Thursday, December 27, 2018

Roma (Alfonso Cuaron, 2018)

Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo
Domesticated helper

Alfonso Cuaron's Roma is yes one of the most beautiful-looking films of the year.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)

Poster image


So get this--black man becomes first black police officer in a large largely white town (the "Jackie Robinson of the Colorado Springs police force" as his superior puts it). He's consigned to the records room, requests a transfer to undercover; sees a recruitment ad for the KKK, dials the number, gets an unexpected voice at the other end, improvises a racist rant, is invited to join the group.

Sounds like one of the more outrageous skits dreamed up for the short-lived if memorable In Living Color--but it's a true story, based on Ron Stallworth's autobiographical account Black Klansman.  

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Three Years Without God (Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Mario O'Hara)

Two women

Last October my mother died.

Which to the world at large may not mean much. But it was with her in mind that I saw the digitally restored version of Mario O'Hara's Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (Three Years Without God, 1976), recently released on iTunes.

Not an inappropriate choice. I was in a dark mood and the film--well the title says it all: three years so awful the people felt abandoned by God. 

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Wichita (Jacques Tourneur, 1955)

A good man with a gun

(Yet another film on the soon-to-vanish (Nov. 29) Filmstruck--in this case easily found on other venues (Google Play and iTunes) but difficult to find in Cinemascope; even Turner Classic Movies resorted to showing the cropped pan-and-scan version. Filmstruck presents the film in its original aspect ratio, and if ever the term 'quietly glorious' applied to a picture it applies to this. Again the plea: make the site (or one like it) available again--and available to other countries!

Say the name 'Jacques Tourneur' and the first word that comes to mind for most folks is 'horror' (the second possibly 'cat'). Tourneur has been directing since 1931 (mainly shorts) finally made a splash in the early '40s working for producer Val Lewton in Cat People (lowbudget, eerily beautiful) and I Walked With a Zombie (despite the pulpy title, my favorite adaptation of Jane Eyre). Say his name and the word 'westerns' rarely pops up--but his westerns do in fact represent some of his finest most memorable work.