Movies Watched in May 2017 Part II

Missed Part I? Here it is. Now let’s explore some more films:

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Matewan (1987) featuring a Q&A with John Sayles

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Matewan (1987)
Written and directed by John Sayles
Produced by Peggy Rajski, Maggie Renzi
Cinematography by Haskell Wexler
Music by Mason Daring
Edited by Sonya Polonsky
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (2:12)

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Seeing him in person, John Sayles strikes you as a no-nonsense type of guy, a tall, confident man carefully absorbing everything around him: the immediate environment, the people in it, and how those two things affect each other. Based on my limited experience of Sayles and his work, I’d say he carefully observes, then shows you what he sees. I was fortunate enough to hear about some of those observations Tuesday night at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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This and That

Thanks to a pile of library DVD holds all coming in at the same time and several unwise (says my wife) Blu-ray purchases, things are really piling up around here. I’ve got a review of a previously unseen Billy Wilder movie coming up plus a few other things, but for today I wanted to give you some quick odds and ends:

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Noir City DC 2016 – Part VI: Corridor of Mirrors (1948) Terence Young

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In his introduction, Eddie Muller called the British film Corridor of Mirrors (1948) “probably the most unknown film on our (Noir City DC) schedule.” Muller also explained that British noir differs from American noir in several different ways, particularly in the British artistic response(s) to World War II, which often included art, fantasy, and obsession as ways to cope with war.

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Noir City DC 2016 – Part IV: Specter of the Rose (1946) Ben Hecht

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Sunday was my final day at Noir City DC 2016 and the final day that Eddie Muller would be on hand to introduce films. The viewing day began with a film I’d never seen, Specter of the Rose (1946), written, produced and directed by Ben Hecht. Hecht’s work is now legendary, but at the time he was a newspaper man writing for the Chicago Tribune. Screenwriter/director/producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz urged Hecht to write screenplays for Hollywood, telling him, “There’s millions to be grabbed out here and your only competition are idiots!”

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Noir City DC 2016 – Part III

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Eddie Muller made his first Noir City DC 2016 introduction on Friday night by focusing on the larger scope of this year’s festival: the Art of Darkness, a theme that explores not just the arts in film noir, but more importantly the loneliness and isolation of being an artist, the terrors of collaboration, the darkness of the creative soul. Good stuff. Although Muller noted that some of the 23 films shown at Noir City DC are straight-up noir movies that have little or nothing to do with the arts, The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) certainly does. (Most of what you’ll read here are paraphrases of Muller’s comments, some of which I couldn’t take down fast enough.)

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