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Entries in Weekend Viewing (20)

Sunday
Mar302014

Weekend Viewing: A Zed & Two Noughts

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—01. A film directed by Peter Greenaway.

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Their are plenty of adept filmmakers in the world, but there are very few genius filmmakers. Peter Greenaway, the director of A Zed & Two Noughts, almost certainly belongs to the latter group. This film came out in 1985, only his third film after the mind-boggling conceptual masterpiece The Falls and the incredibly bizzare The Draughtsman's Contract. A Zed & Two Noughts was a total departure from his previous work though, largely due to him teaming up with cinematographer Sacha Vierney, who helped him develop the crisp, meticulous, almost stagey look that would come to be his visual signature. The power of this film's quirky beauty is only matched by its morbid themes, involving the all too relatable constructs of decay, disaster, and death. Words really can't describe a picture this singular, so please just go and see it, but do prepare to have it burned into your mind's eye for the rest of your life. 

Trailer via YouTube

Sunday
Mar092014

Weekend Viewing: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

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—01. Ben Gazzara as Cosmo Vitelli.

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In 1976's The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, director John Cassavetes turns his incomparable independent cinema verite style and improvised performances on the crime genre, resulting in a seedy depiction of 1970s LA. Ben Gazzara's reading of a strip club owner Cosmo Vitelli, whose degenerate gambling ties him to the mob and forces him to do a job that puts him up against tough odds, is nuanced and believable. The 108 minute re-edit moves with a spare economy that is missing from the original, being 30 minutes longer, but the lingering closeups and fantastic camera work are just as marvellous. 

Available from Criterion

Saturday
Feb152014

Weekend Viewing: Interiors

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—01-04. Select stills.

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I've been on a bit of a Woody Allen binge lately – enjoying his self-deprecating, New York-centric sense of humour – and I usually prefer it when he features in his films, essentially playing a version of himself. Interiors, however, offers an almost entirely female perspective on Allen's recurrent themes, providing a more serious examination of the balance between a career, family and love. Aesthetically, the film is also one of Allen's most elegant, especially in terms of the wardrobe and production design. While it was released in 1978 it feels incredibly undated, and just as inspiring today as it would have been 36 years ago.

Trailer via YouTube

Sunday
Feb022014

Weekend Viewing: The Killers

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—01. Ava Gardner as Kitty Collins.

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Originating from a short story by Ernest Hemingway, The Killers, directed by Robert Siodmak, is the quintessential noir. It features Burt Lancaster in his first movie role as a washed-up prizefighter who is murdered for his involvement in a robbery. Starting at the end, the story reveals the events in a very creative way, with uncredited co-writing from John Huston and Richard Brooks – acknowledged masters of the era.

Available from Criterion

Saturday
Jan182014

Weekend Viewing: The Hit

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—01. Directed by Stephen Frears.

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Stephen Frears has had a long and unpredictable run as a filmmaker. He's tried his hand at nearly every genre at this point, and while I'm not crazy about everything he's done, there is an undeniable artistry to each frame of each film. He made a significant splash last year with his new drama Philomena, but it was his early films such as My Beautiful Laundrette, Prick Up Your Ears, and this film, The Hit, that will forever be his legacy. The grittiness in this picture is not something that can be faked. You get pulled so effortlessly into the twisted crime tale due to the sheer sense of reality the film posses. Each character is somehow likable, even though they are seemingly bad people; something that I've definitely noticed to be true of real world criminals. In summary, this is a masterclass gangster film, one I've found has been criminally overlooked by the Scarface crowd.

Available from Criterion

Saturday
Jan112014

Weekend Viewing: The Superior Labor

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—01. Produced by Nap, Inc.

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The Superior Labor, one of the first Japanese brands we featured in our magazine, have recently produced a short film giving a behind the scenes look at how they craft their iconic canvas tote bags at Nap Village.

The Superior Labor

Sunday
Dec012013

Weekend Viewing: The Long Goodbye

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—01. Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe.

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Regardless of era, the private eye genre has consistently produced entertaining films; be it The Maltese Falcon, Chinatown or The Big Lebowski, to name a few. Robert Altman's 1973 masterpiece, The Long Goodbye, which turns Raymond Chandler's source material on its ear, would have to be on that list as well. Highlights include Leigh Brackett's screenplay and Elliott Gould's performance in the lead role. It's the assured direction, however, that steals the show from the outset. The film's first ten minutes, not in the original script, read as the most accurate mediation on pet ownership ever committed to celluloid. This is Altman's film from start to finish, and undoubtedly one of his finest.

Available from Netflix

Sunday
Nov172013

Weekend Viewing: World on a Wire

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—01. Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

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Welt am Draht, or World on a Wire, is a truly peculiar film. Based on the book Simulacron-3 by Daniel Galouye, legendary German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder turns the existentialist piece of literature into to a Sci-fi film that oozes style in a way that other films in the genre couldn't imagine. World on a Wire was wildly ahead of its time in every sense, close to every scene is a revelation in one way or another. This was the first film to suggest we are all living in some form of simulated world, beating The Matrix to this idea by about 30 years. Never before, or since, has a Sci-fi film with such complex themes been handled in such a darkly comic way, thanks in great deal to the absurdly stern lead performance from Klaus Lowitsch. This film was lost for decades, but was recently resurrected by The Criterion Collection, and it is only a matter of time before it is listed with Godard's Alphaville and Tarkovsky's Stalker as one of the great Sci-fi films of all time.

Available from Criterion

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