Friday, July 30, 2010

JULY: IF YOUR NAME IS RAF SPIELMAN, YOU GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU ASK FOR (AND MORE)

  • Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos, 2009) — High hopes for this one. Found it more in keeping with a certain strain of provocation cinema perpetrated by directors with perpetually tensed neck muscles than the long-take formalism that I perhaps too easily take a shine to.
  • Restrepo (Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, 2010) — I am kind of disgusted by the fact that I ate popcorn during this.
  • Man of the West (Anthony Mann, 1958) — The second Mann film I'd seen, after T-Men. Some breathtaking stuff. But I remain kind of disgusted by the way the chomper in front of me was eating popcorn during this.
  • Cyrus (Jay and Mark Duplass, 2010) — Among the implausible treacle, one of my favorite scenes of the year: Jonah Hill performing a laptop/keyboard bliss-out for John C. Reilly's audience of one.
  • I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino, 2009) — Eat, love, but don't pray. There are birds in the church.
  • Knight and Day (James Mangold, 2010) — I saw this almost entirely for air-conditioning purposes, and for that kind of thing it is just the ticket. Smartly structured as a series of blackout removes.
  • *The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006) — Inception is half as satisfying.
  • *The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958) — Eli Wallach is terrifying in this. Lean.
  • Desperate (Anthony Mann, 1947) — Some astonishing expressionist photography here.
  • Strange Impersonation (Anthony Mann, 1946) — A totally preposterous and engrossing plastic-surgery thriller. This will one day be included in a great series alongside Eyes Without a Face and Face/Off. If it hasn't already happened.
  • Brooklyn's Finest (Antoine Fuqua, 2009) — Copera.
  • Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010) — The Prestige is twice as satisfying. If Nolan could get away with blowing up a hospital in real life, I'm afraid he might do it.
  • The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko, 2010) — Peerless farm-to-table cinema. As in Laurel Canyon, Cholodenko somehow manages to make domestic tumult seem pleasant. I think this is a virtue, but I'm not sure.
  • Firefox (Clint Eastwood, 1982) — This is actually pretty boring until you remember that it's about stealth planes and Clint Eastwood passing as Russian. And then there's a great extended dogfight sequence to reward you for staying with it.
  • *Breach (Billy Ray, 2007) — This has only gotten better.
  • Hopscotch (Ronald Neame, 1980) — Revelatory Cortazar adaptation. Just kidding. This is what Jeffrey Wells might call "no-laugh funny."
  • Salvatore Giuliano (Francesco Rosi, 1962) — Of all the films listed here, this is the one I most look forward to watching again. Italian courtrooms can get crazy!
  • The Extra Man (Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, 2010) — Anything but this.
  • Flicker (Nik Sheehan, 2008) — If you can't Beat 'em ...
  • The Runaways (Floria Sigismondi, 2010) — This is some sort of turning point for Michael Shannon. Perhaps it just means that he will no more stalk Court Street during the daytime.
  • The Sicilian Girl (Marco Amenta, 2009) — Further proof that Italian courtrooms can get crazy.
  • Enter the Void (Gaspar Noe, 2009) — Uh.

*Revisitings

3 comments:

RAF SPIELMAN said...

I think they should serve free popcorn as part of the plastic surgery series. What I mean to say is THANKS, MAN! I enjoyed every word. Especially "chomper."

KATHRYN said...

Is this a place where I can leave messages for Raf Spielman? If so, "Hello Raf."

Ben said...

Kathryn, please. Anywhere but here.