Thursday, July 16, 2009

Throw a neg! #5: Harry Potter 6

through something
As soon as he says that line, you know it's over. Or, I did. I got up premature and beat it the hell out of the parking lot. No need to soak credits. For a film that long, with that much "plot," it's pretty damned minor. Yates seems to have a few good ideas about lighting, and jostling the screen sometimes, but there's a certain embalming patina over most things in the movie. It's definitely a movie of things, too, as all these Potter books/movies are, except for when Cuaron really turned the central thing into a theme in his picture. Now, this one cannot be deemed a nadir by any means, but it certainly doesn't mean much to state that. Nor does it mean much by itself, as all the things are just things, attached to very little. A film/story this reliant on "memory" should be a little bit more about the mind, don't you think? (Something Yates' #5 got, kind of.) No, this one's just a different kind of faithful to the book, exclusively a plot delivery machine, even though the color and consequence of the final confrontation/s has been transposed down, dampened or muted, and, quite honestly, smoothed over. We (or I, or other dummies like me who've read the books) know that the series won't deliver on all its mythological possibilities, but there's still hope, maybe, that the next two films (of one book! money! cash! greed!) will at least be loud. God knows there won't be any less exposition. Even without Gambon asking, in just about every scene, "You must be wondering why I've brought you here." My query is why I want to be lead, or why I keep on following.

Quick Lit Shit #25: Eyes Wide Shut [BFI monograff]

A fine elucidation that pays strict attention to the film itself and hardly interprets away from what we're given. I wish I was as rigorous to stay within the film as Chion. This isn't to say he doesn't talk of associations, or of the filmmakers and their process, but that all his interpretation is grounded, firmly, in details from the film. Also: I dig its simple, intuitive structure. The best film criticism reorganizes the film in a particularly non-linear way that activates the film again and again in flashes for the reader; this does that. --RWK

Quick Lit Shit #24: Vulgar Modernism

Wish I had more free time to spend with this but from my thumbing (no, didn't read it cover-to-cover) it proves, again, how talented and sharp and well rounded Hoberman's criticism reads. Also cool to see what was happening in the NYC film world before VHS and Laserdiscs and DVD changed (devalued?) rep and foreign programming. --RWK

Quick Lit Shit #23: Hitchcock's Films Revisited

Wood's is a fine primer. And a thoughtful guide for the familiar, too. Still a few things I'd challenge, though, like all that talk of identification solely in terms of a equals b techniques without further investigation. --RWK

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Design Poach #18: Heights

What: A cover of Wuthering Heights, which I've never read, but want to for the number of film adaptations there are, including one by our man of the moment, Mr Manipulator himself, Rivette.
Stolen from: An article in the Independent about the art of book covers, of course. Found via this recent 3:AM link dump.