Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: May 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Movie Review: Ida (2014)

by Tony Dayoub


Director Pawel Pawlikowski's Ida takes a most unusual approach to the legacy of pain inflicted by the Holocaust. Rather than come across as an historical document or an eloquent epic of torment the way Shoah, Schindler's List and countless others have, Ida expresses itself in miniature. Only 80 minutes long and shot in black-and-white in the square 1.37:1 aspect ratio, Ida is beautiful in its austerity, perfectly representing its central figure, a naive 18-year-old nun named Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) who makes a discovery that launches her into a personal inquest into her own identity.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Back Door to the Black Lodge

by Joel Bocko


This is the third post in a four-part series. Catch up on parts one and two.

Tony,

Entering the world of Fire Walk With Me for the first time, I was thrilled by its air of uncertainty. Lynch's rhythms and images provoked and perplexed me: the static-filled TV set where we would expect the show’s opening theme song; the plastic-wrapped corpse of Teresa Banks floating downstream, unclaimed and unloved; the FBI meeting in a skimpy Oregon airfield, sour-faced Lil (Kimberly Ann Cole) offering coded information via a wiggle, stitch, and blue flower. And then we were off to Deer Meadow, to investigate Teresa's murder. You've already described the Bizarro World qualities of Twin Peaks' doppelganger town, but perhaps even more unsettling than what Lynch shows us there is how he introduces us to it.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

RIP Gordon Willis

by Tony Dayoub


"I may have gone too far a couple of times. I think there was a scene between Al [Pacino] and his mother, who was played by Morgana King in Part II. I did one scene; I went too far. I think Rembrandt went too far a couple of times."
- Gordon Willis, dubbed the Prince of Darkness by fellow cinematographers after his masterful application of underexposure in The Godfather films.

Recommended Films - Klute, The Godfather, The Paper Chase, The Parallax View, The Godfather: Part II, The Drowning Pool, All the President's Men, Annie Hall, Comes A Horseman, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Pennies from Heaven, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, The Godfather: Part III

Friday, May 16, 2014

Movie Review: Godzilla (2014)

by Tony Dayoub


What's the cinematic controversy of the week? Is it that the prestigious Cannes Film Festival chose to open with a crappy Grace Kelly biopic? Or that somehow the end of the superhero film might be nigh because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is sputtering before it's even broke $200 million domestically? Maybe it's the mixed reaction to the design of the outfit Batfleck will be wearing when he goes up against the Man of Steel? No, what's got critics (and any audience that might give a shit) divided is the fact that everyone's favorite kaiju doesn't stroll onto the screen in the new Godzilla until about halfway into the 2-hour movie. Is this really a thing?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Movie Review: Belle (2014)

by Tony Dayoub


Belle is a film that holds as many surprises as its lead character, played by the electrifying Gugu Mbatha-Raw. On the surface it's a costume drama about the young, mixed-race Dido Elizabeth Belle, brought up in an upper class British household led by her grandfather, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson), England's Chief Justice (second in power only to the king, as one man puts it). In private, Dido is treated as separate but equal to her cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon). In public, though, she is forced to play the deferential role blacks were expected to, walking a few steps behind the rest of her family, waiting in the drawing room while they finish their meals in the dining room with any invited guests. A curious turn of events makes Dido an heiress to her father's great fortune while leaving Elizabeth penniless, giving Dido the surprising upper hand in finding a suitable marriage partner.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Poetry Becomes Prose in Fire Walk with Me

by Tony Dayoub


This is the second post in a four-part series. Catch up on part one here.

Joel,

I was not one of those fans who felt that the show quickly “descended into camp,” as you put it, with the resolution of who killed Laura Palmer. Like Special Agent Dale B. Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), I was so in love with the town and its denizens that I relished any tangent from the relatively straight line David Lynch and Mark Frost had so far led us along. Remember, Lynch and Frost had never meant to resolve the mystery, hoping instead to use it as a backdrop for spinning off other storylines, like a traditional soap. Sometimes, these tangents went nowhere, or at least nowhere of interest–most notoriously in the very noirish storyline where James Hurley (James Marshall) is seduced by a femme fatale and set up for her husband’s murder. Other times, I was as delighted as the show intended viewers to be, no matter how silly the subplot (yes, I admit that I adored the inane romance between Lana and Mayor Milford). Staunch supporter that I was, I enjoyed how sprawling and diffuse the show’s mythology had grown–Black and White Lodges, Bookhouses, dwarves, giants, owls and all.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Movie Review: Neighbors (2014)

by Tony Dayoub


I've long been a fan of actor Seth Rogen, director Nicholas Stoller and just about anyone else that comes from the Judd Apatow school of comedy. Writer-produced Apatow himself does not appear to be directly involved with Rogen and Stoller's new film Neighbors. But it does evince the kind of hallmarks one would expect from an Apatow film: a wistfulness about attaining a certain stage of maturity; a focus on a mismatched couple that is more wish-fulfillment than reality, usually a schlubby guy with a nearly unattainable wife (not unlike Apatow and his beautiful wife Leslie Mann); and an ability to sneak in raunchy, gross-out humor in a fairly natural, often semi-improvisational manner.

Movie Reviews: Farmland (2014) and Fed Up (2014)

by Tony Dayoub


On a weekend crowded with new releases there are two food-related documentaries currently making the rounds worth noting. One is essential viewing; the other, not so much.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Twin Peaks Is Dead, Long Live Laura Palmer

by Joel Bocko


This is the first in a four-part series between Joel Bocko and Tony Dayoub. Joel has the first post.

"When you told your secret name, I burst in flames, and burned..."
-"Floating", written by David Lynch, 1989

Tony,

Let's talk about the final day of Laura Palmer's life. Not the night with its cocaine binges, woodland orgies, and bloody murders, but the morning before, as depicted in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Remember that soggy bowl of cereal, abandoned by the trembling teenager while her father tries to cheer her up? Or Laura's jittery mother steeling herself with a cigarette, her blank, exhausted inner state almost as ugly and jagged as her daughter's raw wound? And who can forget the ferocious hatred in Laura's eyes, years in the making, as she growls at her astonished father in her bedroom: "Stay...away from me..."? By the time we are submerged in Laura's woozy afternoon at high school, her disorientation overpowers us. Swooningly subjective dips and pans, time-lapsed clocks intercut with blurry crowds, high-angled perspectives pinning Laura to a ground that is sliding away beneath her feet–if these are not the most adventurous techniques David Lynch has ever employed, they are among his most compassionate. We've burrowed deeply into Laura's consciousness, losing ourselves on a death trip that few were willing to take.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL POST AT TO BE (CONT'D)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

RIP Bob Hoskins

by Tony Dayoub


"You don't end up with a face like this if you're hard, do ya? This comes from having too much mouth and nothing to back it up with. The nose has been broken so many times."
- Bob Hoskins

Recommended Films - The Cotton Club, Brazil, Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Doomsday, Disney's A Christmas Carol, Snow White and the Huntsman

And an even better list of movies I haven't seen but should: The Long Good Friday, Pink Floyd The Wall, A Prayer for the Dying, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne,

To Be (Cont'd): Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

by Tony Dayoub


Almost 25 years ago (if you don't count its festival debut), Twin Peaks premiered on ABC and changed the TV landscape forever. Just over 2 years later, David Lynch's theatrical follow-up, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, was a crushing failure at the box office. How did a property so popular that it got Lynch on the cover of Time Magazine fall so precipitously in the interim? It's just one of the topics we'll be discussing when Lost in the Movies' Joel Bocko and I get together at To Be (Cont'd), Peter Labuza and Andrew Welch's fabulous brainchild devoted to month-long conversations by film writers from all over.

Joel kicks off the conversation next week. Laura Palmer is getting ready to visit. Why don't you?