Thursday, May 29, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014
At first glance, 1950's Gun Crazy is a mere re-telling of the 1930s Bonnie and Clyde myth, following up on Nick Ray's They Live by Night from the year before and Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once (1937). At heart though, Gun Crazy is one of the most deliriously romantic films ever made.
A young man and young woman are obsessed with guns, and both can shoot out the eye of an eagle at 100 yards. When they meet, what else can they do but fall in love? Since they sense everything around them in straight society means to rip them apart and put them in their place, they do all they can across the landscape of post-World War II America to make their love burn ever brighter.
Peggy Cummins is the soul and guts of the film, always stoking the flames, director Joseph Lewis making prominent the delicate silvery cut of her face (while eventually betraying her): that delicate girl face below the blonde hair. Love must murder us unless we possess it altogether, is the look she gives us. And yet she has a fear of the man she is in love with, for she senses that his words and gestures, perhaps those she could possess. But him, his private substance — she would never have it, and so her eyes often shudder. At the end, she is proved correct.
Posted by EJK at 3:00 AM
Friday, May 16, 2014
From the show notes:
Is Noam Chomsky an anarcho-syndicalist or proponent of the Federal Reserve? A fearless political crusader or defender of the Warren Commission JFK orthodoxy? A tireless campaigner for justice or someone who doesn't care who did 9/11? Join us this week on The Corbett Report as we examine some of the subjects that Chomsky would prefer you didn't think about.Noam Chomsky -- Academic Gatekeeper?
Thursday, May 8, 2014
The same week as the launch of Freedom 7, George Timothy Clooney was born. Happy 53rd to one of modern Hollywood's few good guys. [In spite of his continuing support for Wall Street's mass-murdering pimp.]
In this SpiderMan movie era, going on 30 years now, we're all being dragged through, to experience a classical liberal film is a bracing and uplifting experience. Works such as Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) were pretty much standard fair and what socially-sensitive filmgoers of the late-50s and early-60s would expect from Hollywood (Seven Days in May, Fail Safe, A Child is Waiting, Lilies of the Field, Anatomy of a Murder, Americanization of Emily, Manchurian Candidate, The Miracle Worker, Advise and Consent, Days of Wine and Roses), but has been a genre so long ignored that it's heartbreaking to see it once more. People can, and should, treat each other decently -- that is the theme of the work. How revolutionary it now seems, when the face of U.S. power and culture appeals to the worst and assumes the very worst about humanity.
A chamber piece that believes its audience (probably a mistake) knows enough about the McCarthy Era to move right into the human element of the time, Good Night embodies the dream of good people working together doing good things; and it works so well because that's what director Clooney achieved on his set. All his actors are quiet, devoid of the usual ET narcissism, and one comes away aching for a group of co-workers doing serious things, treating each other with respect, and feeling safe about it all. (Another dream stolen from us by the corporate totalitarians.)
The picture has its flaws. As suggested by Walter Cronkite, perhaps a brief prelude of what was going on in the early 1950s may have helped people jump into the human aspects more readily. (Stone did a great job of that with the Charlie Sheen-narrated prelude to JFK. Once we get to Kevin Costner, is another matter.) The subplot with the secretly-married Robert Downey, Jr (who's particularly good here, as usual) and Patricia Clarkson (who's not, as usual) should've been dumped. And replaced with much more background on the monstrous William Paley (Frank Langella). The director hints at where he could have gone, in the scene where Paley tells Murrow: "I gave you that house of yours. I put your kids through school. I've given you everything you have." It is, of course, the other way around. The Paleys of that world -- and especially our own -- have what they have because of the blood of people like Ed Murrow, Fred Friendly, Don Hollenbeck, and George Clooney. Paley's bellowing is exactly the way the vampire class always feels about itself. Which is why it must be destroyed. But now I'm arguing for a different kind of film. . .
A generous-hearted actor and director, what Clooney gives us remains special, with an opening as lovely as one of his aunt's songs.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Thursday, May 1, 2014
In Year XXV (give or take a few) of Hollywood: The Vomit Era, Icíar Bollaín's Spanish masterpiece flowed with moments rarely seen in the marketeer States: rage, dignity, meaning, gesture, fellowship, purpose, self-forgetfulness, moral confusion, heroism -- while telling a great story with great pace. In 2000, a production crew invades Cochabamba, Bolivia to make an anti-Columbus period piece about the Columbian exploitation (and eventual extermination) of the native peoples. While filming, a rebellion breaks out over local water rights, involving many of the extras hired for the movie and led by a locally-hired lead actor. The silly director (Gael García Bernal), deeply in love with his own sensitive creativity (it brings tears to his eyes), tries to hold the project together, but when violence rains down on the village rebels, cast and crew seek to flee for their own safety and, if possible, finish the film.
'Though dedicated to Howard Zinn, Even the Rain's quiet humanity moves it far beyond mere polemic, as director Bollaín suggests that, despite the communal nature of the movie-making process itself, movies -- through the demands of isolation and selectivity -- are a deeply private, anti-communal art form.
All performances are perfectly keyed, with Luis Tosar unforgettable as the hard producer turned rebel. The best and most important movie yet of the 2010s.