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Showing posts from August, 2018

The Sense of Discomfort in “Una”

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There is no question that most moviegoers watch movies to be entertained. Film has always been a medium of entertainment, and even critics are not immune to the pleasures of a day of escapism at the cinema; even the prestigious Sight and Sound lists, mainly comprised of challenging arthouse classics such as Au Hasard Balthazar and The Passion of Joan of Arc, makes room for such audience-pleasing works as Singin' in the Rain and Some Like It Hot. However, despite their challenging nature, Balthazar and Passion can also be considered pleasurable in their own ways, offering deeper insights into society and human nature through the tragedies they present. But what happens when both "entertaining" and "pleasurable" are replaced by “uncomfortable”? Can the quality of a film be diminished by the discomfort it evokes in the viewer? These are important questions in assessing the critical response to Una, a film that explores topics which have made many view…

That Familiar Scorsese Touch in "Who's That Knocking at My Door?"

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Martin Scorsese’s Who’s That Knocking at My Door? is a film made by someone who loves films. This is no news to anyone today, but it is impossible to believe that anyone watching this directorial debut even back in 1968 could have mistaken this for anything else but the product of a man born and bred on film stock. The film itself is a minor effort in the grand scheme of Scorsese’s filmography, eclipsed by many later films that are more distinctly “Scorsese” and less broadly influenced by other filmmakers. However, it evidences the great confidence inherent in the works of this first generation of filmmakers who grew up going to the cinema, and it also begins to explore thematic material that would later become iconic in Scorsese’s distinct breed of filmmaking.
Shot in black-and-white at the time when color photography was widely being adopted, the film offers an appealing sense of nostalgia; it is a love letter to a style of filmmaking that was quickly disappearing in 1968, and would …

July 2018 Recap

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Despite my continued lack of posting, I've actually been doing more writing in the past few weeks than I have all summer; somehow, I just cannot bring myself to actually go back and edit everything I have been writing and post it. Instead, I write these massive essays in a creative furor, sometimes staying up half of the night getting them done, and then abandon them to move onto something else. Hopefully in the future I actually work up the motivation--and the nerve--to get these pieces out there, but in the meantime, I'm at least keeping up with these recaps. July saw a whole bunch of first time viewings, as usual, but also a number of re-watches. Often I feel so overwhelmed by the number of films out there that I've yet to see that I neglect returning to old favorites, but when I finally do I remember that it's in re-watching that you really learn about a film and come to appreciate it; a single viewing is never enough. In particular, re-watching Sex, Lies, and Vid…