Friday, January 28, 2022

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson, 2001)

Middling earth

The film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a massive undertaking-- 270 million on three pictures approximately three hours each, with thousands of extras, hundreds of locations, endless digital effects… you get the idea. And it’s by Peter Jackson, director of both the exuberantly gross Dead Alive and lyrical at times harrowing Heavenly Creatures, an event we’ve waited for all of last year, freshly arrived in its first installment. And how is it?

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Best of 2021

Film year 2021

was if anything more confused than 2020. The previous year we went into lockdown; last year we emerged  only to go back to lockdown due to Delta, partially re-emerge, partially go back in response to Omicron--a chaotic state. I think the best films didn't reflect that confusion so much as express themselves despite, raising their collective yet distinct voices above the turmoil. Hence:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971), Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (Lino Brocka, 1974)

Our town

If you're going to film someone's story-- in this case Larry McMurtry's semi-autobiographical novel-- you can do worse than follow Orson Welles' suggestion to shoot in black and white. Faded photos have an allure no JPEG file will ever have; black and white celluloid will have this much over digital color no matter how high the definition-- they're already texture of memories, snipped out and pasted in someone's yellowing album. 

Monday, January 03, 2022

The Tragedy of Macbeth (Joel Coen, 2021)

Sound and fury

Joel Coen's latest is fascinating for what it's not--it's not a collaboration with his brother Ethan, not an original script or remake (or riff off a Greek classic a la O Brother Where Art Thou?), not in color but the rare straight adaptation, in stark black-and-white.