2001 A Space Odyssey

Written by Joe D on January 17th, 2019

Here is a great in depth look at the making of 2001.I metDan Richter, the mime that played the lead ape, the one who throws the bone up in the air, at a party at The Chelsea Hotel back in the 70’s. I also worked with Ray Lovejoy, who edited this magnum opus. It was his first job as an editor. Christopher Nolan recently restored the film and I think he made an IMAX print. I’ll have to see that one day. But anyway here is a great exploration of the making of this magnificent film.

The Tree of Wooden Clogs

Written by Joe D on January 7th, 2019

The Genius Of Cinema-Ermanno Olmi

 

I saw this when it was released in 1978 with my best pal Frank G. Host. We talked about it for a long time. It is a masterpiece! One of the best films ever made! Made by a true genius of Cinema, Ormano Olmi. He wrote, photographed , directed , and edited it. Damn! And all for a very small budget with non actors! Be inspired filmmakers of the future! See the Power of Cinema!

ROMA!

Written by Joe D on December 22nd, 2018

Alphonse Cuaron’s Roma is the best film of the year, probably the best of the last 10 years, it’s a masterpiece. It’s also my favorite of all his films . An amazing accomplishment, he is one of the very few filmmakers that is advancing the evolution of Cinema. He has picked up the mantle of Orson Welles long takes and run with it. You are so absorbed in what’s happening on the screen you don’t notice that there hasn’t been a cut in a long time. No one since Welles has been as good at this, I think Welles came to it from Radio, rehearsing actors so the dialog was fast and furious without the need for editing to pace it, he got the actors to get the right timing then filmed it, sometimes with spaectacular camera moves , Ambersons, Opening of Touch Of Evil, but other times with barely any camera movement, I’m thinking of the scene in the Mexican boyfriend’s apartment, where Quinlan and Vargas have an argument with the suspect while Quinlan’s sidekick Pete finds the dynamite offscreen in the bathroom. An amazing scene no cuts, plays just like a Radio Play.

Cuaron does this kind of thing perfectly if not better! The scene in the delivery room what a tour de force and so emotionally powerful. The scene on the beach where the camera cranes like 50 feet in just above the waterline. Masterful.

There are so many great things in this film, Cuaron also picks up something from The Double Life Of Veronique, in that film the heroine is passing through a square in Prague or some Eastern Euro City, there is a student demonstration going on that breaks out into a riot, but it’s all in the background. Cuaron stages a student riot similarly and to great effect.

This is a period film and it’s done beautifully, one shot in particular blew me away as Cleo runs down a busy street chasing after her young charges, she crosses a big boulevard and the camera tracks with her, revealling a vista of period cars and people and city life that is astonishing! Another gem is when Cleo takes a bus ride to an amazing crazy barrio , the buildings are just tacked together from whatever as around, a guy is shot out of a cannon in the background, you have to see it for yourself. I just recently rewatched Ermano Olmi’s masterpiece The Tree Of Wooden Clogs, a great film about tenant farmers in Italy 100 years ago. All non actors in the cast yet it is great, moving, real.

Cuaron has done the same thing, made a compelling , supremely watchable film with basically an amateur cast. There are some great actors, the woman who plays the mom is terrific. But she just makes the others better.

 

Libo and Idrector Alfonso Cuarón

Finally I must say there is something Cuaron does that no one else can do. He makes films that seem shorter than their length! I don’t know what magic he posseses, but these films are over in the blink of an eye, and they’re over two hours long! I first noticed it with Gravity, but in Roma, it’s the same thing. Incredible. So watch it, you will love it. It should win every award out there, it’s in a class by itself. Bravo!

Bukowski! Taylor Hackford documentary

Written by Joe D on December 15th, 2018

BUK VS. HACK

 

Here is in my opinion of course, Taylor Hackford’s best film. A 1973 documentary on the legendary Charles Bukowski, patron saint of the dive bars, library stacks, post offices and racetracks of Los Angeles. I saw this film years ago and it was very hard to find for a long time but now thanks to the wondrous miracle of YouTube , here ’tis. Check it out amigos, borrachos!

Pablo Ferro passes on.

Written by Joe D on November 17th, 2018

My dear friend Pablo Ferro passed away last night at the age of 83. He was the greatest, nicest guy. Super talented, he loved working, creating, doing incredible things.He was friend and collaborator to Stanley Kubrick, Hal Ashby, Bob Downey, Steve McQueen, Jeff Bridges, so many amazing people. He got me the job editing The Sunchaser for Michael Cimino and I tried to get him gigs whenever I could. Actually Pablo gave Cimino his start in filmmaking.  He was a legend. So raise a glass to a departed genius. Here’s a taste of his crazy magic.

Orson Welles Lady From Shanghai Crazy Mirrors Sequence

Written by Joe D on November 8th, 2018

Here is the granddaddy of all Mad Mirror scenes! Orson directs and stars with his beautiful ex-wife Rita Hayworth and Mercurey Theater alumnus Everett Sloane, Mr. Berstein from Citizen Kane. Amazing photgraphy in this film, you can really feel the extra silver  in the old nitrate film stock. Rita is so amazingly gorgeous in the scene on the yacht. A crazy film but worth checking out.

 

Little Shop Of Horrors, COLORIZED!

Written by Joe D on November 2nd, 2018

two geniuses- Chuck Griffith and Mel Welles

I am not a fan of colorized movies, I love B&W films! But I must say I enjoyed this vcolor version of the Chuck Griffith/Roger Corman classic. Probably because the original B&W photography was not the greatest. They shot the movie in 4 days or something so not much time to nitpick the lighting. Anyway Enjoy it IN COLOR!

The Pit And The Pendulumn

Written by Joe D on November 26th, 2017

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Here is a short film of E.A.Poe’s great story, The Pit and The Pendulumn. Made by the illustrious animator/ filmmaker Jan Svankmajer. Super creepy, great sound effects, wonderful design by his talented wife, it’s a masterpiece. It does take a few liberties with the original story, in Poe’s version the walls of the room come together like a flattened box, forming a narrower and narrower lozenge, the metal walls of which are red hot, ay the center of the lozenge is the Pit which the victim is forced to fall into, devilishly ingenious. Svankmajer has the metal wall push one towards the Pit, a slight difference, also the end of the story turns out differently. But the subjective viewpoint he uses does match the internal monolouge of Poe’s version, without a voice over. I think it’s an interesting creative choice. The fiendish decorations seem inspired by Hieronymous Bosch and are beautifully realized. What a cool film. So wonderful it was made, there aren’t enough works like this these days, personal, artistic, artisinal. Check it out.

P.S. Here is a translation of the Latin quote at the begining of the piece, it is from Poe’s story as well.
Here an impious mob of torturers, insatiable, fed their long-lasting frenzies for innocent blood. Now that the fatherland is safe, now that the cave of murder has been destroyed, in the place where foul death once was, life and health are open to all.

Robert Enrico’s Chickamauga

Written by Joe D on November 13th, 2017

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Everyone has seen an Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, the short film by Robert Enrico based on a short story by Ambrose Bierce. It was even shown on The Twilight Zone by Rod Serling. But did you now it was only one chapter in a trilogy feature film by the great Robert Enrico? Here is a dupey looking copy of the first chapter Chickamauga, another story by Bierce about a particularly vicious Civil War battle at that Indian named location. It’s great, the production value of all the soldiers in the woods, the creative use of sound, the mood, all amazing. Europeans were fascinated by the American Civil War. It was the first modern war that used rifles, cannon’s, primitive machine guns on such a large scale. German officers came and toured the battle sites in preparation for their own warmaking. Enrico was obsessed with America of the 1800’s, he did a film based on Edgar Allan Poe’s Pit and The Pendulum that is worth checking out. Much truer to the story than Roger Corman’s Vincent Price vehicle, which I must say I greatly enjoyed as a kid.

Manson Family Vacation

Written by Joe D on October 19th, 2017

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Here is an excellent film that polarizes people in an unconventional way. Some people are repulsed by Charlie Manson, others are fascinated by the story of the Family. It is compelling stuff, the murder of a Movie Star, almost a ritual sacrafice. Manson preached love, environment, fair treatment of animals but he also brainwashed seemingly normal young people into committing heinous acts of murder. A very strange compelling case, hence the 60,000 pieces of mail Manson gets every year in prison. There is an interesting documentary on Manson called Manson but get the early one if you can the new one has a lot of horrible voice over. Anyway Manson Family Vacation deals with Manson peripharelly , although there is footage of him in the movie. It’s about two brothers and their strained relationship. I don’t want to go into too much detail, watch the movie, but the writing and acting are top notch. This is a funny film but funny in an intelligent, thought provoking way which I really like. And you can stream it on Netflix! So Bravo everyone involved with this film, great job. I understand this was made on weekends so everyone could keep their day jobs. That’s an admirable love of filmmaking.

David Lynch on Surrealist Cinema

Written by Joe D on October 8th, 2017

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Here’s a British Film Show called Arena. David Lynch is the host and he discusses Surrealist Films and the influence they had on him. Bad quality tape but a great show.

Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire

Written by Joe D on October 3rd, 2017

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Hear Kubrick talk about and put down his first film. Then watch it for yourself and make up your own mind.
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