Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 31: Philips Building Falls

You guessed it, Norwegian director Joachim Trier (b. Denmark, 1974) is related to that other great Scandinavian film-maker. Jacob Trier, who was the sound technician of Norway's most popular film ever "Pinchcliffe Grand Prix," as well as "Virgins of Riga" (among others).

Oh, not who you were thinking of? Wow, you know your Norsky cinema! Joachim is also the grandson of the important Norwegian film maker Erik Løchen, director of Motforestilling (1972) and The Chasers (1959).

Still not the right Trier? Assuming you're not thinking of Joachim's mother (Mrs. Trier), I guess you might be thinking of Lars von Trier, to whom he is also distantly related. Lars added "von" just because he thought it sounded more film-maker-ish. Which I suppose it does. It's certainly better rhythmically; "Lars Trier" is just too abrupt, peremptory almost. Two stressed syllables, back to back like that, it just doesn't work. What was his mother thinking? No wonder he's such an unpleasant man. You get that unstressed syllable in the middle there, it's at least more euphonious. And takes up a bit more space, if you know what I mean. Which must be somewhat reassuring to poor Lars. And to his distant cousin, Joachim, not to mention Jacob and Erik and Erik's wife.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30: Photo Op For Paris Paparazzi

The same event launches both this film and Amelie. But Amelie has a better September third...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 28: Canada Scorns Yankee Colour Barrier

“When I hear of bad things that are happening in other places – where people are fighting or being violent and are trying to exclude African-Americans – I think back to the days in Montreal,” Rachel Robinson said. “It was almost blissful.”

The couple arrived in the city after Mr. Robinson had been signed to the Montreal Royals, a Brooklyn Dodgers’ farm team; he’d been picked by Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey to integrate baseball, a white man’s game. Touring with the Royals in the U.S., Mr. Robinson suffered threats during training camp in Florida, racial taunts and blatant discrimination.

“We were bruised when we arrived in Montreal,” Mrs. Robinson remembers. “We had been mistreated and subjected to everything that racism can do to a couple.”

Hence the newlywed’s trepidation as she approached the door on de Gaspé to rent an apartment. She warily walked up the five steps edged by the same wrought-iron bannister that exists today. “One of the most difficult things in the forties for black people was to rent anything, anywhere,” Mrs. Robinson recalled. A French-speaking woman opened the door. Then she offered her the apartment and invited her in for tea. “Instead of slamming the door in my face she said ‘Welcome,’ in English. I was totally shocked.”

So began the Robinsons’ introduction to Canada. Neighbours in the Villeray district shared postwar rationing points and sewed maternity clothes for the pregnant Mrs. Robinson. Children rushed to carry her groceries. … “Up in the stands, no one dared insult Jackie. He was black, but in their eyes and hearts the fans didn’t see that,” recalls former pitcher Jean-Pierre Roy, who played with Mr. Robinson.

“I heard obscenities thrown at him in the U.S. In Montreal, he was always respected as a baseball player,” Mr. Roy, 92, said from his home in Florida.

Mr. Robinson’s triumph culminated in the final game of Little World Series. With chants of “We want Robinson” raining down from the stands, he scored the final run and led the Royals to the championship. Delirious fans hoisted Mr. Robinson on their shoulders and mobbed him when he emerged after the game. The ensuing chase led sports reporter Sam Maltin to famously observe, “It was probably the only day in history that a black man ran from a white mob with love instead of lynching on its mind.”

Ingrid Peritz, The Globe and Mail
Complete article

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27: Weather Change Predicted

One of my all time favourite plays. Don't watch the movie, though: Kath and Burt are all wrong, and the style stagey. Look instead for the realism and truthfulness of the stage - IF you're lucky enough to have a good production at a theatre near you...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26: Good Bye Sigmund!

Odd. Seeing this film in the theatre, back in its day, I thought of it as a comedy - and, to be honest, a comedy that kind of missed. It just wasn't that funny.

Viewing even this segment now, it strikes me - not fundamentally a comedy. Maybe I was a victim of misdirected expectations. Might be worth a rewatch.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25: A Dog's Day

This movie's always been in my mind as one to see, as has Dog Day Afternoon. But I knew very little about DDPM, and nothing about this one.

Watched them both. Both worthy of the acclaim.

This film would make a terrific triple bill with Le Samourai (at least equally acclaimed) and The American (under-rated).

montage | a fine watch | the days and hours of the jackal

A Date Movies experiment.

Featured at filmwell - "interested in cinema or TV off the beaten track, criticism at the margins of the great conversation, and how art points the way to (as Henry Miller says) 'life more abundant.'"

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24: A Dog's Life

A fresh, fascinating, and very French film.

My most post-modern movie experience: I've watched the whole thing, some scenes multiple times, but not in order. I was tipped off that the film contained a date; in searching for it, I found more, and ended up scouring the entire film looking for date references. And immensely enjoying this multiple-viewpoint, stylish, brashly funny and surprisingly affecting story - enough that I bought myself a copy. And lost it. And bought another.

And still haven't watched it front to back.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 23: Saddam Welcomes Foreign Types

You'd think it would be a better movie, with Bonham Carter (who's always good) and Michael Keaton (what ever happened to him? I like him) and Lili Taylor (after I Shot Andy Warhol and The Addiction I would have thought she'd play the punked-out Bonham-Carter character) - but it's not bad. Probably just the "made for TV' vibe - back when TV wasn't better than the movies yet (or so I'm told). Enough with the (parenthetical) remarks (and run-on sentences) - just watch the clip, and have a wander down memory lane.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22: A Dog's Afternoon

We'll be back to canines and times of day on the 25th...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21: Dads' Day In Court

An astonishing film. Greatness in every aspect. I'll say no more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20: Pitch-Impaired Singer To Lead Revival

Here's an obscure item. I'd heard of it back in the day - put it on my Must See In Order To Be Cool list - but lost the list somewhere.

Sixties / early Seventies "Youth pictures" had a lot more edge in Britain than over here, didn't they? I'm thinking Lindsay Anderson - If... and O Lucky Man - for example. The Magic Christian.

Maybe American hippy flicks were angry - Vietnam and all that - but it seemed like they thought change was in the air, and they could win whatever they were fighting for.

Across the pond? Not so much.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19: Queen Struggles To Control Horse

Some sources say this happened August 18. Some say the 19th. But I wanted Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the 18th, and I didn't have anything else good for the 19th that I didn't need to use for a different date, so.... The 19th it is.

Speech to the Troops at Tilbury in preparation for repelling the Spanish Invasion, 1588. Shakespeare was about to begin writing his first play. Good thing her speech worked.

I like her hair.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18: Muerto County Excavation Work Begins

Do not adjust your sets. Darkness originates with the movie.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17: Local Hero Returns

I thought critics were too hard on this film. To me, top notch. And hey: Pacino and Penn?

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 15: Teen Music Concert Gets Out Of Hand

This pic didn't generate tons of excitement, but I dug it. 80% nostalgia, I suppose (for an experience I never had). But hey, it's Ang Lee, so there's some real movie-making there. Favourite element for me: the inclusion of so many images from the iconic Michael Wadleigh documentary, often approached subtly. The nun moment reminds me of the photographer in our July 6 clip. Far out, man.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 14: Tide Of War Finishes Turning

Perhaps the last in our "Tide Of War" series. Though one never knows.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 12: Harry James Weaves Illicit Spell

Though Harry was born a muggle – his father a bandleader in the Haag Traveling Circus, his mother an acrobat and horseback rider – the young man's almost magical tone on the trumpet led him to take up the conductor's wand by the age of 23. He was in several feature films, including Private Buckaroo & The Philospher's Stone and Springtime In Hogwarts. He played trumpet in the 1950 film Young Man With A Lightning Bolt On His Forehead.

His was the first name band to employ Frank Sinatra. He wanted to change Sinatra's name to "Frankie Satan," but Sinatra refused.

(information taken from from article "Harry James - Wiccapedia, the free encyclopedia")

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 10: Luscious Laundress Launches Lefebvre

The copyright cops got us again.

We were all cued up in advance, I had a wonderful change of pace after all the tragedy and death of the past four days – the delightfully cheesy opening of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which nobody's ever seen. And because it starts with music, and perhaps because it's Beatles music (well, sort of), it got flagged and gagged.

Now, I had plenty of alternates. But I'd promised something cheerful, and... dying kid, fictional serial killer who murders every Aug 10, the second slaying by the Charles Manson cult, the arrest of Son of Sam (red letter day for serial killers!), clip from Basic Instinct, clip from Redacted (now there's downer of a movie), a stoner talking about August 10 as somebody's impending day of death, arrest of a real bad guy in Alpha Dog, more District 9 nastiness, something from an ultra-violent Japanese / Hong Kong gangster flick (is there any other kind of Japanese / Hong Kong gangster flick?), a medicine label for a burn victim, a massacre in Last Of The Mohicans and a western where a guy gets arrested for murdering a woman on August 10 (yeesh – what is it about August 10?), and two movies counting down to the destruction of the world.

And... This one. The only cheerful one of the lot. And probably the most obscure movie in the whole date movie project – a light-hearted look at the French Revolution. (!) (?) You know, that one about the woman who marries Francois-Joseph Lefebvre? Who becomes one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire? Oh, THAT Francois-Joseph Lefebvre...

Oh well. It's got Sophia Loren in it.

Montage | August 10

for david j

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August 9: Wikus Van De Merwe's Very Bad Day

Sheesh. Four very bad days in a row. August 6, 1945. August 7, 1915. August 8, 1969. And now August 9, 2010. Except that one didn't really happen.

At least, not as far as I know.

A landmark film in its genre, I would say. The verite style uses lots of surveillance cameras, TV feeds, and time-coded documentary footage. Which means lots of dates onscreen. I edited together all the time-coded footage (and one clip that's not) into this rather disorienting montage.

We'll get happy tomorrow, I promise you.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 7: ANZAC Takes Run At Nek

Apologies. It's a sad few days at the movies...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 6: U.S. Turns Tide Of War

For real this time.

Thanks to Michael Leary for the recommendation, way back in 2004.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

August 3: Holden Caulfield Lookalike Plots Shore Leave Binge

"You look like a guy in the movies. You know, Whosis. you know who I mean. What the heck's his name?"

"I don't know," I said. She wouldn't get off my lap.

"Sure you know. He was in that pitcher with Mel-vine Douglas? The one that was Mel-vine Douglas's kid brother? That falls off this boat? You know who I mean."

"No, I don't. I go to the movies as seldom as I can."

 Catcher In The Rye, Chapter 13

Montage | August 3

for j.p.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August 2: Western Lawman Invents 'Dead Man's Hand'

This milestone in the history of poker is also portrayed in Little Big Man, The Raiders, I Killed Wild Bill Hickok, and The Plainsman (both 1936 and 1966 versions).

Suggestion: if you're dealt a pair of aces and an eight... Fold.

Suggestion: if you're dealt a pair of aces and a pair of eights... Draw.

Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1: Neo-Nazi Parole Deadline Set

One of my favourite films. The humour couldn't be more dry. Or more black. (Well,I can imagine it being more black, but not much.)

To enjoy this movie, it may be necessary to be Scandinavian.

I also wrote about it on Soul Food Movies. Here's a link.