Man, that sound design...
It's funny, watching David Carr & A.O. Scott's field trip to MoMA, I had all these associations flood my brain. Some clips I can't find online, like a fucked-up Iggy Pop on some 70s talk show explaining how he wanted the Stooges' music to sound like Detroit's machines [did I imagine this?] or Robert Flaherty's studies of Guernica at MoMA for a film he never completed.
But then there's also the style the Times used to film this spot. The optical effects had me thinking about that bananas Casablanca trailer.
But also about Leger.
And The Thomas Crown Affair [split screens and museums].
The cinetrix is still waiting for a dumbed-down technology that allows her to teach film like a DJ, showing the equivalent of a multichannel flicker film of all the allusions and references she wishes students could have in play when considering the art[s] histor[ies] informing a given image.
Craig Hubert's ArtInfo piece on the ongoing shitshow between film scholar Ray Carney and filmmaker Mark Rappaport provides a good précis of the tangle over Rappaport's materials and has me even more keen to read the rumored Boston Globe investigation into the matter. That said, I'm still rooting for the comet colliding with earth in this one, for strictly personal reasons.
The only film of Rappaport's I've seen is From the Journals of Jean Seberg, which I caught at the pre-Cuban Kendall Square Theatre with Jennifer MacMillan and thoroughly enjoyed. Until, that is, Rappaport's post-screening Q&A. I can count on my fingers the times where the affect of a filmmaker has soured me on his work, and this was one of those occasions. That night, Rappaport recounted with glee how he'd secured much of the footage in his film from European broadcasts. Now, no one needs me to tell them how the Mickey Moused copyright laws in the United States are bullshit, but Rappaport's nonchalance about doing right by the makers then feels like the set-up to the present-day karmic asskicking he's on the receiving end of now. And left me uninterested in the rest of his oeuvre. It happens.
As for Ray Carney, I met him for the first time on the occasion of his second "American Independents" series at the Harvard Film Archive in July 2007. (That would be pre-the whole self-congratulatory IFC program later that summer, for those of you scoring at home.) My friend Daniel McCord was visiting New England for the first time and wanted to see Mike Gibisser's lapidary beauty Finally, Lillian and Dan on the big screen. (We also saw Quiet City and Hannah Takes the Stairs.) Furthermore, he was a fan of Carney's site and his Cassavettes book. So when Ray generously invited us to tag along with some of his young filmmaker cadre for post-screening beers, I was down. Here's what I wrote soon after:
At the confab after the next night's double feature, the cinetrix was called upon as the lone female to weigh in on the female protagonist of Hannah Takes the Stairs. [Story of my life.] Realistic or a male fantasy--yes or no? Days later, the jury's still out. Yes, sirens like Hannah exist in real life, albeit usually not with the amazing amber eyes of Greta Gerwig, but to me the film and its story was the most familiar of the lot, perhaps because of the presence of Andrew Bujalski again holding down one angle of a tortured love triangle. More fun for me was trying to scope out the spines of the VHS tapes behind the actress during an intense conversation. I spotted 81/2 Women, Savage Beauty, The Unbelievable Truth, and Doom Generation. And there're tub scenes that resonate with 2 ou 3 Choses and Les Reves des Anges.
What I didn't say was how shamefully Carney ignored Daniel that night, even as the filmmakers [the Safdies, Aaron Katz] avidly quizzed him on his then-day job of designing truck tires for Michelin. He's a gifted filmmaker, too, as it happens. Yet only I counted, somehow, because I taught film at a university, and Daniel got nothing but air. It's caught in my craw ever since. So, yeah, that comet.
From November 2012. Carlos says, "How great is this?" The cinetrix concurs. It's got Woody Allen, Henry Stern.... Let this movie minyan [frantically assembled before sunset here] sit shiva over Hizzoner.
“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” (-)
Like every Woody Allen cult fan, I have seen all his movies. I’ll continue to do so although, regrettably, it appears his days of making great films are over.
The script of Allen’s latest picture sucks. More than a half-dozen people are involved in intimate relationships, but none of those interactions were profound enough to affect my emotions. Although the cast includes outstanding actors, their artistic abilities are not displayed in this movie.
Roy (Josh Brolin) is a failed novelist married to Sally (Naomi Watts). Sally is the daughter of Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) who heretofore divorced Helena (Gemma Jones). Alfie is looking for sexual excitement which he seems to have found in Charmaine (Lucy Punch) a former prostitute whom he marries. The actor who made the least impression on me was Antonio Banderas in the role of Greg, Sally’s boss.
As I have written before when reviewing Allen’s movies, I had the pleasure of appearing in his terrific 1989 picture, “New York Stories,” in which I played myself as mayor at the time. Woody and I have grown old together and, I believe, have reached our career heights at the same time, although he is 75 and I am 85. Statistically, 50 percent of Americans over the age of 85 suffer from some form of dementia, the worst being the degenerative Alzheimer’s. We are fortunate in that neither of us is suffering from dementia. We continue to enjoy our work and are capable of performing our professions. His bad films excel the best of many noted filmmakers, and I hope my reviews and commentaries continue to interest my readers.
I saw the picture at the Angelika Film Center located at 18 West Houston Street.
Henry Stern said: “I too have been a Woody Allen fan for years. He has basically written and directed a film every year since 1969, sometimes two. His movies were considered New York chic, often based on psychoanalysis, and appealed to the crowd that used to go to the New Yorker and Thalia theaters. I like those people. They elected me to the City Council in 1973 and 1977. Somebody has to believe the Rosenbergs were innocent. We are all getting older and perhaps less demanding, but I rather liked Tall Dark Stranger, except for the off-putting title, which is unwieldy. The movie was lively, the players were very good, the plot was ridiculous but so are most operas, that’s not why you see them. I enjoyed the London scenery, the interactions of the characters, the combination of stodginess and absurdity in their semi-British behavior. For me, the movie ended too soon.”