kieslowski and his co-author, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, it should not be out of place to observe that they have the very rare ability to dramatize their ideas rather than just talking about them. By making their points through the dramatic action of the story they gain the added power of allowing the audience to discover what's really going on rather than being told. They do this with such dazzling skill, you never see the ideas coming and don't realize until much later how profoundly they have reached your heart.

    Stanley Kubrick
    January 1991

    The Kubrick Site: SK on Kieslowski
     
  24. stepeanut

    stepeanut Sonic Art Union

    The 30BD Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema is the best film box set I own. The films (obvs), the extensive extras, the book, the presentation ... all just stunning. I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone with even the smallest, burgeoning interest in the director. Given the content, it’s great value even at the SRP, but, if you can pick it up during the B&N sale, it’s a steal.
     
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  25. stepeanut

    stepeanut Sonic Art Union

    Two of my favourites, also. I think I own virtually their entire respective filmographies; certainly everything available in English-friendly editions. When I splurged on a bunch of Polish film posters, a few years back, it was Kieślowski and Tarkovsky examples that I went for first.

    Kieślowski I’ve been a fan of since Dekalog was first shown on U.K. television, 30 years ago.
     
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