Roll on, reels of celluloid, as the great earth rolls on!
"The truth's what you have in your belly when you're hungry; feelings are what you have between your legs like an itch that you scratch."
With adamant resolve Maria and Hermann discharge the titular nuptials amidst an Allied bombing raid, but their union will prove an elusive one. Hermann ships off for combat and the remainder of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's phenomenal The Marriage of Maria Braun follows the indefatigable Maria (a transfixing Hanna Schygulla) as she appears to cannily navigate…
"I don't see a lot of money here."
Due to its curiously cyclical framing device, the Coen brothers' extraordinary Inside Llewyn Davis can be seen to span either eternity or a frosty February week in 1961. The film tracks its forlorn titular performer (Oscar Isaac) as he juggles a thorny personal life and a precarious professional existence. Superficially the stakes are very straightforward: return cat, get money for abortion, acquire better management. Beneath this modest tale lies a lovingly crafted…
"Antoine, check out that girl—her ass is a song."
Following his underwhelming entry in the otherwise impressive Spirits of the Dead, I cannot faithfully say it's been a conscious goal of mine to see a Roger Vadim feature. Nevertheless, we were still rather enervated from our Solaris experience, and my better half expressed a desire for something light. For trash-hounds like us, I figured it couldn't get much lighter than a key offering from a debauched, wife-collecting purveyor of pseudo-erotica…
CRITERION CHALLENGE 2021: 35. Made in the Soviet Union
"You like dire questions; soon you'll ask me about the meaning of life."
I may as well out myself here at the top: I don't have a lot of interest in science-fiction as a rule. Russian auteur Andrei Tarkovsky is said to have enjoyed the genre more than me, but according to his first wife his preference was certainly of the "soft" persuasion. So despite the fact that it…
In the bacchanalian spirit of New Year's Eve festivities, I did not take notes during this umpteenth viewing of Billy Wilder's immortal classic The Apartment—instead dividing my focus between the lavish charcuterie board and free-flowing libations concocted by my better half. Now a week on, I have many times considered running the film again to satisfy my compulsive need to render detailed judgment on all that passes before my eyes. I've decided to resist that impulse because The Apartment is essentially…
"I am a painter of the streets and of the gutter."
Aside from whatever inherent value there is in seeing a thirteenth John Huston film (that Criterion Channel happens to be dumping at month's end), I was especially motivated to watch Moulin Rouge because of its considerable impact on Bob Fosse as noted by biographer Sam Wasson. Perhaps for the sake of concision, Wasson reflects that Huston's film was "one of Fosse's favorite movie musicals" and cites the fractured editing…