Monday, February 07, 2005

Stuff you should know.

Over the weekend, I learned the following:

  1. Touch of Evil is almost impossibly great. What Orson Welles did with tracking shots and sound montage is so far ahead of its time, you could've told me this thing was made five years ago and I'd probably believe you. Granted, the studio butchered it on its initial release, but I have no clue how he managed to make this film--with its gleeful inversion of racial stereotypes, sordid drug subplot, and supporting cast of perverts, junkies and weirdos--for a major studio.

  2. Anyone who tells you The Godfather, Part II is better than the first is crazy. I re-watched the film for the first time in years. It'd been so long that it was like watching it for the first time and, while I think it's a great film, I think the notion that it's even on par with the first is wildly off base. There's no doubt that it's rich and masterful, it deepens the mythology and adds even more operatic tragedy to the saga. But it feels like a companion piece to me, never like its own entity. Oh and Diane Keaton really effs it up. The scene--the scene--where she, ahem, talks about babies with Michael, should be... the end all be all, just the dagger through the heart. Al Pacino brought his A-game. Francie and Mario brought their A-game, it's perfectly written. Diane... yeah, not so much. We get Annie Hall whining, thus deflating the entire scene and making the aftermath less resonate. Weak.

  3. Hilary Swank needs to be stopped. She is positively not allowed to make any more speeches where she strings four or five adjectives together in the service of kissing Clint Eastwood's ass.

  4. The more I watch Eternal Sunshine the more I'm convinced it's close to perfect.

  5. Finally--finally--I get what all the M.I.A. hype is about. I know, I know... way to jump on the bandwagon months late. Well, whatever. "Galang" was nice and all, I just had a hard time wrapping my mind around the hype. Mind-changer #1: "$10." Wherein in Ms. Arulpragasam spits some ferocious verses over a back-to-the-future electro beat that is bananas. Mind-changer #2: tracking down Piracy Funds Terrorism online. (Thanks, Big Ticket.) Holy shit is that thing genius. "Sunshowers" mixed with "Push It"? "Bingo" and "Big Pimpin'"? Sick. Now I just need someone to make a convincing case for the Arcade Fire.


At 5:22 PM, Blogger Dashiell said...

I think the Arcade Fire make a case for themselves with that fine record they released.

I think that shit you linked hurts my ears.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger D. Greene said...

Touch of Evil: The sound (the timing in the first sequence alone is brilliant), the framing, everything fits so well. Its a shame Welles' masterpiece was butchered so. I was incredibly impressed with the crane they used for the tracking shot, and I still am. (looks like PT Anderson borrowed from it at the beginning of Boogie Nights) But I was really impressed when I watched Intolerance last week and realized that DW Griffith did the same thing in 1915.

MIA: Galang galang is the goodness and that girl is wicked sri lankan former art student genius-hot.

Regarding the Arcade Fire, the case I have to make is listen to Funeral from start to finish at a really high volume, preferably in your car, with good speakers. Its one piece as far as I'm concerned, not 11 different songs, and it grew on me after multiple listens.

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, stick it, Ben! The Arcade Fire is excellent.
xox N.

At 9:04 PM, Blogger sacha said...

I'm so with you on all of these points. Every one of them.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Tommy said...

I saw Touch of Evil for the first time about a month ago and it totally blew my mind. Of course it does take a few minutes to get use to Heston as a Mexican. And every time he says "my country" it takes me a moment to figure which country he's referring to.

And I have always stood behind Godfather P1 as the better of the two. I must agree with your case whole heartedly. Diane Keaton has trouble being anyone but Annie Hall. Of course that’s not all bad, Woody Allen has trouble being anyone but Woody Allen and you see where that has left him.

Oh and I have recently been trying to get into Arcade Fire myself. I’ll let you know how it goes.

At 6:11 PM, Blogger Ben said...

1. I love that we, to quote a Durst, are all in agreeance re: Touch of Best Ever.
2. Are you people really going to make me give the Arcade Fire another try? I guess I am willing (grumble grumble grumble) to give it a spin per Dan's suggestion (all the way through, in the car, etc). I'll report back when the deed is done. (It might take a month or nine for me to work up the will, but I'll do it.)

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Mo said...

That gorgeous, endless opening shot of "Touch of Evil" makes me nearly forget how icky Heston in brownface can be. A-MAZE-ING.


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