26 October 2005

Greatest Films (clubs 2-10) 3rd in an ongoing series

Clubs represent the masculine generative/destructive force and as such the 13 films representing the various clubs will be war/conflict/adventure type films cause that's how I roll.

2 of clubs - The Thief of Bagdad, Michael Powell, and others (dir)
Sabu as Abu kicks ass. A wonderful fantasy/kids film, and despite being from 1940 has aged well.

3 of clubs - The Roaring Twenties, Raoul Walsh (dir)
James Cagney did many gangster roles, but this was one of his best. Bogart's supporting turn ain't bad either. Cagney as Eddie Bartlett is all energy and menace (despite his small frame) and this movie is compelled by his kineticism.

4 of clubs - Raiders of the Lost Ark, Steven Spielberg (dir)
In many ways this is just a Republic serial with a bigger budget, but in many other ways this is the classic American big studio summer blockbuster and few of the imitators have come close.

5 of clubs - The Wild Bunch, Sam Peckinpah (dir)
A great western, a great film, bloody, cynical, the acting, cinematography and directing conspire to make the perfect anti-hero western.

6 of clubs - Kill Bill (Vol 1 & Vol 2), QT (dir)
The most masculine chick flick ever made (and yet seeing The Bride with her daughter at the end brings a tear to my eye)

7 of clubs - Patton, Franklin J. Schaffner (dir)
Arguably the greatest acting performance in a biographical film, ever. Also greatly illustrates the laws of unintended consequences. I suspect the makers of the film didn't expect audiences to be as sympathetic with Patton and his view of warfare as they were. His jingoism and bloodlust were supposed to be consumed with ironic detachment, instead most audiences saw him as a positive representation of American gumption and can-do-itiveness and the flag scene was meant to echo the fascist he fought, but most saw pride and passion.

8 of clubs - The Big Sleep, Howard Hawks (dir)
Still the best hard-boiled detective film (the only other one that comes close is Devil in a Blue Dress). Treats the source with respect, and seeing wartime L.A. as a place where hauntingly hot women work at every job (from bookshop worker, to taxi-driver) is a nice touch. And how can you not love a film that has William Faulkner helping to adapt a Raymond Chandler novel with Howard Hawks directing Bogie and Bacall at the inception of their love affair.

9 of clubs - Spartacus, Stanley Kubrick (dir)
Big, sweeping filmmaking at its best. 'Nuff said

10 of clubs - Terminator 2: Judgment Day, James Cameron (dir)
Bigtime action/sci-fi done right. The role that made Schwarzenegger governor. This film led to so many bad imitators and awful trends but it still should be viewed as the kickass film that it is.


For ease of navigation, and just in case anyone comes to any of these individual posts randomly, I'm adding a link to each of the nine posts within each posts.

2-10 of Hearts
JQKA of Hearts
2-10 of Clubs
JQKA of Clubs
2-10 of Diamonds
JQKA of Diamonds
2-10 of Spades
JQKA of Spades

25 October 2005

Greatest Films (JQKA of hearts) 2nd of an ongoing series

Jack of Hearts - Tampopo, Juzo Itami (dir)
Food!, Sex!, Death!, it's got it all, plus great humor, see this film (or else, I mean it, rent it today, go now, get in your car, or jump online and add this to your netflix queue, or buy it on Amazon, however you get to see this, just do it already)

Queen of Hearts - Heavenly Creatures, Peter Jackson (dir)
Still Jackson's best film (unless King Kong blows me away in a few months). Well done all around and still the best film about homicidal teenage lesbians obsessed with the music of Mario Lanza (and what a crowded category that is)

King of Hearts - Blue Velvet, David Lynch (dir)
If you've noticed all the other directors listed so far, you'd have probably already guessed that David Lynch would show up. His use of color, music, setting, and the playful way he mixes naturalism with artifice is catnip for a filmgeek who grew up in the 80s, really this movie making this list is destiny.

Ace of Hearts - The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Philip Kaufman (dir)
Had I not read the book also this movie might not have made the list. Milan Kundera's novel is rational and philosophical whereas the film is emotional and visceral. The mutual seduction between Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin is one of the sexiest scenes in all of filmdom (and they don't ever have sex together). This film is best viewed as a companion to the novel, and the novel after seeing the film becomes a companion to the film. This is one of the few (if not only) example where a book and film compliment each other so fully as to raise the esteem of each.


For ease of navigation, and just in case anyone comes to any of these individual posts randomly, I'm adding a link to each of the nine posts within each posts.

2-10 of Hearts
JQKA of Hearts
2-10 of Clubs
JQKA of Clubs
2-10 of Diamonds
JQKA of Diamonds
2-10 of Spades
JQKA of Spades

Greatest Films (hearts, 2-10) first of an ongoing series

These aren't in order of greatness, and there are many great movies left off, but you wouldn't be doing yourself any harm if you sought out viewing any of these films on a rainy Saturday.

Hearts are about blood, passion, lust, love and all that so these 9 films reflect those aspects of human nature.

2 of hearts - Crimes of Passions, Ken Russell (dir)
This film represents Russell at his crazy best. Kathleen Turner is amazing, and Tony Perkins is creepy (big surprise). There are depths here, and a lot of surface too, and there are some scenes that border on soft-core porn, what more can you ask.

3 of hearts - The Moderns, Alan Rudolph (dir)
Linda Fiorentino, yumm, Paris in the 20s, even better. Stagey, and talky, and obsessed with what makes an artwork or an emotion authentic. It's a bit pretentious, but hey it was the 80s.

4 of hearts - Matador, Pedro Almadovar (dir)
This has it all, blood, crime, sex, and very early Antonio Banderas.

5 of hearts - Der Blaue Engel, Josef von Sternberg (dir)
This film focuses on the destructive nature of erotic obsession and Marlene Dietrich is mesmerizing. The professor's fall is heart breaking, and his crowing and clowning pathetic yet touching.

6 of hearts El Amor Brujo, Carlos Saura (dir)
The dancing, photography, music and story all conspire to sweep you into the world of this gypsy camp. His version of Carmen is very good, but this is better, this is one of the best displays of dancing ever filmed (not for the technique, but the passion and feeling, especially the older dancers) and Laura Del Sol, mmmmmmm.

7 of hearts Written on the Wind, Douglas Sirk (dir)
Ridiculously ridiculous film making at its ridiculous best (ain't that ridiculous). Overwrought, overacted, overshot, overframed, overscored, overeverything, yet enjoyable and just about perfect.

8 of hearts Kozure Okami: Sanzu no kawa no ubaguruma (aka Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx), Kenji Misumi (dir)
All the Lone Wolf and Cub films (inspired by the manga that inspired the graphic novel that inspired the film Road to Perdition) are amazing, but this one has female ninjas! What's this doing with all those other films? blood, baby, blood (and lots of it)

9 of hearts Devdas, Sanjay Leela Bhansali (dir)
A terrific film and a great introduction to the joys of Bollywood. Accessible, sad, romantic, and lots of sumptuous sets, pretty woman, handsome men, and music, music, music, seek it out and enjoy.

10 of hearts Ghost World, Terry Zwigoff (dir)
At its heart this is a love story, both the falling out of love of two friends, and the resistance to love of two lost, damaged and mismatched people. This movie is actually kind of sweet in a cynical way and well shot, acted and written.


For ease of navigation, and just in case anyone comes to any of these individual posts randomly, I'm adding a link to each of the nine posts within each posts.

2-10 of Hearts
JQKA of Hearts
2-10 of Clubs
JQKA of Clubs
2-10 of Diamonds
JQKA of Diamonds
2-10 of Spades
JQKA of Spades

Greatest Films list

Total Film is stirring up trouble by releasing an idiosyncratic and fairly recent skewing list of top 100 films of all time.

Placing Goodfellas at the top of the list seems to be the hook that is catching the attention of various newswires.

In the spirit of this I will come up with my top 54 films to be arranged like a deck of cards (13 cards in 4 suits, plus 2 jokers)

The suits are hearts (blood/lust/romance), spades (witty/clever/sharp), clubs (war/conflict/adventure) and diamonds (classics/timeless), and the jokers are of course wild cards which don't fit anything else, yet trump everything.

I'll give each suit a different post so that this doesn't become one single monster post.

24 October 2005

A look into the future!

I don't prognosticate often, but of this one item I can predict with some certainty.

These twin girls will be doing a scene in a video with this man (don't worry, no pics for this link) in 5-6 years time.


With the "grim milestone" pending and the planned celebrations (I'm sorry, commemorations, they support our troops too) I am considering attending the local vigil and blogging about the idiocy I observe (and possibly record and post audio of the conversations and general lunacy that is bound to occur).

I can play the role of fellow traveller well (having taken many ethnic and gender studies courses I know the language of the 'progressives' and can regurgitate on cue), and would be engaging in cointelpro (Wikipedia link, take information with grain of salt, look at sources, and read counter arguments in discussion) style activities (although I would simply agree and listen, not instigate).

My stomach may not be strong enough to take it though, so don't be surprised if their is no follow-up to this post.

Bernanke, B - E - R - N - A - N - K - E, Bernanke

While listening to Fox News in the background Terry Keenan mentioned that the nominee to replace Fed. Chair Alan Greenspan had finished 2nd in the National Spelling Bee.

(the linked story leaves off that biographical tidbit)

All his experience and credentials would suggest he is highly qualified and should sail through confirmation, but when I see the children on ESPN competing for the National Spelling Bee, they seem like future research scientest and oddball professors, not important policy makers. Maybe 40-45 years ago the children who competed were a little less geeky, but I doubt it.

Picking a respected egghead to replace a respected egghead (who wasn't so respected in 87 when he was first nominated) is definitely the right move politically for Pres. Bush in the wake of the Harriet Miers kerfuffle.

18 October 2005

"the entire United States wept"

Why I love WaiWai. (articles like this)

The article is a translation from the magazine Weekly Playboy (japanese playboys can't wait once a month for their magazine fix evidently) focusing on translating the jargon of Tokyo teens.

I found this pretty funny:
Zenbei ga naita --- literally, "the entire United States wept." Means nothing important.

One might be moved to wonder how the above expression could take on such an unrelated meaning. After checking the blogs, your reporter came up with this explanation: When many U.S. films open in Japan, they are accompanied by posters claiming that American viewers were moved to tears. But such films have little emotional impact on viewers here. So japanese film goers have learned, apparently, to disregard such promotional claims as largely meaningless.

I don't know why that tickles me so. Maybe cause movie posters can be so dumb the world over. Who do these marketers think they are fooling?

17 October 2005

Beyond Parody?

After this example of violet hued prose, over at Althouse the readership felt compelled to extend the bad writing into a friendly competition.

Well clearly the A.P. writers became jealous so they must have figured that this story about the dark lord's garage contents would exist beyond parody.

(it's not the language so much as the obsessively detailed listing of the contents of Karl Rove's garage that strikes me as beyond ridiculous)

Catholic high school no longer supports ORGIES!

The decision by a catholic school in Long Island, NY to cancel their Senior Prom (link leads to small PDF file) has merited mention in the news and on a few websites.

The principal makes a few good points about the excesses of the modern Prom Industry but his focus on the display of wealth feels a bit suspect.

This is my favorite quote from the article:

"We are withdrawing from the battle and allowing the parents full responsibility. [Kellenberg] is willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy."

Nice to know catholic high schools don't support orgies.

(I almost titled this post "After we are done with them, they dare to turn on each other", but that would be unfair to Brother Hoagland)

Hating the player, the game, and the team

Why the hell would a photo of OJ Simpson accompany an article about this weekend's victory by the Trojans over the Fighting Irish on the NYTimes website?

UPDATE: I knew I should have copied the picture, the small shot of OJ in his number 32 jersey was on the front page index from Sunday, no such picture accompanies the article and I didn't think to save a copy.

(and my question is rhetorical, clearly the person posting that article must be a Trojan hater (or an OJ fan?))