Monthly Archives: January 2015

Two from Rainer Werner Fassbinder

I’ve been wanting to watch his films for a while now, and started with The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972) last week, and The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) yesterday. Both were Criterion Collection (CC) discs, with Bitter Tears a brand new CC release, though Netflix sent me disc 1, and all of the supplements are on disc 2. Maria Braun had all supplements intact, including audio commentary by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and renowned filmmaker Wim Wenders, which I listened to the second time around.

Maria Braun is the first in Fassbinder’s BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) trilogy, and also stars Hanna Schygulla, who gives an interview on the CC disc.

Hanna Schygulla stars in many of his films, and she’s in Bitter Tears and Maria Braun. In the interview on the CC disc, she tells of the four years when she walked away from Fassbinder and filmmaking, until she got a call from him which went something like Hi, it’s Rainer, Rainer?, I don’t know any Rainers, It’s Rainer, Rainer! Oh, Werner, and thus she came onboard The Marriage of Maria Braun.

The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972)

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Great Directors (2009)

IMDB: Great Directors, directed by Angela Ismailos, features conversations with ten of the world’s greatest living directors: Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater and John Sayles.

Cigarettes & Coffee (1993), short directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

In preparation to see Inherent Vice, I was looking at PTA’s filmography and saw this short listed. I first wondered if it inspired Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes (2003). Be ready for what looks like a video recording of a tv screen showing a VHS tape ( 240p ). I like how he continued to use Philip Baker Hall in his films, and I recognized Kirk Baltz who played the cop tied to the chair while Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel played in Pulp Fiction (he also played Edwards, in Dances with Wolves). I also noted that this came out maybe a year before Pulp, and you almost see a homage to C&C in Tarentino’s coffee shot framing of the two getting ready to rob the place (3:30 in C&C). And you get a trunk shot at 20:36.

Saving Mr. Banks (2013), directed by John Lee Hancock

An interesting story that I’ll be doing some reading on. I try to maintain a blackout to films that I want to see, and avoided the obligatory articles / discussions. Kind of a different role for Emma Thompson. Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman were great, as well as Rachel Griffiths playing the visiting aunt. I always think of Scent of a Woman when I see Bradley Whitford. And he was in A Perfect World (1993), which John Lee Hancock also directed.

Capote (2005), directed by Bennett Miller

Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher (2014) lead me to watch this film. I knew that I liked Foxcatcher , but had reservations for some reason, so I moved Capote to the top of my queue and I now understand it better. His close up cuts to facial expressions, the long takes, the slowing down of the story. I have not made a 2005 top ten list yet, but I’m thinking this is top ten material – I know Joe Wright’s Price and Prejudice is there, as well as quite a few foreign films (Koreeda, Haneke, Dardenne brothers, Herzog). The cast. Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of his greatest performances. Catherine Keener as Harper Lee – who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, and was Capote’s assistant on In Cold Blood. Clifton Collins Jr. as Perry Smith. Chris Cooper, Bruce Greenwood, Mark Pellegrino. For me, Capote brings Foxcatcher up a notch or two.

Ben Affleck to reteam with Gone Girl director David Fincher for Strangers on a Train remake

Ben Affleck to reteam with Gone Girl director David Fincher for Strangers on a Train remake, January 13, 2015

Gone Girl’s Ben Affleck, David Fincher, Gillian Flynn Plot Strangers On A Train Redo At Warner Bros, 1/13/2015

Number 1, I loved Gone Girl, 2, David Fincher? forgetaboutit, 3, Strangers on a Train may become Strangers on a plane – I’m there. David Fincher? Hell yeah!

Boyhood (2014)

Currently my #1 film for 2014, though I have not seen Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, The Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night, or Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice – which started in our town yesterday. ..

I actually started in on Linklater’s filmography in anticipation of watching Boyhood. I had seen his Dazed and Confused (1993), and then recently watched his before trilogy (out of order) – Before Midnight (2013), Before Sunrise (1995), then Before Sunset (2004). Next up was Slaker (1991) and Bernie (2011). I was hooked with Midnight and his walk-and-talk dolly signature shot. You see variations of this in Boyhood.

While I had the chance to see this in a theater, his films were still a mystery to me. Though I have actually found a positive for the upcoming awards season: I could possibly watch Boyhood on the big screen! I won’t miss my chance this time. When I got the brand new, never used with no scratches shiny mirror dvd from Netflix, I watched it twice before I mailed it back.

Patricia Arquette steals this one.

I like how he depicts the echos in life, which we may or may not notice and chalk up to deja vu. An example:

The scene near the beginning of Mason laying with hands behind head eyes rolled up listening to his mom and boyfriend argue, with the concentration that only a child could have in trying to interpret what is going on, and later when she divorces, and remarries her professor, his brother (in law) sits in the same position while all 4 listen to both parents fight it out in another room.

I rarely rate a film 5 out of 5 stars, but Boyhood rounds up. My other 5 star films from recent memory:

The Scent of Green Papaya (1993)
Tokyo Twilight (1957)
Late Autumn (1963)
Late Spring (1949)
The River (1951)

Linklater has already said that Criterion Collection will give their treatment to this – I know my next Criterion purchase. Though Slacker is right up there as it includes his first film It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988).