Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
I found this dvd for only 3 euros. It's not Minnelli or Sirk, but it got that 50s melodrama thing going on. It's also got the completely artificial dialogues that belong to those movies. I found it a bit hard to care about the story. Holden and Jones didn't get along at all during filming, that might be part of it. But they just don't seem like real people. Showing some real pain, like Humphrey Bogart drunk at night, after he meets Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, would have been nice. Hell, even a scene of a character brushing his teeth. Instead you notice things like how often you see the characters in profile, looking at each other and the lack of close ups. I've wondered about that in movies from this period. Apparently it's because the cinemascope anamorphic lense didn't allow for close ups. Which makes it sometimes hard to read the feelings of the characters. To get back to Casablanca - if it had been made in the 50s, there wouldn't have been any close ups of Ingrid Bergman's face, and what a loss that would have been. The film also made me realize that Titanic, the James Cameron film, is pretty much a 50s melodrama combined with a 70s disaster movie.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
West Virginia, 1920. Coal miners and a union organizer have to fight the Mining Company. Written and directed by John Sayles.
The film is based on real events, the socalled Matewan Massacre. The Depression hasn't even started yet, but things are already pretty rough. There are actors that later will be better known, so watching the film you constantly go, Hey, there's that guy from NYPD Blue, there's that guy from Shawshank Redemption. Hey, it's that woman from Dances With Wolves. There's the Sayles regulars Chris Cooper and David Strathairn. There's even Darth Vader and Bonnie Prince Billy! Will Oldham is actually pretty good in his role as a young preacher. The film is almost a Western in the way it opens with a stranger arriving in town and ending with a big shootout. Unfortunately, it came out before the independent film boom of the nineties. If released a couple of years later, by, say, Miramax, it could maybe have been nominated for an Oscar for best film. It would have been well deserved.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Gotta love the 50s films! The whole look of Hollywood films at the time: the cinemascope, the colours, the melodrama! This is the first Minnelli film I've seen. I should try to find more of his films. The same with Douglas Sirk; I think I've only seen Imitation of Life. Anyway, Sinatra is very good in this film. He had a certain worldweariness that fits the character. The exteriors seem to be mostly shot on location, so it gives a more real feeling than if it had been done on the backlot. The images are carefully composed, in long takes - there are none of the over the shoulder shots you see in modern films - with few closeups. So it looks great, but the images also feel a bit too small on my tv screen; it's a movie that probably should be seen in a cinema.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I found this strip, drawn around 84, and at least that final panel is clearly influenced by Moebius. To make it more obvious I even put in portraits of Major Grubert and Blueberry. The strip isn't that funny so I won't bother with a translation. He starts World War 3 as an april's fool, ha ha. Anyway, this was the short period when I drew with a rotring pen and it shows I really had a lot to learn.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Enough 70s films with longhaired hippie scum! Give me a 50s film when men were men and there was always a big bug around to fight! One starring James Arness - Norwegian Viking, Matt Dillon and Zeb Macahan. Ah, I miss How The West Was Won, that was a great series... Anyway, Them - is it the best big bug film? Probably. There seems to be a pattern in these films. There's a professor who explains what's going on (atomic tests, mutations), with or without a pipe, and he has a fetching daughter that the hero falls in love with. But the film actually looks great, and kudos to the actors who manage to say their lines without cracking up.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Sad news. Jean Giraud is dead. I was just looking through my Moebius Oeuvres Complètes from Les Humanoïdes Associés yesterday, marveling at his drawings. The Hermetic Garage, Arzach, Le Bandard Fou... And the Western series Blueberry that he did with Charlier. It's an amazing body of work. Unfortunetaly, I never got to meet him and shake his hand, as a fellow cartoonist. The closest was the first time I was in Angoulême, in 2000. It was the last day of the festival, I was taking a last walk in one of the tents, when I saw him signing prints. I got in line, and after a couple of minutes I had one of the prints, signed, in my hand. It's now framed, hanging on my wall. That was a kind of magical festival for me. It was the first time I was there, they had a great Moebius exhibition, Robert Crumb had a concert and then, unexpectedly, the signed Moebius. Angoulême has never been quite the same after that...
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
It's not a bad film - there are some touching scenes between Fonda and Voight - but the film makers are clearly on Voight's side, there's no question which of the men Fonda will choose. There would maybe have been a bit more tension or conflict in the film if they had made the Dern character less of a fool, who 1. can't bring his wife to orgasm, 2. wants her to stay in the kitchen, and 3. got injured by accidentally shooting himself in the foot. The film is saved somewhat by an ambiguous ending.