last week’s films…

A Wedding (1978), Robert Altman, movie of the week  ★★★★★

Robert Alman’s signature shot – a slow zoom in or out from a long shot with a simultaneous slow pan, always to accentuate a plot point or character, sometimes combined with a soft focus. There’s one of the scenes at the greenhouse where Carol Burnett is the target of this beautiful shot. Keep your eyes peeled for Joan Allen’s first (uncredited) role. Several actors from 3 Women filmed a year prior; both of the older parents, now playing Lilian Gish’s sister and the Bishop, and the two girls who worked at the spa, now one of the camera crew and the groom’s sister.

A Prairie Home Companion (2006), Robert Altman  ★★★★★

Ensemble cast, smooth flowing plot, and a supernatural twist. I include it in my Altman great list for those reasons – and it has his signature zoom in / out and slow pan shots. Nice seeing Virginia Madsen in a great role.

As Tears Go By (1988), Kar Wai Wong  ★★★

His debut film. I like to see the beginnings of his established filmmaking style develop, such as the foot chase scene and close ups of facial expressions to tell the story.

3 Women (1977), Robert Altman, movie of the week (tied with A Wedding)  ★★★★★

Shelly Duval, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule… Millie, Pinky, and Willie. Playing catch up with Robert Altman’s filmography, which recently started with  Gosford Park (2001) in August, then Short Cuts (1993). Watched this a second time with Altman’s excellent commentary turned on.

Mean Streets (1993), Martin Scorsese  ★★★★★

Another very early film that is a prelude to his later masterpieces, with experimentation of his now signature slow motion shots with a popular tune playing in the background.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), Alfonso Gomez-Rejon  ★★★★

Made my top 20 for 2015 to date. [ The final scene, with Greg showing Rachel his film, her face first seems to gloss over with emotion as the images unfold – but all that is being shown are the stop motion random shape sequences as she flat lines and you wonder if this was just her death mask as her body succumbed to the cancer throughout her body? ]

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), Leigh Whannell  ★★★

Actually this didn’t suck as I thought it would when I realized I wasn’t getting the first 2011 film like I thought from the library. I enjoyed Lin Shaye’s performance, and recognized her as the sunburnt dog tounge kissing neighbor in There’s Something About Mary, and Kingpin, and Dumb and Dumber.

Dumbo (1941), Ben Sharpsteen and 5 others  ★★★★

Rewatched this for the pink elephants on parade sequence. Trippy.

Short Cuts (1993), Robert Altman  ★★★★★

Flashbacks to The Player (1992). It seems like they took the cast and kept them on the payroll to do these two back to back – which is what I think they did. I always think of Gus screwing the pooch when I see Fred Ward.

The Trial (1962), Orson Welles  ★★★★★

The scene where he’s running through the wood slate corridor with the light slicing him into multiple pieces as the giggling young girl groupies chase after him on the other side is phenomenal.

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