The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 12, “Still”

No spoilers, this time, really. Whoops, you missed my review of Episode 11, Claimed, because I haven’t written it yet – just notes. I’m sure you are waiting with baited breath. Some critics believe that television is a “dumbed down” medium with a superficial and hurried mode of narrative, which never requires the audience to think deeply about anything. Not so in The Walking Dead, even as the latter half of this season presents us segments that stand alone (some study I saw read the attention gap of the average American TV viewer is five minutes), but always connected to … Continue reading The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 12, “Still”

Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

Spoilers ahead.  Not in a very long time have I such anticipated a film’s opening, in this case from the greatest living director (his words), bad boy Dutchman Lars von Trier’s Melancholia.  This was set to be the best apocalyptic film yet made.  Fresh off his depressing and drab Antichrist (2009), he grabbed me with his stunning trailers and imagery promising us a visual masterpiece.  What follows is prelude as climax, eight to ten minutes of epic slow motion beauty:  Kierstin Dunst (a great perf and Best Actress at this year’s Cannes Film Festival) running through the woods in her … Continue reading Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

Inception (Chistopher Nolan, 2010)

As I write my brief review I listen to Hanz Zimmer’s explosive score, one of the best since Bernard Herrman’s score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.  This is a perfect film.  No flaws stick out.  Its narrative is impeccable and one can tell that Nolan spent 9 years writing and incubating this project.  He threw it at Warner Brothers after Memento, they liked it but he was wise enough to tell them that he needed to learn the art of making a Hollywood spectacle before attempting a film on such a grand scale.  So The Dark Knight was released to all … Continue reading Inception (Chistopher Nolan, 2010)

Bach – Works for Orchestra – Karl Ristenpart – Chamber Orchestra of the Saar

As a teenager I was blessed with the discovery of Karl Ristenpart and the Chamber Orchestra of the Saar’s 1960’s recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos, the pinnacle of Bach’s production, IMHO.  My mother had purchased the cassette version of the recordings by chance (I think) and I was immediately taken with the beautiful, emotional performances.  This helped set off my serious interest in classical music and after the tapes wore off I set about to find everything I could on vinyl.  I was, for the most part, successful in collecting a good number of Ristenpart/Saar Bach records. I would strongly … Continue reading Bach – Works for Orchestra – Karl Ristenpart – Chamber Orchestra of the Saar

Paranoid Park (Van Sant, 2007)

Gus Van Sant exploring his familiar Northwest America childhood detachment and apathy.  This is among his best work – in the same league with Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho and Elephant.  It is a companion piece to Elephant without the abject horror.  I know of these skatepark guys – I have seen them and met them recently and I used to do a bit of this myself back in the day – in this film a culture that signifies a generation or generations of youngsters alienated by the CNN new culture of bad news and the breakdown of the … Continue reading Paranoid Park (Van Sant, 2007)

Breaking The Waves (Lars von Trier, 1996)

A profoundly moving film experience.  One of the best films I have seen in a while – the best film experience I have had since The Lives of Others.  This was my second Lars von Trier film after Dancer in the Dark which I loved as well.  This film is as close to perfection as they get – a deeply expansive narrative with so many layers, just unbelievable performances from all principles, ghostly perfectionist cinematography, impeccable editing, lovely well developed characters without an ounce of pretense but with subtle humor spread throughout, one of the best soundtracks ever complied for … Continue reading Breaking The Waves (Lars von Trier, 1996)

The Last Detail (Hal Ashby, 1973)

Adam Kempanaar at Filmspotting was talking on this week’s podcast what it would be like to go back and watch a genre film before the groundwork had been laid, i.e. Mean Streets before Goodfellas or Reservoir Dogs.  Well, The Last Detail is a buddy movie (and a hell of a road movie for that matter) that I would have liked to seen before its ilk.  Not a false emotion or character pretense involved in this fantastic Hal Ashby effort.  Loved this movie and look forward to watching it again with friends.  I know a guy in my own life like … Continue reading The Last Detail (Hal Ashby, 1973)