Monday, March 30, 2009

"shove off mac! deviant! creep!"

This marks the fifth time I've written about Whit Stillman's "The Last Days of Disco", a fantastic tip of the hat to early 80s New York that has been long over due for a DVD release. Because I've written so much about it, the only thing left for me to say is watch it. It's now available on Watch it. Love it. Support it and let's get it on DVD.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

carnal knowledge

Suzy Parker and Mike Nichols
photographed by Richard Avedon
Harper's Bazaar, 1962

The Steve McQueen book I wanted for Christmas? Yeah, I own that now. What's next? I want the Richard Avedon book, Performance. It has one of my favorite editorials, Suzy Parker and a young Mike Nichols as a Liz and Dick. There's something so cool and slick about the two of them. Once again, Avedon rules.

Friday, March 27, 2009

moz attacks

I'm still not sure how to put into words what the experience of seeing Morrissey at Carnegie Hall was like. This will do for now, I suppose.

Monday, March 23, 2009


"Love Sex Magic"
Ciara feat. Justin Timberlake
directed by Diane Martel

Dear Ciara,
After watching this video, you can now call me a believer in love, sex, and magic.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

empty salons. corridors. salons. doors.

"Last Year at Marienbad"
directed by Alain Resnais

The package design for the Crtierion release of Alain Resnais'"Last Year at Marienbad" is so simple, one might expect the same from the film. A dizzying wave of choppy editing, poetic dialogue, and neatly controlled imagery, "Last Year at Marienbad" is far from simple. It's a movie that takes a while to simmer to a point of engagement, but once you become a part of its rhythm, it's hard to resist its daring and poignant beauty. To celebrate the DVD release I give you this:

"To The End"
directed by David Mould

Friday, March 20, 2009

after hours

It's getting late...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

the best of what was

I've been thinking about film in last year and I feel like the difference between last year and say, 2007, is there were some really good films, but not a great film. It's a hard act to follow coming off a year of gripping, bristling work like "There Will Be Blood", "Zodiac", and "The Assassination of Jesse James" to name a few. Those films chewed the fat of what's going on in the world right now in ways that were purely cinematic and never didactic. They created worlds of imbalance where the people were conflicted, fearful of getting lost in the crowd, and used metaphors about milkshakes. Whatever was in the air in 2007, it worked and produced one of the best years of the 00's. Last year, most of the good was all over the place. There wasn't a thread to link what I thought was the best of last year, so I consider this list to be more of a hodge podge of some very good films. It was a great year for foreign language cinema as well as major studio releases. A trend that's really starting to get its legs is the specialty division films being sold with as much money and bloodlust for an award as much as the studio epics, as if to say people who watch films will watch anything that has Harvey Weinstein or Fox Searchlight's thumbprint on it. Sadly, I saw those films and I can't tell you what schlock like "Slumdog Millionaire" or "The Reader" have to do with anything. They'll be forgotten in a matter of years, but hopefully these films will linger a little longer:

(in no particular order)
BALLAST, directed by Lance Hammer

WALL*E, directed by Andrew Stanton

THE DARK KNIGHT, directed by Christopher Nolan

REPRISE, directed by Joachim Trier

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, directed by Mike Leigh

A CHRISTMAS TALE, directed by Arnaud Desplechin

TROPIC THUNDER, directed by Ben Stiller

FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON, directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou

SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK, directed by Charlie Kaufman

THE WRESTLER, directed by Darren Aronofsky

PARANOID PARK, directed by Gus Van Sant


SILENT LIGHT, directed by Carlos Reygadas

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, directed by Woody Allen

CHE, directed by Steven Soderbergh

Saturday, March 14, 2009

first look: straight gangsta

"L'instinct de Mort"
directed by Jean-Fran├žois Richet
August 2009 (limited)
I can't stop kicking myself in the ass for not seeing this at the Film Society at Lincoln Center's annual "Rendezvous with French Cinema." If Vincent Cassel can display shades of brilliance as a thug in "La Haine", I can only imagine what he can do as a legendary gangster in this. August couldn't come sooner.

"Public Enemies"
directed by Michael Mann
July 1, 2009
Michael Mann is hit or miss with me, but this looks like something to be excited about when it comes to what already seems like a lackluster summer at the movies.

I'm headed off to see "Gomorrah." Can we go ahead and declare it the year of the gangster?

malkovich, malkovich, malkovich

This is exactly why he made the list. Consider this a masterclass in the many beautiful ways one can say my favorite four letter word.

performance: down in the trenches

How do you make a film about prisoners of war funny and stylish? Enter the genius of Billy Wilder. The master of the discombobulated Hollywood genre picture, Wilder has a way of inflecting the many genres he covered with a sly sense of humor. It's never overt, but it's always there. I was surprised to find how acerbic and delicate the humor was in his 1953 prisoner of war film, "Stalag 17." Amidst the muddy, cold camp of German World War II prison barracks, the suspicion of a mole consumes a group of American airmen who love cigarettes, Betty Grable, and the idea of escaping. Comedic moments such as when the airmen don their best Hitler mustache or a dazed and sexually confused Christmas Eve dance party amusingly, but not distractingly cut through the tension of what's really at stake. William Holden stars as the number one suspect, but everything is not what it seems. Holden has a knack at playing the guy's guy who isn't quite as glamorous as Cary Grant, as everyman as Gary Cooper, or as hard boiled like Robert Mitchum, but his masculinity is as thick as the wool peacoats the SS guards wear and as badass as the leather shearling jackets the airmen wear. The style in the movie is impeccable from start to finish. Chinos tucked into boots, epaulette details on jackets and coats, henley's that look worn in, and button downs that are functional and utilitarian. Sound familiar? One could say it's very on trend or it was a prescient form of dressing for these times when a man needs to feel secure, protected, and ready to take on the evils of the world. Yes, even if they're Otto Preminger.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

performance: 2008

The top ten of 2008 is on its way, don't you worry. In the meantime I'd thought I'd share some of my favorite performances of last year. Some were tender ("Wall-E"), balls out funny ("Tropic Thunder" and "Pineapple Express"), and others cut to the bone ("Ballast"). Each mash up between character and actor resonated in a way that only the cinemas can provide. Enjoy.

Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"

Sally Hawkins, "Happy-Go-Lucky"

Rebecca Hall, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"

John Malkovich, "Burn After Reading"

Wall-E, "Wall-E"

Kristin Scott Thomas, "I've Loved You So Long"

The cast of "Tropic Thunder"

Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and Kevin Corrigan, "Pineapple Express"

Juliette Binoche, "The Flight of the Red Balloon"

Rosemarie DeWitt, "Rachel Getting Married

Tarra Riggs, "Ballast"

Benicio Del Toro, "Che"

Emile Hirsch, "Milk"

Matieu Almaric, "A Christmas Tale"

Emily Watson and Diane Wiest, "Synecdoche, New York"

Monday, March 9, 2009

lazy sunday

Standard Button Down in Grey Check
Patrik Ervell Spring/Summer 09

The Patrik Ervell sample sale was the perfect tonic to a Sunday that drifted by ever so sluggishly. Maybe I do like this guy.

down home

How does one soothe one's soul while working a ton and thus neglecting ye old blog? Bourbon. I've resisted for a long time, but due to a New Years Resolution, I've been indulging as of late in the beverage that was born in my home state. Consensus: really damn good. I want to try as many as I can (That sounded like a lush thing to say, but there are several nuances to discover in varying bourbons, so why not try them all so I'm an informed drinker?), but for now I've settled on Bulleit. I drink it with ginger ale and a lime, I used it in some caramelized apples over ice cream on Oscar night, and I used it for a bacon wrapped chicken breast I made for dinner tonight. It has a vanilla flavor that I love, but it has a strong, smooth punch. Any recommendations of where to go from here?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

women i love: the english rose in brooklyn

I was walking home last night from Trader Joe's and I passed Rebecca Hall on the street. Tall, caught in mid-laugh at a joke a friend must have told her, and unfussy, she looked stunning in a low key, but refined sort of way. Dressed in black dhoti pants, Doc Martin style boots, and a cropped leather jacket; in a word, she was breathtaking. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona", but I decided to revel in the moment of seeing such a fine actress and beautiful woman in my little neighborhood on what was a gray, blah Saturday.