Friday, December 3, 2010

On...

On Aranofsky...
I'm not a fan. Then again, I've only seen Pi and The Wrestler. It's been about 12 years since I've seen Pi. I wrote about some of my problems with The Wrestler last year. Black Swan does not interest me at all except that it's currently one of the critical darlings of the moment.

On giving up on Jason...
I obviously haven't really given up on him. It's all part of our dysfunctional blogging relationship. I write something vaguely insulting or disapproving. Jason is shamed into putting up a post.

On Netflix Watch Instantly...
Since my post, I've been watching some movies this way.

I already wrote about Holy Rollers.

I watched the first episode of Beavis and Butt-head thanks to Jason's post. That's the first time I've seen them in at least 15 years. Unfortunately, the best part of B&B was always watching them watch music videos and that's been cut out of these versions. I discovered Ween and Superchunk this way (and probably others I can't specifically remember) back in the early '90s.

I watched two early Starewicz animated shorts, both fun but mostly interesting for their historical value. The Cameraman's Revenge (1912) features adulterous bugs. The Insects' Christmas (1913) has Santa and frogs. This dude Starewicz must have been crazy to be around.

Broken Arrow is great. Like Chain Gang a month or so ago, it didn't take me long at all into watching this to realize that I had seen it already. Probably in college, but I can't remember. What is surprising to me is how well the love story works. It's a distracting little side plot that gradually becomes the heart of the narrative.

I have to concede to Brandon that, yes, Netflix Watch Instantly does have a great classics and foreign selection. A guy could get a decent film education just watching available streaming titles. My concerns of limited access still stand. Just look at my 1929 list. I'm sure that the number of available films by year is proportionally the same. For every 3 films you can find streaming, 20 more films are available via DVD. The difference between 1929 and 1950 and 2010 is that there is a steady increase of content by year. Only a tiny fraction of the whole is there streaming. I'm fine with streaming (especially since I haven't had any buffering problems since writing my last post!). Personally, though, the thing I value most about Netflix is the scope of access that I currently have with DVDs. Streaming is a nice perk and makes me feel less bad about when I keep out a movie for too long, like...

Fritz Lang's Woman in the Moon. It came in the mail the day before Thanksgiving and we've been busy since. It's three hours long, which makes it hard to pop in at 9:30pm, the usual time we can get settled in to watch something. We've watched about 30 minutes and I hope to have it finished by this weekend.

On further confirmation that anything by Truffaut is essential viewing...
Last weekend, we watched Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451. It's fine. I liked it. Especially the title-less title sequence. The spoken word there, mixed with the visuals of the TV antennas is quite striking. The film is astounding in the way it visually conveys the importance of words by the fleeting way that they appear and disappear. Every book title becomes precious. Every string of letters on screen needs to be absorbed fast. Then, for all of that, the conclusion in book village isn't really a happy ending.

On the Tree of Life trailer preceding Black Swan...
You found the one thing to say to get me excited about Black Swan. I can't wait for that movie to come out around here now! I'm going!

On DVDs as physical objects...
It's true that one can't really make a DVD one's own in the same manner as a book. BUT DVDs are more conducive to studying a film. Being able to pause and check out an almost frame by frame account of a movie is not possible via streaming. Being able to easily rewind or set a section on a loop to be watched over and over again. Taking screenshots. Ripping a copy and manipulating the images into video essays. These are things that I've done with DVDs that I don't see as possibilities via streaming at this time.

On How to Read a Book...
I'm reading Adler's How to Read a Book right now. A lot of it is information that I've already internalized from other sources/teachers. Some is very useful. If anything, it has convicted me of too often falling into lazy reading practices when I should know better. Related to movies, it's reminded me that I've been doing a lot of "superficial" movie watching lately. Watching a good movie once is never enough. I've been watching so many 2010 films, weeding out my DVD collection, and trying to catch up on all that I haven't seen from the past. The year is almost over and I haven't re-viewed Stalker or Andrei Rublev or any other Tarkovsky. It's been too long since I've seen The New World. Why haven't I seen Terror in a Texas Town lately?

I guess it has to do with trying to increase the breadth of my film knowledge. I'm starting to suspect that I'm going too broad at the moment and probably need to slow down and dig in deep near a few of my favorite films. I had a lot of fun segmenting Blast of Silence earlier this year. Maybe I'll dig into Blast of Silence further or maybe segment another film. Maybe I'll just start by re-watching Curtiz' Robin Hood with the girls. There is no end to the pleasures of that film.

On Jason using Flixster...
Jason, if your so-called friends on Facebook can't take the time to read your movie blog, then you are probably mistaken about how much they care about your Flixster capsules on Facebook. Forget about them. We are your real movie geek friends.

On ending this post...


1 comment:

Max Weismann said...

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I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are--we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

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http://www.thegreatideas.org/HowToReadABook.htm

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Thank you,

Max Weismann